My Catholic daughter will marry an Orthodox boy in an Orthodox church in Macedonia. After this ceremony we will go to Slovakia to continue the celebration. Can we celebrate a Mass in a Catholic church (not a wedding) and repeat the promise to God to validate the wedding?

  • It seems this question is simply: "Does the Catholic Church recognize Orthodox wedding vows."
    – user3961
    Commented May 4, 2015 at 0:24
  • @fredsbend: Maybe, although an answer to your question is given in my answer and comment below.
    – Geremia
    Commented May 4, 2015 at 4:29
  • @fresbend No, the question is a bit more complicated than that, because it involves a Catholic marrying a non-Catholic. (Frankly, this is a pastoral advice question. The solution would be for the woman to obtain permission from her bishop for a mixed marriage—which is readily given—and to ask for a dispensation from canonical form. No need for a convalidation afterwards.) Commented May 5, 2015 at 7:14

4 Answers 4


According to the Catholic Church, your daughter's marriage to a non-Catholic, without her bishop's permission, is invalid; so she would absolutely need to marry in the Catholic Church.

From the section "Mixed Marriages" of the Code of Canon Law:

Can. 1124 Without express permission of the competent authority, a marriage is prohibited between two baptized persons of whom one is baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it after baptism and has not defected from it by a formal act and the other of whom is enrolled in a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church considers any Eastern Orthodox "not in full communion with the Catholic Church;" they are schismatics.

Your daughter can get permission to marry a non-Catholic from her Catholic bishop. Your daughter would have to

[Can. 1125 §1] …declare that…she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church.

And her fiancé

[§2] …is to be informed at an appropriate time about the promises which the Catholic party [your daughter] is to make, in such a way that it is certain that he…is truly aware of the promise and obligation of the Catholic party [your daughter].

Both your daughter and her fiancé

[§3] …are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage which neither of the contracting parties is to exclude.

  • 4
    It would be illicit, wouldn't it? Not invalid, surely. Commented May 4, 2015 at 1:27
  • @Mr.Bultitude: If she didn't receive her bishop's permission, it's invalid. "Can. 1108 §1. Only those marriages are valid which are contracted before the local ordinary, pastor, or a priest or deacon delegated by either of them, who assist, and before two witnesses according to the rules expressed in the following canons and without prejudice to the exceptions mentioned in cann. ⇒ 144, ⇒ 1112, §1, ⇒ 1116, and ⇒ 1127, §§1-2."
    – Geremia
    Commented May 4, 2015 at 4:15
  • 1
    @Geremia The permission for a mixed marriage (i.e., between Catholic and baptized non-Catholic) affects only liceity, not validity. See the same commentary on page 1344. Between a baptized Catholic and non-baptized party there is what is called a diriment impediment —a condition that makes marriage impossible unless the impediment is dispensed. Between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic there is no such impediment. Commented May 5, 2015 at 7:29
  • 1
    @Geremia Ordinarily, the impediment due to lack of canonical form would apply (Can. 1108), but Canon 1127 carves out a special exception for marriages between Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. Hence, no matter what happens, barring a different kind of impediment (e.g., a previous marriage on the part of one of the parties), the marriage in question here will be valid. I would, of course, heartily recommend asking for the necessary permissions to make the celebration of the marriage licit as well. Commented May 5, 2015 at 7:36
  • 2
    @Geremia He can’t be delegated, but a dispensation or exemption from canonical form can be given. The impediment due to lack of canonical form is imposed by Canon Law, not by natural law, so Canon Law can carve out exceptions, as in Canon 1127. Marrying an Orthodox is not communicatio in sacris, because Canon Law does not prohibit this celebration (as it would prohibit, say, a Catholic priest from concelebrating the Divine Liturgy with an Orthodox priest). Commented May 6, 2015 at 10:06

This is going to be tricky. The Orthodox Church's rules on mixed marriages are similar to those of the Roman Church. If a Catholic is marrying an Orthodox Christian in the Church she will be required to agree that the children will be raised Orthodox. This is a major reason why religiously mixed marriages are discouraged, especially if/when both parties have strong beliefs. major


If an Orthodox spouse were to agree to a marriage ceremony in a Roman Catholic church (either before or after an Orthodox wedding), the Orthodox spouse would place themselves outside the Communion of the Orthodox Church - i.e. they would (knowingly or unknowingly) excommunicate themselves. If this was done knowingly, it would likely take a long time and sincere and active repentance for the Orthodox spouse to be received back into the Orthodox Church: they have effectively apostatized to Roman Catholicism.


I will say if you want to know more here it is from a catholic perspective:


Now I will say that in the eastern rite (Byzantines such a Maronites, Catholics, ukrainian greek catholic greek catholic, Russian Catholics, Ruthuanian catholics, armenian catholics, Melkite Catholics, Syriac Catholics, etc.) only a priest can marry a couple, Just like the orthodox. Traditionally in the traditional latin mass only a priest perform the mass of the marriage ceremony to marry a couple (which is the mass I attend to). Not the deacon.

But this website clarifies for many the question it is directly from the bishops in the United States.

For more questions Pkease ask your Catholic or if you are Orthodox your Orthodox Priest for further clarification.

  • 1
    Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview, please take the Site Tour. For more on what this site is all about, see: How we are different than other sites. Thanks for offering an answer here. Your answer would be greatly improved if you summarized or quoted key relevant passages from the linked material relating to the specific question asked, about celebrating a mass or wedding in a Catholic Church after being married in an Orthodox Church. Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 16:53
  • For some tips on writing good answers here, please see: What makes a good supported answer? Meanwhile, I hope you'll browse some of the other questions and answers on this site. Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 16:53

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