Together we say in Greek, “σ’ευχαριστούμε,” which means, “We are thankful!”aniel Kostakis (né Storrs and referred to by that name throughout this article, just to keep things clear) writes on Huff Po about a ceremony in June, conducted by ELCA cleric Phil Trzynka (himself in a same-sex union and strangely referred to as the “priest” throughout the Huff Po article, although Trzynka’s own site doesn’t use the term) which joined him and Andrew Kostakis legally in a same-sex union conducted in Manhattan.

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[Huff Po] Manhattan saw many couples married that day, but one wedding was different, not only because it was two men being married in a Christian church, nor because they were joined by 80 supportive family members, nor even because it was a fully legal marriage of a same-sex couple, but also because two thinly handcrafted silver metal hoops, seven inches in diameter, with decorative scrollwork on the side and a long ribbon tying them together, made an appearance during the ceremony.

The stefana, or crowns, as they are commonly called, are symbols of royalty, martyrdom and unity and are used in the wedding ceremonies of the Eastern or Greek Orthodox Church.

They are symbols of royalty because the marriage ceremony itself, in the Byzantine tradition, follows the form of a coronation, creating a small “kingdom” or family, as we would call it.

The crowns remind Orthodox Christians of the holy martyrs because of the church’s ancient belief of martyrdom being linked to the concept of God’s crowning glory.

Lastly, the crowns symbolize unity with their unending circular design and the ribbon tying them together.

[…] Perhaps this same event has happened elsewhere in recent years (I hope it has), but I have been unable to locate any documented instances.So, very proud of our love, sexuality and family, Andrew and I stand hand-in-hand as two men married in the Byzantine rites of the Eastern Orthodox Church.Perhaps the service wasn’t within the walls of an Orthodox parish, but it was under the mantle of God’s love, and that is where the Church is truly found.This morning, Storrs called the ceremony the “historic first Greek Orthodox gay wedding” on Twitter.Storrs, formerly an Orthodox subdeacon and convert to Orthodoxy, had been headed into the priesthood of the Episcopal Church USA but decided instead to pursue ordination in the Open Episcopal Church, because ECUSA didn’t crack down hard enough on their conservative clergy.(The OEC mainly exists on the Internet and does not require the usual theological education for ordination that most denominations do.