Baptised as a baby in the Church of England, Anna recently converted to the Greek Orthodox religion. I asked Anna some very personal questions about her decision to change religions and Anna openly agreed to share her story and her advice to other brides here on Greek Weddings and Traditions.
In this interview, Anna shares her inspiring love story and tells us why she decided to change her religion for love.
Bride & Groom: Anna & John
Wedding Date: 1st June 2013
Church: St George Greek Orthodox Church Brisbane
HOW DID YOU MEET ?
John and I both started new jobs working for Volswagen the very same week. He is a mechanic and I am a service advisor. We got along straight away and we soon discovered that we have a lot in common. We both love cars and football and we have the exact same birthday!
John took Anna to see a Broncos game on their first date and they have been together ever since.
HOW DID HE PROPOSE?
One Friday afternoon at work my boss called me into his office to proof some contract and suddenly I heard lots of car horns beeping really loudly. Thinking it was just the boys being silly, I carried on doing my work. Then my boss asked me to go and see what was going on. I ran into the workshop to see what was going on and I saw John standing in the middle of the workshop holding a big sign spray painted on cardboard saying…
“Wanna Marry me?”
I burst into tears and starting shaking, and of course said yes!!!
John spray painting his proposal sign.
HOW IS THE WEDDING PLANNING COMING ALONG?
I never dreamed of a big wedding. My family are all from New Zealand and we are used to small intimate weddings. John is from a Cypriot family and I soon realised that we will be having a traditional wedding with a very big guest list.
Our bridal party started with just a few close friends but now it has grown to 12 people. Everyday I learn something new about Cypriot/Greek culture and traditions. I am lucky John’s family take the time to explain things to me otherwise I have no idea how to plan such a big event. It has been the most incredible experience of my life.
DID YOU HAVE TO BECOME GREEK ORTHODOX ?
Becoming Greek Orthodox was a decision that I made myself.
As a baby, I was christened Anglican (Church Of England) because both of my parents are originally from England. Technically I did not need to change my religion to marry John as the Greek Orthodox Church allows two people to be married as long as they are both Christian. I didn’t need to change my religion to marry John. But I fell in love with the Orthodox Church and I felt like it was a place where I belonged.
“I fell in love with the Orthodox Church and I felt like it was a place where I belonged.”
As a Christian already, I did not need to be baptised again. Instead I needed to be Chrismated. This is a Ceremony where the Orthodox Priest confirms me to be Orthodox in front of my friends and family.
For 5 weeks leading up to my Christmation, I met with the Priest and studied Greek Orthodox lessons. The Priest taught me about what it means to be Orthodox and what is expected of me. I learnt things like:
- how to participate in church
- how to greet the Priest
- how to follow the Liturgy book
I had to choose a Nouna (a Godmother) and this was actually very easy for me as I had an instant bond with John’s aunty – Thea Rosa. On the day I asked Rosa to be my Nouna, she said that she was going to ask me if she could be my Nouna. So I felt like it was meant to be.
Anna with her Nouna Rosa just before the candle is lit at the Chrismation service.
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO OTHER NON GREEK ORTHODOX BRIDES?
I love being apart of something that is so full of history and traditions. I believe that it makes your wedding so much more special to include all the customs and traditions. The more you go with it and embrace it the easier it is. So my advice is to just enjoy it!
Enjoy this amazing experience, take it all in and remember to breathe as it can be a stressful ride at times.
Oh and be sure to read greekweddingtraditions.com (of course, thank you for the reminder Sia)
The Greek Orthodox Priest is blessing Anna with oil during the Chrismation service.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE ANYTHING ELSE ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE?
Something that I will never forget was meeting John’s parents for the first time. I was so nervous! They weren’t just meeting me but they were also meeting my daughter Piper for the first time.
A lot of people told me it would be really hard to get along with John’s parents. ‘They’ said that John’s parents may not like me because I am not from a Cypriot or Greek family. ‘They’ said that our relationship could never work because we were from such different backgrounds…
So on the morning of the first meeting I was very nervous. Looking back on it now, I was nearly on the verge of a nervous breakdown and I had no idea what to expect. But when I got there and met them all it went perfect!
I feel silly now worrying about what other people had said.
Every person and every situation is different. I felt nothing but comfortable and relaxed with John’s family. I guess my point is, be yourself and be patient. If you really love the person that you plan to marry then it will all be worth it.
WOULD YOU MIND ANSWERING QUESTIONS FROM OTHER BRIDES?
Sure no problem. I would love to hear from anyone else that has plans to marry into a big Cypriot or Greek family. Share your comments on the blog and I’ll try to reply to everyone.
Would you change your religion for the one you love?
Related posts you might like:
- Yanna and Kosta’s Big Fat Greek Wedding
- For a Sweet Groom
- Is the Koumbara the same as the Maid of Honour?