Good Standing - FQA
Question: "I'm now interested in having a second marriage in the Greek Church. My question is this: How do my kids play into the equation? Must they be baptized GO before I can (1) get approval for the 2nd wedding service and/or (2) get back in "good standing" with the GO church?"
Answer: I'm pleased to read that you're interested in getting back into good standing with your church. This is a good decision that should have a positive impact on your religious and spiritual well-being.
On the basis of the information you've provided, the process of getting back into good standing shouldn't be too complicated for you. Here's how you should proceed, and what you can generally expect will happen.
1. You'll need to call a local Greek Orthodox priest and make an appointment. When you meet, describe your situation and ask him what you'll need to do to get back into good standing.
2. During the next meeting, which will likely involve your wife, you'll meet with the priest to fill out some paperwork, and set a date for the Sacrament of Marriage - .the service the Orthodox Church uses in these instances. At this meeting, you will also both need to provide a copy of your baptismal record, and a copy of the legal wedding license.
3. After the paperwork is filled out. The priest will send it to the hierarch (bishop) to obtain approval. He will also inform you of what items he will need to perform the Sacrament of Marriage.
Finally, your children's religious affiliation will not affect your efforts to get back into good standing; they will not be expected to convert.
Question: "My fiancee is Greek Orthodox and I am baptized Christian. Can I get married in the Greek Orthodox Church?"
Answer: The rule of thumb is as follows: If the non-Orthodox partner has been baptized in the Name of the Holy Trinity and in water, they can provide evidence of this in the form of an official baptismal certificate, your baptism should be acceptable. If you have any concerns about your baptism, I would check with the priest who will perform the service. Better to be safe than sorry.
Question: "I was wondering about the rules related to the Koumbari. Can my non-Orthodox Maid-of- Honor be both my Maid-of-Honor and my Koumbara?"
Answer: The koumbaro (masculine) koumbara (feminine) must be an Orthodox Christian who is in good standing financially and canonically. Unless your sister is an Orthodox Christian she cannot assume the role of a koumbara in your wedding. However, she can be your Maid-of-Honor.
Question: "My fiancee's brother is Orthodox, but he was married in a civil service and not in the Orthodox Church. Does this mean he will not be able to be the Koumbari as well?"
Answer: Unfortunately, since your fiancee's brother has married outside of the Orthodox Church, he is not in good standing and cannot assume the role of Koumbaro. However, if he were to have his marriage blessed in the Orthodox Church through the Sacrament of Marriage, he would likely qualify to be the Koumbaro.