Not many people know that one can officially register a marriage in Israel, without being Jewish. Widespread belief that marriage can only be registered by the Rabbinate is not true. Even if one of the future spouses is not a citizen of Israel, the couple do not have to go to the Czech Republic (Prague) or Cyprus to marry (although these options are incredibly romantic).
If the couple is Christian Orthodox, they can go through a wedding ceremony in an Orthodox church in Israel.
There are several steps that you need to go through for the wedding in church to be officially recognized by the Ministry of Interior of Israel.
The first thing you should do is find a suitable location (the Church) for the wedding.
1. Troitsky Cathedral of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem.
This white stone five-domed church is designed in neo-Byzantine style. Inside the temple – a wonderful carved iconostasis. Ordinances are performed after a preliminary interview with a priest and check that the date is free for the wedding to be performed.
2. The church of “The Twelve Apostles” in Capernaum on the north shore of Lake Kineret (Galilean Sea).
Capernaum – City of Jesus Christ. Here he was accepted, he was loved here, from here came his first disciples – the future apostles of Christian faith. On the territory of the church there is an atmosphere of an estate. With a beautiful garden overlooking the lake, with shifty chickens, geese and more than 20 peacocks. Behind all this economy the monk Irinahus who speaks Hebrew English and Russian. Donation at your discretion from 700 NIS. The wedding is held in Russian, Greek and Arabic. Ordinances are performed after a preliminary interview with the priest.
3. The Church of St. Archangel Gabriel.
Located above an underground source, where, according to Orthodox tradition, the Virgin Mary was taking on water at the time of the Annunciation. Going into a rather spacious yard, you come to a strict and architecturally simple facade, surmounted by a steeple.
4. St. George’s Church in Nazareth.
Strangely there is almost no information about the church.
However, it is visited by hundreds of tourists each day, and here is location of the office of the Greek orthodox court where you have to submit the documents needed for the wedding. The wedding is held in Russian, Greek or Arabic.
It is worth to mention that photography and video shooting is not permitted everywhere in Israel. In some churches one may not take pictures with flash. Therefore, if you plan to capture the memory of such a significant event in your life, I recommend resolving this important issue in advance, consulting a photographer. A professional photographer’s gear can shoot without the flash and get artistic pictures.
So, now that you’ve decided on a place for your wedding ceremony and agreed with the priest about the time of the wedding, you need to prepare the following documents:
Documents for people who are not citizens of Israel:
1. Baptismal certificate
3. The certificate of registry office at his residence about the absence of marriage act or certificate of divorce (with apostile, translated into English or Hebrew and certified by a public notary).
Documents for people who are citizens of Israel:
1. Tamtzit-rishum showing the Christian religion and marital status (from the Ministry of Interior).
2. ID (teudat zeut).
At the wedding ceremony you must have:
• the icon of the Savior
• the icon of the Mother of God
• 2 wedding candles
• 2 wedding towels
• 4 handkerchiefs
• wedding rings
• personal crucifixes
The clothing of the married couple should be festive and comply with the ceremony.
If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them.