Through the Mysteries of Service, Priesthood and Marriage, Christians are consecrated to the service of the ecclesial community or to the domestic church. (Christ – Our Pascha, 407)

In the Holy Mysteries of Marriage and Holy Orders, the Christian receives the grace of the Holy Spirit for the building up of the Church, the Body of Christ. In the Holy Mystery of Marriage, the Church blesses a man and woman called by Christ to create a domestic church—a Christian family. (Christ – Our Pascha, 470)

In the Holy Mystery of Marriage, a man and a woman, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, are united ito “one body” and form a Christian family – the “domestic Church.” This is a new life of two individuals in Christ, so marriage is an icon of authentic service, of the relationship of the Persons of the Most Holy Spirit. (We Walk with Christ: Youth Catechism, p. 112)

Marriage is based on the fact that the married couple mutually complements one another. The Church gives witness to this in a prayer of the Rite of Crowning: “Holy God, you created man from the dust and from his side fashioned a woman as a suitable helpmate for him, for such was the good pleasure of your majesty that man should not be alone on earth.” (Christ – Our Pascha, 472)

Through marriage the Lord accomplishes the history of salvation: You blessed your servant Abraham when you opened Sarah’s womb and made him the father of many nations [see Gn 12:1-13; 17:1-22; 18:1-16; 21:1-8; Rom 4:18]. You gave Rebecca to Isaac and blessed her childbearing [see Gn 24-25; 27]. You joined Jacob and Rachel and brought forth the twelve patriarchs from him [see Gn 29-31; 35]. You united Joseph and Asenath and gave them Ephrem and Manasseh, the fruit of their procreation [see Gn 41:44-52; 46:20]. You joined Zachariah and Elizabeth and gave them the Precursor of your own most pure Birth as their offspring [see Lk 1:5-25, 39-80]. From the root of Jesse, according to the flesh, you made the Ever-Virgin spring forth, and from her you became incarnate and were born for the salvation of the human race. (Christ – Our Pascha, 473)

Granting their love to each other, they grant it to Christ, and granting it to Christ, they grant it to each other. In this mutual gift of love they grow together into one Body of Christ (see Eph 5:31-32). (Christ – Our Pascha, 475)

The mutual marital love of a husband and wife is the power and foundation for the growth of strong families and the creation of healthy societies. (Christ – Our Pascha, 475)

The Rite of Crowning is preceded by the Betrothal. In the narthex of the church, those intending to marry declare their decision before the priest. As a sign of their betrothal, he places a ring on the hand of each and pronounces the words of prayer: “O Lord our God … Bless now the betrothal of your servants. Affirm the words spoken by them and strengthen them with the sacred unity that comes from you … Confirm their betrothal in faith and harmony, in truth and love.” The rings symbolize the power of the Lord’s love, which fortifies the love of the betrothed. The Church prays that “the angel [of the Lord] go before them all the days of their lives.” (Christ – Our Pascha, 477)

The betrothed, placing their hands upon the Gospel Book, make their wedding vows before God. These are promises of “love, fidelity, and honour in marriage.” They commit not to leave each other “until death.” However, the steadfast foundation of the marriage union is not only the consent of the betrothed, but first of all the power of God… The priest confirms the vows of the bride and groom with the words: “What God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mk 10:9). (Christ – Our Pascha, 479)

The priest completes the rite by crowning the groom and bride, blessing them thrice, and proclaiming: “Lord our God, crown them with glory and honour.” The crowns are a symbol of the dignity of human persons—men and women—created “a little while lower than the angels,” with everything put in subjection under their feet (see Ps 8:6-7; see Heb 2:7) and called by God to be co-creators with him, receiving progeny from him. The crowns are also a symbol of the couple’s victory over sensual desire during courtship: they subjected their bodily passions to marital love. Likewise, they symbolize the crowns of martyrdom, testifying to a fidelity to Christ’s love unto death. (Christ – Our Pascha, 480)

The asceticism of Christian marriage is also presented in the troparia sung before the removal of the crowns. In the first troparion we hear the words: “Dance, Isaiah: the Virgin has conceived in her womb and has borne a Son, Emmanuel, who is God and man…” The Church rejoices in the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah about Emmanuel—God-with-us—coming into the new marriage and dwelling there as in a domestic church. In the second troparion, “O holy martyrs, you suffered gloriously and have received your crowns…,” the Church asks the holy martyrs for their intercession. She prays that Christ, the “apostles’ boast and the martyrs’ joy” (as sung in the third troparion), become the boast and joy of this couple, so that in their marriage they may imitate the sacrificial love of the martyrs and proclaim the consubstantial Trinity. (Christ – Our Pascha, 481)

Removing the crowns from their heads, the priest prays that Christ would receive the couple’s crowns in his kingdom, and “keep them unblemished, undefiled, and unassailed for ever and ever.” This is a sign that by the power of Christ the marital love of the couple is stronger than death and will endure for ages. The Rite of Crowning concludes with the blessing of the couple in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, of whom they are called to be an icon. (Christ – Our Pascha, 482)

If, however, it is too burdensome for the widower or widow to remain without a marital relationship, the Church can give a blessing for a second crowning. When a widower marries a widow (that is, when both of the spouses have previously been married), the Church blesses their marriage with a special Rite of Second Crowning. Some of the prayers of this Rite have a penitential character. The priest prays: “Cleanse the iniquities of your servants who find themselves unable to bear the heat and the daily burden of passion, and so are coming together in second marriage. Such was the injunction you gave through your apostle Paul” (see 1 Cor 7:9; 7:39). (Christ – Our Pascha, 482)

The holy Church highly values the witness of those married couples who have shared their lives together for twenty-five, fifty, or seventy-five years. She solemnly and publicly blesses them, thanking the Lord for their witness to mutual fidelity and love, and presents them as a living model for other married couples. (Christ – Our Pascha, 483)
Saint John Chrysostom calls a marriage a little Church, which walks before the face of God both day and night. (Christ – Our Pascha, 856)

Marriage is an icon of Christ’s Church, which gives birth to people for eternal life. (Christ – Our Pascha, 870)

A particular responsibility in marriage lies in the planning of births, which is related to the parents’ ability to provide their children an appropriate upbringing, having ensured their proper physical and spiritual development. (Christ – Our Pascha, 872)