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The marriage in Cyprus

There are two kinds of legal marriages in Cyprus: a) the civil and b) the religious marriage. The article (art.) 22 and the art. 111 in conjunction, of the Constitution of 1960 (C.) allow for both types of marriages (civil and religious) in the Republic of Cyprus.

A. Civil marriage

The civil marriage legally exists in Cyprus since 1923. The possibility of the civil marriage is provided by the Constitution of 1960 in art. 22§2 subparagraph (subpar.) b and c. The option of the civil marriage is also constitutionally established at the art. 111§5 C. for the members of the Greek-Cypriot community who belong to the Orthodox Church, if they don’t wish to have a religious marriage. The civil marriage process is described in detail by the provisions of the Law on marriage of 2003 (which also governs the religious marriage). The marriage, man-woman only, is performed by the Marriage Officer who can be the Mayor, the Vice Mayor or any member of the Municipal Council duly authorized by the Mayor in writing for this purpose, as well as any person appointed by the Minister of Interior for the purposes of the Law of 2003 under the provisions of the art. 3§1, 2. The procedure of the civil marriage is simple, therefore many couples from all over the world (foreign citizens) come to celebrate their wedding on the island. The interested persons, according to the art. 4 - 8 of the Marriage Law of 2003, have to: i) to make a joint application called «Notice of Intended Marriage», ii) carry a certificate that they are single (not married), or legally divorced, or have the death certificate of the spouse, iv) officially declare that they know of no impediment or lawful hindrance to the marriage. v) If all the necessary conditions exist, the date of the marriage is fixed between 15 days (under conditions less than 15 days) and three months.

B. Religious marriage

The religious marriage is ruled under the provisions of art. 22§1, 2a and 3, of art. 111 of the C. and of the Marriage Law of 2003. It can be celebrated by the Orthodox Church, the Muslim community, the Christians groups of Armenians, Maronites, Roman Catholics, and all the religious groups provided that their doctrines and their rites are known (open and transparent), according to the art. 18 of C. for the religious freedom (All religions are equal before the law). The religious marriage is performed by the «Registered Religious Officer» in their religious building. The names of the authorized minister of any religion or any doctrine must be registered by the Interior Minister -in a special registry held by the Ministry of Interior and published annually (during January) in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cyprus. For the Orthodox Church, which is the vast majority of the Cypriot people (around 81%), the religious marriage is celebrated by a Bishop or a canonically ordained presbyter, after the marriage license from the Diocese or Archdiocese responsible for the church where the marriage will performed belongs has been issued. In addition to the above certificates required for a civil marriage (which are common to the civil and the religious marriage, and provided by the Marriage Law of 2003), the Orthodox Church requests blood tests for thalassemia. The provisions of art. 83-90 of the Charter of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus regulates the marriage. Special wedding impediments are listed in the art. 84 of the Charter of the Church of Cyprus (according to his Tradition) their existence prevents the performance of a religious marriage in the Orthodox Church. The marriage certificate is issued by the Diocese or Archdiocese after the ceremony.

D 23 January 2015    ASavvas Georgiadis

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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