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Through marriage, husband and wife assume new roles in the church community.

Consequently, just as marriage partners have a responsibility for the building up of the Church, so too the Church community has a responsibility to help each Christian family foster its life of faith.

Marriage, as a sacred vocation, mirrors the union of Christ with the Church (Eph ).

The Gospels record that Jesus affirmed the profound significance of marriage.

Also submitted to us for comment was a document of the Metropolitan New York/New Jersey Orthodox-Roman Catholic Dialogue, an "Agreed Statement on Orthodox-Roman Catholics Marriages" (January 6, 1986).

Our own Joint Committee provided a response to its practical suggestions on March 23, 1989.

In this present statement, we, as members of this joint committee, wish to share a number of conclusions from our recent discussions and to propose recommendations that could be implemented in our churches in this country without delay.

Meeting now from October 3 to 5, 1990, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, we wish to make this joint statement about Christian marriage and to offer recommendations which, if implemented, could assist Roman Catholic and Orthodox couples to fulfill more responsibly the requirements of their churches regarding the marriage ceremony, married life in Christ, and the spiritual formation of children.The Sacredness of Marriage At a time when the sacredness of married life is seriously threatened by contrary views and "lifestyles", we wish to reaffirm our common faith in the profound reality of married life in Christ.We regard Christian marriage as a vocation from God in which the liberating effect of divine love, a gift of Holy Spirit, is experienced through human love.Hence, in this holy union, both are seen as being called by Christ not only to live and work together, but also to share their Christian loves so that each spouse, under grace and with the aid of the other, may grow in holiness and Christian perfection.According to our shared belief, this relationship between husband and wife has been established and sanctified by the Lord.

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