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The Wedding Sacrament



 A couple desiring to be married should first contact the church office to schedule an appointment with the parish priest. It is preferable to schedule both your wedding date and meetings with the parish priest at least six months prior to the desired date so that scheduling conflicts can be avoided.  Weddings may not be celebrated during the fasting seasons or the major feast days of our Church:

o    During Great Lent and Holy Week

o    August 1-15 ( Dormition of Blessed Virgin Mary

o    August 29 (Beheading of St. John the Baptist)

o    September 14 (Exaltation of the Holy Cross)

o    December 13-25 (Christmas Advent)


Nor are marriages celebrated on the day before and the day of a Great Feast of the Lord, including Theophany (January 5 and 6), Pascha, Pentecost, and Christmas (December 24 and 25).




1.     At least one of the couple to be married is an Orthodox Christian baptized and or chrismated in the Orthodox Church and committed to Christ and as a steward.

2.     The intended spouse, if not Orthodox, be a Christian baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as commanded by the Lord (Matthew 28:19) because of the sacramental nature of the marriage bond (in which a couple not only pledge their love for each other but also their love for Christ) a wedding between an Orthodox Christian and a non-Christian may not be celebrated in the Church.

3.     No person may marry more than three times in the Church, with permission for a third mar­riage granted only with extreme cases.



The following documentation is needed to insure that your wedding will meet the criteria established by the Church and local civil authorities:

1.     Verification of the baptism and stewardship commitment of the Orthodox spouse(s);

2.     Verification of the baptism of the non-Orthodox spouse in a Christian community that baptizes in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (for example, the Roman Catholic and, traditionally, mainline Protestant churches such as the Lutheran and Episcopalian communities);

3.     An ecclesiastical marriage license  (Download the  Ecclesiastical Marriage License); and

4.     A civil marriage license.


Please note that because of the separation of Church and state, two marriage licenses are necessary, one for the Church and one for the state.




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St. Nectarios is a parish of Metropolis of San Francisco of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America


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Sunday Morning Liturgy

9:00 AM Orthros

10:00 AM Liturgy



        Paraklesis (service)

        to Saint Nectarios  7:00 PM


Church is open:

       Monday thru Friday

       9:00 AM – 4:00 PM


       9:00 AM – 2:00 PM


Our services are in

       Greek & English


Office Hours:

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM


Email Address:





If either of the parties has been previously married, the death certificate of the deceased spouse or the civil divorce decree issued by the state must be presented to the parish priest.  If the prior marriage was celebrated in the Orthodox Church and ended in divorce, then an ecclesiastical divorce decree must also be presented.



The Wedding Sponsor (koumbaros or koumbara) must be an Orthodox Christ­ian in good standing with the Church and only they can exchange the wedding rings and crowns, if they are not members of Saint Nectarios, they must provide a letter of good standing from their parish. A person who does not belong to a parish, or who belongs to a parish under the jurisdiction of a bishop who is not in communion with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, or who, if mar­ried, has not had his or her marriage blessed by the Orthodox Church, or, if divorced, has not received an ecclesiastical divorce, cannot be a sponsor. Non-Orthodox persons may be members of the wedding party.













Care should be taken in selecting the bride’s dress.  Since the wedding crowns are an integral part of the wedding ceremony, headpieces must not interfere with the proper placing of the crowns on the brides’ head.  The bridal gown and attendant’s dresses should also exercise a decorum befitting a Church ceremony.


Marchesa Notte x BHLDN lace column wedding dress with cape










Among the items necessary to celebrate one’s marriage in the Church are the following:

1.       A pair of rings

2.       A pair of “stefana” or wedding crowns

3.       A pair of white candles.

4.       Silver Tray (the parish can provide one)



STEFANA Greek Stefana Gold Plated Orthodox Greek Wedding Crowns / Greek tiaras with swarovski

Excellent Silver (.925) Standing Bowl in Ancient Greek Style. Weight 254gr




Organ Music:   Although it is not essential to the celebration of this sacrament, organ music has become a customary part of the wedding service in Greek Orthodox parishes in America.  The organist may play as guests enter the Church, a processional for the wedding party and the bride and a recessional at the conclusion of the service.  Please email the church office if you would like Organ Music.


