Our son, Jason, married Katrina nearly two weeks ago in London. As Katrina’s Dad was born in Cyprus and as most of his relatives live there, a second wedding celebration was enjoyed with them near Paphos in Cyprus. This involved a Wedding ceremony in a Greek Orthodox Church with a traditional Greek Byzantium service. It is an ancient service, celebrated in this form for centures. A further insight into a different culture’s celebrations was witnessed. The service consisted of
- The Service of Betrothal
- The Sacrament of Marriage
It was full of tradition and customs. Jason stood at the entrance to the church, holding Katrina’s bouquet of flowers, waiting for her to arrive. She was dressed in traditional white with simple adornments. He handed her the bouquet and together they entered the church.
The whole service was chanted in ancient Greek. The service of Betrothal involved the exchange of rings. The Ceremony of the Sacrament of Marriage involved:
- the lighting of the candles
- the joining of hands
- the crowning – a focal point of the ceremony where wedding crowns (stefanas) are joined by a white ribbon symbolising the unity of the couple.
- The Common Cup
- The Cermonial Walk where the priest takes the Bride and Groom by the hand and leads them around the small table three times with the Best Man and Bridesmaid following. This symbolises the first steps as a married couple.
- The Benediction (blessing)
The church was historic, elaborately decorated and the floral arrangements added to softness to the atmosphere. At the conclusion of the service, small gifts were handed out to guests – jam macaroons, wrapped in foil. Guests then drove 30 minutes to a cousin’s award winning restaurant to share in the celebratory meal. The meal consisted of tasty mezes – or small dishes of a variety of foods.
The Greek people certainly love to dance, enjoy good foods and socialize. Some could speak English, others could not but it really did not matter as we were all there to celebrate the marriage of Jason and Katrina.
How does this compare to traditional weddings and ceremonies in your country? It was certainly very different to the traditional Australian wedding.