The Sacrament of Crowning is the second of the two services comprising the Orthodox marriage ceremony, the first being the Rite of Betrothal. Please note that services in the Orthodox Church are almost wholly chanted or sung, so that therefore the lines marked Choir are actually mostly sung by the entire congregation, with the choir leading.

The Sacrament of Crowning


Priest and Choir Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee. This response is sung after each verse.

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways!
You shall eat of the fruit of the labor of your hands;
And you shall be happy and it shall be well with you.
Your wife shall be like a fruiteful vine within your house;
Your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.
The Lord bless you from Zion!
May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!
May you see your children's children! Peace be upon Israel!
(Psalm 128)

The Priest leads the Groom and the Bride to the table in the center of the Nave before the Royal Doors. The Priest then asks these questions.

Priest To the Groom Do you, N., of a good, free, and uncoerced will and with good intention take to yourself as wife this woman, N., whom you see here before you?

Groom I do, reverend Father.

Priest You have not committed yourself to any other woman?

Groom I have not, reverend Father.

Priest To the Bride Do you, N., of a good, free, and uncoerced will and with good intention take to yourself as husband this man, N., whom you see here before you?

Bride I do, reverend Father.

Priest You have not committed yourself to any other man?

Bride I have not, reverend Father.

The Sacrament of Crowning takes place before a table on which is placed the Gospel, the Word of God, and the Cross on which Christ redeemed and saved man by His sacrificial Death. After the traditional sacramental blessing, "Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," the Litany of Peace with added petitions for the Bride and Groom is chanted. The three prayers after the Litany set the theme of Christian marriage. Marriage is the unique instrument by which God establishes His Kingdom. God blessed the first marriage, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it." (Gen 1:28) After Man's fall in the Garden, God continues to work out His Divine plan. Now He utilizes marraige as an instrument of the redemption of man. His plan culminates in the birth of the Virgin Mary who conceives of the Holy Spirit, and of her is born a Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. One of the first acts of his earthly ministry is to bless the marriage at Cana of Galilee by His presence and the miracle of changing water into wine. We pray that Christ, the Priest of mystical and pure marriage, by His presence, will bless this marriage; "for by Thee is the husband united to the wife . . . . unite them in one mind. Wed them into one flesh . . . ."


Deacon Bless, master.

Priest Blessed is the kingdom of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Choir Amen.

Deacon In peace, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Deacon For the peace from above and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord:

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Deacon For the peace of the whole world, for the welfare of the holy churches of God, and for the union of all, let us pray to the Lord:

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Deacon For this holy house and for those who enter it with faith, reverence, and the fear of God, let us pray to the Lord:

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Deacon For the Holy Orthodox Patriarchs, for our Metropolitan N., for our Bishop N., for the honorable Priesthood, for the Diaconate in Christ, for all the clergy and the people, let us pray to the Lord:

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Deacon For the President of these United States, for those in authority, and for all godloving people, let us pray to the Lord:

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Deacon For the servants of God, N. and N., now being united to each other in the Community of Marriage, and for their salvation, let us pray to the Lord:

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Deacon That He will bless this marriage, as He blessed the marriage in Cana of Galilee, let us pray to the Lord:

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Deacon That He will grant them chastity, and fruit of the womb for their benefit, let us pray to the Lord:

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Deacon That He will make them glad in the beholding of sons and daughters, let us pray to the Lord:

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Deacon That he will grant them the acquisition of virtuous children, and of a blameless life, let us pray to the Lord:

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Deacon That He will grant them and us all our petitions which are for salvation, let us pray to the Lord:

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Deacon That He will deliver them and us from all affliction, wrath, danger, and necessity, let us pray to the Lord:

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Deacon Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy Grace:

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Deacon Commemorating our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, Theotokos and ever-Virgin Mary, with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves, and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.

Choir To Thee, O Lord.

Priest For unto Thee are due all glory, honor, and worship, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Choir Amen.

