Author Topic: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?  (Read 3877 times)

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Offline Elisha

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Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« on: October 06, 2007, 02:35:19 AM »
discuss....

From talking with kelfar, they don't...unless the Synod boots them out for a legit reason.

Ramifications:  no matter how much one dislikes +HERMAN (or any other bishop), we're stuck with him until he dies.

GiC,
Care to site some canons?
« Last Edit: October 06, 2007, 02:54:22 AM by Elisha »

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2007, 03:06:47 AM »
Bishops can retire. Some recent precedents in the US are Archbishop Iakovos of the GOA (retired 1996), and Bishop Tikhon of the OCA, Retired Bishop of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the West (retired 2004).
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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2007, 03:11:36 AM »
Bishops can retire. Some recent precedents in the US are Archbishop Iakovos of the GOA (retired 1996), and Bishop Tikhon of the OCA, Retired Bishop of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the West (retired 2004).
And Metropolitan Herman was elected because his predecessor, Metropolitan Theodosius, retired.
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Offline Elisha

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2007, 03:12:56 AM »
Bishops can retire. Some recent precedents in the US are Archbishop Iakovos of the GOA (retired 1996), and Bishop Tikhon of the OCA, Retired Bishop of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the West (retired 2004).

His Grace Bp. Tikhon retired at the end of 2006.  I sang at his final Hierarchical Liturgy.

Yes, they have...have any in other countries though, especially traditional Orthodox countries?  Are Americans innovating?  I think Bp. Anthimos of the GOA may be retired too.

Offline arimethea

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2007, 07:53:41 AM »
When a Bishop retires he is suppose to either go to a monastic community or convelecence home. Either way he is never to be heard from or seen of again.  The modern practice of going to live in Florida and showing up at big events is not normal.
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Offline Didymus

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2007, 09:51:26 AM »
Can't speak for other Churches but in the Coptic Orthodox Church a bishop is not even allowed to change his diocese yet alone retire.

A bishop is married to his diocese until death do they part.
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2007, 11:10:31 AM »
Can't speak for other Churches but in the Coptic Orthodox Church a bishop is not even allowed to change his diocese yet alone retire.

A bishop is married to his diocese until death do they part.

This was theoretically the ancient understanding that we held.  But when the diocese became physically larger and more populous, you see (at least with the EO) the allowance of a bishop to retire (and bishops are moved by the synods more frequently now than they used to be).  However, "retirement" is just from administrative duties - they are still bishops, and still attend liturgy in a particular place.
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2007, 11:19:01 AM »
However, "retirement" is just from administrative duties - they are still bishops, and still attend liturgy in a particular place.

By attend, do you mean celebrate and serve the Liturgy each Sunday?
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2007, 11:22:51 AM »
By attend, do you mean celebrate and serve the Liturgy each Sunday?

They're supposed to, yeah.  And most of them became priests & Bishops because they love the Liturgy, so it's normally in their nature to do so.  Sometimes they don't celebrate - they'll go and observe (if their age is high or physical condition weak, often they won't serve so as not to overly extend the Liturgy time).
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Offline Didymus

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2007, 11:28:41 AM »
This was theoretically the ancient understanding that we held.

The Copts still hold the ancient understanding ;)

Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that when St. John Chrysostom changed his diocese the Pope of Alexandria (at that time) excommunicated him. Assumably this was later resolved.

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Offline lubeltri

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2007, 11:46:26 AM »
Interesting. Do you still comemmorate your retired bishops? I know in the Diocese of St. Augustine (FL), we always commemorated ours: "Lord, remember your Church throughout the world; make us grow in love together with Benedict our Pope, Victor Galeone our bishop, John Snyder our retired bishop, and all the clergy." Here in the Archdiocese of Boston, I haven't seen it (hmm. . .Cardinal Law . . . I wonder why . . .).

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2007, 12:22:44 PM »
In traditional Greek practice, from what I have gathered, a retired bishop returns to the monastic state and never serves again...the Russian practice has retired bishops serving if they have a synodal blessing.  Greeks in America seem to do this.  Of course, even in traditional practice, one can be "unretired."  So I guess the practice has always been a little fluid.
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2007, 12:55:55 PM »
In traditional Greek practice, from what I have gathered, a retired bishop returns to the monastic state and never serves again...the Russian practice has retired bishops serving if they have a synodal blessing.  Greeks in America seem to do this.  Of course, even in traditional practice, one can be "unretired."  So I guess the practice has always been a little fluid.

