Monday, October 20, 2008

The Betrothal and entrance

In an Orthodox wedding, the betrothal (formal engagement) happens first. In our wedding, we honored the Russian tradition of the bride's family going to the groom's home. The priests kept Tyrone behind the iconostasis (icon screen), in the alter for an hour before the ceremony. Suzanne's parents and her attendants walked outside and in through the front door to meet the priests and Tyrone at the entrance of the church. At that point the rings were officially exchanged. The maid of honor (Lisa) took the rings from the bible and put Ty's on Suzanne's hand and Suzanne's on Ty's hand. Then she exchanged them three times and put them on the proper person's right hand. Many prayers were said, answered with "lord have mercy" by the choir.

Once the rings were exchanged, Tyrone and Suzanne, carrying candles, entered the church behind the priests and followed by their attendants. Since women don't go into the alter, a portable alter is used for weddings. After the betrothal, Ty and Suzanne marched in to the portable alter.

Many friends have asked me, "How do you reconcile the fact that women aren't allowed in the alter and can't be priests with your feminism?" My answer is "love". In His wisdom, God made us different. There are many places where I can go and Ty cannot follow. Ty can't have girls night out, a pregnancy, friendships as a female with a female mind, a connection to the cycles of the earth that is natural for women, etc. Likewise, there are places Ty goes that I cannot follow.

While we are both icons of Christ (made in His image), the corporate Jesus was a man and therefore men have a special role in the church. Christ wasn't a man because he thought little of women, He just is. Men are priests. They have that special role in the church. Father Adam (the Greek one with the glasses), said to me, "when Jesus went into Jerusalem he was on the back of an ass. The ass carried our Lord to the people, a sign of peace. As a priest, I'm the ass carrying Christ to the people. If I thought they were waving palms for me, I'd be a fool." Priests are messengers and stand-ins for Jesus. Some clergy don't have humility in the presence of Christ. None of them officiated at our wedding. Such priests generally find another, better paying, line of work before completing seminary.

Back to the pictures. Many of our pictures have "white eye", and we cannot use them. Please send us pictures of the attendants, the guests, and the betrothal if you've got them. Thanks.

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