Marriage thus has an intrinsically Eucharistic character. The couple offer themselves up to each other, give themselves to each other and are received and blessed by God in unity just as in the Eucharist the Church offers up all of creation, Christ gives himself totally and the Church enters into a blessed union with Christ in which she is brought into the love of the Father and the life of the Spirit. Marriage and the Eucharist have been joined in the understanding of the Church since the very earliest days.
June 3, 1989.
Sometimes in life, a man is given a gift, that at the time of reception he truly appreciates, and yet because he is young, inexperienced, and thick-headed, he does not fully understand the sheer and utter depth of its importance, impact, and blessing. Such was my case as I stood, anxious, sweating, and in sheer overwhelmedness (if that is a word) as I watched a beautiful woman, walk down the aisle of Hope Lutheran Church with her father, on a warm summer day in 1989.
On that priceless day (other than on the days when I received the gifts of Holy Baptism and Chrismation) I truly became the richest, most blest, man on the face of the earth. No gift on this planet, in this universe, is as precious to me as my wife Mary Kathryn. No created or uncreated thing or person, means more to me than her presence in my life. No one, other than the Holy Trinity itself, will ever have my devotion, love, obedience and faithfulness than her. Her, and her alone. I walk with you my dear wife, in this life, and will walk with you forever in the life to come.
Mary Kathryn, for all that you are, for all that you mean to me, for all that you are to me, for all that you have given to me, and to the blessed fruit of our love, our five children. My love, life and devotion are for you – and you alone. Like the founding fathers of this nation, I pledge you: my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor.
Over and over again. A million times. Together we walk hand in hand, crowned with the Martyrs Crowns, leading and guiding our precious family to the gates of paradise.
The service of the Crowning, which follows, is the climax of the Orthodox Wedding service. The crowns are signs of the glory and honor with which God crowns them during the Mystery. The groom and the bride are crowned as the king and queen of their own little kingdom, the home – domestic church, which they will rule with fear of God,wisdom,justice and integrity.When the crowning takes place the priest, taking the crowns and holding them above the couple, says:”The servants of God, (names), are crowned in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” The crowns used in the Orthodox wedding service refer to the crowns of martyrdom since every true marriage involves immeasurable self-sacrifice on both sides.
Nothing matters more to me. Nothing.
I love you, now and forever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.