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In addition to the option of religious ritual, civil marriage was introduced in 1982 by law (391/1982, Official Gazette 73 A), but it is only in recent years that civil wedding ceremonies have overtaken religious ones. According to available data from 1991, out of the total of 65,568 weddings, only 5,858 were civil. In ten years’ time, in 2001, from a total of 58,491 weddings, civil ceremonies were 10,404. In 2016, of a total of 49,632 weddings, 25,854 were civil and 23,778 religious. After the introduction of the civil partnership option in 2013, the difference between religious and civil ceremony and partnership became even wider. For example, in 2017, the Hellenic Statistical Authority recorded 25,163 civil weddings, 24,975 religious services and 4,921 civil partnerships – there were only 581 in 2013. According to the last available data, in 2021, religious ceremonies were 18,487 ; civil ceremonies were 22,272 ; and civil partnerships 11,550. (See the data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority).

Such data reveal that during the last years, Greek people seem to prefer the civil options offered by the state and not the religious one. It also suggest that a process of secularization is taking place at the family level with Orthodoxy losing its power over marriage. It should be noted, though, that in some cases, couples who initially have a civil ceremony also do a religious one, primarily for family reasons. These religious ceremonies taking place after civil weddings are not recorded by the Hellenic Statistical Authority.

D 27 juillet 2023    AAlexandros Sakellariou

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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