ROC rep: Those living in common-law marriage can’t receive communion

Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev). Photo:

Those who live in unregistered common-law marriage should not be allowed to Communion, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) emphasized.

Those living in a civil marriage cannot receive communion. The head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk, said this in the “Church and World” programme on Saturday, November 13.

He clarified that today the expression "civil marriage" has two meanings.

“If we are talking about a marriage that is registered in the registry office, but for some reason, for example, because your husband is a non-believer, you cannot undertake a religious ceremony, then there are no obstacles for you to receive communion,” said the hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, answering the relevant question TV viewers. “And if a civil marriage means unregistered cohabitation (common-law marriage), and in our time this expression is for some reason often used precisely in relation to unregistered cohabitation, then you should not be allowed to Communion until you register your marriage.”

Metropolitan Hilarion recalled that the Orthodox Church considers that a full-fledged marriage is the one that is consecrated by the sacrament of marriage. In the case when this is impossible, for example, one of the parties in the marriage does not belong to the Orthodox faith, "the rule formulated by the Apostle Paul is in effect: "the non-believing husband is sanctified by the believing wife, and the non-believing wife is sanctified by the believing husband."

Earlier, the Russian Orthodox Church recalled the unacceptability of civil marriage and urged not to consider it a norm of life.

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