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Orthodox-Catholic Wedding Ceremony

The text presented here is a sample of the typical Orthodox-Catholic wedding ceremony. This ceremony includes those rituals most familiar to various Eastern Rite Christians both Orthodox and Uniate and include the use of candles, the Betrothal Rite, the Crowning Ceremony, the Common Cup and the Dance of Elijah. The ceremony itself also contains those features common to Western Rite Catholics such as the choice of vows, unity candle ceremony and roses to the mothers. Because such weddings occur outside of a church facility and lack a choir some of the petition prayers and hymns used in the Eastern Rite ceremony have been eliminated or shortened. Please consult with your priest or deacon to further customize the ceremony.

GREETING AND BETROTHAL

O. Friends, we are gathered here today to witness the marriage of N. and N. Let us call upon God to be with us today as we celebrate this union of two into one. Blessed is the kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages.

O. Peace be with you.
P.  And also with you.

The betrothal ceremony begins with the blessing of the rings. The priest touches the rings to the foreheads of the bride and groom annd then places the rings on the right hands of each. The best man then switches the rings 3x's between the couple as a sign of sharing.

O.  Lord, bless and consecrate N. and N. in the love and compassion for each other. May these rings be a symbol of true faith in each other, and always remind them of their love and compassion. We ask this through Christ our lord.

R.  Amen

While touching the foreheads of each, blessing each 3x saying:


O. The servant of God N. is betrothed to the servant of God N., in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The rings are placed on the right hands of the couple, the best man exchanges the rings 3xs and returns them to the priest. He then hands the couple the candles and joins their right hands.

O. In peace let us pray.

OPENING PRAYER

PRAYER A

O. Almighty God, hear our prayers for N. and N. who have come here today to be united in the sacrament of marriage. Increase their faith in you and in each other, and through them bless your church. Make their love fruitful so that they may be living witnesses to your divine love in the world. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

P. Amen.

PRAYER B

O. Almighty God, hear our prayers for N. and N., who have come before your altar to be united in the sacrament of marriage. Give them your blessing, and strengthen their love for each other. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

P. Amen.

LITURGY OF THE WORD

Usually the couple selects three to five readings, one each: an Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading,  and a Gospel reading. Family and friends may be selected to proclaim the readings, excluding the Gospel which is usually proclaimed by the priest or deacon. At the beginning of the Old and/New Testament readings the priest will say: Attend and at the introduction to the Gospel, the priest will intone: Wisdom.

HOMILY (Sermon)

MARRIAGE RITE

Officiant may ask, depending upon location, every one to stand, or the Bride and Groom stand, if seated. The Officiant addresses the Bride and Groom in one of these ways:

CONSENT

CONSENT FORM A

O. N. and N., you have come together here today so that the Lord may seal and strengthen your love in the presence of the Church's minister and this community. Christ abundantly blesses this love. He has already consecrated you in baptism and now enriches and strengthens you by a special sacrament so that you may assume the duties of marriage in mutual and lasting fidelity. And so, in the presence of the church here present, I ask you to state your intentions.
P. Amen.


CONSENT FORM B
O. N. and N., you have come together here today so that the Lord may seal and strengthen your love in the presence of the Church's minister and this community of your family and friends. In this way you will be strengthened to keep mutual and lasting faith with each other and to carry out the other duties of marriage. And so, in the presence of the church this community of your family and friends, I ask you to state your intentions.
P. Amen.


CONSENT

O. N. and N., have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?

O. Will you love and honor each other as husband and wife for the rest of your lives?

O.  Will you accept children lovingly from God and bring them up according to the Law of Love and Compassion?

O.  Since it is your intention to enter into marriage, with your hands joined and declare your consent before God and his Church, this community of your family and friends.


EXCHANGE OF VOWS

VOWS FORM A


G. I, N., take you, N., to be my wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

B. I, N., take you, N., to be my husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

VOWS FORM B


G. I, GROOM, take you, BRIDE, for my lawful wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, (a) until death do us part. (b) forever. (c) all the days of my life.

B. I, BRIDE, take you, GROOM, for my lawful husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, (a) until death do us part. (b) forever. (c) all the days of my life.


VOWS FORM C


G. I, GROOM, take you, BRIDE, to be my wife, to be the mother of our children, to be the companion of my heart. I promise to love you and to be true to you in good times and in bad all the days of my life.

B. I, BRIDE, take you, GROOM, to be my husband, to be the father of our children, to be the companion of my heart. I promise to love you and to be true to you in good times and in bad all the days of my life.


VOWS FORM D

G. I, GROOM, take you, BRIDE, to be my wife, to be the mother of our children, to be the companion of my heart. I promise to love you and to be true to you in good times and in bad all the days of my life.

B .I, BRIDE, take you, GROOM, to be my husband, to be the father of our children, to be the companion of my heart. I promise to love you and to be true to you in good times and in bad all the days of my life.


