June 4, 2011

An Ancient Christian Wedding In the Archdiocese of Ochrid

Theoni Paloglou
June 4, 2011

On the Sunday of the Blind Man (05/29/2011) a marriage was celebrated for two faithful children of the Archdiocese of Ochrid, Angel and Mirian, according to an ancient Christian custom and typikon. The Holy Mystery was embedded within the celebration of the Divine Liturgy so that they occurred during the same time, where two Epistle and two Gospel readings took place (that of the Blind Man and that of the Wedding of Cana).

The wedding took place at the Holy Monastery of Saint Prochorus (11th cent.), five hundred meters outside of the borders of FYROM, southern Serbia. That it is outside of the Archdiocese of Ochrid, with its centuries old churches and monasteries, is held by those in error.

The newlyweds stood before the Holy Iconostasis, the groom in front of the icon of Christ and the bride in front of the Panagia, each holding their own candle. The crowns used were from the sacristy of the monastery, with the appearance of Royal crowns, but made of simple metal.

The Mystery was officiated by His Eminence the Bishop of Bregkalnitsas and Vicar of Bitola, Heraklion and all Pelagonia Mark, and the Assistant Bishop of the Archbishopric of Ochrid His Grace Stoviou, and the deputy of Stromonitsa and Dovirou David, together with hieromonks, priests and deacons of the Church of Serbia and Ochrid.

A group of Greek guests, we in Thessaloniki, had the pleasure and blessing to be there and watch with surprise and awe this sacred ancient ritual of worship of the pious Orthodox people, and to be renewed in our faith.

Those who attended the wedding, family, friends and guests of the groom of the same faith from Serbia, Ukraine and elsewhere, were all humble and modest in appearance, attentive to the event. Only we, the Greeks, stood out in suits and formal wear. Here people do not give "two cents", as our people say, to the unnecessary and redundant, but only to the substance of the thing. We did not seen jewelery or cosmetics, or decorations in the church and yard, nor cake nor champagne, nor favors and rice. Neither a bride dressing in the house, and such and such.

We only saw the reverence and respect for those people for whom they came to give love and extend their wishes, for these young kids starting their married lives.

After the dismissal there followed a hospitality treat in the Abbacy, something like the Love Feast of the first Christians, and then there was a dinner in a restaurant in the town of Kumanovo.

Translated by John Sanidopoulos