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Eastern Orthodox/Marriage between Russian Orthodox & Church of Christ

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In 2001 I married a Russian lady from Volgograd. Prior to that I searched in America for a strong Christian wife, without success. After meeting a lovely American-Russian couple, I started searching in Russia and Ukraine for that lady. I went through over 30,000 profiles, wrote many, but that special lady with the good heart eluded me. After I had given up, Nadya wrote me. She was a child psychologist, director of a large kindergarten, and a Christian. I immediately sent 23 roses, since I was almost certain this was the lady with the good heart I was seeking. We wrote two to three letters to each other over 8 months prior to my visit in 2000. our love grew through our letters in much the same way our love grew for Christ in His letters. When i traveled to Volgograd, I used Abraham and Eleaizer as a pattern to confirm this lady was from The Lord, on the second and following days He confirmed over and over she was the one. In May 2001 we were married, on what was the prettiest day of our life. Our marriage was truly blessed until my wife talked to a RO Priest, who told her she needed to be married to an Orthodox man. I have walked faithfully with The Lord for over 40 years. I might mention that in my love for The Lord I earned a ThD many years ago.  I have been baptized by immersion for the remission of sins. Our marriage is in trouble ever since the RO priest made his comments. I think I already know what your response will be, but even so I would like to hear it?

Answer
Gary,

Let's look at what you have done so far.

1)  You searched for, found, and fell in love with a Russian Orthodox woman.

2)  You married a Russian Orthodox woman.  I assume the wedding was performed in your own church.

3)  While you speak at length about the profound effect your faith has had on you, you seem to be silent on your wife's faith.

According to Orthodox Canon Law, an Orthodox Christian may marry a non-Orthodox Christian.  This is not ideal, but it is permissible.  However, an Orthodox Christian may only partake of the Sacraments, including marriage, within the Orthodox Church.  To receive any Sacrament outside of the Orthodox Church is to excommunicate one's self from Orthodoxy.

Therefore you have caused your wife to excommunicate herself from the very Orthodox Church which has formed her character, her faith, and her love of Christ which you so admire.

If you want your marriage to succeed, I strongly suggest the following steps.

1)  Get married in the Orthodox Church.

2)  Spend as much time worshiping in an Orthodox parish as your wife spends worshiping in yours.  Your wife needs to receive Communion in her Church - not in yours.

3)  Learn what the Orthodox Church is.  For this I suggest the following book, available free online:

THE ORTHODOX CHURCH, by Timothy Ware, http://www.intratext.com/x/eng0804.htm

4)  Find an Orthodox Priest and talk to him.

The one thing that comes through loud and clear is your arrogance, your total disregard for the Orthodox Church which has had such a profound influence in your wife's upbringing and life.  That arrogance is the cause of your marital problems.  

Eastern Orthodox

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