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The Sacrament of the Wedding

The wedding is the sacrament of the Church, in which God gives future spouses, while promising to be faithful to each other, the grace of pure unanimity for a joint Christian life, birth and upbringing of children.

Those who wish to be married must be believers of baptized Orthodox Christians. They should be deeply aware that the unauthorized dissolution of a marriage approved by God, as well as the violation of the pledge of allegiance, is an unconditional sin.

Marriage life must begin with spiritual preparation.

Bride and groom before marriage should certainly confess and partake of the Holy Mysteries. It is advisable that they prepare themselves for the Mysteries of confession and the sacrament three or four days before this day.

For the marriage, you need to prepare two icons – the Savior and the Mother of God, with which during the Sacrament they bless the bride and groom. Previously, these icons were taken from parental houses, they were passed on as a home shrine from parents to children. Icons are brought by parents, and if they do not participate in the Mystery of the wedding – the bride and groom.

The bride and groom get wedding rings. Ring – a sign of eternity and the continuity of marriage. One of the rings should be gold and the other silver. The golden ring symbolizes the sun with its brilliance, the light of which is compared to the husband in marriage; silver – the likeness of the moon, a smaller luminary, shining with reflected sunlight. Now for both marriages gold rings are usually bought. Rings can also have jewelry made of precious stones.

But still, the main preparation for the upcoming sacrament is stew. The Holy Church recommends that those entering into marriage prepare themselves for it by the feat of fasting, prayer, repentance, and communion.

The future spouses should discuss the day and time of the wedding with the priest in advance and personally. Before the wedding, you must confess and take communion of the Holy Mysteries of Christ. It is possible to accomplish this not on the very day of the Wedding.

It is advisable to invite two witnesses.
To perform the sacrament of the wedding, you must have:
Icon of the Savior.
Icon of the Mother of God.
Wedding rings.
Wedding candles (sold in the temple).
White towel (towel for bedding under the legs).
In pre-revolutionary Russia, when a church marriage had legal civil and legal force, the Orthodox were obliged to marry under guarantors – among the people they were called boyfriend, girlfriends or shafers, and in the liturgical books (trebles) – receivers. Guarantors confirmed by their signatures the act of defectiveness in the register of registers; they, as a rule, knew the bride and groom well, were entrusted for them. Guarantors took part in the betrothal and the wedding ceremony, that is, while they were circling the bride and groom around the lectern, they held crowns over their heads.

Now the guarantors (witnesses) may or may not be – at the request of the spouses. Guarantors must be Orthodox, preferably church people, must treat the Sacrament of the wedding with reverence. The duties of guarantors in marriage in their spiritual basis are the same as those who are receptive to Baptism: as receivers experienced in spiritual life are obliged to lead the godchildren in Christian life, so the guarantors must spiritually lead the new family. Therefore, earlier, young people who were not married and were not familiar with family and married life were not invited to the guarantors.

It often seems as though the bride and groom, accompanied by family and friends, did not come to the temple to pray for marriage, but to action. Waiting for the end of the Liturgy, they talk, laugh, walk around the temple, become their backs to the images and the iconostasis. All those invited to the church to be married need to know that during the marriage the Church does not pray for anyone anymore, as soon as for two faces — the groom and the bride (unless the prayer “for the educated parents” is pronounced once). The negligence and indifference of the bride and groom to church prayer shows that they came to the temple only because of custom, because of fashion, at the request of parents. Meanwhile, this hour of prayer in the temple has an impact on the whole subsequent family life. All those who are in marriage, and especially the bride and groom, must pray fervently while performing the sacrament.

Wedding precedes the betrothal.
The betrothal is done in commemoration of the fact that marriage is performed before the face of God, in His presence, at His all-good Providence and discretion, when mutual promises of marriage enter into marriage before Him.

The betrothal is performed after the Divine Liturgy. By this the bride and groom are inspired by the importance of the Sacrament of marriage, it is emphasized with what awe and trembling, with what spiritual purity they should proceed to its conclusion.

The fact that engagement is performed in the temple means that the husband accepts his wife from the Lord himself. To make it clearer that the betrothal is performed before the face of God, the Church commands those who are betrayed to appear before the holy doors of the temple.

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