Marriage rites

The marriage rite is preceded by a short betrothal rite consisting of Psalm 4, scripture readings and a prayer. The prayer texts for the actual rite for marriage, or the putting on of crowns, vary in the manuscript tradition. Psalm 21 is followed by readings from Genesis, Isaiah, Ephesians, Matthew and John. A number of prayers follow, alluding to the themes of creation and the wedding at Cana in Galilee, asking that the couple be kept spotless, be fruitful, and attain the joy of the heavenly bridal chamber. The couple are crowned with the crown of comeliness. In some manuscripts the crowning prayer is much richer, and alludes to Old Testament types.

The more recent rites have included as part of betrothal the presentation and blessing of gifts (now abandoned), the blessing of robes, and joining of hands. And in the marriage rite itself, the blessing of a common cup, which seems to have been an imitation of Byzantine practice, has not survived.

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