The parish priest must exert every effort to reconcile the couple and avert a divorce. However, should he fail to bring about a 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 Archdiocesan District or Metropolis. 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 of 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, Archdiocesan District Council, Metropolis Council or Archdiocesan Council until they have been granted a divorce by the Church.
In order to secure an ecclesiastical divorce, please contact Fr. Stavros to set up an appointment. Please bring the following to the appointment:
- Your original marriage certificate (or transcript thereof),
- a copy of your civil divorce,
- $150 money order made payable to the “Metropolis of Atlanta”
- Your ex-spouse’s current address.
At this appointment, you will arrange with Fr. Stavros the proper paperwork needed to apply for the civil divorce. This paperwork will be sent to the Metropolis office in Atlanta and reviewed by the Metropolitan and the Chancellor. They will then inform Fr. Stavros that a “spiritual court” should be convened to review the case. This is done with three priests, including Fr. Stavros and they are held at one of the parishes in the area every few months. The person petitioning for the divorce is required to appear at the spiritual court. The ex-spouse is not. After the “spiritual court” the final decree is issued by the Metropolitan, who will send it to Fr. Stavros who will give it to the person petitioning for the divorce. The other spouse must make a separate petition and pay a separate fee.