Priest O God most pure, the Creator of every living thing, who transformed the rib of Adam our forefather into a woman, and blessing them Thou said, "Be fruitful and multiply, and subdue the earth," making of two one flesh. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, so that they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder."
   Thou opened the womb of Sarah, and blessed Thy servant Abraham, making him the father of many nations. Thou gave Isaac to Rebecca, blessing her in childbearing. Thou joined Jacob and Rachel and from them generated the twelve patriarchs. Thou united Joseph and Asenath, and as the fruit of their generation bestowed on them Ephraim and Manasses. Thou accepted Zacharias and Elizabeth, and proclaimed their child the Forerunner. From the root of Jesse in the flesh Thou caused to blossom forth the ever-Virgin, for Thou wast incarnate of her; born for the redemption of the human race.
   Thou through Thine unspeakable gift and great goodness came to Cana of Galilee, and blessed that marriage, making it clear it is Thy will that there should be lawful marriage and from it the begetting of children. Do Thou, O Master, accept the prayers of Thy servants. As Thou were present at Cana of Galilee, be Thou also present here with Thine invisible presence.
   Bless this marriage, and grant these Thy servants, N. and N., a peaceful life, a long life, chastity, love for one another in the bond of peace, gratitude from their posterity, Grace upon their children, a crown of glory which never fades. Make them worthy to see their children's children; preserve their marriage in purity, granting them of the dew of heaven above, and of the fruitfulness of the earth. Fill their house with wheat, wine, oil, and every good thing, that they may give to those in need. Grant also to those who are here present with them all their request which are for their salvation.
   For Thou art the God of mercy, compassion and love towards man and to Thee we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Choir Amen.

Deacon Let us pray to the Lord.

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Priest Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, the Priest of mystical and pure marriage, and the Ordainer of the marriage of the body. Thou art the Guardian of immortality and the Good Steward of the means of life. In the beginning, O Master, Thou Thyself created man, and appointed him king over Thy creation saying, "It is not good that man should be alone on earth, let us make a helper fit for him." Then taking one of his ribs, God made woman. Adam, seeing her, said "This is at last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man." For this reason man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.
   O Master, our Lord and God, send now also Thy heavenly Grace upon these Thy servants, N. and N. Grant that this Thy handmaid may be subject in all things to her husband, and may Thy servant be the head of his wife that they may live according to Thy will.
   Bless them, O Lord our God, as Thou blessed Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and all the Patriarchs, Joseph and Asenath, Moses and Zipporah, Joachim and Anna, and Zachariah and Elizabeth.
   Preserve them, O Lord our God, as Thou preserved Noah in the ark, Jonah in the whale, and the three Holy Children from the fire, sending upon them the dew of heaven. May that joy come upon them which the blessed Helena had when she found the precious Cross.
   Remember them, O Lord our God, as Thou remembered Enoch, Shem, Elijah, and Thy Forty Holy Martyrs, bestowing upon them crowns from heaven. Remember the parents who have nourished them; for the prayers of parents make firm the foundations of houses. Remember also Thy servants, the groomsmen and the bridesmaids, who have come together in this joy.
   Remember, O Lord our God, Thy servant, N., and Thy handmaid, N., and bless them. Grant them of the fruit of the body, fair children, harmony of soul and body. Exalt them like the cedars of Lebanon; like a fruitful vine. Give them fruitfulness like the full ears of grain, that having sufficiency in all things, they may abound in every work that is good and acceptable to Thee. Let them see their children's children, like a newly planted olive orchard around their table. And having obtained favor before Thee, may they shine like stars of heaven in Thee, our Lord.
   For unto Thee are due all glory, honor, and worship, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Choir Amen.

Deacon Let us pray to the Lord.

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Priest O Holy God, who created man from the dust, and from man's rib made woman joining her to him as a helpmate, for it seemed good to Thy Majesty for man not to be alone on earth. Do Thou now, O Master, extend Thy hand from Thy holy dwelling and unite this Thy servant, N., and this Thy handmaid, N.: for by Thee is the husband united to the wife. Unite them in one mind. Wed them into one flesh. Grant them of the fruit of the body and the procreation of fair children.
   For Thine is the majesty, and Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Choir Amen.

The Priest then takes the Groom's crown and bestowing it on him says:

Priest The servant of God, N., is crowned unto the handmaid of God, N., in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

The Priest then takes the Bride's crown and bestowing it on her, says:

Priest The handmaid of God, N., is crowned unto the servant of God, N., in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

The Priest now blesses them thrice, saying:

Priest O Lord our God, crown them with glory and honor. Thrice

The Groom and Bride are crowned (wed) to one another with these words: "O Lord, our God, crown them with glory and honor." The crowns remind us of the dignity and beauty of marriage as ordained by God for the continuation of the generation and the establishment of His Kingdom. The husband and wife are crowned to be good rulers of a new Christian family, to rule with love, humility, wisdom, and patience. Marriage is also a holy martyrdom, like that of the Forty Holy Martyrs who received their heavenly crowns. It is through mutual sacrifice in love that the father and mother establish and nourish the Christian family, the basic unit of the Church. For "as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself to her," (Eph 5:25) so they must follow Him and sacrifice in love to create by Grace that unity in which two shall become one.

