Not everyone can stand in front of the altar: In which cases can the Serbian Orthodox Church refuse to marry you?

It’s not just the age difference …

The Serbian Orthodox Church can prevent a church wedding if there is a big age difference between the newlyweds.

Every year, about a hundred couples fail to enter into a church marriage in the dioceses of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) from the first attempt. They can ask for a second chance with the competent bishops, whose special permission is a condition for them to be able to stand in front of the altar.

The most common obstacles are the age difference of more than 15 years and if one of them already has a church marriage behind them. The newlyweds then compile an application for a bishop, which is forwarded by the parish priest. Only with the written blessing of the bishop was the way opened for the wedding.

Zoran Krstić, professor of church law at the Orthodox Theological Faculty in Belgrade, says that he knows church law through obstacles due to which the conclusion of the community before God is possible only if the competent archbishop agrees with that.

Newlyweds in their late years, grooms over 70 and young over 60 cannot go to church . The procedure is the same when blood kinship is suspected , but also when one spouse is baptized in an Orthodox church whose rites the Serbian Orthodox Church does not recognize.

By the way, the wedding of a believer who is already married is among the most serious crimes in the Serbian Orthodox Church, so a priest who marries such a person is threatened with deprivation of rank, overthrow. It is strictly forbidden to marry minors and couples who were previously excluded from the Serbian Orthodox Church. All these facts are determined at the premarital exam by the parish priest, who will inform the newlyweds in front of the altar.

Those hundreds who fail to get married from the first in the Serbian Orthodox Church usually put crowns on their heads in the end, but the trouble is that there are far more requests for church divorces.

According to church law, a husband and wife can separate before God only if the church court and the competent bishop agree with this act , which puts a stamp on the decision on divorce. However, the parish priest is obliged, before compiling the application for divorce, to talk to the quarreling spouses and try to reconcile them.

Christian marriage
The Serbian Orthodox Church allows marriages with baptized people in the Catholic and Protestant faiths, without the obligation to change their faith. The godfather must still be Orthodox , and the wedding cannot be repeated in another church. Priests from other churches cannot co-serve, nor can a priest of the Serbian Orthodox Church get married in someone else’s temples. The Catholic Church requires special permission for the marriage of a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic , while the validity of the marriage of a Catholic and an unbaptized person requires an explicit pardon of the obstacle. It is important that the Catholic side confirms to the other spouse that they will preserve the faith, baptize and raise children in the Catholic faith.

He can, she can’t
A Muslim woman cannot marry a Christian, while a Muslim can marry both a Christian and a Jew . Islam, in principle, forbids a mixed marriage with an atheist, but does not forbid respect for another religion in a Muslim marriage. A Muslim child is a Muslim, regardless of the mother’s faith.