2/12/2013 11:15:00 AM Ancient rites Christianized by church
Catholic Sentinel photo by Jose Salame
Employing a wedding custom he learned in Germany, Father Peter Arteaga wraps his stole around the hands of Jennifer Salame and Nathan Wolf at St. Patrick Church in Portland.
Ancient pre-church traditions survive in Catholic wedding rites, having been welcomed and Christianized by believers. The wedding ring itself comes from an Roman custom in which the bridegroom offered gold as an earnest payment on the future fulfillment of his care for the bride.
A second survival in church weddings is the hand-clasp of the married pair. The custom was present in the pagan marriage ceremonial of Rome, but it's hard to say whether it comes through Roman or Teutonic traditions.
The "hand-fast" constituted an oath among Germanic peoples and was used for the solemn ratification of all kinds of contracts. In many, and especially German Catholic rituals, the priest was directed to wrap his stole around the clasped hands of the bride and bridegroom while he pronounced words of ratification. The ceremony may often be noticed in medieval pictures of a marriage, for example in espousals paintings of St. Joseph and Mary.