I don't know about "never serves again."  Most of the retired bishops of the GOA in this country do indeed serve after they've retired: +Anthimos, +John, +Iakovos (when he was alive) have all served while they were healthy enough to.  +Gerasimos of Abydos served in his retirement as well.

When one becomes a bishop, their obedience to their abbot is broken (their obedience is now directly to the Synod); I'd agree with the assessment that they return to monastic life, though - isolation, prayer, daily work, etc.  But they don't necessarily return to a monastery per se, and if they do, they're normally considered a "guest" and not under obedience to the Abbot.

(As an aside - one could actually argue that no one of the Great Schema should be made a bishop, since they are bound to obedience to their Elder, and a Bishop cannot be bound as such to another man.)
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Offline Anastasios

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2007, 01:46:18 PM »
I don't know about "never serves again."  Most of the retired bishops of the GOA in this country do indeed serve after they've retired: +Anthimos, +John, +Iakovos (when he was alive) have all served while they were healthy enough to.  +Gerasimos of Abydos served in his retirement as well.

Right, which is why I said, "Greeks in America seem to do this" ie. what the Russians are doing, letting such bishops serve.

Quote
(As an aside - one could actually argue that no one of the Great Schema should be made a bishop, since they are bound to obedience to their Elder, and a Bishop cannot be bound as such to another man.)

Aren't all monks bound to their abbot, and this is broken at the consecration? In our Church, most of our bishops are made schemamonks before they are made a bishop, partly so that they don't have an escape hatch--if the bishop were not a schemamonk, he could take the great schema and thus depose himself if he ever "wanted out" (since a bishop taking the schema wipes out his episcopacy). This would pose a problem for the Synod.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2007, 01:55:45 PM by Anastasios »
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2007, 01:49:07 PM »
scamandrius, forgive me please but please remind me which Church you are in if I may ask?

Thank you and peace be with you.

Didymus,

I'm not offended you ask, though I'm curious as to why.  To answer your question, I am an Antiochian Orthodox Christian. 

Peace be with you as well.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2007, 01:49:19 PM by scamandrius »
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Offline Didymus

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2007, 02:27:53 PM »
scamandrius, I'm just trying to establish the practises of different Churches and I wasn't sure which you were a part of in order to figure out which view you were conveying. That is all. I in no way doubt your Faith nor your Church. Pray for me please.
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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2007, 02:33:04 PM »
Didymus is right, the canons say that a bishop cannot change eparchies.
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Offline Elisha

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2007, 05:07:58 AM »
Didymus is right, the canons say that a bishop cannot change eparchies.
Care to eloborate, retire admin?  Your response was rather vague.  Thank you.

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2007, 07:16:06 AM »
Didymus is right, the canons say that a bishop cannot change eparchies.

And the point is???
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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2007, 10:36:59 AM »
And the point is???

I thought it obvious, but the point was that he was right. :-)
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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2007, 10:38:15 AM »
Care to eloborate, retire admin?  Your response was rather vague.  Thank you.

I will try to find the exact canon that says that a bishop cannot transfer eparchies. I know Justin Kissel has brought it up before, either here or at the Saint Euphrosynos Cafe.
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2007, 12:10:02 PM »
Indeed, this is such a canon. I've recently read it (twice) in the last two weeks. I did wonder how it is applied when a bishop is made a patriarch such as Patriarch Athenagoras from the GOA.
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Offline Didymus

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2007, 12:26:08 PM »
I thought it obvious, but the point was that he was right. :-)

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2007, 02:32:05 PM »
In the Indian Church, the Catholicos retired to make way for the next.  I've also met "retired priests" as well.
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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2007, 05:14:00 PM »
Indeed, this is such a canon. I've recently read it (twice) in the last two weeks. I did wonder how it is applied when a bishop is made a patriarch such as Patriarch Athenagoras from the GOA.

