- Project Runeberg -  A practical guide for Russian consular officers and all persons having relations with Russia /

(1916) Author: Alfons Heyking - Tema: Russia
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This difference of law is sometimes exploited by individuals
who do not want to be legally married, and who take advantage of
the good faith of English women, and their lack of information on the
subject. Two cases may be quoted :—A lady who had lived about
ten years with a Russian subject, and who had had four children
by him, made a declaration that she had been married before a
Registrar to a man who called himself " Denby." The Registrar
forthwith married them without ascertaining whether the man really
had the right to bear this name, and the lady said that she learnt
afterwards that her husband was a Russian subject, and owned
another name. He had declined to be married in a place of worship.
By her marriage before a Registrar here in England, this lady and
her children have acquired no right to the property, personal rights,
and status of her husband. Her marriage is recognised in Russia as
null and void, consequently her children are considered to be
illegitimate. There even seems to be a serious doubt as to whether her
position could be improved by the man whom she married in England,
as there is an obstacle to his re-marriage by the Church. Another
case in point is that of a young English lady of the Anglican faith
who married a Russian Jew in England before the Registrar. This
man bore a name which was not his own. The lady had a child by
this man. She declared that she believed that the marriage before
the Registrar was legal, and would be recognised in Russia.

A similar case happened on Tyneside : On the 27th June 1903,
a Russian subject belonging to the Greek Catholic faith was married
in the Anglican Church of St. Stephanus at South Shields-on-Tyne
with an English woman of the Anglican faith. As this marriage had
not been solemnised by a Greek Catholic priest it was not recognised
in Russia as valid and the lady, with the children of this marriage,
had to bear the consequences. Such cases, which lead to grave
distress of the contracting parties, may happen either intentionally or
not ; however, it cannot be expected of private persons that they
should be acquainted with the laws relating to mixed marriages. On
the other hand, officials who perform marriages (clergymen, registrars
and consuls) are responsible for the lawfulness of the acts performed
in their official capacity. As in international law there is the general
rule that in case of marriage of persons belonging to different
nationalities the law of the nationality of the man must be observed in order
that the marriage be recognised in his native land, it is necessary
to conform not only with the exigencies of local, but also with those
of that foreign country to which the man to be married belongs. As
clergymen and registrars are not usually acquainted with the laws
relating to marriage in foreign countries it is the custom in many
countries that in case of an intended mixed marriage the clergyman
or registrar who is called upon to solemnise a marriage between a
Russian and a foreign subject makes the performance of this ceremony
dependent on two certificates being produced to him by the Russian
man who is to be married :—

1. A certificate issued by the priest of the parish to which the
Russian subject belongs stating that to his knowledge there is no
reason why this marriage should not take place.

2. A certificate given by the local Russian State Consul to the

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