The Rite of Betrothal

The following texts are based on the work of the Inter-Eparchial Liturgical Commission of the Byzantine (Ruthenian) Catholic Metropolitan Church of Pittsburgh, and being made available for study by cantors enrolled in the courses of the Metropolican Cantor Institute. These texts are unofficial and provisional, and you should obtain episcopal permission before using them for any purpose other than private self-study.

After the Divine Liturgy (if there is one), the celebrant and any concelebrants vest in the epitrachilion and phelonion. The deacon, having received the blessing from the celebrant, vests in the sticharion and orarion. If a Divine Liturgy has just been celebrated, both celebrant and deacon may celebrate the betrothal fully vested.

A pair of rings for the betrothal is blessed by being placed on the right side of the holy table close to one another during a previous Divine Liturgy. They are on the holy table at the beginning of the betrothal.

The celebrant and deacon stand in the sanctuary. The couple who intends to be betrothed wait for them outside the doors that lead from the narthex of the church into the nave, with the man on the right (that is, on the side with the icon of Our Lord) and the woman on the left (that is, on the side with the icon of the Theotokos).

The deacon opens the holy doors, and the celebrant brings out the Gospel book and the cross and places them on the tetrapod.

The celebrant and deacon proceed to the narthex and stand facing the couple, to whom they present lighted candles.

The celebrant makes the sign of the cross over the heads of the couple three times and leads them into the temple, incensing as he leads them.  The celebrant and deacon stand before the tetrapod, facing east; the couple stands behind them.

Celebrant:   Blessed is our God, always, now and ever and forever.

Response:    Amen.

Glory to you, our God, glory to you.

Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, everywhere present and filling all things, Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life, come and dwell within us, cleanse us of all stain, and save our souls, O gracious One.


Throughout Pascha, the following is said in place of “Glory to you” and “Heavenly King.”

Celebrant:  Christ is risen from the dead!  By death he trampled Death; and to those in the tombs he granted life.

Response:  Christ is risen from the dead!  By death he trampled Death; and to those in the tombs he granted life.  (Twice)


Then the following litany is intoned by the deacon.

Deacon:      In peace, let us pray to the Lord.

Response:    Lord, have mercy.

(The same response is given to each following petition:)

–   For peace from on high and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.

–   For peace in the whole world, for the stability of the holy Churches of God, and for the union of all, let us pray to the Lord.

–   For this holy church and for all who enter it with faith, reverence, and fear of God, let us pray to the Lord.

–   For our holy father (Name), pope of Rome, let us pray to the Lord.

–   For our most reverend metropolitan (Name), for our God-loving bishop (Name), for the venerable presbyterate, the diaconate in Christ, and all the clergy and people, let us pray to the Lord.

–   For our government and for all in the service of our country, let us pray to the Lord.

–   For the servants of God (Name) and (Name) now being betrothed to one another, and for their salvation, let us pray to the Lord.

–   That they be granted children for the procreation of the human race, and all their petitions for their salvation, let us pray to the Lord.

–   That perfect and peaceful love and assistance be sent down upon them, let us pray to the Lord.

–   That they may be preserved in oneness of mind and a firm faith, let us pray to the Lord.

–   That they may be blessed with a blameless life, let us pray to the Lord.

–   That the Lord our God grant to them an honorable marriage, and a bed undefiled, let us pray to the Lord.

–   That we be delivered from all affliction, wrath, and need, let us pray to the Lord.

–   Protect us, save us, have mercy on us, and preserve us, O God, by your grace.

Deacon:      Commemorating our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.

Response:    To you, O Lord.

Celebrant or Concelebrant: For to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is due all glory, honor, and worship, now and ever and forever.

Response:  Amen.

Deacon:      In peace, let us pray to the Lord.

Response:    Lord, have mercy.

Celebrant:   Eternal God, You bring those who were divided into unity, and established an indissoluble bond of love for them. You blessed Isaac and Rebekah and showed them to be heirs of your promise; now bless these your servants (Name) and (Name), guiding them into every good deed. For You are a merciful and loving God, and we give glory to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and forever.

Response:    Amen.

Celebrant:   Peace + be to all.

Response:    And to your spirit.

Deacon:      Bow your heads to the Lord.

Response:    To you, O Lord.

Celebrant or Concelebrant:  Lord our God, who betrothed the Church, a pure virgin from among the nations, bless this betrothal and unite and keep these your servants in peace and oneness of mind. For to You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is due all glory, honor, and worship, now and ever, and forever.

Response:    Amen.

The deacon takes the rings from the holy table and brings them to the celebrant on a tray.

Facing the couple, the celebrant takes the ring for the man, makes the sign of the cross with it over his head and puts the ring on his right ring finger, saying:

The servant of God, (Name), is betrothed to the servant of God, (Name), in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Then he does the same for the woman, saying:

The servant of God, (Name), is betrothed to the servant of God, (Name), in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Deacon:      Let us pray to the Lord.

Response:    Lord, have mercy.

Celebrant:   Lord our God, you accompanied the servant of the Patriarch Abraham to Mesopotamia when he was sent to seek a wife for his lord Isaac, and you revealed Rebekah as the one to be betrothed through the drawing of water. You, O Lord, bless the betrothal of these your servants, (Name) and (Name), and confirm the word spoken by them. Establish them in the holy union which is from you. For from the beginning you made them male and female and through you the woman is united to the man as a helper and for the procreation of the human race. Therefore, Lord our God, you sent forth truth to your inheritance and your covenant upon your servants, our fathers, your chosen ones from every generation. Look upon your servants (Name) and (Name) and confirm their betrothal in faith, and oneness of mind, and truth, and love. For you, O Lord, have shown that a pledge is to be given and confirmed in all things. By a ring authority was given to Joseph in Egypt. By a ring Daniel was glorified in the land of Babylon. By a ring the truthfulness of Tamar was revealed. By a ring our heavenly Father showed mercy to his son saying, “Put a ring on his right hand, kill the fattened calf and let us celebrate with a feast.”

By your own right hand, O Lord, Moses was armed at the Red Sea. By your word of truth the heavens were established and the earth made firm. The right hand of your servants will be blessed by your powerful word, and your upraised arm. Now, O Master, bless the putting on of these rings with your heavenly blessing and may your angel go before them all the days of their life.

For you bless and sanctify all things and we give glory to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever.

Response:    Amen.

The celebrant and deacon again face east (toward the holy table). The service of betrothal concludes as follows:

Celebrant:   Glory to you, O Christ God, our hope, glory to you.

Response:    Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever.  Amen.  Lord, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.  Give the blessing.


Throughout Pascha, the following is sung in place of “Glory to the Father.”

Response:    Christ is risen from the dead!  By death he trampled Death; and to those in the tombs he granted life.  Lord, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.  Give the blessing.


Celebrant:  May Christ, our true God, [if it is Sunday, add: risen from the dead,] have mercy on us and save us through the prayers of his most pure Mother; and through the prayers of all the saints; for Christ is good and loves us all.

Response:    Amen

The celebrant may intone the following:

Celebrant:   To your servants, (Name) and (Name), grant, O Lord, many years.

Response:    God grant them many years. God grant them many years. God grant them many blessed years. In health and happiness, in health and happiness, God grant them many blessed years.