Excommunication from The Church

Greetings in Christ to all reading this message.

First, I must preface this message by stating that I know I have sinned gravely against Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. I am in no way seeking justification for my actions or easy answers to this situation.

But, I am wondering if anybody else here has known somebody in my situation and could offer information as to how the situation was resolved (if at all).

Here goes: 

I am a baptized Coptic Orthodox Christian. I fell away from the faith into agnosticism during a period of life. Also, during this time, I met and married my wife who is a Protestant. Fast forward a year, and Our Lord fans into flame the once dying embers of Christian faith in my heart. It is now pressing on my conscience to return to Him and the Orthodox faith and His Church. However, I also understand that by procuring a non-Orthodox marriage with a non-Coptic Christian, I have flung myself into excommunication from the church. But, I love my wife and cannot divorce her.

Am I now permanently barred from the Holy Mysteries until either one of the two following events occur: 1.) divorce, or 2.) my wife's conversion to the Coptic Orthodox faith? Has anybody here ever encountered somebody in a similar scenario as mine?

God bless any and all who have cared enough to read this message and/or to reply. It is written by a wayward sinner who is in desperate need of Our Savior, just as we all are...

God bless.


  • welcome, brother.
    there is always a way to come back to God.
    remeber there is no eating or marriage in paradise, we enter alone, although we value the prayers of the saints in our journey.
    if you sincerely desire fellowship with God, He Himself will help you.
    however He may give you tests along the way so you can demonstrate your sincerity.
    for example, once you have explained your situation to a priest (this is the very important 1st step), you may be required to attend liturgy for quite a long time before you are allowed to take Holy Communion. but i have seen situations where one person has married outside the orthodox church (i even know of one person who married someone who was not Christian at all) and then the person eventually comes back to church and takes Holy Communion.

    i don't know all the personal details in these cases, but i have seen people back in the church whose wives / husbands do not come with them.
    so, to summarise - step 1 speak to a priest and pray lots and lots and ask for God's mercy.

    step 2 - explain to your wife (as much as you can) that you are on a spiritual journey and respect her reply - she may be interested, she may laugh, or maybe you will also find out that she is on a spiritual journey too.
    i assume she was not a very active protestant, as (in your words), she married someone who was agnostic - i used to be a protestant Christian and i can confirm that this is not allowed!

    step 3 - learn patience. i decided to join the orthodox church 2 years after first attending liturgy (had to study a bit of church history and discover God's love from orthodox Christians first). but God wanted me to wait a further year first! it was really really hard, but it was worth it to show my (very sceptical) friends and family what i was doing. i will send you a personal message with slightly more detail as i limit what i share publically, but that was more than 10 years ago and i have not regretted it even for 1 day.

    read the song of solomon - the bride represents us (the church) and the one she loves represents our Lord Jesus Christ. we have disappointed God and not let him in many times, so sometimes when we finally wake up and run out after Him, we find that we can find Him immediately. this is the way God trains us to stay close to Him, we have to demostrate perseverance and it is not always as easy as we think, but He will not allow us to be tested more than we can bear.

    please do not hesitate to start this really important spiritual journey, and may the prayers of our dear saint mary, saint philopater mercurius and all the saints be with you
    your sister mabsoota (as i am always 'mabsoota' - happy - when i enter God's holy church)
  • Dear Mabsoota,

    May our Lord Jesus Christ bless you and your family richly for your highly informative and loved-filled words! Thank you beyond measure for taking the time to offer your advice and recount your experiences for a total stranger on the internet. I will send you a private message and respond to you more fully there.
  • thanks for your reply and message.
    if anyone wants further reading on how suffering in life fits with blessing from God, i VERY strongly recommend 

    'the communion of love' by abouna matta el miskeen (matthew the poor).

    mentioned here:
    you see blessing and suffering go together (a really important principle, which is rather neglected by most churches that are not orthodox).
    if you really want to follow the saints, you have to follow their suffering and their blessing.
    as saint paul said 'i have learnt to be content with much and to be content with little' (rough paraphrase).
    remember saint moses the strong? he had a lot to repent of, however when he showed his strong desire to be with God, he was given many blessings.
    he also had many challenges, and at the end of his life, he accepted death by the sword. this was not only in order to show that he accepted God's judgement for his previous evil deeds, but also he was happy to accept God's blessing in counting him among the martyrs.

    more about saint moses:
    may his prayers and all the prayers of the saints be with you
Sign In or Register to comment.