My Jewish daughter may marry a Greek Orthodox

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This topic has 7 voices, contains 25 replies, and was last updated by  Marryme in Greece 29 days ago.

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January 19, 2010 at 3:34 pm #4230

Arthur Rosen

Okay, so here’s “the situation” (and I’m not referring to the Jersey Shore television program). My Jewish daughter has been seriously dating a Greek Orthodox. Their own religion is important to each of them but they have no problem having an interfaith marriage. Due to ridiculous restrictions by the Orthodox church, problems have been created. A Greek Orthodox must marry inside their church. Their partner must be a baptized individual. As my daughter is a Jew, this won’t happen. If they get married outside of the church, he is refused the sacraments and is excommunicated from the Orthodox church. Is he still a Christian? Does he have to re-apply to be a Christian? I don’t know the answers. If anyone does know, I would like to know it. Someone had suggested they find a renegade Greek Orthodox priest to co-officiate with a rabbi. How would the church know? Of course when he shows up to church with my daughter, or if they want to raise their children Greek Orthodox, they would find out he wasn’t married in the church and the “jig is up”. Does anyone have any experience with a situation lik this? Your help is so much appreciated.

January 19, 2010 at 4:24 pm #4231

InterfaithFamily Administrator

Hi! Arthur,
Thank you for your post.  It is my understanding that the Greek Orthodox Church is one of the stricter churches.  I can’t answer your question, but can tell you that you are not the first person posting on the InterfaithFamily.com discussion boards about the challenges of a Jewish- Greek Orthodox intermarriage.  I do know of a Greek Orthodox Bishop who has participated in intermarriages and may be able to answer your questions.  I will send you an email with his contact information.
All my best,
Robin Schwartz
Network Director
InterfaithFamily.com

January 19, 2010 at 4:52 pm #4232

Arthur Rosen

Thank you Robin for a quick respoonse and email. I sent him the questions and hope to hear from him shortly. Thank you also for caring.

January 20, 2010 at 12:57 pm #4245

Christina

You are not the first one to post this dilemma, as I have answered this question before. I am GO and you are correct in what you have written. The marriage would not be recognized as valid if done by a renegade (even if both parties were GO). It must be done by a canonical Orthodox jurisdiction. One of my priest friends told me he does know some Orthodox priests who will do interfaith, but it is very rare. He would have to speak with his priest regrading the circumstances. He can’t “re-apply” but he can always be brought back into the church if he so desires, but again, that’s something you discuss with your priest and bishop. There are no hard and fast rules to that. I am not sure what the concern is. Is it that he doesn’t want to be removed from the body of the church? It means he can’t receive the sacraments, be a sponsor, be buried in the church. Any time he would attempt any of the aforementioned, they would ask him to show he is a member in good standing, which is issued by his parish, so he would need to be connected to ever marries them. Even if he finds some GO priest to do an interfaith (a co-officiating is never allowed, even with other christians), he might have a hard time getting other GO to recognize it. It is going to be very complicated for him. Good luck!

January 20, 2010 at 1:01 pm #4246

Christina

Also, if they wanted to raise their kids GO, there would be less problem baptizing them, even if the parents were not married in the church or never even married. I’m not sure that’s what your daughter would want, from what you have written. I think both your daughter and her boyfriend need to talk about what is important to each of them. There is also a priest in the Newburgh, NY GO church (St. Nicholas) who deals with these matters.

December 17, 2010 at 6:03 am #5314

Anthony Russo

I am Greek Orthodox as well.  The only way it’s going to work is if she converts to be Greek Orthodox otherwise they will never accept her and will ex-communicate him from the church.  Any other questions please feel free to ask.

February 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm #5465

Interfaither

I was raised a Greek Orthodox Christian and I married a Jewish man, we are still very much in love, have been together almost 20 years (married for 13 of them) and have two happy kids. However, we are very rare.
Like many other Greek/Jewish couples today, we didn’t realize how difficult it would be to have an interfaith marriage until we were to the point of planning an engagement. (8 years of Greek Sunday School doesn’t teach you that!) The Greek Orthodox Church forces your hand to make you stay within the church–I don’t disagree with this stance, it is part of the Greek Orthodox religion, but it does make you make some tough choices.  Do you love this person enough that you would leave your religion for him/her?  Would they do the same for you? (Or many would argue it the other way around: Do you love your faith enough to stay in it, even if it means losing someone you love over it?) Can you get to a point where you know you will upset your parents, but you will still do it, because you must be together?

In the end, we were willing to let go of our respective religions, and cleaved together our own identity as a couple and family where faith takes a backseat to love.  My husband got baptized in a private ceremony for purposes of the ceremony, we had a small G.O. wedding. The next night we had a large Jewish wedding with a Rabbi at a private club. We had two boys; they’ve been brised and baptized, and they now go to Interfaith Sunday school. We don’t attend G.O. or Jewish services regularly, but have maintained a strong identity to each in the home through holiday observance.  OUr boys will not be bar mitzvahed, a choice my husband made. We thank God and pray to him.

