I'm a convert to the faith and have been what I thought was a "member in good standing" for a year and half. I will be married for ten years on October 19th. I was married by my father a Protestant Pastor. I have been receiving communion regularly. A month or so ago we received a new priest. This priest discovered that I was not married in the church and would like us to do so on our anniversary. The previous priest new that we had not been married in the church and made no such request. After talking to the current priest it seems like our first marriage "doesn't count." After looking at the GO website (http://www.goarch.or...on/instructions) it states, "A baptized Orthodox Christian whose wedding has not been blessed by the Orthodox Church is no longer in good standing with the Church." So... wow! this is a bit of a shocker to me. I knew that some convert couples in our church had had their marriages "blessed" by the previous priest, but the current priest feels that the idea of a "marriage blessing" is an unfortunate novelty and that the whole ceremony needs to be performed. This raises all sorts of questions for me and I would appreciate any clarity you may have to offer.
1) Does my marriage count? If so, in what way?
2) Am I "living in sin"? Am I a fornicator?
3) Did my father "do" anything or is the equivalent of asking a stranger to witness our decision?
4) Was their any grace imparted to us in our civil marriage?
5) Was my civil marriage "before God"?
6) What obligation, if any, do I have to get married in the church, if I was never married in the first place?
7) If I am living in sin, will the marriage in the church remove those sins?
Thanks for help.
My Civil Marriage and the Sacrament of Marriage
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