From the oca.org website, I quote the following:
"The Orthodox Church recognizes the sanctity of marriage and sees it as a life-long commitment. However, there are certain circumstances in which it becomes evident that there is no love or commitment in a relationship.
While the Church stands opposed to divorce, the Church, in its concern for the salvation of its people, does permit divorced individuals to marry a second and even a third time.
The Order of the Second or Third Marriage is somewhat different than that celebrated as a first marriage and it bears a penitential character. Second or third marriages are performed by "economy" -- that is, out of concern for the spiritual well being of the parties involved and as an exception to the rule, so to speak."
This quote seems to indicate that the Orthodox Church has it both ways. Honestly, I'm more confused about its position on divorce than before. And the Catholic Church, while it doesn't permit divorce and remarriage, does provide for annulments, which involve a decision on the sacramental nature, or lack thereof, in a marriage. I see nothing about the sacrament of marriage in this description of divorce and remarriage within Orthodoxy - only situations in which there is "no love and commitment in a relationship."
Well, if there is no love and commitment there is no marriage. A paper does not make a marriage, and a sacrament that is given under false pretenses is not valid because we would say it is "empty," and you would say it is "null and void." Of course, that which is void is also empty and meaningless and therefore, legally, not valid.
A candle lit in a church by someone who doesn't believe is an empty gesture, void of spiritual value. A Communion taken by someone who did not prepare correctly for it and doe snot believe in the Real Presence is not a valid Communion.
You see it from a legalistic point of view -- and call it annulment. You are stating that the sacrament never occurred, that it did not have a "legal bind," did not take effect, so to say, and therefore there was no marriage. The Orthodox are saying that a "marriage" in which there is no love and commitment is no marriage, but a broken promise to God -- a sin, and that which is sin is not of God.
Thus, real marriage cannot be broken because it is of God. All the Orthodox Church recognizes is that there was no marriage because where there is no love and commitment there can be no marriage. If you go for a confession and lie and the priest, in his ignorance of your lie, "absolves" you of the trespasses -- you and I both know that such absolution is "invalid." It is an empty gesture which the priests does in good faith, but God knows that it is not so. So, the absolution never took place; your sins are not forgiven. Legally, it is null and void, and spiritually it is an empty and meaningless gesture -- a sin.
One more thing: the Orthodox may allow a second marriage; allowing a third one is something unheard of. Knowing that a sin was committed in the first one, the second (and it is hoped that it is the first real) one is more like a funeral, full of penance and contrition.
On the other hand, the Catholic Church does not specify how many annulments one can get, but I am sure an "abuser" would be cut short very soon, regardless of how many time one can "legally" get an annulment!