Converting for Marriage

edited March 2020 in Faith Issues
Many posts that we write on are anecdotal experiences, or just personal opinions or experiences. Even some laws or canons of the Church I may not understand, nor even agree with. But what constitutes the official position of the Church is a factual matter - and this is often expressed by our Church bishops.

We can discuss which hymn or cantor we like the most, but when it comes to the stance of the Church on certain matters - such as baptism for the sake of marriage - this is no longer a subjective matter. It is official.

I'm no theologian, by any means, but I just want to make it clear, if I may, that the official position of the Church is we don't baptise anyone for marriage.

I haven't even given my subjective, flawed opinion that is pointless in this matter. I have just echoed what has been stated as fact:

We do not baptise for the sake of marriage.

This subject has arisen many times, and yet I hear the same thing: "... bring the person (whom you wish to marry) to the church.. let them speak with abouna. "

I do not understand this. I really don't.

Let's reverse it: Let's say that you meet a Jehovah's witness, or a muslim, or a hindu, and you want to marry them. Why aren't their parents, or friends telling them: "Oh.. bring that Coptic girl to the mosque, temple, hall, etc - and hope that she will become like us". 

Why is it OK for us to think that we can make someone Coptic by bringing them to abouna, and yet we never ask ourselves: the other person whom I'm interested in, perhaps they are attached to their religion also - maybe they want me to consider their religion too? 

To this point, I haven't even given my opinion. I haven't said what I think of these rules, what my opinion is. I've just simply echoed the stance of the Church. And in the Church's wisdom, in which I generally trust, I think we should be humble and accept these rules.


  • edited March 2020
    I just wanted to add a few notes here:

    Even though a priest may be "liberal" and baptise anyone you want because he likes you, it doesn't necessarily mean he is following the official teachings of the Church.

    We had one particular gentleman, whom I know personally. His wife is an evangelical Christian. She prays in tongues, she loves the Lord so much. The man is Coptic but loved his wife because she is evangelical. 

    Obviously evangelicals don't have the idea or concept of intercession of saints. To them, icons in a church are adultery. She does not believe whatsoever that this is the true Body and true Blood of Christ. Protestants do not believe this.

    Not only is she upset at being in our church, but she is trying to convince everyone of her own theology. She criticises our church openly, in front of kids, teenagers , whoever. 

    How can she have communion without believing? What is this? 

    Who on earth baptised her? 

    Is this really right? 

    Are we that desperate for Orthodox Christians that we are going to willy nilly baptise anyone??

    We are not desperate for anything. We are not interested in quantity but rather quality of faith. 

    The questions one should have asked before her being baptised were to her Coptic husband:

    * Why do you want her to be baptised? Why not go to the Evangelical Church. Is that not where you met? Were you not practicing her faith at their churches?? What does being Orthodox mean to you?

    * And I'd have asked her the same question: what does being Coptic Orthodox mean to you?? Why would you like to be Coptic Orthodox? 

    This is honestly for your own good.  And Church servants suggesting otherwise, and suggesting to go off and speak to a priest are in grave error. And if the priest doesn't ask these questions, this is wrong. 

    There is another case, that I know personally, where a devout atheist married a devout catholic. A catholic priest baptised the man during the marriage so he could marry in the Catholic Church. That's silly. But regardless, this atheist man unceasingly attacks the Church and all religions, especially that of his wife, with extreme mockery and disdain. Had he not been baptised, had baptism been a condition of faith and belief, he would have at least had more respect for his wife's religion. 

    The right way to go about this is very simple: 

    * We do not allow baptisms for the sake of marriage, we only allow it for the sake of salvation. If the person being baptised is not interested in salvation, then DO NOT BOTHER. 

    Baptism for the sake of marriage does not make our Church stronger by any means. It actually weakens it.
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