St John Maximovitch on Divorce

The sanctity of marriage has literally ceased to exist and marriage has turned into an ordinary contract. Many respectable couples who have lived together for decades in happy and seemingly indestructible marriages have dissolved their marital bonds and tied new ones. Some have done this after being vanquished by passion, others to get ahead by their new marriages. They seek out all possible reasons and bases for dissolving their marriages, which often even turn out to be false under oath.

The new marriages, amongst the middle-aged and young people alike, are no more stable. It has become a usual thing to see requests for dissolution of marriage several months after their inception. The slightest misunderstanding or disagreement now becomes the cause of the end of the marital union, because the awareness of the sinfulness of violating marriage has been completely lost. The Church authorities have broadly condescended to the weaknesses of the present generation, greatly easing the conditions for dissolution of marriage. Nevertheless, the licentiousness seemingly knows no bounds, going around even those rules that now exist. After the dissolution of marriage, they quickly enter into new ones that are just as unstable, and then often enter into third ones.

Not being able to indulge their lusts by marrying and paying no attention to any Church and moral laws, many go even further, considering it unnecessary to turn to the Church for a blessing of their union. In countries where civil laws allow for registration of marriage and do not require Church weddings, cohabitation without a Church wedding is becoming more and more frequent, as well as the cessation of family relations through civil divorce, although the marriage was blessed in Church. They forget that the sinfulness of this activity does not lessen for the new, respectable name, and that any cohabitation that has not been blessed by the Church is fornication and adultery. Many live openly unlawfully, without even any attempt to hide their obvious wantonness. Some do this out of passion, others to get ahead through their cohabitation; suppressing all shame, they are not ashamed to show up everywhere in society with their cohabitants, whom they even dare to call their spouses.

From The Spiritual State of the Russian Emigration, 1938

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