VOWS FORM E


G. N., do you take N. for your lawful wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, (a) until death do you part? (b) forever? (c) all the days of your life?

B. N., do you take N. for your lawful husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, (a) until death do you part? (b) forever? (c) all the days of your life?

VOWS FORM F


If you will be writing your own vows, please provide a copy to the priest at least one week prior to the wedding for inclusion in his materials. In that way he can make your wedding ceremony work seamlessly.

Receiving their consent the priest says:

CONFIRMATION OF VOWS

O. You have declared your consent before the Church and this community of your family and friends. May the Lord in his goodness strengthen your consent and fill you with his + blessings. What God has joined together, let no one separate.

EXCHANGE OF RINGS

The bridegroom places his wife's ring on her finger. He may say:

G. N., I give you this ring as a symbol of our vows and with all that I am and all that I have I honor you. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

The bride places the ring on her husband's finger. She may say:

B. N., I give you this ring as a symbol of our vows and with all that I am and all that I have I honor you. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

UNITY CANDLE (Optional)

(Mother (Groom) and Mother (Bride) may come forward to altar and light a small candle each from altar candle or with assistance of Best Man. Mothers turn and gave candle to B & G. B & G go to altar and light Unity Candle.) or (Bride and Groom come forward, light a small candle each from altar candle or with assistance of Best Man and light Unity Candle) as officiant says:

The Unity Candle is both a symbol of the union of two separate lives into one and a sign of God's light and presence. I encourage you to light this candle on each anniversary remembering this day, of the promises made and God's promise to dispel the darkness and be present with you in your marriage always.

GENERAL INTERCESSIONS

The general intercessory prayers may be assigned to a member of the bridal party, family or others. Otherwise the priest will read the prayers. If the couple has specific intentions they would like added or the names of deceased family or friends to be mentioned in the prayers please let the priest or deacon know in advance.

O .Dear friends, we have witnessed the exchange of promises by N. and N.. Let us ask the Lord to strengthen their love for each other.

O. For N. and N., as they begin their married life together, may they always know Your presence in good times and in bad. Let us pray to the Lord.
P.  Lord, hear our prayer.

O. For their families, may they be good examples of love and faithfulness as they support N. and N., in their marriage. Let us pray to the Lord.
P. Lord, hear our prayer.

O. For those who have fallen asleep in Christ, (especially N. ), may the memory of their presence in the Kingdom of God be an inspiration to N. and N. throughout their lives. Let us pray to the Lord.
P.Lord, hear our prayer.

O. For those here present, may we find Christ's love for us mirrored in N. and N's. love for each other. Let us pray to the Lord.
P. Lord, hear our prayer.

The priest extends his hands inviting all in attendance to join and continues with a Nuptial Blessing People may remain st anding for the Nuptial Blessings.

NUPTIAL BLESSING

NUPTIAL BLESSING A


O. My dear friends, let us turn to the Lord and pray that he will bless with his grace this woman N.now married in Christ to this man N. and that he will unite in love the couple he has joined in this holy bond.

Father, by your plan man and woman are united, and married life has been established as the one blessing that was not forfeited by original sin or washed away in the flood.

Look with love upon this woman, your daughter,now joined to her husband in marriage. She asks your blessing. Give her the grace of love and peace. May she always follow the example of the holy women whose praises are sung in the scriptures.

May her husband put his trust in her and recognize that she is his equal and the heir with him to the life of grace. May he always honor her and love her as Christ loves his bride, the Church.

Father, keep them always true to your commandments. Keep them faithful in marriage and let them be living examples of Christian life. Give them the strength which comes from the gospel so that they may be witnesses of Christ to others. (Bless them with children and help them be good parents. May they live to see their children's children.) And, after a happy old age, grant them fullness of life with the saints in the kingdom of heaven. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

 P. Amen.

NUPTIAL BLESSING B


O. Let us pray to the Lord for N. and N. who come here at the beginning of their married life so that they may always be united in love for each other.

Holy Father, you created humankind in your own image and made man and woman to be joined as husband and wife in union of body and heart and so fulfill their mission in this world.

Lord, grant that as they begin to live this sacrament they may share with each other the gifts of your love and become one in heart and mind as witnesses to your presence in their marriage. Help them to create a home together (and give them children to be formed by the gospel and to have a place in your family).

Give your blessing to N., your daughter, so that she may be a good wife (and mother), caring for the home, faithful in love for her husband, generous and kind.

Give your blessing to N., your son, so that he may be a good husband (and father), caring for the home, faithful in love for his wife, generous and kind.

Father, grant that as they come together to you table on earth,so that they may one day have the joy of sharing your feast in heaven. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

P. Amen.

O. Let us pray together in the words Jesus gave us.

P. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil for thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit, always now and ever and unto the ages to ages. Amen.


