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C Concerning Those Who Marry a Second or Third Time1

St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

Someone who enters into a second marriage, according to Canon 4 of Basil the Great, is impeded from
the divine Mysteries for one or two years. According to Canon 2 of St. Nikephoros and the first response
of Niketas Herakleias, they are neither to be crowned during their second wedding ceremony, and
according to Canon 5 of Neocaesaria and the aforementioned Niketas, neither is the priest who blessed
them to eat at their table. A third marriage is called a transgression by Gregory the Theologian.2 Canon 4
of St. Basil excommunicates those who marry for a third time for five years from Communion.3 Joseph
Bryennios says that those being married for the first time are engaged, blessed, and crowned; those being
married for a second time are only engaged, and blessed, and not crowned; those getting married a third
time are only engaged, and this by allowance, but they are neither blessed nor crowned.4
1) Exomologeitarion, Subjects Outside of the Canons of the Faster III.
2) The first marriage is the law. The second is done out of forgiveness. The third is a
transgression. St. Gregory the Theologian, Oratio 37, 8, PG 36, 292B.
3) Note that in the year 922, under Constantine Porphyrogennetos, a Synodical Tome was published,
the so-called Tome of Union, which declared that those who married a second time, forty years of
age and without children, were allowed to take a third wife on account of their childlessness. But
they were to be penance for five years not to receive Communion, without exception, and after
the five years they were to commune but once a year, on Pascha. But if they had children, they
were never allowed a third marriage. Those who were thirty years of age and without children
were also allowed, on account of their youth and proneness to fall, to marry a third time, but they
could not commune for four years, and after the four years they could commune but three times a
year, on Pascha, Christmas, and the Dormition of the Theotokos. If they had children, they were
penanced five years. Those above forty-five years of age are never allowed to marry a third time,
even if they do not have children. If they insist to get married a third time by pressing the issue,
they are to be penance, according to the Synodical analysis of the Archivist Manuel of
Constantinople (Juris Graeco-romanorum, p. 239). And the priest conducting that third marriage
is to be deposed, because he disregarded a significant law, according to Balsamon (Responsa ad
Interrogationes Marci, Question 62, PG 138, 1009D-1012A).
4) Volume III, p. 108.