Deacon Let us attend.

Priest Peace be unto all.

Reader And with thy spirit.

Deacon Wisdom.

Reader The Prokimenon is in the 8th Tone. "Thou hast set a crown of precious stones upon their heads. Life they asked of They and Thou gavest it to them."

Verse For Thou wilt give them Thy blessing forever and ever. Thou wilt make them glad with the joy of Thy presence.

Deacon Wisdom!

Reader The Lesson is from the Epistle of the holy Apostle Paul to the Ephesians.

Deacon Let us attend.

Reader (Eph 5:20-33) Brethren: Always and for everything give thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church, His Body, and is Himself its Savior. As the Church is subject to Christ, so let wives be also subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the Church, because we are members of His Body. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one." This a great Mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Priest Peace be unto you.

Reader And with thy spirit.

Deacon Wisdom!

Reader Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Choir Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Deacon Wisdom, O believers! Let us listen to the Holy Gospel.

Priest Peace be unto all.

Choir And with thy spirit.

Priest The Lesson is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint John.

Choir Glory to Thee, O Lord, glory to Thee.

Deacon Let us attend.

Priest (John 2:1-12) On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus was also invited to the marriage, with His discipiles. When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them to the brim. He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast." So they took it. When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, "Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now." This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

Choir Glory to Thee, O Lord, glory to Thee.

Deacon Let us say with all our soul and with all our mind, let us say:

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Deacon O Lord Almighty, the God of our fathers, we pray unto Thee, hearken and have mercy.

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Deacon Have mercy upon us, O God, according to Thy great goodness, we pray unto Thee, hearken and have mercy.

Choir Lord, have mercy. Thrice

Deacon Again we pray for mercy, life, peace, health, salvation, and visitation for the servants of God, N. and N., and for the pardon and remission of their sins.

Choir Lord, have mercy. Thrice

Priest For Thou art a merciful God and loveth mankind, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Choir Amen.

Priest O Lord our God, who in Thy saving providence did agree by Thy presence in Cana of Galilee to declare marriage honorable: Do Thou the same Lord, now also mantain in peace and harmony Thy servants, N. and N., whom it pleases Thee to join together. Cause their marriage to be honorable. Preserve their life blameless. Mercifully grant that they may live together in purity. Enable them to attain to a ripe old age, walking in Thy commandments with a pure heart.
   For Thou art our God, the God whose property it is to show mercy and to save, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Choir Amen.

Deacon Help us, save us, have mercy on us, O God, by Thy grace.

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Deacon That the whole day may be perfect, holy, peaceful, and sinless, let us ask of the Lord:

Choir Grant it, O Lord.

Deacon An angel of peace, a faithful guide, a guardian of souls and bodies, let us ask of the Lord:

Choir Grant it, O Lord.

Deacon The pardon and remission of our sins and transgressions, let us ask of the Lord:

Choir Grant it, O Lord.

Deacon That we may complete the remaining time of our life in peace and repentance, let us ask of the Lord:

Choir Grant it, O Lord.

Deacon A Christian ending to our life, painless, blameless, peaceful; and a good defense before the dread Judgement Seat of Christ, let us ask of the Lord:

Choir Grant it, O Lord.

Deacon Asking for the unity of the faith and the communion of the Holy Spirit, let us commend ourselves and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.

Choir To Thee, O Lord.

Priest And make us worthy, O Master, that with boldness and without condemnation we may dare to call upon Thee, the hevenly God, as Father, and to say:

Choir Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be don on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and leads us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Priest For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Choir Amen.

The Common Cup of which the Bride and Groom partake together reminds them that Christ is present in their midst now, and that He will remain in their midst as long as they communicate with Him. In some Churches, during the drinking from the Common Cup, the verse, "I will lift up the Cup of Salvation and call upon the Name of the Lord," (Psalm 126:12) is sung. It is only in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist that every marriage finds its ultimate unity in the Communion of Christ's Body and Blood of which the Common Cup is a reminder.

