Tag Archives: Marriage

Pastoral Challenges for Marriage in Contemporary Orthodoxy

by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Denysenko, Rev. Dr. Alkiviadis Calivas, John Klentos, Paul Meyendorff, Rev. Dr. Stelyios Muksuris, Lewis Patsavos, Teva Regule, and Rev. Dr. Philip Zymaris

In preparation for the Great and Holy Council to be held on Crete in June, 2016, the Orthodox bishops have issued a preconciliar document on the sacrament of marriage. The document’s main thrust is to illuminate the core teaching on marriage and its sanctity from the Orthodox perspective. Marriage is a dominical institution reserved for a monogamous union of man and woman (1.1). The document refers to marriage as “the oldest institution of divine law” and Christ-centered, since it is “the image of the unity of Christ and the Church” (1.2). Lament over the decline of family life and a deep desire to protect families from external threats shape the remainder of the document’s positions (1.5). Continue Reading…

Response to the Pre-Conciliar Document on Marriage and Its Impediments

by Fr. Robert M. Arida, Susan Ashbrook Harvey, David Dunn, Maria McDowell, Teva Regule, and Bryce E. Rich

The document on marriage does not refer to its long and complex history and accompanying theology. What is offered to the faithful and to the world is a statement that bases marriage on a particular understanding of natural and divine law (sec.I, par.2 and 6). Resting upon this foundation the authors attempt to protect marriage and its inextricable bond to the family from the encroachments of secularism and moral relativism (sec.I, par.1). However, in doing so, the authors appear to have constructed a paradigm of marriage based more on a particular ideology than its theological underpinnings.  They present an image of the Church that can only speak of marriage as it is related to the law and not as a bond forged and nurtured by love and divine grace. By virtually ignoring the Church’s emphasis on grace the authors have restricted the Church’s dexterity in responding to the myriad of pastoral issues related to globalization, not the least being inter-religious marriage. In addition to minimizing the place of love and grace, the authors have also presented marriage as a bourgeois institution without taking into account the safeguarding of children or women in cases of domestic violence, and the possible need for dissolving the marriage bond. Continue Reading…

Reflections on the Document “The Sacrament of Marriage and Its Impediments”

by Rev. Dr. Patrick Viscuso, Perry T. Hamalis, David Heith-Stade, Rev. Dr. Chrysostom Nassis, Rev. Dr. Alexander Rentel, and Christos Tsironis

According to the theological vision of the Church, the bond of love is to be found at the core of marital life. Marriage is viewed within the framework of love, which is the core “quality” of the Church’s theological anthropology. Marriage is not only a rational choice, but also a “harvest” of holiness and the “fullness” of the life of faith.

One of the most complicated challenges for the Church is to express the evangelical premises of Christianity on marriage in a manner that serves contemporary societies and families. The Church is called to illustrate the meaning and scope of marriage in social, cultural, and legal contexts, while remaining true to the Scriptures and her theological, canonical, and pastoral tradition. Continue Reading…

Life-Bearing Love: A Too Risky Vision

by Maria McDowell

The upcoming Great Council, decades in the making, is an opportunity for Orthodoxy to present to the world a vision of the fruitfulness of love ripened through relationships in which we are simultaneously co-workers in one another’s deification and co-workers with God through whom all creation bears life. The Synod is an opportunity for the Orthodox Church to posit a vision of relationships as the very means through which human persons grow in love in the image of God and towards an ever deeper relationship with God. God is love, and it is in love and by love that we come to know God. Continue Reading…