Key components of the wedding service in the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (Indian Orthodox Church)
- Picture from my wedding, descriptions by Fr Abraham Thomas of the Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam.
The Blessing of the Rings recalls the first detailed account of a wedding engagement in the Bible, in which Eleazor, commissioned by Abraham, places gold ornaments on Rebecca to mark her engagement to Isaac. The ring is a symbol of contract, placed on the bride and groom by the priest representing God and the Church.
The Crowns (Chains)
The Blessing of the Crowns is the central part of the marriage ceremony in all Orthodox Churches and culminates in the ceremony of coronation which symbolizes the bestowal of the crown of righteousness upon the couple. In the Indian Orthodox the crown is replaced by a chain placed around the neck of bride and groom by the Celebrant, though the premise is the same.
The Minnu (Thali)
In south India, the Thali used in a hindu marriage was in the shape of a leaf of the sacred banyan tree and Christians modified the Thali by superimposing a cross on the leaf. The Minnu is suspended on seven threads drawn out of the Manthradoki. The seven strands represent the bride, the bridegroom, the couple’s parents and the Church. The groom ties the threads around the bride’s neck – tying the knot. It remains there for one week until the Groom's mother cuts the thread, and the Minnu is moved onto a chain.
the Manthrakodi, a sari presented by the bridegroom and his family, is draped over the bride’s head, symbolising the groom’s pledge to protect, care for and cherish his wife.
At this point, the bride’s relative, who has been standing behind her, yields her place to a female member of the groom’s family as a sign that the bride is welcomed into her new family.