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The Sacrament of Matrimony is the mystery of the unity of the Christian couple with God's blessing to lead a true marital life and with the purpose of procreation. This union between man and woman is likened to the spiritual relationship between Christ and His Church. Just as the union between Christ and the Church is based on love and fidelity, in the same way, married couples are united by mutual love with the blessing of God.
The Sacrament of matrimony was established by God even in the Garden of Paradise, when the first man received the Divine blessing and command to multiply and fill the earth.
In the New Testament, we see that marriage is blessed and confirmed by Christ Himself when He, by His presence, sanctified the wedding of Cana of Galilee, whereby His divine power He changed water into wine. Thus He blessed the marriage with a new blessing.
The central act of the marriage ceremony may be considered a part which is called The Crowning (Psakadroutioun). It is here that the priest places crowns on the heads of the bride and groom, reminiscent of a King and Queen. This is the intended symbolism behind The Crowning. The bride and groom are now a newly crowned king and queen, heads of a new Christian kingdom: the family.
The prayer which is recited at this time recalls the entire biblical story of how God revealed His love for mankind through a succession of sacred couples: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel, Joseph and Asenath and Zechariah and Elizabeth. At the end of this sacred list of names, the priest also adds the bride and groom, praying that they receive the same blessings as their biblical predecessors.
While the priest recites this prayer, the best man holds a hand-cross above the heads of the couple, a vivid reminder that the love between husband and wife is like Christ’s love for us, sacrificial and life-giving.
In our church, couples to be wed are required to contact the Church Office at least eight months prior to the date of a Wedding in order to ensure the availability of the Pastor and sanctuary, as well as to schedule pre-marital meetings with the Pastor.