ROSES TO PARENTS (Optional)

If the bride and groom choose to present a rose or other token to the mothers or both parents the priest will read the following prayer. After this prayer he will invite participants to share the peace of Christ and assist the couple in presenting the flowers.


O. Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles: I leave you peace, my peace I give to you. Look not on our sins, but on the faith or your Church, and grant is the peace and unity of your kingdom where you live for ever and ever.

P. Amen.

O.The peace of the Lord be always with you.

P.  And also with you.
O. Let us offer each other a sign of Christ's peace.

Bride and Groom may each give a long stem, dethorned, non-red rose to respective mother-in-law, Groom presenting first to Bride's mother, then Bride to Groom's mother.

THE CROWNING

Crowns joined with ribbon are worn by the couple which represent both the royal nature of your relationship and the crown of martyrs representing self-sacrifice in marriage. The priest blesses the crowns over the gospel book with sign of cross. Then touching the crown to each says: (3x's)

O. The servant of N. God is crowned to the servant of God N.

and says:

O.  In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit now and forever unto ages of ages. Amen.           

"O, Lord, our God, crown them with honor and glory."

O. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways

P. Glory to you, O God, Glory to you.

O. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine on the walls of your house; your children like newly planted olive trees round your table.

P. Glory to you, O God, Glory to you.

O. See, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Zion, and may you enjoy the blessings of Jerusalem, all the days of your life. May you see your children's children. Peace be on Israel.

P. Glory to you, O God, Glory to you.

O. Blessed is the kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages.

The best man exchanges the crowns 3xs.


THE COMMON CUP

Just as wine was drunk at the wedding feast of Cana, the bride and groom share a common cup. The drinking of wine from the common cup serves to impress upon the couple that from that moment on they will share everything in life, joys as well as sorrows. The priest blesses the wine and the couple take three sips each.

O. O Lord, you made all things and established the world. Bless this common cup and offer it to those who have been joined by you in marriage. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit now and forever unto ages of ages.

DANCE OF ISAIAH

Lead by the priest, the couple circle the small table while wearing their crowns and holding hands. They are taking their first steps as a married couple. This dance proclaims the church's joy at the new union. The following is said three times as priest and couple circle the table.


O. O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin has indeed conceived, and bore a Son called Emmanuel, both perfect God and man; Daybreak is his name; whom as we glorify, the Virgin Mary we do truly bless.

P. O Holy Martyrs, who have fought well and have been crowned; intercede with the Lord, that mercy may be granted to our souls

O.  Glory to you, O Christ our God, the Apostle's boast and pride, the delight of the martyrs whose message is: The Consubstantial Trinity.

R. "Be magnified, O Bridegroom, as Abraham, and Blessed as Isaac and increased as was Jacob. Go your way in peace, performing in righteousness the commandments of God. And you, O Bride, be magnified as was Sarah, and rejoiced as was Rebecca, and increased as was Rachel, being glad in your husband, keeping the paths of the law, for so God is well pleased."


THE SOLEMN BLESSING

SOLEMN BLESSING FORM A

O
.  God the eternal Father keep you in love with each other, so that the peace of Christ may stay with you and be always in your home.

P.  Amen.

O. May (your children bless you,) your friends console you and all people live in peace with you.

P. Amen.

O. May you always bear witness to the love of God in this world so that the afflicted and the needy will find in you generous friends, and welcome you in the joys of heaven.

P. Amen.

O. And may Almighty God bless each and every one of us, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

P. Amen.

SOLEMN BLESSING FORM B

O. May God, the almighty Father give you his joy and bless you (in your children).

P. Amen.

O. May the only Son of God have mercy on you and help you in good times and in bad.

P. Amen.

O. May the Holy Spirit of God always fill you hearts with his love.

P. Amen.

O. And may Almighty God bless each and every one of us,the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

P. Amen.

VOWS FORM C

O.  May almighty God, with his Word of blessing, unite your hearts in the never ending bond of pure love.

P.  Amen.

O. (May your children bring you happiness, and may your generous love for them be returned to you, many times over.)

P.  Amen.

O. May the Spirit of Love live always in your hearts and in your home. May you have true friends to stand by you, both in joy and in sorrow. May you ready and willing to help and comfort all who come to you in need. And may the blessings promised to the compassionate be yours in abundance.

P. Amen.

O. May you find happiness and satisfaction in your work. May daily problems never cause you any undue anxiety, nor the desire for earthly possessions dominate your lives. But may your heart's first desire be always your compassionate presence toward each other.

P.Amen.

O. May the Lord bless you with many happy years together, so that you may enjoy the rewards of a good life.

P.Amen.

O. And may Almighty God bless each and every one of us, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

P.Amen.


PRESENTATION

The Crowns are removed by the Best Man.


O. By the Grace of God, I now, with great joy, happily introduce N. and N. as husband and wife.


DISMISSAL

O. Go in peace and serve the Lord. The marriage ceremony is complete.

P. Thanks be to God.