I don’t know what says “Love” like converting to a different faith or religion entirely. Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe two different ideologies under one roof can exist in perfect harmony. That all depends on how open both parties involved plan to be. My siblings and I grew up in a biracial household – my dad’s Greek and Mom’s Mexican. While very different, we were raised to see the similarities. This taught us to see how our experiences connected us to others and not how they set us apart.
For me, I always knew I would be married in the Greek Orthodox Church. And not just because “I’m supposed to”, or because “it’s tradition” or just because “I was baptized Greek Orthodox.” Faith has always been number one in my life. In adolescence, my Catholic mother was our spiritual leader. And although I was a little heathen for much of my youth, I always felt a strong spiritual connection to the Divine. Especially when I would step into an Orthodox Church.
We never know who we’ll eventually end up with, but it’s always encouraged to set standards and criteria.
As for me, a Heinz57, All-American golfer type from Tomball, TX was not even remotely close to my list.
I swear 21 year old me is still scratching her head. I thought I’d be with someone Greek, Mexican, Latino, and if not Orthodox, at least Catholic. Because, that’s similar enough, right? But my human experience is about balancing dualities. And being with someone who is so much like me wasn’t going to help me grow the way I need to in this life.
Then I met Lance ♥️
Lucky for me, my fiance comes from a Christian household. However, anyone familiar with Protestant based faiths know that Baptist is pretty different from Catholic. And if it’s different than Catholicism, Orthodoxy looks like a completely different religion altogether! From the moment we started dating, I made it very clear that I would be getting married in the Orthodox church and would be raising my children in the Greek Orthodox faith.
Set your Standards
And he was up for the game plan. So when we got engaged in 2019, my dream was always to be married in Greece, in the Orthodox Church. But doing this with a non-Orthodox Christian would pose itself to be a delicate situation.
Basic criteria to marry in the Orthodox Church
- Both parties must be baptized Greek Orthodox and in good standing with the Orthodox Church
- If one party is not Orthodox, they must be a baptized Christian, in the name of the Holy Trinity.
- Copies of baptism certificates required
I never wanted Lance to convert for me. In fact, he wouldn’t have to. All we had to do was find his certificate confirming that he was baptized in the name of the Father, Son & the Holy Spirit. But little baptist churches in small town Texas don’t exactly keep great records, nor could his mom find their copy.
After a long heartfelt conversation about him only converting to the Orthodox faith if he felt it in his heart, (and a teary eyed confession of how incredibly humbled and honored I would be to convert someone to Orthodoxy), he decided to take part in the sacrament.
Doing all of this in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, meeting with our priest virtually over Skype, Zoom & FaceTime, and planning a baptismal with enough time to get documents from the Archdiocese, translated & sent to Greece by August2020 felt absolutely impossible. But we got it done, despite every hang up, and Lance was baptized an Orthodox Christian as Servant of God, Iordani, on June 14, 2020.
While we ended up having to postpone our wedding, this was the greatest act of love, honor, respect and commitment anyone has ever shown me. To lay down your life for Christ Jesus, to be born again in His Name, all so that husband and wife can raise a family to honor God, is a true blessing! While Lance made the decision to commit his life to Christ, it has made me more fervent in living my life according to God. I am forever grateful.
If you, or anyone you know, might be interested in learning more about the Orthodox faith, in particular the Greek Orthodox rite, please check out the following links.