Breathless as in “about to pass out”. We’re in a big flurry of last minute shoe shopping, small glitches that loom as large as insurmountable mountains and unexpected car performance issues. I’m sure you can all sympathize with the goings-on of the fun side of a wedding, but I feel that I should tell you about the religious aspect of the marriage that will be performed tomorrow.
Did I mention that tomorrow’s wedding is in a Melkite church? It’s hard for me to describe exactly what that is because its the church that Sami belonged to in Egypt and the USA. I joined when we were married and recognize the core elements from the Roman Catholic masses that I grew up with, but there’s more to it than that.
- Melkites are Eastern Rite , sometimes know as Byzantine Rite.
- Although they are Greek-based and Eastern Rite, they are not Orthodox.
- Their ceremonies, rites and rituals incorporate Greek and Mid Eastern teachings and symbols.
- Despite the Greek and Byzantine influences, they are a Mid Eastern religion.
- They’re Catholics, but not Roman Catholics. They are under the regular Pope (Roman) but they also have their own “patriarch” and system of bishops.
- All ceremonies are conducted three times: once in Arabic, once in Greek and in the USA once in English, making for long, long, long church events.
- If it’s possible to gild it or stick an enormous precious stone onto it, then yes by all means.
That last one was cultural, not religious. For instance, you know the utterly charming Greek marriage symbol of Crowning? Maybe you saw it in My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Delicate rings of small white flowers decorated with plain white ribbons? These are the crowns our church uses:
How about that, huh? The wedding itself is performed outside of the altar enclosure and that where this table sits.
The church is round so it’s hard to get everything into one shot. We took these pics at the rehearsal so maybe I’ll get permission to post the actaul wedding photos when everything is properly spiffed up and illuminated. Until then, send your good vibes my way so that I don’t drop food onto my dress. My giant orchid corsage can only hide so much.