Priest Peace be unto all.

Choir And with thy spirit.

Priest Bow your heads unto the Lord.

Choir To Thee, O Lord.

Deacon Let us pray to the Lord.

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Priest O God, who hast created all things by Thy might, and made fast the round world, and adorned the crown of all things which Thou hast made: Bless now, with Thy spiritual blessing, this Common Cup, which Thou givest to those who are now united for a Community of Marriage.
   For blessed is Thy Name, and glorified is Thy kingdom, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Choir Amen.

After blessing the Cup, the Priest gives to drink of it three times to each of them; first to the Groom and then to the Bride. Then the Priest takes them, with the groomsmen behind them holding their crowns and leads them three times around the table while the Choir sings the following hymn.

Choir Rejoice, O Isaiah! A Virgin is with child, and shall bear a Son, Emmanuel, both God and man: and Orient is His name; whom magnifying we call the Virgin blessed.
   O Holy Martyrs, who fought the good fight and have received your crowns: Entreat the Lord that He will have mercy on our souls.
   Glory to Thee, O Christ God, the Apostles' boast, the Martyrs' joy, whose preaching was the consubstantial Trinity.

The Priest now joins the right hands of the Bride and Groom and leads them in procession around the table three times. In some churches the groomsmen follow carrying the crowns above the heads of Bride and Groom. In those churches where the crowns are wreaths of flowers and branches, the Groom and Bride wear their crowns. They walk around the table carrying candles, symbolic of thte Light of Christ which is a light unto our feet as we walk in His Way. This is the Church guiding and leading the Groom and Bride in their first steps as Husband and Wife. The Church graphically shows them the way to walk in His way. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." At the center of their journey through life together they must keep the Gospel and the Cross which are on the table. They should light their way with the Light of Christ. Their hands are joined together in their new unity of love in Christ. In the person of the Priest, they are led by the Church, the true Teacher and Guide of Goodness and Perfection. If they walk this way, then indeed their life together will be one of perfect love, peace and joy, and they can hope to attain to that perfect unity in the Holy Trinity symbolized by the circling of the table three times. We pray that truly their hope will be fulfilled and they will receive heavenly crowns having accomplished the real purpose of every Christian marriage: to be instruments of salvation in their circle of love to the furthering of the Kingdom of Heaven itself.

The Priest removes the Groom's crown, saying:


Priest Be exalted, O Bridegroom, like unto Abraham; and be blessed, like unto Isaac; and multiply like unto Jacob, walking in peace, and keeping the commandments of God in righteousness.

The Priest removes the Bride's crown, saying:

Priest O Bride: Be exalted like unto Sarah; and exult, like unto Rebecca; and multiply, like unto Rachel: and rejoice in your husband, fulfilling the conditions of the law, for so it is well-pleasing unto God.

Deacon Let us pray to the Lord.

Choir Lord, have mercy.

Priest O God, our God, who came to Cana of Galilee, and blessed there the marriage feast: Bless, also, these Thy servants, who through Thy good providence are now united together in the Community of Marriage. Bless their goings out and their comings in. Replenish their life with good things. Receive their crowns into Thy kingdom, preserving them spotless, blameless, and without reproach, unto ages of ages.

Choir Amen.

Priest Peace be unto all.

Choir And with thy spirit.

Deacon Bow your heads unto the Lord.

Choir To Thee, O Lord.

Priest May the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the all-holy, consubstantial, and life-giving Trinity, one Godhead and one kingdom, bless you; and grant to you length of days, fair children, prosperity of life, and faith; and fill you with abundance of all earthly good things, and make you worthy to obtain the blessings of the promise: through the prayers of the holy Theotokos, and of all the Saints. Amen.

Deacon Wisdom! Most Holy Theotokos, save us!

Choir More honorable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, thou who without defilement gavest birth to God the Word, true Theotokos, we magnify thee.

Priest Glory to Thee, Christ God, our hope, glory to Thee.

Choir Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen. Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy. Father, bless.

Priest May He who by His presence at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee declared marriage to be an honorable estate, Christ our true God; through the prayers of His most pure Mother; of the holy, glorious, and all-laudable Apostles; of the holy, God-crowned sovereigns, Constantine and Helena, equal to the Apostles, of the holy Great Martyr Procopius; and of all the Saints, have mercy on us and save us: forasmuch as he is good and loveth mankind.

Choir Amen.

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