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Divorce and Remarriage without an Ecclesiastical Divorce

Saxon

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Hypothetically speaking, if a canonical Orthodox church has indicated that it will remarry a divorced individual who has obtained a civil but not ecclesiastical divorce (with full hierarchical approval for this second marriage), and who was first married in a different jurisdiction, then would that second marriage be accepted as valid by other Orthodox jurisdictions?
 

LizaSymonenko

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If it was okay for the bishop, and the priest who married the couple... then yes.
 

FULK NERA

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I never heard of ecclesiastical writ of divorce until I got acquainted recently with GOARCH practice, pretentious, officious or at best anachronistic of a bygone era when the state gave a fig what the Church did. In the OCA a civil divorce is a real divorce, and OCA clergy deal with the broken families pastorally without episcopal or Diocesan interference. No OCA clergy need, as GOARCH do, to retraumatize an abandoned spouse by scrutinizing their divorce case requiring statements from both parties, nor do they require payment of an exorbitant fee, nor issue automatic excommunication of divorced persons until the board of ecclesiastical divorce convenes to settle the matter with issuance of their writ.

As you can tell, the well-meant (I must suppose) but tone-deaf intrusive legalism of GOARCH in matters of divorce really gets my goat. Such ecclesiastical bureaucracy does not belong in American churches, where the state issues marriage licenses with or without Church involvement and divorces are civil affairs which the Church may or may not recognize (and the state isn’t waiting by the phone to find out what they say). The Greek writ demonstrates the inability of Greek hierarchs to let go of something when they already don't have it in their grasp. Perhaps in the Church of Greece such a writ is functional as they are an Established Church but that’s unconstitutional here.

The confusion of canonical and civil boundaries by GOARCH is vexing because it seems to punish with excommunication those who are already unhappy enough, adding insult to injury with a hefty fee of $250 last I checked. It drags a broken person once again through a legal proceeding and makes them wait on clergy’s decision. I can see the potential use of the writ in cases where divorced persons seek remarriage, but other than that it comes across as obscurely punitive.
 

Saxon

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Well as I continue to “recover” from my divorce and the spiritual abuse at my old parish, I realized that I don’t necessarily want to stew in solitary misery or live the life of some kind of celibate urban monk, and may want to marry the right person when the time is right. I also want to remain a Christian in good standing with Orthodoxy. I understand that ROCOR, which is the jurisdiction that performed my marriage, apparently requires an ecclesiastical divorce to do that (although I know a ROCOR parishioner who has remarried twice without an ecclesiastical divorce by oikonomia). I would never be under ROCOR again unless it was the only church within 100 miles, so their processes don’t worry me, and I absolutely will not reopen or relive that trauma to satisfy their rules, especially considering the role their own priest played in what happened.

But as FULK NERA mentioned, I was doing some reading and was shocked to see that GOARCH excommunicates those with civil divorces who have not also obtained an ecclesiastical divorce. I spoke to my priest, given that we’re also under the EP, but was told that I’m neither excommunicated nor required to petition for an ecclesiastical divorce to remarry. I didn’t know that the OCA has the same practice. While I have no plans to switch jurisdictions, if traveling or doing an unplanned move in the future with no UOCC parish at my destination, if I remarry I would like the option to visit or join a parish of another jurisdiction without being excommunicated for either being improperly divorced or remarried in a way that the new church doesn’t accept. Although, for argument’s sake, if I do remarry without that ecclesiastical divorce, am I still considered excommunicated in GOARCH?
 

FULK NERA

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Well as I continue to “recover” from my divorce and the spiritual abuse at my old parish, I realized that I don’t necessarily want to stew in solitary misery or live the life of some kind of celibate urban monk, and may want to marry the right person when the time is right. I also want to remain a Christian in good standing with Orthodoxy. I understand that ROCOR, which is the jurisdiction that performed my marriage, apparently requires an ecclesiastical divorce to do that (although I know a ROCOR parishioner who has remarried twice without an ecclesiastical divorce by oikonomia). I would never be under ROCOR again unless it was the only church within 100 miles, so their processes don’t worry me, and I absolutely will not reopen or relive that trauma to satisfy their rules, especially considering the role their own priest played in what happened.

But as FULK NERA mentioned, I was doing some reading and was shocked to see that GOARCH excommunicates those with civil divorces who have not also obtained an ecclesiastical divorce. I spoke to my priest, given that we’re also under the EP, but was told that I’m neither excommunicated nor required to petition for an ecclesiastical divorce to remarry. I didn’t know that the OCA has the same practice. While I have no plans to switch jurisdictions, if traveling or doing an unplanned move in the future with no UOCC parish at my destination, if I remarry I would like the option to visit or join a parish of another jurisdiction without being excommunicated for either being improperly divorced or remarried in a way that the new church doesn’t accept. Although, for argument’s sake, if I do remarry without that ecclesiastical divorce, am I still considered excommunicated in GOARCH?
I’m guessing the GOARCH rules are from their CoG background, the assumption of Established Church prerogatives. Ukrainian churches have their own admin with no input from GOARCH or other Phanar satrapies.
 

augustin717

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The Romanian Church also requires an ecclesiastical divorce which is granted afaik by some diocesan consistory, in exchange of a fee, of course.
 
