Fascinating Traditions From Different Types of Orthodox Weddings

As Orthodox Easter draws near, let’s dive into the rich traditions of Orthodox Weddings, which weave together deep spiritual significance with stunning cultural flair. Each sect of the Orthodox Church offers a unique blend of ceremonial practices, deeply embedded in the history and community of its followers. 

Here are some fascinating traditions from various Orthodox Weddings around the world:

Greek Orthodox: The Crowning Ceremony

One of the most visually symbolic acts in a Greek Orthodox Wedding is the crowning ceremony. During this ritual, crowns (stefana) are placed on the heads of the bride and groom. These crowns are connected by a ribbon which symbolizes the union of the couple and their status as the king and queen of their newly established family, ruling their household with wisdom, justice, and integrity.

Image by Image Haus

Assyrian Orthodox: The Rite of Holy Matrimony

Assyrian Orthodox Weddings feature the Rite of Holy Matrimony, which includes a specific tradition where the bride and groom are clothed in ceremonial robes. This rite symbolizes their entry into a new life together and their readiness to face the world as a united force. It’s a poignant reminder of the protective and sacred bond of marriage.

Coptic Orthodox: Anointing of the Couple

In Coptic Orthodox Weddings, one of the key traditions is the Anointing of the Couple. The priest anoints the bride and groom with holy oil on the forehead, hands, and feet. This act serves as a blessing and protection against evil spirits, and sanctifies their journey into marriage, symbolizing strength and purification in their new life together.

Image by Amy and Stuart Photography

Russian Orthodox: The Betrothal and the Blessing of the Rings

Russian Orthodox Weddings begin with the Betrothal, during which the couple stands at the entrance of the church and the priest blesses the rings. He then places these rings on the fingers of the bride and groom. This tradition signifies the couple’s formal agreement to marry and the blessing from God to commence a life filled with faith and devotion.

Serbian Orthodox: The Circling the Altar

A unique tradition in Serbian Orthodox Weddings involves the bride and groom being led three times around the altar by the priest. This ritual is called the “Dance of Isaiah,” symbolizing the dance of joy and eternal life. It represents the journey of marriage being centered around the teachings of the Church, with Christ leading the way.

Click here for 6 Quirky Serbian Wedding Traditions.

Antiochian Orthodox: Sharing the Common Cup

In Antiochian Orthodox Weddings, after the crowning ceremony, the bride and groom share a common cup of wine which symbolizes the sharing of joys and sorrows in life. This tradition underscores the essence of marriage in the Orthodox faith — a shared life with shared responsibilities and experiences, bound by love and faith.

Macedonian Orthodox: The Throwing of Rice and Coins

In Macedonian Orthodox weddings, a notable tradition involves throwing rice and coins during the wedding ceremony. This practice is rich with symbolism, representing prosperity and fertility. As the bride and groom exit the church, guests throw rice to wish the couple a fruitful marriage full of blessings and children. The coins are scattered towards the young couple to wish them wealth and financial stability. This vibrant tradition reflects the community’s hopes and prayers for the newlyweds’ prosperous and successful life together.

So, as we celebrate Orthodox Easter and think about rebirth and new beginnings, the rich traditions of Orthodox Weddings remind us of the beauty and resilience of marital bliss, supported by faith and cherished by loved ones.

Have a blessed Orthodox Easter! 


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