Revisiting the Marital Household as the ‘Little Church’

In the Orthodox Church, marriage is the mysterion of the Kingdom. However, the appearance of various family forms and the high rates of divorce cases among Christians today indicate that marital relationships have lost their Christian identity and purpose as “households of God” and “little churches”. Facing various legal, economic, social, cultural, and spiritual pressures, the sacred role of Christian married men and women is to live up to their Christian calling. Knowing the family’s Christian identity and its characteristics as a little church and a household of Divine grace ought to guide the couples and clarify their marital outlook and purpose. Thus, this study examines first the Patristic vision of marriage and family as a “little church”, and then identifies seven essential characteristics of the Christian home, in order to guide the couple in bearing witness to the life in Christ in this postmodern age.