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Tzimis

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Im surprised the UOCC took you in without a blessing from a ROCOR bishop.
Have you notified the clergy of your divorce?
 

augustin717

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But you can have at least 3 marriages and they only count the part that has had less , so, in paractuce, if you re-marry persons never married, or re-married less thna 3 times you can have isocèle Church blessed divorces and marriages. À renowned Romanian Orthodox wanna be politician just had his third, his bride though being Pentecostal, and 22 years younger was at her first, so they got the full orthodox ceremony officiated by the rising star of Romania’s counter-cultural , conservative Orthodox bishop, the eparch of Husi.
 

biro

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Isocèle - is that like a triangle?

I’m only just dating a guy, so I don’t know.
 

augustin717

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Isocèle - is that like a triangle?

I’m only just dating a guy, so I don’t know.
This website is terrible to use on a phone, and that’s all I have.
 

Saxon

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Im surprised the UOCC took you in without a blessing from a ROCOR bishop.
Have you notified the clergy of your divorce?
I don’t need a blessing from a ROCOR bishop to do anything. I also spent about two years in the OCA after leaving that jurisdiction.
 

Saxon

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Is this selling indulgences?
It's certainly tacky. One of the two Greek parishes here in town has a literal price chart for the sacraments of baptism and marriage, as well as the divorce fee, posted on its website and on the bulletin board in the lobby.
 

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It all sounds strange to me. Firstly, I have never heard of a [Orthodox] church divorce, only about a blessing for remarriage. Secondly, who will tell them (churches of another jurisdiction) about your divorce? Thirdly, will the new church test everything that happened to you in the former church? I mean, there should be a border. If the previous church found it possible to marry you again, then the new one should not investigate and doubt this wedding.

- What is your name, my son?
- Saxon.
- Are you married?
- Yes.


That's it!
 
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Saxon

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It all sounds strange to me. Firstly, I have never heard of a [Orthodox] church divorce, only about a blessing for remarriage. Secondly, who will tell them (churches of another jurisdiction) about your divorce? Thirdly, will the new church test everything that happened to you in the former church? I mean, there should be a border. If the previous church found it possible to marry you again, then the new one should not investigate and doubt this wedding.

- What is your name, my son?
- Saxon.
- Are you married?
- Yes.


That's it!
Some jurisdictions (ROCOR, GOARCH, Serbia, Romania, etc.) require an ecclesiastical divorce for a remarriage to occur. While the process may very, it generally involves making a statement to a church tribunal which is sent to the other spouse for a response, being interviewed by a panel of clergy which sometimes involves a bishop, etc. They will approve or disapprove, and possibly assign a penance in the case of the former.

I was largely unfamiliar with this process, and when reading on how to remarry as a divorced individual in the Orthodox Church, discovered that some jurisdictions not only require this to remarry, but in the interim actually excommunicate people who have had a civil divorce without a church divorce (GOARCH).

I asked my current parish priest, who said that in the UOCC a civil divorce is sufficient to remarry so long as the bishop approves.

The reason I ask is that, as I said, different jurisdictions have different approaches. If I remarry in the UOCC - sure, it's valid there - and then for one reason or another I attend a church of a different jurisdiction, then I want to do so in good faith, with the validity of my second marriage accepted. So, say I've travelled or moved, and am now going to GOARCH or any other church body, I'll be very forthright about my background. Am I going to be told "well the Ukrainians may have remarried you, but you weren't properly remarried according to (our interpretations of) the canons of Holy Orthodoxy, so your new marriage is invalid... adulterer... fornicator... etc."?
 

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In my understanding, this is something unthinkable. Why don't they then accept all your confessions from you again - in case they were somehow conducted incorrectly?
 

Saxon

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In my understanding, this is something unthinkable. Why don't they then accept all your confessions from you again - in case they were somehow conducted incorrectly?
I don't know, it's all very nebulous to me. I know other jurisdictions aren't so extreme, but as it stands right now I, as a single and civilly-divorced person, am excommunicated by GOARCH, and would need ROCOR (or at least I assume ROCOR, since that's the jurisdiction that married me) to issue me with an ecclesiastical divorce in order to remarry in the jurisdictions that require a church divorce with a civil divorce.

I just find it hard to believe that, at the other end, since the UOCC will remarry me without any conditions, I can do that and immediately be back in good standing with other churches that currently consider me excommunicated/not properly divorced.

Maybe someday, if I remarry in the UOCC, I'll take a trip to the US and go to liturgy at a GOARCH parish, telling the priest beforehand that I was remarried by another Orthodox jurisdiction (one under the EP to boot) without an ecclesiastical divorce and see if he will still let me commune.

