Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Philip Freier, said today that the Anglican Church in Melbourne “will continue to uphold that marriage requires a man and woman to commit themselves for life to mutual love, respect and service.”

He made the comment in the wake of the proposal by the Anglican Diocese of Sydney to offer a wedding service in which the bride promises to ‘submit to’ her husband.

Dr Freier said that marriage in the Anglican Church in Melbourne takes place according to three authorised prayer books, the Book of Common Prayer (1662), An Australian Prayer Book (1978) and A Prayer Book for Australia (1995).

“Both of the modern books provide for the same vows to be made by the man and the woman. In the 1995 book each person is asked if he or she will ‘love, comfort, honour and protect’ the person they are marrying and to do this in a relationship of fidelity. The seventeenth century liturgy provides similar vows but additionally asks the husband to ‘comfort’ his wife; and the wife to ‘obey and serve’ her husband.

“Most couples choose the modern form but all three remain open to be used.”

He added: “The 1978 and the 1995 prayer books have resulted from a long process of biblical and liturgical research as well as wide consultation and agreement across the whole of the Anglican Church of Australia. They give good guidance to the kind of loving and committed marriage relationships that are a blessing for families and to the wider community.”
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