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Greek Bishop Tries to Ban Popular Wedding and Baptism Customs

damaskinosA bishop in northern Greece tries to ban a series of customs that have become popular at weddings and christenings calling them “unchristian” and “incomprehensible.”
Bishop Damaskinos of Didymoteicho, Orestiada and Soufli created a list of terms and conditions for weddings and christenings and distributed a circular distributed 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 they are customs that show ignorance. Also, the Bishop considers decorating the churches with flowers and turning them into photography studios is not appropriate.
Damaskinos disagrees with another wedding custom in which the bride stomps on the groom’s foot during the oath describing it as “incomprehensible and unchristian.”
Τhe Bishop believes that in a wedding, the best man must be a Christian and wedded himself. Also, the couple, family and friends should come to the church appropriately dressed and 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 christening ceremony at the same time should be banned altogether.
Regarding christenings, the Bishop sees 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 claims that christening is a holy mystery that must be respected and not a children’s party.

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