Hi all,

Apologies if this is the wrong forum, I assumed the mix of Catholic and Orthodox perspectives on my questions would be helpful but you can all tell me to go somewhere else if I am wrong. Perhaps my Google-foo is off today, but I am having a lot of trouble trying to find an answer to this question. 99% of the results I got just referred to the fact that they must get married in the Orthodox Church, and the other 1% was very vague.

Suppose an Orthodox person marries an Eastern Catholic, they decide to get married in the Eastern Catholic Church for reasons. This is A Bad Thing in the eyes of the Orthodox Church, and it is my understanding that then the person is excommunicated (in the sense of not being able to receive communion) until the situation is rectified. However, in my searching, I haven't been able to find an answer to what the Orthodox person must do to be able to get back into good standing with The Church. I'm assuming this will vary by rite / diocese, but in a general sense. Is it along the lines of the couple meeting with the priest over a period of time so the priest is sure of their faith and commitment raising their family in The Church? Or would it be something more involved?

Suppose in another scenario, the couple decides to get married in the Orthodox Church, they sign the papers saying the babies will be Orthodox. For some circumstance, when the babies roll around they determine it would be better to baptize and chrismate the babies in the Eastern Catholic Church. Now, the Orthodox spouse is no longer in good standing and cannot receive communion, how would this situation be resolved? As far as I know, you cannot re-baptize and re-chrismate the baby. It would have to wait until it reaches the age of reason and goes through the normal adult conversion process? Would the parent then be barred from communion for years even if they sincerely repented?

I would assume in either of these situations, the more likely outcome would be that the Orthodox spouse eventually becomes Eastern Catholic, but for the sake of this post let's assume they had a momentary lapse of faith at the time of these scenarios, then eventually comes back fully in their faith and are very devout.

God bless,
Christ is in our midst!!


Welcome to the forum. I hope your time here is fruitful.

My best guess is that these are pastoral questions that the people involved would have to take to the Orthodox person's pastor. I would not be surprised if the pastor would have to seek the advice of his bishop.

My opinion is that young people thinking of marriage ought to stop and seek the advice of their pastor about these matters, both as a couple and as individuals. In my experience, the Catholic and Orthodox Churches do not take these matters as lightly as most Protestant communities would. There is the additional problem of living out the Faith for each partner when they come from different Faith communities. Young people often get involved with others not of their faith community and get themselves far into situations that could be avoided. This marriage is far more than a ceremony, lavish reception, and living together. There are issues that have eternal weight here.

Hi Sappy,

Again, welcome to the forum.

I'm going to give you a link to the USCCB (US Conference of Catholic Bishops) site - specifically to An Agreed Statement on Mixed Marriages. This is a product of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation. It's old, issued in 1971, one of the very first documents ever produced by the dialogue, yet it still reflects the joint agreement between the participant bodies to the dialogue.

Nothing in it will resolve either of your concerns - which turn on events that would transpire after the phase addressed here, but I thought it worthwhile to offer the background that the dialogue would have suggested.

As regards the marriage having been celebrated in an EC, rather than an EO, temple, you ask
what the Orthodox person must do to be able to get back into good standing with The Church?

And, as regards the children having been baptized and chrismated in that same EC temple, again with respect to the Orthodox spouse's standing iin his or her Church, you ask
how would this situation be resolved?

As my brother, Bob, said, both questions need to be addressed to a priest of the Chuch from which the Orthodox spouse originated (presumably, the same with which she or he seeks to reconcile - if not the same, to a priest of the Church with which reconciliation is sought). You are correct in your supposition that the children cannot be re-baptized or re-chrismated and I doubt that a repentant lapsed Orthodox spouse would be barred from the Mysteries until the children reach majority and choose between Churches. One would hope that charity and economy would not countenance such a result.

The answers to your questions, may indeed vary depending on the particulars of the Church and even the jurisdiction involved (and, although they shouldn't, perhaps on personalities). One should be able to say that the answers are X and Y and that there would be consistency across the board, but too many years witnessing too many variations make one leery of supposing that to be the case.

Many years,

© The Byzantine Forum