In the eyes of the Church, marriage is the sacramental union between a man and a woman that is used in the Bible as the image of God’s faithful love for ancient Israel (Isaiah 54; Jeremiah 3; Ezekiel 16) and Christ’s sacrificial relationship to the Church (Ephesians 5).
Holy Matrimony is a Sacrament of the Orthodox Christian Church in which a man and a woman are united together “in faith, in the oneness of mind, through and in love.” The Sacrament of Marriage is the Church’s recognition of a union that God has already begun to work with two-person lives. In marriage, the union enters a new reality, that of God’s Kingdom. It becomes open to the possibility of what God had intended marriage to be from the beginning: an eternal life of joy in union with Him.
For this reason in the Orthodox service, there are no vows exchanged. Marriage in Christ is beyond a legal contract. Nor is there the phrase, “till death do us part.” If marriage is brought into the Kingdom of God, death as separation has no power over it. Christ destroyed death by His Cross and proclaimed Life by His Resurrection, therefore the union of man and woman is eternal; it does not end with death.
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.