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jkay Offline OP
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Just wondering. I am still dating a catholic (6 years now) and I'm orthodox. If you are in a mixed marriage, how do you make it work regarding raising children and communion?

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I'm not but if both are practising I don't see how it can work (unless you're Orthodox or Melkite in Syria or Lebanon). Because of the rival one-true-church claims. You have to raise the kids in one church or the other so only one spouse remains in good standing with his or church.

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Yeah that's always been the issue, still dunno what to do, which is why I'm interested in hearing others' stories.

Last edited by jkay; 01/27/10 06:36 PM.
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There are different variations on this theme. I know of many mixed marriages involving Greek Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, which present no problems whatsoever. I would say that insofar as the theology and spirituality of Latin and Byzantine Christianity are not entirely congruent, there could certainly be difficulties to overcome.

Interestingly enough, as my historical research has turned up, the Orthodox Church in a variety of places--Byzantium itself, Russia, Bulgaria and Serbia--has on many occasions fully sanctioned mixed marriages (between Orthodox and Roman Catholics, and even between Orthodox and Muslims) when such marriages were seen as beneficial to the Church and Orthodox society as a whole, for raisons d'etat.

Examples available upon request.

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Please do provide some examples. The thing, it just seems so incredibly complicated I don't know what to do. I don't want to convert he doesn't want to convert. If we raised children catholic then I'm in the wrong with my religion and vice versa. I can't take communion at his church if I want to be in good standing with mine. I could go to an orthodox service alone, but what good is that if I want to BE with my family to worship God all together (which is the main important thing to me). I want to understand how people make it work and not be excommnicated or in bad standing.

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Please do provide some examples.


For starters, Eve Levin speaks of the following unions in her book Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs, 900-1700:

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A number of Serbian and Bulgarian rulers contracted marriage alliances with Turkish leaders in an attempt to forestall conquest. Such unions violated canons against intermarriage with non-Orthodox. The Serbian prince Stefan Lazarevic, for example, married is sister to the sultan Bajazid in 1390. Despite the religious differnce, the Church and the nobility approved the union. Stefan Lazarevic was canonized, and the author of his vita praised him for arranging the marriage “in order to save the Christ-loving flock from the wolves”. The Bulgarian princess Tamara was married to the Turkish sultan Murad I in 1375, and the Serbian princess Mara Brankovic to Murad II in 1435. Far from condemning these marriages, Serbian and Bulgarian sources, including those of the Church, praised the positive influence each of these women had at the Turkish court. Mara, for example, was credited with facilitating the transfer of the relics of St. Ivan Rilski from Trnovo to Rila. The Orthodox brides’ refusal to apostacize to Islam certainly made these marriages more palatable to the Church.


They were, however, only following in the footsteps of the Byzantine emperors themselves. In his Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire, Edward N. Luttwak devotes a chapter to marital alliances. Among others, he notes:

--Justinian II, who in 695 married the sister of the Khazar qagan Busir Glavan.

--His son, Leo III, married his son Leo IV, to the daughter of the Khazar qagan;s daughter to cement an alliance against the Saracens (though this princess converted to Christianity and became the pious Empress Irene.

--She betrothed her son, Constantine VI, to Rotrud, daughter of Charlemagne,but Irene later broke the engagement (and deposed her son).

--Emperor John Tzimiskes, "White Death of the Saracens, married his niece, Theophano, to Otto II, King of the Germans, in 972.

--John II Komnenos married his daughter to Kind Ladislas of Hungary in 1120.

--His son, Manuel I Komnenos, married Bertha of Sulzbach, sister-in-law of Conrad III of Germany and daughter of Raymond of Antioch, formerly of Aquitaine.

--Manuel VIII Palologos married his daughter Euphrsyne to Nogai, son of Baul, son of Jochi, son of Jenghiz Khan himself.

--Another daughter, Maria Despina Paleologina, was betrothed to Hulegu, destroyer of Baghdad; when he died, she married his son, Abbakha, another great grandson of Jenghiz Khan. This marriage was extremely successful, both from a personal and a diplomatic standpoint. On the one hand, the couple seemed very happy together; on the other, she used her influence to protect Byzantine interests, especially against the Seljuk Turks.

Sidebar: So revered was Maria Despina that, after her death, a church was erected in her memory. It stands still, to this day, in the Phanar Quarter near the Golden Horn: Panaghia Muchliotissa, "All Saints of the Mongols".

