"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my Strength, and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14
Sunday, August 17, 2008
The Greek Orthodox Wedding Ceremony
We had programs that Amy had prepared ahead of time (printed herself of course) that explain to the guests of their wedding the meaning of each part of the ceremony.
So I shall include the explanations in brief.
The ceremony has two parts - the service of the Betrothal and the Ceremony of the Sacrament of Marriage.
The Service of The Betrothal:
The highlight of this portion is the exchanging of the rings. The priest (Father Paul) blesses the rings and the rings are placed on their right hands for it is the right hand of God that blesses, it is the right hand of God to which Christ ascended, and it is also to the right that those who will inherit the eternal life will ascend.
The Sacrament of Marriage:
The ceremony consists of petitions, prayers, the crowning, reading from the New Testament, offering of the Common Cup, the circling of the ceremonial table and the benediction. At the conclusion, the priest joins the hands of the Bride and Groom and their hands are kept joined until the end of the service to symbolize the union and oneness of the couple.
This is the focal point of the marriage ceremony. The crowns are the signs of the glory and honor with which God crowns them during the sacrament. The wedding crowns are joined by a ribbon which again symbolizes the unity of the couple and establishes them as the King and Queen of their home.
The Dance of Isaiah/The Ceremonial Walk:
The priest leads the Bride and Groom in a circle around the table on which are place the Gospel and the Cross (The Word of God and our Redemption by Jesus). The Bride and Groom are taking their first steps as a married couple and the church (in the person of the priest) leads them in the way they must walk. The way is symbolized by the circle at the center of which at the Gospel and the cross of our Lord. This expresses the fact that the way of Christian living is a perfect orbit around the center of life, who is Jesus Christ our Lord.
At the conclusion of the Ceremonial Walk, the priest removes the crowns and beseeches God to grant the Newlyweds a long, happy life (and Father Paul kept adding many children!).
And they proceed out and new husband and wife (after kissing as they do in all ceremonies) smiling and happy.
It takes about one hour.
The music is done by chanters (Amy, being a gad about, has musician friends and
friend Ephraim Gresham of Umbrella Tree of Nashville and Stephanie Baker of Mississippi with a voice of an angel (I wish I had her voice) were her guest singers and they were perfect!).
The Service was simply beautiful.