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The Orthodox wedding ceremony is steeped in ritual and symbolism. The ceremony is made up of two parts - the betrothal service and the marriage service.
In the betrothal, the wedding rings are blessed. During the marriage service, the bride and groom are crowned with their special wedding crowns (Stefana). Once crowned, the couple are led around a table by the priest, as they take their first steps as husband and wife, in what is called the Dance of Isaiah.
The ceremony also consists of other important elements such as the Joining of the Hands, drinking from the Common Cup and some bible readings.
Very Special Celebrations sells wedding crowns (Stefana) in a range of styles, allowing you to coordinate these with your wedding gown or wedding theme if you wish. We can also help you with decorated candles (Lambathes). Two of these are required for the marriage ceremony. Depending on the type of Orthodox church you are married in (eg Greek, Russian, Serbian etc), the candles may be held by the bride and groom, two children or the intended godparents of your first child. Alternatively, they may be placed on stands at both sides of the bridal party.
In addition to the items explained above, and again, depending on the Orthodox church you are married in, you may need a silver tray upon which the wedding crowns are placed, along with the church bible, your wedding rings and sometimes, sugared almonds.
Although our expertise is in Greek Orthodox weddings, we are able to assist customers from other Orthodox backgrounds.
For more detailed information about the sacrament of marriage in the Orthodox church, you may find this website useful:
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
An Orthodox christening ceremony consists of two sacraments - Baptism and Chrismation (or Confirmation). In the Baptism, a series of renunciations, acceptances and exorcisms take place. The godparent renounces satan and acknowledges their commitment to Christ. A large font of water on the church alter is then blessed - the child is soon to be immersed in this water. A bottle of oil is provided by the godparent and this oil is also blessed by the priest and some of the oil is poured in to the water (cross wise, three times). The child is then anointed with the oil on the forehead, nose, mouth, chest, legs, feet, hands and back. The baby is immersed, naked, in the water.
In the Chrismation, the sign of the cross is made over the same areas of the body that were earlier anointed with oil. Some of the child's hair is then cut by the priest. Following this, the child is dressed in their christening gown or suit - all garments must be brand new and clean. The baby returns to the godparent and the priest places a gold cross around their neck. The godparent, holding the child, and followed by a child holding the baptismal candle, are led by the priest to walk around the font three times. The service concludes with bible readings and the child is reunited with their mother.
Very Special Celebrations can assist you with a decorated baptismal candle (Lambatha) and a christening box containing all the important items needed in the ceremony - a christening gown or suit, christening shoes, undergarments for baby, christening oil, soap (for the priest and godparent to wash oil from their hands), icons, gifts, and towel/sheet sets for drying the baby and protecting the godparent's clothing during the service. Some items, such as the towels and sheets, may be personalised with embroidery, making them a lovely keepsake for many years to come.
Although our expertise is in Greek Orthodox christenings, we are able to assist customers from other Orthodox backgrounds. Check out our handy Orthodox Christening Checklist today!
For more detailed information about the sacraments of baptism and chrismation in the Orthodox church, you may find this website useful:
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
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