Russians long ago stopped applying this canon while in the Greek Church it seems that one can be promoted but not transferred laterally.
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Offline Thomas

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #25 on: October 08, 2007, 09:31:53 AM »
When I was training  early after being made a Subdeacon , I was attached to a monastic church to serve a retired bishop  who has since reposed. Every  day he attended the hours and the other Divine Services,  he sat within the Temple and directed the Liturgy assuring its accuracy and proper service but did not robe as a bishop but remained clothed as a monk until he put his Omophor on to recieve communion then he personally communed each Hieromonk and Hierodeacon himself. The entire monastic community defered to him as the chief spiritual father of the monastery, even the starotski of the monastery.

The one thing I do remember was his pious tradition, all the fringe on the rugs in the church and on his Omophorion had to be straight and he kept me busy assuring that was done the moment someone's foot knocked the fringe awry on the rugs or whenever he stood up.  I asked him "Vladika, why do we spend so much time assuring the fringe is staright?"  His response was "Our Church is a Church of Order, the fringe represents the people.  If the fringe is out of sort I know I have people whom I must pray for who are out of sort.  I have you straighten the fringe while I pray for them."  I learned much at the feet of that holy man.

Thomas
« Last Edit: October 08, 2007, 01:48:05 PM by Thomas »
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Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #26 on: October 08, 2007, 12:29:39 PM »
Changing eparchies and retiring are two completely different things.

I have yet to read in any of the ancient canons, fathers or church histories that a Bishop is forbidden from retiring. I can, however, think of examples in all periods of Church history when Bishops did retire from their See. There are many good reasons that have caused Bishops to retire -- practical, spiritual and political. Three excellent examples are St. Pontian, Pope of Rome, St. Gregory the Theologian and St. Theophan the Recluse. There are literally hundreds of others. Probably more.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2007, 12:30:40 PM by pensateomnia »
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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #27 on: October 08, 2007, 03:27:55 PM »
In the Episcopal Church bishops are required to retire upon reaching a certain age (70? 75? I forget). This has a lot of ramifications; for instance, it generally prevents a lot of bishops from being considered for presiding bishop because they would not be able to serve out a full term.

A lot of retired bishops serve as "assisting bishops". Traditionally, parishes are expected to be visited by a bishop once a year; most east coast dioceses, however, are too large for this to be practical. In some cases "suffragan bishops" are elected who execute episcopal rites, but who are otherwise subject to the diocesan bishop. In other cases retired bishops act in the same capacity as "assisting bishops". They are utterly subject to the diocesan and can be dismissed on a moment's notice. In some cases retired bishops act as chaplains or assisting clergy at a parish. Nobody in the Episcopal Church is going to let a legalism about the authority of bishops stand in the way of a eucharist.

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #28 on: October 08, 2007, 10:46:43 PM »
Sorry, I need to ask.
What is a schemamonk; what is the greta schema? and could someone go a little more into detail on why a bishop should or shoudn't be a schemamonk before cosecration and why.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #29 on: October 08, 2007, 11:44:00 PM »
Sorry, I need to ask.
What is a schemamonk; what is the greta schema? and could someone go a little more into detail on why a bishop should or shoudn't be a schemamonk before cosecration and why.

Thanks in advance!
BrotherAidan,

cleveland and Anastasios gave me the following answers when I asked the same question a couple of months ago.

The schema is the final step in the progression into monasticism; it refers both to the status as a "full" monk (not to imply that any of the other steps in monasticism are less complete, but once you're at the Great Schema, you're in it all the way) and to the garment that is worn that signifies the status.  I don't know if anyone has a picture of the Great Schema to show, but it is a beautiful piece of iconography.

Sorry I missed this. Cleveland explained it well. Basically, if a bishop is not already a schemamonk (common in the Russian Church where the schema is rare, and in the Greek Church in America) when he is consecrated a bishop, by taking the schema afterwards, he would wipe out his episcopacy (completely).  This was sometimes done by bishops who wanted to retire for their own salvation.

Seeing that as a possibility, sometimes they make archimadrites schemamonks in the Greek church to eliminate this possibility ;)  Well I don't know if they do it deliberately but it has that effect.

I hope this helps.

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Re: Bishops: Can they retire or is it a life position?
« Reply #31 on: October 09, 2007, 10:52:22 PM »
Peter and podromas -- thank you!