An orthodox wedding ceremony, either an Eastern or Greek orthodox wedding, involves a lot of symbolic activities. Imagine having those activities in one of Italy’s most romantic and masterpiece Orthodox Churches in Florence, Rome or one close to St. Mark. An Orthodox wedding ceremony begins with the guidance of the wedding officiator and the Koumbaros (a role for a wedding sponsor and may also serve as the best man).
- Exchanging of the rings – This is a betrothal ceremony in which the rings are blessed and placed on the third finger of the right hand, after the recital of the bible passages by the priest. The rings are exchanged by the priest or koumbaros between the couple’s fingers three times (representing the Holy Trinity), symbolizing that they’ll compensate each other’s weakness.
- Candles and Hand-Holding – The couples are given lit candles to hold in their left hands for the remainder of the service, symbolizing the couple’s spiritual willingness to receive God’s blessings. Also, the priest joins the couple’s right hands together as he prays for their marriage.
- Stefana Crowning – Regarded as the centerpiece of the orthodox marriage ceremony, it symbolizes the marriage as a blessing from God as the koumbaros present the couple with two crowns joined by a white ribbon to symbolize the couple’s unity. The crowns are placed on the couple’s head by the priest as they face the altar, while the koumbaros swap the crowns on the couple’s head three times.
- Drinking from Common Cup – Based on the wedding of the Cana of Galilee where Jesus turned water to wine, the ritual of the common cup is where the couple takes three sips of wine from a shared cup to represent life and mutual sharing of joy and sorrow.
- Circling the Altar – The couple take their first step as a couple with the priest of koumbaro leading them as they dance-walk around the altar three times
- Traditional Blessings – The final ritual ceremony ends with parting blessings by the Priest.
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