Eastern Orthodox/interfaith marriage


QUESTION: Am I a victim of my Greek Orthodox church's error in allowing me to marry a Protestant Christian in light of the Laodicean canons that deal with marrying nonorthodox Christians?

ANSWER: The full background of and context for the answer to your query is at http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/marriage/interfaith/journal-articl

Prohibition is of marriage to "heretics," i.e., those who do not share the dogmas of the Christian Scriptures. No one in Protestatntism qualifies for the label "heretic." While it is always more desirable for those in marriage to be of uniform belief in their outlooks towards God and community, Orthodox permits marriage to non-Orthodox for the very correct reasons the website I have provided gives. There is no reason to feel misgiving in your married state if your mate is not of the Orthodox faith. He or she must raise the children in the Orthodox faith, or then there are canonical issues that raise the issue of exactly what it is that has been entered into in this "marriage" when the children are not given the guidance and spiritual nourishment for their souls that can only be found in Orthodoxy. Both parents should practice Orthodoxy to the extent that they can, and if the non-Orthodox mate is open to such practice it may move him or her to full acceptance of Orthodoxy. One can be married to an Orthodox partner who is not so open, let me hasten to add, such that openness to Orthodoxy is a cardinal consideration for the life of whoever the married partner is.

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QUESTION: Thank you for the link. It mentioned some other canonical counsels I was not aware of (Carthage. Chalcedon) I did read it and I was wondering from your reply that if Protestantism is not regarded as heretical by the church, who were considered the "heretics" in those days?

Nestorianism, Donatism, Manicheanism, and Gnosticism are all beliefs that deny the Divinity and/or humanity of Christ, or state that the Universe is governed by two opposing principles. These are all heresies. These were current in the early centuries, and Gnosticism seems to have resurrected itself again today in various cults of Alastair Crowley, Theosophy, etc. Protestantism holds no views that deny the divinity of Christ, or His human Nature. Views such a sola scriptura or that Mary is not the Theotokos do not rise to the level of heresy; for Protestatism has so many nuanced versions of what those positions entail. Protestantism denies auricular confession is in Scripture, but that is not a dogma. It denies the role of Priest (Presbyter) as a separate ontological/sacramental category in the Church, but such a teaching in Orthodoxy does not rise to the level of dogma. While the Last Supper is where Christ made the Apostles Priests, and thus there is a role of Priesthood different than the role of laity from the very beginning, no council has ever set forth dogmatically the Priesthood as a category the denial of which would endanger one's path to salvation. It did not have to be dogmatically announced because the general rule is that what is in Scripture need not have special classification as dogma: it already is true. Dogma is a statement that all the Patriarchates unite in together and proclaim. Dogma always addresses truths that are eternal. On matters that are seemingly obvious in Scripture, but do not rise to the level of truths that are eternal and absolute councils did not see the need for a proclamation. The denial of a Priesthood separate from the laity impedes the individual's relationship with Christ, and places one outside Orthodoxy. It does not, however, mean he is a heretic for so denying.  

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Chrysostomos Robert Geis


I am academically and canonically qualified to answer all questions on ethics, ritual, and questions of philosophy as it regards Eastern Orthodoxy. I see that some questions answered here in the site on Eastern Orthodoxy are given a black and white tone. My approach is more [pastoral, which would acknowledge that the human situation does not always come in answers of black and white.


I am a Prelate Protosyncellus in the Eastern Church, and oversee a community of Priests in the Society of Saint Basil, an autocephalous congregation established and approved under Russian Orthodox Primate in the US in 1917.

I have published thirteen books on Philosophy and Theology (see Robert Geis at Barnesandnoble.com or Amazon.com) and have published in scholarly journals

BA, MA, and PhD, as well as DD

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