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Eastern Orthodox Wedding Ceremony


Orthodox theology gives the following definition of this Sacrament: Wedding is the Sacrament of the Church, in which God gives to future spouses, with their promise to remain faithful to each other, the grace of pure unanimity for a joint Christian life, the birth and upbringing of children.

Those wishing to get married in a Church must be baptized Orthodox Christians. They should be deeply aware that marriage is understood to be an indissoluble union thus self-willed dissolution of a divinely approved marriage, as well as breaking a vow of fidelity, is an unconditional sin.


Requirements for the church wedding ceremony


- Fast (that is, do not eat meat and dairy foods, and if possible, fish) for three days, or at least for one day before Holy Communion.

- Read the prescribed prayers before Holy Communion: the Three Canons (Canon to our Lord Jesus Christ, Canon to the Theotokos and Canon to the Guardian Angel) and the Follow-up to the Holy Communion.

- It is necessary to abstain from sexual intimacy for three days, or to do it at least on the last day before the Communion.

- Do not eat, drink or smoke anything from midnight the day before.


What should be brought to the Church?


- Rings;

- A wedding couple of icons:

     a) Icon with the image of the Savior;

     b) Icon with the image of the Mother of God;

- Wedding candles;

- Towel (white, not a honeycomb or terry towel, without images of Christian symbols).

On the very day of the Church Wedding, you must bring a certificate of civil registration with you.



When a church wedding is not permitted


In the Eastern Orthodox Church, weddings are not celebrated on certain days or during certain seasons.  This is not out of disdain for marriage, but so as to ensure that days and seasons of spiritual rejoicing or of fasting and repentance are not overshadowed by the joy of a wedding.  As a general rule, the days on which weddings are not permitted by the Russian Orthodox Church are:

- During all four days of fasting;

- During the days of Cheesefare Week (the week before the beginning of Great Lent);

- During the days of Paschal (or Easter) Week (Bright Week);

- During the Christmas time: the period between Christmas and Theophany (7-19 January);

- On The Eve of the Great Feast of the Ascension of the Lord

The Great Feast of Pentecost;

- On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays throughout the year;

- On 10-11 September (the Eve and the Feast of the Beheading of St John the Baptist);

- On 26-27 September (the Eve of the Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross of the Lord, and the day of the Great Feast itself);

- On 13 October (the Eve of the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God);

- On the eve of the patronal festivals of the church in which the Sacrament is planned.

An exception to these rules can be made only with the blessing of the ruling eparch in the presence of extraordinary circumstances.


Russian Orthodox Cathedrals in St. Petersburg


For more information on the performance of the Sacrament of the Wedding in the Kazan Cathedral and the St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral and to book a date for the Wedding, please call:


Kazan Cathedral

+7 (911) 240-12-98


St. Petersburg's Nikolo-Epiphany Naval Cathedral

+7 (812) 714-69-26

+7 (812) 714-08-62


Pilgrimage Center of the St. Petersburg Metropolia

+7 (812) 992-65-68 - regarding the performance of the Sacrament of the Wedding in other churches and cathedrals of St. Petersburg