Church Witnesses


A wedding in a church is a religious rite of consecration of family ties according to the Orthodox, church tradition. The decision to hold the sacrament is made by the newlyweds already legally married. If, in addition to the wedding registration in the registry office, you decide to hold a wedding ceremony, then for the church rite you will need the help of witnesses. How to choose the assistants of the sacrament?

Who can be a witness at the wedding, and who is not?

The function of witnesses (guarantors) at the wedding comes down not only to help the newlyweds during the ceremony. They become the spiritual mentors of the new family, which help the young people over the years of marriage successfully cope with difficulties, go through conflict situations, guide the family union with wise advice and guidance. The choice of guarantors for the wedding should be approached responsibly, guided by common sense.

Wedding in the church after the wedding

Witnesses can be husband and wife, who have long been in a strong, legal marriage, who are the authorities for both newlyweds. If among the acquaintances of the newlyweds there is no such married couple, then close friends or relatives of the bride and groom are invited to the wedding ceremony. It is important to remember that if the sponsors are not married before the sacrament, then after the ceremony they will become spiritual relatives, they will be forbidden to enter into church marriage.

Divorced spouses cannot be witnesses at a wedding. They could not maintain their family union and, according to church canons, they would become poor spiritual mentors to the newlyweds. It is forbidden to take men and women living in a civil marriage as wedding assistants. Unions unregistered in the registry office formed against the sacred commandments are not approved by the Orthodox Church.

Ancient traditions and rules of the church rite

Traditions, the rules of the church wedding practically did not change over time. Depending on the location of the sacrament, the ceremony lasts from 40 minutes in the parish church to 60 minutes in the monastery. All participants in the sacrament must be baptized or undergo the baptismal rite, otherwise they are not allowed to be married. A few days before the sacrament, you must go to church: confess, take communion. Immediately before the ceremony, you can not eat, have sex.

Church Rite Supplies

According to the canons of the Orthodox Church, during the wedding, the witness must be dressed in a dress or skirt covering her knees, her head covered with a scarf or scarf. Deep necklines, bare shoulders, overly explicit outfits are strictly prohibited for women. The witness is in a church without a headdress. In case of violation of these rules, the clergyman may not allow the guarantors to the ceremony or completely refuse to hold the sacrament.

According to tradition, the church ceremony takes place in several stages:

  • Betrothal. At the entrance to the church, the clergyman conducting the wedding blesses the newlyweds three times, reciting prayers, and presents lighted candles and rings. After the ritual of engagement, the young officially become the bride and groom.
  • Wedding. The betrothed couple passes to the center of the church, stands in front of the lectern on a white towel embroidered with prayers. Witnesses stand on either side of the bride and groom. The priest begins the ceremony: reads prayers, lays crowns on the heads of the newlyweds, or they are held by guarantors. Then the bride and groom take a drink of wine, exchange sacred vows. The ceremony ends with a procession around the analogue three times, symbolizing the entry into a new family life. The priest takes off the crowns, blesses the newly made spouses.
  • Resolution of the crowns. After the wedding, a prayer begins, containing wishes, prayers to God to preserve the marital union for many years, bless the newlyweds in family life. At the end of the prayer, the priest conducts the absolution: takes the candles from the spouses, congratulates them on the joy of receiving the blessing of the union from the Lord, takes them on a pulpit so that the young spouses kiss the icons of Christ and Our Lady.
  • Thanksgiving service. At the end of the wedding on a pulpit in front of the royal gates, a thanksgiving service begins, after which all those present are blessed to leave the temple. Church bells begin to ring, announcing common joy, grace.

The wedding ceremony of the newlyweds is currently underway, including all four stages. During the ceremony, photos and videos of the process are allowed. Close relatives, guests of the newlyweds can attend the ceremony, watch the sacrament. Beautiful wedding ceremony of a young couple after the wedding, see the video:

Duties of Witnesses in the Sacrament

During the performance of the church sacrament, witnesses have certain responsibilities. The rules and actions that the assistants to the newlyweds will have to carry out are determined, negotiated in advance with the Orthodox clergyman of the chosen church, so that during the ceremony there will not be various overlays, problems.

Traditional responsibilities of wedding guarantors:

  • Serve Wedding Rings.
  • Lay a white towel in front of the lectern.
  • Keep crowns over the heads of the bride and groom.
  • Accompany the newlyweds during the three-time procession.
  • Help gather bouquets after the ceremony.

What is customary to give young?

A wedding is a religious ceremony that unites the souls of the newlyweds before God and people to the end of their lives. After the ceremony, newlyweds are given special gifts: icons and coins with the faces of saints, patronizing young married couples, a gift-wrapped bible, lamps, shelves for the iconostasis, candle holders for church candles, a journey through the shrines.

Gifts for the young after the wedding

A popular gift for a married couple - wedding icons:

  • «Family icon», which depicts the Mother of God with the faces of saints patronizing the newlyweds.
  • Icon of Saints Peter and Fevronia protecting the marriage of a young couple.
  • «Baby kickback» - an icon with the image of the Mother of God, patronizing young mothers, women who want to have children.

Is it possible to get married without witnesses?

The presence of witnesses at the wedding is a tradition, not a statutory canon of the Orthodox Church. If a young couple finds it difficult to choose the guarantors of the rite, then the sacrament can be performed only with their participation. It is imperative to stipulate these circumstances in advance with the clergyman who will conduct the church wedding.

A wedding is a sacrament that binds inextricable bonds not only between the newlyweds, but creates a special connection between the bride and groom and the witnesses of the rite. The selection of sponsors for the ceremony means recognition of the full confidence of the newlyweds in these people. The spiritual connection between them will last for many years, to serve as the basis for mentoring and leadership of the married life of the newlyweds..