Orthodox Inter Christian Marriages Survey
June 23, 2021
Beginning in the late eighteenth century, Orthodox Christians have been establishing and nurturing parish communities throughout North America. Sociologically and psychologically speaking, as the faithful through the course of time began to self-identify more closely as American rather than being citizens from the foreign homelands through which their communities were established, it was inevitable that some of the descendants of parish founders would marry persons who were not Orthodox; especially marrying Christians from non-Orthodox communities.
From participation in and reception of the sacraments to the on-going minutia of everyday family life, Orthodox Inter Christian Marriages (or OICM) have raised simultaneous, numerous challenges. This situation is further complicated because the Orthodox view various groups which self-identify as Christian, as not being such through the perspective of Orthodox ecclesiology.
As an initial and exploratory response to this challenge, Saint Catherine’s Vision (SCV) has been developing a two-part, ground-breaking public service ministry or diakonima. The first part consists of a survey designed to invite members of the ordained clergy and faithful to relate their practical experience concerning OICM. The second part involves the creation of a time-limited pilot-program intended to offer an initial, yet direct, pastoral, and educational response to these concerns.
The survey is designed to give a qualitative Orthodox Christian overview of fundamental pastoral observations regarding OICM as acknowledged by members of the clergy and the faithful across the jurisdictions. The instrument is constructed to identify the most evident concerns, topics, challenges, potential solutions, and wisdom that may be commonly experienced in many OICM contexts. The findings will be used to complete the preparations for a 6 to 8-week teleconferencing seminar curriculum for enhancing the spiritual lives of couples and family members who immediately comprise the “home church” of an OICM. The results of this pilot-program will be assessed after the completion of the teleconferencing seminar. SCV will share the general lessons learned and resulting recommendations with the public. A more detailed Special Report subsequently will be submitted to the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States.
Overseeing the development of the Survey process and the groundbreaking seminar curriculum are the Rev. Dr. Thomas FitzGerald and Presvytera Kyriaki FitzGerald with Rev. Dr. Philip Halikias collaborating alongside.
Thank you for your participation in this survey. Your input is welcome and needed for this important undertaking!