Chanting: Is an integral part of the wedding service in the Greek Orthodox Church as the chanter responds to the prayers and chants the hymns of the Wedding Service.









Photographs of your wedding are permitted but should not in any way impede or distract from the celebration of the sacrament.



In your meetings with the priest, which consist of at least three meetings, he will discuss the sacramental nature of the marriage bond, the Christian understanding of marriage as it is expressed in the Scriptures and the marriage service itself.   In cases where one of the spouses is not Orthodox, the couple should plan to attend one of the many educational classes held at St. Nectarios.






Explanation of the Sacrament

The celebration of the sacrament of marriage is made up of the Service of Betrothal and the Service of Crowning. The text of these two services summarizes in words, images and symbols the Orthodox Christian teaching regarding marriage.



The Rings

The rings are an ancient symbol of the couple’s commitment to one another and their desire to enter into the covenant relationship of marriage. As the Prayer of Betrothal indicates, in the Scriptures, rings were given as signs of commitment, authority and forgiveness. After being blessed by the priest the rings are exchanged between bride and groom. This exchange signifies that in married life the weaknesses of one partner will be compensated for by the strengths of the other.



The Candles

The bride and groom are given candles to hold during the service. The candles symbolize Christ, “the light of the world,” and the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost that must burn in the hearts of the bride and groom to light and guide their path throughout life.





The Joining of Hands

The priest joins the right hands of the bride and groom while saying a prayer asking God to unite them in oneness of mind and heart. The bride and groom keep their hands joined throughout the rest of the service to symbolize their unity as a couple in God.









The Crowning

The crowns are symbols of the glory and honor that God bestows upon His faithful people. They are attached to each other by a white ribbon symbolizing the marital unity being entered into by the bride and groom. They are the “crowns of righteousness” spoken of by the apostle Paul in his Second Letter to Timothy, given on the Day of Judgment to those who are faithful to Christ. The bride and groom are crowned as king and queen of their own household which they must rule responsibly, with love and wisdom. The crowns also symbolize martyrdom and sacrifice. Throughout marriage, husband and wife must be willing to sacrifice themselves for one another in imitation of Christ sacrificing Himself for us.





The Scripture Readings

As part of the wedding service, there are two specific readings from the New Testament. The first is from the apostle Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians 5:20-33, which describes the relationship between the bride and groom as an image of the relationship of sacrificial love that Christ has for the Church. The second reading is taken from the Gospel of John 2:1-11, which describes the first miracle of the Lord Jesus as taking place at a wedding in Cana of Galilee to which He, His mother Mary and His disciples had been invited. It is here, at the urging of His mother, the Theotokos, that He changes water into wine so that the celebration of the marriage feast may continue, thus beginning His ministry and the revelation of His glory.





The Common Cup

The bride and groom drink from a cup of wine given to them by the priest in remembrance of Christ’s miracle of changing water into wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee and symbolizing their sharing in the cup of life together with all its joys and sorrows.






The Procession around the Table

The priest leads the bride and groom around the wedding table as an expression of joy and celebration. The hymns during this procession specifically refer to the prophet Isaiah prophesying the birth of Christ, as well as the apostles and early Christian martyrs bearing witness to Christ and His Gospel by their preaching and teaching, even at the sacrifice of their own lives. Husband and wife take their first steps as a married couple in the Church, following a path marked by the good news of the Gospel.





The Removal of the Crowns

Near the very end of the service, the crowns adorning the couple are removed by the priest, as he remembers in prayer Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca and Jacob and Rachel, and asks God to receive their crowns in his Heavenly Kingdom. He then instructs the bride and groom to “go in peace, doing the commandments of God.”




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