My fiance and I are both baptized Catholics. I was never married and she is divorced. If we both were to convert to the Orthodox faith, could we be married in the Orthodox Church even though she has not received an annulment from the Catholic Church?
If you and your fiance, both baptized Roman Catholics, were to convert to Orthodoxy, you could indeed be married in the Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church does not have a process comparable to the Roman Catholic “annullment,” which ultimately determines that the relationship between a couple was, in fact, not a valid marriage.
The question with which you would be confronted, however, would not involve marriage but, rather, the reasons for your conversion. To convert means to change one’s mind and heart, not just one’s religion. Conversion to Orthodox Christianity involves a sincere desire to follow Christ according to the fullness of His revelation as received by the Orthodox Christian Church and lived, experienced and shared throughout her 2000-year existence. To convert simply to avoid the need to obtain a Roman Catholic annulment would not, in fact, fit the definition or experience of conversion.
Published - January 2011
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