September 17, 2015
Bishop Damaskinos of Didymoteicho, Orestiada and Soufli created a list of terms and conditions for weddings and baptisms, distributing it in an encyclical to dozens of area churches.
Regarding weddings, Damaskinos believes that throwing rice, flowers, and candied almonds (koufeta) at the wedded couple has nothing to do with the Orthodox Church and is a custom that shows ignorance. Also, the bishop considers that decorating churches with flowers and treating them like photography studios is inappropriate.
Damaskinos disagreed with another wedding custom in which the bride stomps on the groom’s foot during the oath, describing it as “incomprehensible and unchristian.”
Furthermore, the bishop wrote that in a wedding the best man must be a Christian and himself wedded. Also, the couple, family, and friends should come to the church appropriately dressed without exposed extremities. The guests must be respectful of the church and not talk, laugh, and share jokes during the ceremony. Also, throwing confetti at the newlyweds, and fireworks outside the church turn the holy place into a carnival. Finally, the habit of having a wedding and a baptismal ceremony at the same time should be banned altogether.
Regarding baptisms, the bishop has deemed it appropriate to ban Mickey Mouse and other cartoons, balloons, ribbons, and other decorations in churches because they are “turning the house of God into a playground.” He argues that baptism is a holy Mystery that must be respected, and not a children’s party.