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Marriage In Orthodoxy
by John Adamovich

The Adult Sunday Class viewed a six part taped lecture series entitled 'Marriage: A Path to Salvation' hosted by Father John Mack. Father John, priest of Sts Peter and Paul Church in Topeka, Kansas, is a former Protestant minister who converted, along with his young family, to Orthodoxy a few years ago. Prior to converting, Father John, along with his pastor father, ministered to couples with failing marriages. He was disappointed that after twenty years of his father's ministering to these souls that their divorce rates mirrored that of the society in general, which now average fifty five percent of all first marriages dissolving.

The first tape, and by far the most intriguing for those unfamiliar with marriage in an Orthodox setting, starts by describing briefly that mentioned above. Father John then mentions that all other mainstream Christian groups view marriage as a legal contract. That contract, as described in the vows, states that the marriage is legal and binding until the death of one or both partners. Father John contrasts that with the Orthodox understanding of marriage as a sacrament that is performed to the marrying couple by the Holy Spirit, and that it is permanent even in the heavenly realm.

Other tapes in the series describe marriage in terms of mystery, as an icon, as martyrdom and the nature of marriage. By the group's reaction, everyone agreed that marriage is and should be compared to martyrdom. The most memorable part of that tape is reminding us that we think our marriage is a huge cross to bear, when in reality (compared to the Cross Jesus bore many earthly years ago in Jerusalem and even today) it is much smaller.

The companion paperback text and workbook 'Preserve Them, O Lord', written also by Fr. John, gives premarital counseling for the engaged and encouragement for married couples. Many of the exercises are designed to promote true communication. For engaged couples, or married couples that have not matured in their communication with each other, the workbook questions allow each person to share their feelings, ideas, and ideal partner personalities about such important things as children, money and future plans.

The tape series will be available for viewing (first come, first served) to those that were not able to see it at church. Please ask me, John Adomovich, to place your name on the waiting list. The tapes are enthusiastically being borrowed. An incredible bargain is now offered by The Christian Activist (URL http:/www.tcal.org/availx.htm) publishing organization; the six tape video series and manual are being offered for only thirty five dollars. The group's consensus is that this tape series should definitely be viewed by those engaged, but is of great benefit to all adults, married or not.

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