DIVORCE


DIVORCE. While extending love and mercy to divorcees, the Orthodox Church is grieved by the trag­edy and the pain divorce causes. Though marriage is understood as a sacrament, and thus accomplished by the grace of God and is permanent, the Church does not deal with divorce legalistically, but with compassion. After appropriate pastoral counsel, divorce may be allowed when avenues for reconciliation have been exhausted. If there is a remarriage, the service for a second marriage includes prayers of repentance over the earlier divorce, asking God's forgiveness and pro­tection for the new union. A third marriage is generally not granted. Clergy who are divorced may be removed, at least for a time, from active ministry, and are not permitted to remarry if they are to remain in the min­istry.