1. Students should know the Scriptural pattern for marriage.
  2. Students should know the structure of the marriage ceremony and the meaning of each part.

Possible Lesson Plan:

1. Open with prayer.


2.  Scriptural references: Genesis 1:28, 2:20-24, Genesis 12:1-5, Genesis 24, Luke 1:5-58, Ephesians 5:20-33, John 2:1-12, Revelation 19:7-9


  1. The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is the sacrament of the family. What is the order of that sacrament?



1. Betrothal: The “natural” marriage at the vestibule of the Church when the husband and wife promise themselves to each other and rings are exchanged.

This takes place in the narthex since it is a worldly promise, but blessed by the priest, saying, “The servant of God (name) is betrothed to the handmaid of God (name) in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.”

2. Crowning: Special prayers remembering couples who have obeyed God, families in the genealogy of Jesus, and blessing this new family. He then places a crown on each head, saying, “The servant of God (name) is crowned unto the handmaid of God (name) in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

The crowns are a sign of the glory of God’s kingdom, and the bride and groom are crowned as king and queen of their own little kingdom, into which later children will be citizens.  The crowns have 3 meanings;

     King and Queen of Creation


     Crowns of the Kingdom

3. Prokimenon: Thou has set upon their heads crowns of precious stones; they asked life of Thee, and Thou gavest it them.”

We are called to rule well in our own little kingdom.

4. Epistle: Ephesians 5:20-33

Each marriage should mirror the way Christ loved the Church.

5. Gospel: John 2:1-12

As at the wedding at Cana, the only real joy is given through Jesus Christ.

6. Common Cup: Bride and groom drink wine from a common cup

Originally this was Holy Communion, a real sign of union in Jesus Christ

7. Procession: The priest leads the bride and groom 3 times around the center table, while the people sing 3 hymns: “Rejoice, O Isaiah! A Virgin is with child…”, “O holy Martyrs, who fought the good fight and have received your crowns…”, and “Glory to Thee, O Christ God, the apostle’s boast and the martyr’s joy”.

The procession is reminiscent of the journey of life; they will live together with God forever.

8. Removal of Crowns: The priest removes the crowns, saying, “Be exalted, O Bridegroom, like unto Abraham, and be blessed, like unto Isaac; and multiply, like unto Jacob; walking in peace and keeping the commandments of God in righteousness. And to the bride, “And thou, O Bride; Be exalted like unto Sarah, and exult like unto Rebecca, and multiply like unto Rachel, and rejoice in your husband, fulfilling the conditions of the law; for so it is well-pleasing to God.”

The crowns are removed as a symbol that now, invisibly crowned, they must begin their new life in the world.


4.   Songs of the feast:

      Try singing the prokimenon (It’s in the marriage service book.); it’s not too hard.


5.  Discussion questions:

What does God mean in Genesis when He says, “It is not good that man should be alone”? Which Old Testament couples are referred to in the wedding service? (Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel) Why? What are some other Old Testament families who shared heartache and God’s blessing (Review the stories of Noah, Hannah, Ruth, etc.) What other couples are mentioned? (Joachim and Anna, Zachariah and Elizabeth) Why?  How are these good or bad examples of godly marriage?

In what way are the newly crowned couple the King and Queen of Creation? What did God command Adam and Eve in the garden? Who will be the citizens of their new kingdom? What is a martyr? (a witness, willing to suffer or even die) In what way are a husband and wife martyrs to each other and their children? Do we marry for self-satisfaction (sexual or otherwise) or to give ourselves in love for the other? In what way are the crowns the crowns of the Kingdom? Where are the bride and groom really crowned, on earth (which is passing) or in heaven (which is the true, eternal kingdom)?

In what ways is a Christian marriage a partnership of equals? (We are all equal before God and both belong to the other.) Does equality mean identical roles? What is the role of husband, as discussed in Ephesians? What is the role of wife? How can that be played out in today’s society?

What about “living together” before marriage? Is marriage old-fashioned? Is marriage simply a legal contract? Is there a need in our post-Christian society for a good, Christian marriage? What is “married love”? (We share Christ’s love and love each other through His love for us, not just sex.) Can an Orthodox Christian marry a believer from another church? (yes, if baptized) A non-Christian? (no)

And what about divorce? Does the Church condone divorce? Under what circumstances? How should we treat divorced people? What if our own parents are divorced – how do we feel? How should we treat the stepparents we gain? Can divorced people remarry in the Church? (Yes, with decree of divorce.)

6.   Close with prayer.