Greek Orthodox Male Marrying Coptic Egyptian Female

Hello fathers and members,

I need some guidance/information between the marriage of a Greek Orthodox male and Egyptian Coptic Female. If we were to marry in say a Coptic church would we be able to go through both ceremonies Greek and Coptic? Would it be possible to have both priests in a Coptic church? Is that disrespectful? Would we be able to go through the holy trinity and reefs of the Greek tradition and also go through the crowning of the Coptic tradition?

If we were to have children after marriage of course Would they be able to partake in both churches? I know it’s frowned upon to baptize twice but is that even a thing?

I want to make her happy and marry in her church but I don’t want to lose my traditions and church with it. I also want to please my family just as she wants to please hers. Coptic traditions seem to be stricter(no offense) I just don’t want to disrespect anyone and I want to see what is possible and what is not. I do love this woman and would love to be crowned with her and go through my greek traditions with her as well.

Thank you.


  • We’re not even in Communion! So none of those things are possible!
    To marry a Copt, your baptism into the Coptic Orthodox Church is first required :)
    If you convert, convert because of your personal relation with Christ and ability to find Him more in the COC, not for marriage, as that is not even accepted.

    +God Bless+
  • from greek (or any eastern orthodox) church, only chrismation is needed (holy oil), not baptism.

    i was a church when a greek lady was chrismated who later married a Coptic orthodox man. she said she really liked how we explain everything well and 'take the faith seriously'.

    some people think that means it is more 'strict', but that is only if you feel forced to do it. if you fast and pray because of your great love for God, it does not feel strict at all.

    if you look at any of the writings of saint john chrysostom (one of my big heroes, who was patriarch of constantinople/istanbul), you can see that he continually reminded the people (in the greek language) that they should give to the poor and love God and come to church out of a desire to know God and to tell others about Him, not to fulfil any obligation or feel compelled.

    he is famous in our church and I strongly recommend you read his sermons and booklets, many of which are available in english online. you can see then some of what our traditions have in common.

    jojohanna is right in saying that you should not change churches for the sake of a romantic relationship. ask God what is best for your life, and if you make Him  your priority, then everything else will become much more straightforward and you will know which direction to take.

    if my advice sounds strange, then ask God to show Himself to you and spend time seriously studying the Bible and the works of the early church fathers like saint basil, saint cyril (x2) and saint Athanasius to see what i mean. knowing God is more about personal experience than following a particular tradition, although the orthodox churches have (all) preserved the correct faith (straight belief) that explains God's relationship with people adequately.

    in some places (eg syria, and I think alexandria as well), mixed couples can attend either church, but that is not currently the case in most diaspora churches (you write in english, so I think you may be in an english speaking country).

    so speak to both priests and meet people from both churches to see where you will make your home (could be either) and certainly you can attend services in both churches when you wish. but currently in the diaspora, you would not be able to take holy communion in both churches, so you need to pick one.

    even when my dream comes true and we have full communion (i know a priest in the greek church who is also eagerly waiting to give me holy communion!) then you need to have one 'base' or 'home' church where you spend most of your time. this is for the sake of the unity of the family.

    we have an enemy who loves to create conflict and division, so don't give him a change by starting married life comparing you priests and getting into a 'my church is better than yours' competition. you need to have a church you both call 'mine'.

    above all speak to God. He knows and loves you, he took on a human nature and suffered terribly for you. He defeated death and the power of the enemy for you. surely He will guide you in the right path when you come to Him humbly, repenting of the bad things we all do, and asking His help as you put your life in His hands.

  • edited May 23
    Thank you for the replies. I love my church and I know she loves her church. I do not compare the churches because I speak to her friends and I know how devoted they are and the passion that comes from it. I admire it. I will check the writings that you suggested. I do not wish to convert for the cost of marriage. I do wish to attend both churches and I do know I cannot take communion in a Coptic church.

    Thank you again. Any other information regarding marriage between us that I would need to know is very much appreciated.

    And why is their a split between our churches? Does it have to do with the bishops? Also a question I have is why can the males not sit with the females? Is it because of how life was back in the day in Egypt? I’m sorry for all these question I’m just very interested.
  • edited May 23
    @Aflo I suggest some reading on the subject of our separation from an Eastern Orthodox perspective. A Swiss Eastern Orthodox woman under the Patriarchate of Constantinople named Christine Chaillot has a number of great books on the Coptic church. She offers a much fresher perspective on the dialogue of the churches. Her newer one is called:

    The Dialogue between Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches International Edition

    And she has a wonderful book from 2005 which is an introduction to the Coptic church. It's very concise and practical compared to many books within our church, because she is fluent in both English and French. So, the translation is extremely easy for a westerner to grasp. It's called:

    The Coptic Orthodox Church: A Brief Introduction to Its Life and Spirituality.

    I highly recommend it for an Eastern Orthodox person to learn about the Coptic church.

    As for our separation, here is a YouTube with Mrs. Chaillot at a Anglican seminary in Toronto, with an Eastern Orthodox Priest and guests from the Oriental Orthodox family. Play past when the female Pastor talks and then they begin to explain about the relationship between the churches.

    Good Luck!
  • briefly, the roman emperor wanted more control, so used to church to get it.
    the churches in west asia came under his control, but the egyptian church did not.
    the theology was used as an excuse to split the churches.

    on reflection over the 1 1/2 thousand years since the split, the leaders of all the orthodox churches have agreed that they are all orthodox (Christians with correct belief. this was in 1989-1990) but have not yet got round to undoing their excommunications of each other.

    as for the separate seating, it is cultural. i have attended a coptic orthodox liturgy (in uk) without separation of men and women, and a protestant church in pakistan where there was separation. often in coptic orthodox weddings and non liturgical services (such as night praises), at least here in uk, men and women do mix. 
    for guests who want to sit together, it is usually culturally acceptable for them to all sit towards the back on the men's side.

    once one of the church council members (he was like everyone's uncle) instructed me to sit on the front row on the men's side next to a visiting anglican priest, so i could explain what was going on as it was a service with minimal translation into english (small church) and the men who usually look after visitors were busy with other things in the meeting.
    i felt uncomfortable doing it, as i has just go used to sitting with the ladies after a few years of regular attendance and everyone stared at me as i walked past them down to the front! 

    italiancoptic is a font of useful information about theology, joining the church from outside (he was catholic, i was protestant) and mixed cultural marriage. so i advise you to take all his advice!
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