Paris is one of the most desired wedding locations in the world. What better place to get married than a beautiful Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Paris? Greek Orthodox weddings have numerous rituals, symbols, and prayers that are conducted during the ceremony as two become one. Everything during a Greek Orthodox Wedding takes place in sets of three to represent the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). The entire wedding ceremony is based on scripture, the unity the Holy Trinity has, the unity Christians have with the Holy Trinity, and the unity the couple has.
What is a Greek Orthodox Wedding?
Greek Orthodox weddings have taken place since ancient times. The ceremonies have specific rituals that represent unity and love, the love of God and the love of one another. In order to get married in a Greek Orthodox church one member of the marriage must be a member of the Orthodox Church. If the second person is not Greek Orthodox, they must be a Christian that has been baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Spirit). For the wedding to be recognized by the church, you must be married in an Orthodox Church by an Orthodox Priest.
St. Stephen's Greek Orthodox Cathedral
St. Stephen’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral is located in Paris, France and was consecrated over 120 years ago. The church was consecrated by Demetrius Stefanovich Schilizzi on December 22, 1895. The cathedral has stunning paintings, large stained glass pieces, and breathtaking architectural work that represent the saints and symbols significant to the Orthodox Church.
The Wedding Ceremony
There are two parts to a Greek Orthodox Wedding. The first part of the wedding is called a Betrothal Service. The second part is called the Crowing Service. During the Betrothal Service, the rings are blessed and exchanged. A Koumbaros (male) Koumbara (female) is a sponsor for the wedding. This selected person stands with the bride and groom during the ceremony to administer the rings and crowns. This person must be an Orthadox Christian since they are representing the church. During the exchanging of the rings, the priest says “The servant of God [groom] is betrothed to the servant of God [bride], in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” three times. This is recited three times to represent the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The sponsor for the couple then exchanges the rings three times. The rings are placed on the right hand because in the Bible the right hand of God is virtuous.
After the betrothal service, there is a crowing service. At the beginning of the crowing service, the couple receives candles that represent Jesus, the light of the world. During the crowing service the priest places the stephana (crown) on the heads of the bride and groom and says “The Servant of God (groom’s name) take as his crown the Servant of God (bride's name) in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Koumbaros/Koumbara then proceed to exchange the crowns between the couple three times. The couple then has the common cup ceremony. The Gospel is read and the couple drinks wine from the same cup to represent the first miracle Jesus performed at Cana when he turned water into wine. Next the couple completes the ceremonial walk. During the walk they are led to the altar by the priest three times. Each time they kiss the Bible to express their unity. At the end of the ceremony the priest removes the stephanas. Rice is commonly thrown at the couple as they exit to wish them fertility and wealth.