The Church admits divorce and remarriage as a concession to human frailty and imperfection. These concessions reflect the Church’s pastoral concern for wounded souls and Her refusal to abandon divorced persons in their sin, failure, weakness, distress, dilemma and pain. Today, the Church allows three attempts by the laity at establishing a true marriage. A fourth marriage is absolutely forbidden. Clergy can marry only once and this must be prior to ordination. For people being married for a second or third time, a special service exists that is penitential, more somber and subdued in character. In this way, the Church reminds all that one lasting marriage is the Christian norm. See related scripture Matt 19.3-12, 1Cor. 7.1-7,11.

The parish priest must exert every effort to reconcile the couple and avert a divorce. However, should he fail to bring about reconciliation, after a civil divorce has been obtained, he will transmit the petition of the party seeking the ecclesiastical divorce, together with the decree of the civil divorce, to the Spiritual Court of the Diocese. The petition must include the names and surnames of the husband and wife, the wife’s surname prior to marriage, their addresses, the name of the priest who performed the wedding, and the date and place of the wedding. The petitioner must be a member in good standing with the parish through which he or she is petitioning for divorce. Orthodox Christians of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese who have obtained a civil divorce but not an ecclesiastical divorce may not participate in any sacraments of the Church or serve on the Parish Council, Diocesan Council or Archdiocesan Council until they have been granted a divorce by the Church.