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As in the time of Arius and Athanasius, the nature of marriage is being questioned today, and so there needs to be a more carefully-worded and clearly worked out statement of the theology of marriage. This paper is merely an attempt to draw together some strands of what the Orthodox Church has taught about marriage up till now.The Orthodox sacrament of holy matrimony does not carry the meaning of a legal contract.There was a saying that was common a few years back that illustrates this: “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle”.This rejects the idea of “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh”.It was only when the divinity of Christ was questioned by Arius that the need was felt for a clearer statement, and it was one of our own African bishops, St Athanasius the Great, who helped to formulate the Nicene Creed that was produced by the council.

But in discussing creation the authors of Genesis, even though they themselves lived in polygamous societies, described the ideal of marriage, the God-intended form of marriage, as the marriage of one male person with one female person.“It is not good for man to be alone” so God made man male and female.There is a Zulu proverb that illustrates this: Umuntu ungumuntu ngabantu — a person is a person because of people.There can be no such thing as a homosexual marriage.Christian theologians do not seem to have paid very much attention to marriage in the past.

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There have not been such clearly worked out dogmatic definitions for marriages as there have been, for example, in Christology.

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