I don't want to be excluded from being a participating member of certain jurisdictions because they don't approve of my current church's method of remarrying the divorced if I ever do remarry.
 

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The thought of being trapped in UOCC forever......just because others consider you excommunicated.😲 I'm sure there's someone somewhere who would do the proper paperwork if you paid a greater fee for the indulgence.
Cross jurisdictional indulgences may cost more.
 

Saxon

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The thought of being trapped in UOCC forever......just because others consider you excommunicated.😲 I'm sure there's someone somewhere who would do the proper paperwork if you paid a greater fee for the indulgence.
Cross jurisdictional indulgences may cost more.
You know, that isn't a bad thing. To be honest, the kindest and most sincere clergy and laity I've personally encountered in Canadian Orthodoxy, not to mention the only one outside of the OCA to bother seeing the value of English services, has been in the UOCC. I wholeheartedly disagree with them on the church question in Ukraine, but in practice that impacts me far less than the ethnocentrism, drunken clergy, clannishness, and drama that permeates the other churches around here.
 

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You know, that isn't a bad thing. To be honest, the kindest and most sincere clergy and laity I've personally encountered in Canadian Orthodoxy, not to mention the only one outside of the OCA to bother seeing the value of English services, has been in the UOCC. I wholeheartedly disagree with them on the church question in Ukraine, but in practice that impacts me far less than the ethnocentrism, drunken clergy, clannishness, and drama that permeates the other churches around here.
I didn't intend a jab against UOCC, but meant rather the thought of being locked in with ANY jurisdiction because of formalities. I have only heard wonderful things about Ukranian believers being warm, welcoming, loving, and joyful. I am glad you are in a healthy place.
 

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Some people slip through the cracks. Its like communing is a Lebanese church.
Or a Greek church, except there it's cash slipping instead of people.
 

Tzimis

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Or a Greek church, except there it's cash slipping instead of people.
Good things are never free.
There's a Greek saying that goes.
The cheap meat goes to the dogs.
 

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From where have you learned of ‘indulgences’?
 

FULK NERA

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So yeah they were an abuse that ended centuries ago. What about them?
 

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So yeah they were an abuse that ended centuries ago. What about them?
I was being facetious. Paying for a divorce from the church like getting out of purgatory.
 

Tzimis

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Someone has to pay for a tribunal. You expect the church to lay out the funds for your mistake?
 

Saxon

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Someone has to pay for a tribunal. You expect the church to lay out the funds for your mistake?
As it's swearing and reviewing statements, it could be achieved by email.

And how do you justify fixed price charts for baptisms and weddings? Sure, when I did those things I made a voluntary discretionary donation to the church. I don't know of any jurisdictions outside of the Greeks who commodify the sacraments.
 

Tzimis

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As it's swearing and reviewing statements, it could be achieved by email.

And how do you justify fixed price charts for baptisms and weddings? Sure, when I did those things I made a voluntary discretionary donation to the church. I don't know of any jurisdictions outside of the Greeks who commodify the sacraments.
They are more or less suggestions and they project the expenditures associated with keeping the lights on.
Priests get a salary, repairs and up keep of the building, The janitor is also a paid individual and the archdiocese also needs to survive. so funds sent to the top as well.
It's part of doing business in the USA which is a capitalistic nation and is structured that way. Go to Greece and its totally different. Electric is subsidized, No payroll and property taxes. The state also subsidizes the churches directly.
 

Saxon

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They are more or less suggestions and they project the expenditures associated with keeping the lights on.
Priests get a salary, repairs and up keep of the building, The janitor is also a paid individual and the archdiocese also needs to survive. so funds sent to the top as well.
It's part of doing business in the USA which is a capitalistic nation and is structured that way. Go to Greece and its totally different. Electric is subsidized, No payroll and property taxes. The state also subsidizes the churches directly.
So how do other jurisdictions survive without demanding set payments up front for services? And Canada provides generous subsidies and tax breaks for churches, yet the Greeks get up to the same thing here.
 

Tzimis

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So how do other jurisdictions survive without demanding set payments up front for services? And Canada provides generous subsidies and tax breaks for churches, yet the Greeks get up to the same thing here.
I dont know. I'm not Canadian.
 

Saxon

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Back to the topic at hand, had I needed to pursue an ecclesiastical divorce, the Eastern American diocese of ROCOR requires an upfront fee of $500 for such a petition: https://eadiocese.org/court

Other jurisdictions are offering divorces at bargain basement prices in comparison.
 

Ainnir

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Your going to starve unless you earn an income.
Mommy and daddy ant going to be around forever.
This makes no sense in the context of the conversation.
 
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Your going to starve unless you earn an income.
Mommy and daddy ant going to be around forever.
The Church needs to make income by charging people prices for the Holy sacraments just like buying some food at Walmart?
 
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