Welcoming the Guests

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the marriage of Steven and Yianni.  It is indeed a unique and fascinating time that we are living in! However, as singular as this period in time may be, some things have not changed… Love endures!

And while love endures, love will always find a way to bring us back together. It is our unending need of connection that created the technology that makes it possible for us to share this magical and powerful moment both here and online with friends and family today.

Steven and Yianni thank you for your presence and your love. The love they have felt from all of you is incredible.

What is happening here today is something Steven and Yianni never thought possible. But, you loved and accepted them – because they are loveable, and in the eyes of God they are perfect; and they are perfect for each other.

Celebrating this wedding with parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents and friends is a dream come true for Steven and Yianni.”

Opening Words

“Family and tradition are incredibly important to Steven and Yianni.

The wedding ceremony of the Greek Orthodox Church is an ancient and evocative service by which two souls are united together “In Faith, and in Oneness of Mind; in Truth, and in Love”, acknowledging that their love is rooted in God, who is Love itself.

The marriage ceremony is abundant with symbols that reflect the basic and important elements of marriage: Love, Mutual respect, Equality and Sacrifice.

The Traditions observed today have special meanings and significance. These symbolic actions are sometimes repeated three times stressing the belief in the Holy Trinity; which I like to see as Love pouring and extending itself out as God; receiving that love as the Son, or Christ; and returning that love in constant mutual communication forever and ever through the Holy Spirit.”

The Service of Betrothal

“Gracious God, our hearts are filled with great happiness on this, the wedding day of Steven & Yianni. They have come before you, pledging their lives and their hearts to one another. Grant that they may be ever true and loving, living together in a way that shall ever nurture the soul of their marriage.  Temper their hearts with kindness and help them to be sweethearts, helpmates, friends and guides, so that together, they may meet the cares and problems of life more bravely.  May their home truly be a place of love and harmony where your Spirit is ever present. Bless their union, we pray, and walk beside them, through all their life together.

This we ask through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who lives and reigns with you, In the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

Blessing and Exchanging of the Rings

“Although you each wear only one of them, these rings essentially belong to you both. For they are a symbol of the love you share and the promise that it will be a strong and lasting love. Throughout the years they will speak softly of your vow to grow along with one another, to face the challenges of life, to remain one another’s first priority and keep your relationship rich and full. They will give you strength and comfort in times of uncertainty and heighten life’s joys as you share them.

Holy Spirit, guardian of all that is seen and unseen, bless these rings and this couple who shall wear them. Keep them safe through adversity forever supported by your eternal blessing, Amen.”

Rev. Joe takes both the rings, makes the sign of the Cross over them and then over Steven three times, saying each time:

Your servant of Love, Steven, is betrothed to Yianni, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. (3 times)

Rev. Joe then does the same over Yianni, saying:

Your servant of Love, Yianni is betrothed to Steven, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. (3 times)

Rev. Joe places one ring on the finger of the right hand of each, Steven and then Yianni, and calls to Vicki:

“Vicki, as Steven and Yianni’s Koumbara, please step forward and exchange their rings three times.”

Koumbara Vicki steps forward and exchanges the rings three times.

The Lord’s Prayer

Rev. Joe: “Yianni’s sister Kallie will now step forward and recite ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ in Greek.”

Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς·
ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου·
ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου·
γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς·
τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον·
καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν,
ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφίεμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν·
καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν,
ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.

Amen.

Lighting of Candles & Their Story

Rev Joe lights two white candles and hands them to Steven and Yianni who take them with their left hands while holding each other’s right hands.

Rev Joe to those assembled:

“These candles represent Steven and Yianni’s willingness to always remember the light of Christ that dwells within them. It is an invitation to make the nurturing of their love, and the sharing of that love with the world, the primary purpose of their lives.

You see… Steven and Yianni knew right away when they met that this was it. When Steven’s best friend Vicki set them up, Neither one of them had any idea that they were about to have their last first date.

One dinner was all it took. Yianni showed up to Steven’s that evening with a bottle of Josh Cabernet. They met and drank and enjoyed the charcuterie that Steven laid out for them before heading out to Bar Frites in Greenvale for dinner and more drinks. Within two hours they were planning their wedding and talking about kids. That first date was three days long.

Today marks just two years from their first meeting and exactly eleven months from their engagement.

Yianni said of Steven, “I love how sensitive he is. I’m obsessed with Steven’s eyes. He has such a good heart.” Steven’s gift to Yianni is his steadfastness. He grounds Yianni with his love and trust. They both love to express themselves to each other, and together they make a truly magnificent partnership.