Last edited by StuartK; 01/27/10 08:23 PM.
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On a more practical note, I have to agree with Young Fogey. I have a friend, a devout Orthodox who married a devout Roman Catholic girl. It was difficult, albeit doable, until their child was born. Then you can imagine the moral turmoil that both went through. It was enough to end the marriage. Your best option is to speak with your priest. He knows you and your situation best. S'Bogom.

Alexandr

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jkay:

Christ is in our midst!!

It's a good thing you are both discussing this issue now. Too many times it gets set aside until alter and then it becomes far more of a problem. It's usually the mother who teaches the Faith to her children and that should be something that your fiance understands. You might ask how strong in the Faith is each family? I've known some who can make this sort of thing work while others have had real in law problems that fester over the life of the marriage.

And it isn't only Catholics and Orthodox. In my own family, an aunt--father's sister--took my cousin to her Lutheran parish on a Friday afternoon to have him baptized prior to the scheduled Sunday baptism in the Catholic parish of her husband. I know a woman in my area whose family refused to attend her wedding altogether because she was married in her husband's Orthodox parish. Then there's the couple whose families are both adamant about how the children are to be baptized and raised . . . (It must get interesting at holiday time.)

Sadly, the wounds of the Body of Christ are directly placed on the smallest unit of the Church and society--a new family.

BOB

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Unless one of you seriously plans to convert to the others faith, personally I would not recommend such a relationship. My wife is Roman Catholic, I am Eastern Orthodox and from my experience, if both of you are devout believers, this will be an extremely difficult path. You will not approach God in the same manner, you will not keep the feasts nor fasts together, you will go in two different directions every Sunday morning and once children come into the picture, these problems only get worse. You probably cant imagine at this point how difficult it will be never to worship with your spouse (young love is like this) but ten years down the road you may find yourself carrying a heavy cross and wondering why you did this. Maybe if your friend is eastern Catholic it would be easier, but if she is Roman, the differences are so great that you will not be able to be truly one mind, heart, spirit with each other. Others may disagree but this is my experience. You may end up with a decent marriage (I would certainly consider my marriage "decent" by most standers)but you will never be truly "one soul" so to speak. Couples need to pray together, stand before Christ together, commune together to really be united. If she's not that excited about her Catholic faith and would convert to yours, even if halfheartedly, this would probably be better than if she were very devout Roman Catholic. Despite much contemporary thought to the contrary, East and West really dont mix that well, at least not in something so close as marriage.

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I'm not but if both are practising I don't see how it can work (unless you're Orthodox or Melkite in Syria or Lebanon).


Or in some parts of western Ukraine with mixed UAOC and UGCC families.

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Or even here in the United States, where marriages across confessional (but not ethnic) lines are pretty common. It's kind of hard to find a Slavic Orthodox family that does not have Greek Catholic roots, and blood is thicker than schism.

As I said before, the issue of mixed Greek Catholic/Orthodox marriage is quite different from that of Roman Catholic/Orthodox marriage. Perhaps a Greek Catholic Church can serve as a halfway house, neutral territory for those in that situation?

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jkay:

A few years ago, a poster here described the problems she had with this type of situation, though her spouse was not a church goer at all. Everything she tried to teach produced a "roll of the eyes" from her spouse which the chidlren picked up on. From her report, they looked to Dad whenever Mom tried to make a moral or religious point.

You've both got to be on the same page when it comes to the Faith. The alternative can be that the children will chuck it all when they grow up since the message they get is that the Faith is nothing more than something to fight over.

Bob

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A bit of silliness ...

Every time I see the title of this thread, I think it's the lead-in to some joke.... along the lines of how many Catholics/Orthodox does it take to screw in a light bulb.

I apologize for not contributing to the discussion (I believe that Cyril has covered the heart of my sentiments), but I do giggle at this.

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Originally Posted by Penthaetria
A bit of silliness ...

Every time I see the title of this thread, I think it's the lead-in to some joke.... along the lines of how many Catholics/Orthodox does it take to screw in a light bulb.

I apologize for not contributing to the discussion (I believe that Cyril has covered the heart of my sentiments), but I do giggle at this.


Alicia,

I had the same reaction earlier tonight - thought why is this not in Town Hall?

Many years,

Neil (with apologies to the OP for interrupting a serious thread)


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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He is not greek catholic, he is roman catholic.

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