I'm under the impression that every priest in the GOA makes no less than $100K from Alaska to the Bahamas (where the GOA covers). GOA churches have to pay premiums for the benefits provided by the Archdiocese - there are line items on parish budgets listing each benefit. Plus, some churches lease a car for the priest and his family and some include that as a line item benefit or roll it into the Benefits line item. As mentioned in the previous quote, I'm surprised to hear that Byzantine Rite clergy receive a salary and other benefits.
Wrong. The average GOA priest does not make $100k, even when health insurance is included and housing/car allowances. The parishes, while technically required to have their clergy on the Archdiocese benefits package (pension, health insurance, life insurance), often times don't - and that makes a vicious cycle (the parishes with younger priests often pick their own insurance to save money, leaving the older and less healthy priests on the plan, boosting the costs). You should really update your info and have it come from a reputable source - I'm an employee of a parish, son of a priest, graduate of the school, besides the conversations I have with members of the Archdiocese Benefits Committee.
Also: when a parish provides a car, it is a work car, not a personal one, and the trips must be for work only (one must be able to prove this to the IRS if asked). Even if they don't provide a car, but only a car allowance, one must be able to document the work usage of the car and one can only make enough money to cover the percentage of the expenses that mirrors the percentage of use associated with work. It's a nice benefit, but priests often put 30,000+ miles on their cars (between house blessings, hospital visits, Metropolis events, etc.), so it is understandable. Plus, one must remember that priests are technically Self-employed, and as such pay double the FICA taxes that everyone else does.
Salary and benefits of priests are on point because the "modern" seminaries are preparing priests for a well-paying, exciting and challenging vocation. From what I understand about Catholicism, I'm surprised to hear that Byzantine Rite priests actually receive a salary in addition to free room & board, etc.
Seminaries, modern or otherwise, prepare people to serve the Church. There is nothing in the classes that suggests that the work is "well-paying" (which in many cases IT IS NOT), or even that it is exciting. Challenging, yes. Oh, btw: from my experience with Catholicism, most clergy receive something resembling a salary (even if it's not called such) - i.e. money above what is needed to pay expenses, money to spend on things one wants.
I'm not among those "striving" for the priesthood and what I cited is based on discussions I've had with people who went to Holy Cross Seminary. I would agree in that Orthodox Seminaries are not in the Orthodox Tradition because the purpose of a modern priest is not necessarily to evangelize. If not for the requirement that everyone in GOA's seminary had to learn Greek (which I know already), I may have pursued further studies at the Seminary.
The purpose of a modern priest is the same as one of an ancient priest - shepherd the flock, preach the gospel, etc. The GOA seminary doesn't require that everyone learn Greek (only the people from the GOA, and that requirement has been bent or abolished for some people by their Hierarchs) - hence why they have Romanians, Serbians, Antiochians, and Bulgarians who are not required to take Greek.
My understanding is that a priest in the GOA makes over $100K a year or more depending on where he lives or how large is his family. I don't know how the OCA or the Antiochians reimburse their priests, if such renumeration exists (e.g. most priests have lay vocations).
The Antiochians and OCA do indeed pay their priests, as much as the parish is able - same as the GOA. Granted, average Salary and Benefits are better in the GOA. But that's beside the point - regardless of jurisdiction, bigger and richer (i.e. white-collar) parishes generally pay better, smaller and poorer (i.e. blue-collar) parishes pay worse. If we were going into it for the money, we'd be (a) in the wrong profession, and (b) in it for the wrong reasons. Thanks be to God that the vast majority are not in it for the money.
In the GOA, a lot of middle-aged men are striving to become priests - one doesn't worry about layoffs, losing health benefits or discrimination as long as one behaves and obeys the Hierarch.
They're striving to become priests because they've been putting off the calling for so long, not because they're looking for a golden retirement package. Get real. I'm totally put off by your half-(*grrrr*) assertions, and quite frankly think that you need to back out of the argument until you get a clue or get enlightened on the subject.
The opposite to the past has occurred where priests are more educated in a lot of things except the faith. As the original poster stated, other denominations have their own seminaries and Bible Schools while the Orthodox are recent newcomers. In the GOA, Elder Ephraim and his followers established 17 monasteries in the USA and I don't believe that an ordained priest has come from any such monastery.
One of my friends, a Traditional Orthodox, has told me that seminaries have their roots in the Western, Latin tradition and do not as such belong to Eastern Orthodoxy as the means of training Orthodox clergy. He further commented that, in true Orthodoxy, a man is selected by the bishop who sees a special character in the man for priesthood. According to my friend, traditional training of men for the priesthood in Orthodoxy is done at monasteries by monks and not at a separate seminary.
Yikes - the assertion that traditionally priests are (a) selected by the bishop, and (b) trained at a monastery are not only wrong, but they're more "western" and "latin" than Seminaries! "Traditionally" priests are selected by God and acknowledged by the local communities, not the Bishop. "Traditionally" priests were trained by teachers - priests, bishops, and laymen - in the cities, not in the monasteries. The reason why we didn't have seminaries is because "universities" (collections of professors in one place teaching a stable group of students over the course of a number of years, in order to confer a degree) didn't exist! Once we started with universities, we started with Theological training and seminaries.