What is in an engagement and then a marriage contract? Is there an engagement contract?
The engagement is a betrothal between a man and a woman that is officiated by a clergyman and takes place in a public ceremony. The ceremony could be very small, at the church, hall, or house, and does not need to be elaborate at all. A contract is signed by the responsible parents/guardians of each of the betrothed couple. The engagement is referred to as the "Je Peniot", translated to "Our Father, as the Lord's prayer is recited many times during the ceremony. The engagement is not a sacrament and the contract can be dissolved. If the engagement does not lead to marriage, then either of the betrothed can later marry other people. Neither of the couple has any physical rights over the other. The engagement is a public declaration that these two betrothed individuals are intending to marry. Marriage is one of the seven holy sacraments. It is a sacred vow officiated by a priest and cannot be broken unless there are dire circumstances according to strict guidelines reviewed by an official delegation under the auspices of the Coptic Orthodox Church.