To be in proper canonical and spiritual standing with God and His Church, an Orthodox Christian must be married in the Orthodox Church. Note the following information and requirements before a wedding is performed:
1. All couples preparing to marry in the Cathedral are required to attend one of the Metropolis of Boston’s Marriage Preparation Seminars, held in Boston once a month or at designated parishes throughout New England. This is offered as a forum to address various aspects and challenges of Orthodox Christian marriage and family life. In a final meeting with the parish priest, he will assist the couple during one of the sessions to complete the necessary ecclesiastical forms for the application of the marriage license, as well as direct them on how to obtain their civil marriage license. No wedding invitations should be printed until the date of the wedding has been cleared with the priest and the parish office.
2. If the bride and/or groom have come from Greece after their 18th birthday, when applying for a church license, they must present a Certificate of Eligibility for Marriage from the Bishop or Metropolitan of their own town or province in Greece.
3. The following items are necessary for the ceremony:
- Rings for the bride and groom
- Stefana (crowns)
- wo candles
- Civil marriage license.
4. Marriages are not performed on the following days:
- Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (September 14)
- Intensified Nativity Fast and Christmas (December 13-24 & 25)
- Forefeast and feast of Epiphany (January 5-6)
- Great Lent and Holy Week
- Pascha (Easter)
- Dormition Fast and feast of Dormition (August 1-14 & 15)
- Beheading of St. John the Baptist (August 29)
(Only in special circumstances granted solely by the Metropolitan may marriages be allowed on the above days.)
5. The sponsor (koumbaros/koumbara):
- Must be an Orthodox Christian.
- Must be a pledging member of some Orthodox Church.
- If from another community, prior to the wedding he/she must present a letter from his/her parish stating that he/she is a member in good canonical standing.
- If married, his or her marriage must have been blessed in the Orthodox Church.
6. If the bride or groom is under 18 years of age, a letter of consent from the parents must be presented at the time they apply for the ecclesiastical marriage license.
7. Divorced persons wanting to remarry in the Orthodox Church:
- If the previous marriage was the result of a civil ceremony and/or the marriage was blessed in any non-Orthodox church, only a civil divorce paper must be presented to the priest by the non-Orthodox person.
- If the previous marriage was blessed in the Orthodox Church, that marriage has to have been officially dissolved by an Orthodox spiritual court, with the Metropolitan Bishop having issued an ecclesiastical divorce.
- The original ecclesiastical divorce document must be presented at the time of application for a church marriage license.
8. In the case of widows or widowers wishing to remarry, the original death certificate of their former spouse must be presented to the priest when applying for a church marriage license.
9. Prohibited Marriages:
- Parents with their own children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren, or godchildren of the same godparents.
- Brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.
- Uncles and aunts with nieces and nephews.
- First cousins with each other.
- Foster parents with foster children or foster children with the other children of foster parents.
- Godparents with godchildren or godparents with the parents of their godchildren.
- Homosexual or lesbian couples.
10. Marriages in the Orthodox Church are performed between:
- two Orthodox Christians;
- an Orthodox Christian and a non-Orthodox Christian, baptized in the Name of the Holy Trinity.
- Marriages between Orthodox Christians and non-Christians (atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, etc.) are absolutely prohibited and are not allowed under any circumstances.
11. An Orthodox Christian may not marry more than three times in the Orthodox Church.