These are the choice we’ve made, they are not perfect, but we are happy. Many Greeks and Jews will read this and think “no way!”, and I totally understand that. But in the end, the stronger love (whether to the person, or to one’s religion and parents) will win.  

April 25, 2011 at 7:16 am #5744

Sean Blackman

In the Jewish tradition it makes the Greek Orthodox man Jewish in the Jewish tradition.However I believe that in theGreek Orthodox Tradition your are considered to be a heretical Christian who is also a Jew.

April 26, 2011 at 1:02 am #5749

Ed Case

I’m not sure what Sean is trying to say, and I can’t speak for Greek Orthodox rules, but it is not correct that in Jewish tradition, if a man who is not Jewish marries a woman who is Jewish, “it makes the man Jewish.” Sean may be thinking of the traditional Jewish view that the child of a Jewish woman is a Jew, but there is no Jewish tradition or rule that marrying a Jewish woman makes someone Jewish.

October 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm #6176

Katherine

I also was raised Greek Orthodox and am in a serious relationship with a Jewish man.  We are really looking to see how we could have a future and family together, but there are not many available resources or people for us to talk to in a similar situation.  I am hoping that whoever posted the below comment (or anyone else!) might read this and be able to provide some advice.  Thank you!

Interfaither wrote:
I was raised a Greek Orthodox Christian and I married a Jewish man, we are still very much in love, have been together almost 20 years (married for 13 of them) and have two happy kids. However, we are very rare.
Like many other Greek/Jewish couples today, we didn’t realize how difficult it would be to have an interfaith marriage until we were to the point of planning an engagement. (8 years of Greek Sunday School doesn’t teach you that!) The Greek Orthodox Church forces your hand to make you stay within the church–I don’t disagree with this stance, it is part of the Greek Orthodox religion, but it does make you make some tough choices.  Do you love this person enough that you would leave your religion for him/her?  Would they do the same for you? (Or many would argue it the other way around: Do you love your faith enough to stay in it, even if it means losing someone you love over it?) Can you get to a point where you know you will upset your parents, but you will still do it, because you must be together?

In the end, we were willing to let go of our respective religions, and cleaved together our own identity as a couple and family where faith takes a backseat to love.  My husband got baptized in a private ceremony for purposes of the ceremony, we had a small G.O. wedding. The next night we had a large Jewish wedding with a Rabbi at a private club. We had two boys; they’ve been brised and baptized, and they now go to Interfaith Sunday school. We don’t attend G.O. or Jewish services regularly, but have maintained a strong identity to each in the home through holiday observance.  OUr boys will not be bar mitzvahed, a choice my husband made. We thank God and pray to him.

These are the choice we’ve made, they are not perfect, but we are happy. Many Greeks and Jews will read this and think “no way!”, and I totally understand that. But in the end, the stronger love (whether to the person, or to one’s religion and parents) will win.  

October 11, 2011 at 4:18 pm #6196

GO/interfaith

Hi Katherine,

What city are you in?  I am in the exact same boat as you and would be happy to speak with you or suggest some useful resources.  Unfortunately, the GO/Jewish combination is a particularly thorny one (and maybe more rewarding as a result!), but I would be happy to help in any way I can.  

October 19, 2011 at 12:14 am #6217

eve

Jews are not allowed to marry in the Orthodox Church.  ALL non-Christians are prohibited from marrying in the Greek Orthodox Church.  Not all christians are allowed to marry in the Greek Orthdox Church either: only those non-orthodox Christians that have been baptized in the name of the Trinity are allowed to marry.  And since an Orthdox Christian is not allowed to marry outside the Orthodox Church (whether in another christian church or civil/court ceremony), it doesn’t leave any options.  My cousin married a Jewish man in a civil ceremony in Greece.  As a result, she was not allowed to take communion from that day on (except once a year at Easter night).  She can always raise/baptize her children in the Orthodox Church, but she’s not allowed to receive any of the  sacraments…

October 24, 2011 at 5:51 pm #6226

Katherine

Hi GO/Interfaith,
I am in NYC, what about you?  I’d love to talk more.  I’m not sure how to send a private message on this site!

October 24, 2011 at 6:06 pm #6227

Benjamin Maron

Katherine,

Private messages can be sent between logged in members. (It does not look like “GO/Interfaith” is a registered user.) You would click on their name to go to their profile, then click on “send a message” on the left side of their profile (under the user picture).

October 24, 2011 at 7:49 pm #6228

GO/interfaith

Hi Katherine,

I just joined.  Feel free to message me, and I’ll try to go ahead and message you now.  I’m also in NYC, btw.  I look forward to talking soon! 

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