While in the last few centuries there have been particularly American Christians arguing against interracial/intercultural/international marriage (I believe the term is "kinism"), I do not know of this being a historical position of anyone in the church. But I may be ignorant of a long-standing doctrine in some group or from some person who holds to a similar idea.

Are there any doctrinal positions on interracial marriage in, say, the first 1000-1500 years of New Testament church history?

  • 1
    Would you accept an example of a marriage between a Goth and a Roman?
    – brianpck
    Commented Feb 15, 2017 at 16:44
  • @brianpck Sure, although I suspect that many kinists wouldn't consider that interracial and thus not a problem.
    – Birdie
    Commented Feb 15, 2017 at 23:08

2 Answers 2


Prohibitions by the Church of the sort you suggest would have appeared in the canons (or "rules") of the Church councils - either of local councils, convened by bishops in specific regions; or Ecumenical Councils, at which bishops from all five ancient Church Sees (Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem) attended.

The Church was more or less united for the first 1,000 years of its existence, with the exception of the Nestorian and Monophysite schisms in the 5th century.

During the first millennium, the so-called "Chalcedonian" Church on the other side of these schisms held seven Ecumenical councils, from 325 to 787. In addition, numerous local councils were held within the individual sees (e.g. Council of Carthage in 397). The canons of all seven Ecumenical Councils and a number of important local councils have been translated from Greek into English as part of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Church Fathers series.

There are almost 200 canons that came out of the Ecumenical Councils and an even greater number that arose from the various local councils. There are no canons from any of these councils that expressly forbid marriages between a man and a woman of different races or nationalities.

  • I will accept for now, but individual writers also existed who had statements not put into any church council. Your answer essentially ignores those and only goes for official church statements, which is understandable but not comprehensive. Thanks anyway.
    – Birdie
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 21:57
  • You asked specifically about prohibitions, not objections. Only Church councils would have put actual prohibitions into place.
    – guest37
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 22:08
  • You can prohibit something without having authority over the entirety of Christendom, whether in your local church or a non-authoritative prohibition in your writings. Plenty of authors over history have prohibited a variety of things without having a church council about it.
    – Birdie
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 11:52
  • Can you provide some examples?
    – guest37
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 15:03
  • For example, Chrysostom's 24th homily on Romans, he says "do not curiously deck your flesh with clothing, lest you ruin it." A prohibition on extravagant clothing.
    – Birdie
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 5:19

I know of no examples of any theologian, preacher, teacher, bishop, etc. during that said time that forbade what we now call interracial marriage. In fact the concept that we have of race would have been foreign to them.

  • 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. And for some tips on writing good answers here, see: What makes a good supported answer? Meanwhile, I hope you'll browse some of the other questions and answers on this site. Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 17:00
  • "In fact the concept that we have of race would have been foreign to them" - Can you explain?
    – guest37
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 4:55

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