In order for a Marriage licence to be issued, the couple that is to be married must fulfill all presuppositions for the performance of the Sacrament of Mariage and to submit to their Parish Priest the following:
- Baptism Certificate
- Celibacy Certificate, to be obtained from the Priest of the Parish in which they have lived for the past 3 years
- The original letter of Divorce from our Archdiocese or another Diocese abroad
- For those who arrived in Australia ages 18 or older, a Celibacy Certificate and Baptism Certificate, from the Diocese of their place of origin
In all cases, but especially when the couple who are to be married already share the same surname, it must be established that the partners are not related. From now on the , the Episcopal license will be issued by the Archidiocese one (1) month before the Sacrament of Marriage is to be conducted. In cases of mixed Marriage, the priests are obliged to discuss with the couple the acceptance or otherwise of the baptism of the heterodox partner, as soon as the wedding is booked. The couple must present the original of their Baptism Certificates, Photocopies of which will be attached to the Request for Episcopal License.
Baptism is the sacrament through which one is received into the Church. Through baptism we receive the full forgiveness of sins, we ” put on Christ “, becoming members of His body, the Church. To remind them of their Baptism Orthodox Christians usually wear throughout life a small Cross, hung around the neck on a chain during their baptismal service. Immediately after Baptism, an Orthodox is ” chrismated ” (confirmed) with the Chrism (in Greek “myron”) by the priest.
The sponsor of the baptized person must be an Orthodox Christian above the age of 12. Only one name is given to the newly baptized person.
Non-Orthodox Christians, wishing to enter the Orthodox Church are received by the sacrament of Holy Chrism if they have previously been baptized in the Name of the Holy Trinity.
An ecclesiastical divorce may be granted after a civil Decree Absolute has been given. However, the parish priest must exert every effort to reconcile the couple and avert the divorce.
Should the priest fail to bring about reconciliation, he will convey the petition of the party seeking ecclesiastical divorce to the Spiritual Court of the Archdiocese. A copy of the Decree Absolute must accompany this petition and the fees for the Archdiocese.
Such ecclesiastical divorce is necessary in the case of a second or third marriage, which are tolerated by our Church.
· Granting of Ecclesiastical Divorce $ 280.00 per spouse
· If both parties require Divorce $ 280.00 each
· Copy of Ecclesiastical Divorce $ 50.00
Our Church adopted fasting from the Old Testament. Christ Himself fasted and preached about its significance (Matt.6:16; Mark 2:20 and 9:29). The early Church too, observed fasting (Acts 13:2, 14:23 and II Cor. 2:27). As early as the beginning of the third century, we have documents (of Didache) substantiating the early establishment of regular fast days, such as Wednesday and Friday: these two days are symbolical and commemorative of Christ’s betrayal and crucifixion. And by the end of the fourth century, the forty day (Great) Lenten fast was wide-spread. Later other fasting periods were also adopted by our Church.
Fasting, accompanied by prayer and charity, is a way of disciplining our entire person, not just the body. Contrary to what most people think, it underlines rather than undermining the significance of the body towards whose glory it also contributes. Furthermore, fasting is a small way of sharing in contemporary suffering throughout the world. In our ecclesiastical calendar, fasting usually precedes great feasts and acts as a preparation for these events.
Fasts Prescribed by Church
Such services are held as an act of love and remembrance towards the departed members of the Church.
They are not, however, held on the following days:
· From the Saturday of Lazarus until the Sunday of St Thomas
· On the feast days of our Lord: 1 January, Epiphany (6 January), the Presentation (2 February), the Annunciation (25 March), the Ascension, Pentecost, the Transfiguration (6 August) and Christmas Day
· On the Feast of the Parish Church
· On the 15 August, the Dormition of the Virgin Mary