The Canon Law of Marriage

The Canon Law of Marriage The Canon Law of Marriage The Canon Law of Marriage

The intention of marriage is that one husband should have one wife and one wife should have one husband. It is a gift for the preservation of man’s health in this world and for his salvation in the world to come.
(Abba Yesehaq).

"...If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."
The Holy Bible: Leviticus 20:13

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion. Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:
The Holy Bible: Leviticus 18:22-26

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church, an indegenous and integral Church of Africa, comes to the West as a light in the time of greatest need.

This Church can be likened to the "Good Wine" as stated in St. John Chapter 2:1 - 10 "...And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Eyesus was there: And both Eyesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Eyesus saith unto him, They have no wine......... the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now..". Among other branch churches of the Western Hemisphere, Jamaica in particular, there were several hundreds of denominational Churches before the arrival of the Ethiopian Church, and even then, many did not know of this church.

Order and Canon Law of Marriage

The sacrament of Matrimony is important for the Life of mankind. It is holy and ordained by God. Through it the husband and wife are united and given divine grace that sanctifies their union and makes it perfect and spiritual, like the unity of Christ and the Church. This order is significant not only for the life of the couple but further demands the moral support and protection of all nations and their states. Moreover the Kingdom of God and the church are involved in this great mystery. Marriage is important for at least three reasons:
  1. For the propagation of humanity as it was commanded: “ Be fruitful and multiply.”
  2. To keep man and woman from the temptation of carnal lust.
  3. For the good relationship and mutual help between husband and wife.

The intention of marriage is that one husband should have one wife and one wife should have one husband.
It is a gift for the preservation of man’s health in this world and for his salvation in the world to come. Marriage was institiuted from the very begining along with other commands which God first gave to Adam. The Conditions of the institution are as follows:
As Adam was created by God alone he had no mate with him. God became concerned because of the loneliness of Adam and He said"...It is not good that the man should be alone. Let us make a helper fit for him." God then took a rib from Adam and dressed up the place with flesh. The rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into woman and brought her unto the man.
Then the man said "This is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man." (Gen. 2:18-25)

When God created the one man and the one woman, this becomes the example and pattern in which all men should live without trangressing this commandment. Adam and his wife Hewan (Eve), from the time of marriage, continued to live together without separation or divorce until the time of their death. The marriage of Adam and Hewan (Eve) established and continued the principle of the indissolubility of marriage through divorce, trial, separations, etc., until the union ends in death of the couple. It is the manifest will of God that the Principle of Marriage should be respected and kept and that the husband and the wife should keep this union throughout their lives.

From the time of Adam all those who did not respect the Principle of Marriage have suffered and were destroyed. Those however, who respected and kept the Principle of Marriage and lived according to the will of God have lived harmoniously in peace, have prospered and found the perfect rest.

In ancient times many people lived in accord with the Principle of Marriage and all benefited from keeping this virtuous principle. From Adam to Noah were ten generations and Noah stands out as a very good example of the benefit of living in agreement with the Principle of Marriage. As we know, Noah was especially blest by God in that he and his family alone were found worthy whilst the rest of the world was destroyed in the flood. "...And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that the imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."(Gen. 6:5-7; Heb. 11: 7-8; 1 Peter 3:20) But because of Noah's and his wife's good example which was emulated by their children thay are said to be the parents of the nations.
"...And behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you." (Gen. 9:9)

Isaac lived in keeping the Principle of Marriage and in so doing found favour with God. "...And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah and she became his wife; and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death." (Gen. 24:67) For this reason he became a sign of the Christ who was to come to give his life for the salvation of the world when he was to be used as a sacrifice by his father Abraham. He found eternal rest in the keeping of these Principles.

Moses, when he organized a civil and spiritual code of laws for Israel in keeping with the ancient tradition and the worship of the One God, included the Principle of Marrage, that there should be one husband and one wife. The Law provided the death penalty for all who transgressed it. "...And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, the adulterer and adulteress shall surely be put to death." (Lev. 20:10)

The Prophets who spoke from time to time confirmed the Principle of Marriage and opposed, absolutely; divorce and separation. (See Jer. 3:1; Hosea 7:4) These are our points from the Old Testament. We will continue with the Principle of Marriage in the New Testament

Thanks to our Lord Eyesus Kristos, who became man in order to fulfill prophecy, while he was teaching on earth, it was His will that marriage be respected and santified. When he was invited to the wedding in Cana of Galilee with His Disciples and His mother Mary, the Virgin, he confirmed the Canon Law of Marriage by blessing it with his presence. When the wine was exhausted and he was beseeched by his mother to make more, he changed water into wine, thereby, accomplishing his first miracle. It is very appropriate that marriage should be so honoured by the Lord Himself.
(See John. 2:1-11)

In St. Mathew chapter 19 we read, "...The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, 'Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?' And he answered and said unto them, 'Have you not read, that he made them that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female', and he said 'For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore, they were no more twain, but one flesh. Therefore, what God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.' 'And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery; and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery' (Matt. 5:32; 19:9) Thus our Lord Eyesus Kristos in these and similar divine words ordered that the Canon Law of Marriage be respected and kept; and that everyone should live having one husband or one wife both living in harmony, without divorce or separation, and thereby, making themselves worthy to partake of the Communion.

The Disciples, followers of our Lord Eyesus Kristos, determined also that the Principle of Marriage should be honoured and kept. When St. Peter said that wives should be subject to their husbands, he means that wives should not look to or at any other than their husbands because wives should not have time to serve or be wife to more than one husband.
(1 Peter 3:16)

St. Paul the teacher of the Church, has written at length about the Principle of Marriage.
"A married woman is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies she is free from the law concerning the husband. Accordingly, she will be called an adulterer if she lives with another man while her husband is alive." (Rom. 7:2-3) To assure that all Christians should not divorce and marry another he said, "...Because of the temptation to immorality each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband." (Cor. 7:2)

He also taught how husband and wife should show respect and humility to each other after marriage by saying, "...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" and also "....You husbands love your wives even as Christ loves the Church and gave Himself up for Her..." even so husbands should love their wives as their body. 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.

"...However, let each of you love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Eph. 5:21-end)
When St. Paul said that the husband is the head of the wife and that she should be subject to him, this does not mean the she is inferior to him nor is he dictator or master over her but, that he is responsible for her and must care for her and love her. Even as Christ who is head of the Church is not a dictator or slave master over the Church but He Himself refers to us as His children and the Church as His bride.

Christ also said that whoever divorces his wife and marries another is called an adulterer. Adultery is also mentioned among the condemned evils of Revelation 21:8, which says, "...But for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" as also of the five that are outcast from the Kingdom as we read, "...Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (Rev. 22:15)
The Bible proves that fornication or adultery is contrary to the will of God and that He has always expressed indignation towards it. [1] In Old Testament the earth was destroyed with flood. [2] Sodom and Gomorrah with fire. [3] The people of Cannan were destroyed and Israel given their land. (Gen. 6:19-24; Lev. 18:3).
To show the significance of marriage and to prove that it is where all the scriptures show Christ as the Bridegroom and the Church as the Bride, read (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:32).