Marriage rites

The marriage service, as in all eastern rites, comprises the betrothal and the marriage. The betrothal consists of:

1 Consent. A woman (in older tradition) is sent to the bride's house, offering a ring.

2 Joining of hands by the priest, in the home.

The marriage liturgy has four parts:

1 The blessing of a cup of wine with hnana, dust from a saint's tomb. The blessing includes the placing of a cross and a ring in the cup, and drinking from the cup.

2 Blessing of the marriage clothes

3 Crowning of bride and groom

4 Blessing of the bed chamber.

The texts of the service view marriage as another Cana of Galilee. The imagery of Christ the bridegroom is adopted and amalgamated with the imagery from the Book of Revelation, where the lamb is slain, suggesting that the dowry is a costly sacrifice and demonstration of pure love - the blood of the covenant. The ring is a type of 'the ring' which features in salvation history - of Joseph, of Rebecca, and of the Church espoused to Christ. It carries the salvation history of all rings in scripture. The hnana is regarded as eschatological drink, appropriate for the eschatological symbolism of human marriage. The crowning represents royal status, and the bridal chamber takes on the role of the heavenly sanctuary.

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