The Marriage Tribunal of the Diocese of St. Petersburg serves to study marriages that have ended in divorce. The goal of these studies is to determine if a particular marriage may be declared invalid according to Canon Law. There are a number of distinct types of annulment procedures in Church law.
Central to the responsibility is proclaiming the sanctity and permanence of marriage. While carefully protecting the teaching of Jesus on marriage and its indissolubility, the Church also recognizes that many marriages today end in the tragedy of divorce. Yet, for many of these people their faith and their Church remain important to them. Nor does the Church abandon them.
In its pastoral concern, the Church provides an ecclesiastical tribunal whose function is to evaluate the validity of the failed marriage in the light of Scripture, Tradition, and Church law. In many cases, the Church is able to grant a Decree of Invalidity (annulment). This process helps heal the anger and disappointment with one’s self and with one’s former spouse. It often brings closure to the hurtful memories. It frees a Catholic to marry again or to have a second marriage convalidated by the Church, thus restoring the Catholic to the full sacramental life of the Church.
Remembering that the ministry of Jesus was one of healing and reconciliation, the Tribunal is ever mindful of its call to continue that ministry to all who seek its help. Please explore the Tribunal webpages, which gives an overview of annulment types and the annulment process. If the terminology confuses you, there is a page to explain terms in simple language. There is also a page of Frequently Asked Questions. If you wish to begin the annulment process, please contact your parish priest or deacon. They can assist you in obtaining and preparing the proper forms.
The Diocese of St. Petersburg has an excellent Tribunal staff. It deals with people exercising the greatest of confidentiality, as well as with compassion and understanding.