I read somewhere a couple of years ago that Eastern Orthodox believe marriages contracted on earth, remain in place in heaven (however it is impossible to get married once you arrive in heaven). Whereas Catholics believe that marriages are dissolved at death and everyone in heaven is single.

I also heard that Eastern Orthodox allow divorce, but I don't understand how that fits with the "eternal marriage that persists even after death" theology I described above.

Is my understanding of catholic and orthodox marriages correct? More generally, what is the difference between the Catholic and Orthodox understanding of marriage?

  • and everyone in heaven is singl is a slight mischaracterization of Catholic teaching, and I do not understand why you have the heresy tag in this question, so I removed it. Commented May 15, 2020 at 13:13

1 Answer 1


I've never heard or read anything about marriage similar to what you quote (i.e. that marriages contracted on earth remain in place in heaven). I've looked through the Longer Catechism of Philaret, Elder Cleopas' Truth of Our Faith (Vol. 2), and Protopresbyter Michael Pomazanski's Orthodox Dogmatic Theology (3rd ed.) and haven't encountered such a teaching. You can read the Service of Marriage online here - I don't think you will find any suggestion of what you are saying.

Within the Eastern Orthodox Church a marriage can be dissolved "chiefly when it has been defiled by adultery, or when it has been destroyed by conditions of life (for example, long absence of one spouse, without word."1. Generally only a second marriage is permitted, although a third may be "tolerated only as a lesser evil to avoid a greater evil", as taught by St. Basil the Great2 (also a Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church):

We look on third marriages as disgraceful to the Church, but do not absolutely condemn them, as being better than a vague fornication.3

1 Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, p.307.
2 Ibid.
3 Canon L, Second Canonical Epistle

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