Christians’ Divisions, Fragmented Marriage. Historical roots and contemporary frontiers of the marital bond in Orthodox, Protestant and Anglican legal systems

The many pressures to which the marital bond (as well as the notion of family itself) is subjected today often lead scholars and legal practitioners to question its constituent components. In this sense, an essential – even though often underestimated – element needed to understand this institution in our legal culture to date is the contribution provided by the different models that germinated following Christian divisions over time: not only Catholic, but also Orthodox, Protestant and Anglican. This essay therefore addresses the legal approaches developed in each of these denominations, both in their historical evolution and in light of the norms currently in force in each legal system, to investigate their specificities and identify common or contrasting aspects. Within this general framework, the examination of different ‘marriage laws’ will also inform the topics that today appear to be the most delicate – and often openly conflicting – showing how the different Churches and Ecclesial Communities frequently find triggering factors for new fractures precisely in disagreements concerning marital matters.

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