It’s an honor to be here at the start of what we all know will be an incredible marriage. Steven and Yianni’s desire to embrace these traditional elements, looking past rhetoric and historical context to their deepest meanings, shows how open-hearted and loving they truly are.

Steven and Yianni, where the light of one’s love is accepted into the heart by another, there it grows and spreads to heal us all. May you turn to this light whenever you feel lost, and may it shine the way for you and always lead you home.”

Rev. Joe takes the candles and places them on the table.

Reading: 1 Corinthians 13

“Steven and Yianni have asked Steven’s brother Richard to come and read for us at this time.”

Richard comes forward, introduces and delivers the reading

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Richard returns to place after the reading.

Crowning Ceremony

“For thousands of years, people in Greece have been crowned with wreaths, signifying achievement. At weddings the wreaths signify mastery of the couple’s home and give honor to the spark of divinity that resides within them both. This is a symbol of how in marriage it is our higher selves that the couple promises to one another, and the very best that they have to give.

These wreaths, called “stephana”, are bound by a single cord, a cord of love and commitment. As they are crowned, they are forever united as one.”Rev Joe to Steven and Yianni

“Please hold each other’s right hands.”

Steven and Yianni are offered one another’s stephana to kiss before placement upon their heads. Rev. Joe makes the sign of the cross for the Grooms and the couple is crowned.

Rev Joe, holding the Stephana to Yianni’s head says: “The Servant of God, Yianni is crowned to The Servant of God, Steven in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

Then holding the Stephana to Stevens head says: “The Servant of God, Steven is crowned to The Servant of God, Yianni in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

Rev. Joe then places the crowns on the couples heads.

Rev. Joe: “Heavenly Father you have granted this couple a foretaste of your heavenly blessings on earth by giving them the gift of sacred union. We ask that you make their marriage strong in faith, truth and love, that they may be joined forevermore as one mind, one heart, one spirit.”

Rev Joe makes the sign of the cross for the Groom and Groom

Rev. Joe to Ari: “Koumbaro, Ari… please exchange the stephana three times as is custom, as we offer a blessing.

Ari holds the stephana and exchanges them 3 times above the couple’s heads

Rev Joe: “May the Lord Jesus Christ grant this couple a lifetime of mutual love and understanding. May their love and care for one another be always in the foreground of their thoughts, granting them health, happiness and peace.”

Rev. Joe makes the sign of the cross for the Groom and Groom

“Holy Spirit, Guardian of all that is seen and unseen, As the Father, Son and Holy spirit are joined in sacred and mystical union may the sacrament of marriage enrich the connection of these two souls that they may grow in depth of love and glory to God.”

Drinking from the Common Cup

“The common cup serves as a witness that from this moment on, Steven and Yianni shall share everything in life. Their joy will be doubled and their sorrows halved because they are shared. Whatever the cup of life has in store for them, they will participate in equally.

O God, who sees past all errors, forgives all missteps, and loves unconditionally, bless this common cup, which we bestow upon Steven and Yianni, and who are here joined in the sacrament of marriage. For blessed is your name, and glorified is your kingdom, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever, Amen.”

Rev. Joe takes the cup and gives a sip of wine to each

Steven’s Ring Vow

Rev Joe: “Steven, I will now ask you to make your vow.”

“Steven, do you take Yianni to be your lawfully wedded husband to have and to hold from this day forward? For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, un sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until death do you part?”

Steven: “I do”

Rev Joe: “Repeat after me.”

“I Steven, take you Yianni To be my husband. I will love you, and honor you, respect and cherish you for all the days of my life.”

Yianni’s Ring Vow

Rev Joe: “Yianni, I will now ask you to make your vow.”

“Yianni, do you take Steven to be your lawfully wedded husband to have and to hold from this day forward? For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish Until death do you part?”

Yianni: “I do”

Rev Joe: “Repeat after me.”

“I Yianni, take you Steven to be my husband. I will love you, and honor you, respect and cherish you for all the days of my life.”

Removal of the Crowns & Pronouncement of Marriage

Rev. Joe removes the crowns saying:

May all that you are, always be in love; and may all that is love, always be in you. May your love be as beautiful on each day you share as it is on this day of celebration. And may each day you share be as precious to you as the day you first fell in love. May you always see and encourage the best in each other. May the challenges life brings your way make your marriage even stronger. And may you always be each other’s best friend and greatest love.

Having witnessed your marriage vows with all who are assembled here, and by the power vested in me by the state of New York, it is with great joy that I now pronounce you legally married!

You may kiss!

Couple kiss and exit to celebrate!