OrthodoxChristianity.net
November 01, 2014, 07:11:50 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Can Orthodox bishops close parishes?  (Read 2668 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
johng3110
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Church
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 13


Alaverdi cathedral and monastery, in Georgia


« on: February 02, 2005, 09:20:15 AM »

Hi all,

I'm new to these boards. 

I am RC, and my bishop is probably going to close my parish (and many other parishes in my diocese) because of a shortage of priests.  This is despite the viability of my parish, and the desire of my parish to go on as a community, and the willingness of the parish to do what it takes to find a priest.  And if we protest too much, we shall be deemed too "uppity" and we shall seal our doom.  All of this is very disheartening.  My parish is a good and living thing.  It is a community of Christ.  And, it is being killed by (of all people) our bishop.

I was therefore wondering:  Can Orthodox bishops close parishes?  Can they just kill a living community because there aren't enough priests?

Thank you in advance for your responses.

--John
Logged

NULL
prodromos
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 1,463

Sydney, Australia


« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2005, 10:14:43 AM »

I know of several Orthodox communities that hold Divine Liturgy about once a month because that is how often the priest is able to come. Very few Orthodox missions have their own permanent priests until they have grown enough to support a priest and his family. In the mean time , these priests serving the missions often travel hundreds of kilometres every week. I really can't see the reason for closing down a parish for lack of a priest.

John
Logged
jmbejdl
Count-Palatine James the Spurious of Giggleswick on the Naze
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Church of Romania
Posts: 1,480


Great Martyr St. John the New of Suceava


« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2005, 10:36:56 AM »

I know of several Orthodox communities that hold Divine Liturgy about once a month because that is how often the priest is able to come. Very few Orthodox missions have their own permanent priests until they have grown enough to support a priest and his family. In the mean time , these priests serving the missions often travel hundreds of kilometres every week. I really can't see the reason for closing down a parish for lack of a priest.

John

I agree with you, John. What you say of Orthodox missions in the west is also often true of established parishes in Romania, particularly village parishes, though this has been getting better since more priests are being ordained since the fall of communism. I, personally, knew a Romanian priest who served four widely spaced parishes and whose only method of transport was a bicycle! Now, thankfully, he only serves two and has a car. I doubt that this sort of thing is peculiar to Romania - it's likely the case in many ex-communist Orthodox countries.

James
Logged

We owe greater gratitude to those who humble us, wrong us, and douse us with venom, than to those who nurse us with honour and sweet words, or feed us with tasty food and confections, for bile is the best medicine for our soul. - Elder Paisios of Mount Athos
Schultz
Christian. Guitarist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,482


Scion of the McKeesport Becks.


WWW
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2005, 11:20:01 AM »

While I sympathize with the original poster, I'm curious as to how many RC churches are in his immediate area and what the logistics of combining the parishes are. 
Logged

"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen
Lemko Rusyn
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Православно-католицька віра нашых вітців
Jurisdiction: Русиньска ґрекокатолицька церьков свого права
Posts: 118


Пресвятая Богородице Повчанская, спаси нас!


WWW
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2005, 12:03:15 PM »

I know of two OCA parishes in southwestern Pennsylvania that are served by a priest who is in his mid- or upper 80s and still in active ministry.  The parishes have only a handful of people left, almost all elderly, and have Liturgy probably only once a month.  This priest also has a larger parish that he serves full time.  The two tiny parishes remain open I imagine only because their priest has been serving them for nearly 40 years and he's still able to do it.  I imagine when he dies or finally retires, the two small parishes will close, whether by the bishop's decree or just because there will not be any point of them trying to continue.  I'm sure the new priest will have no intention of serving a handful of elderly faithful more or less in the middle of nowhere.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2005, 12:04:17 PM by Lemko Rusyn » Logged
Hesychios
perpetual neophyte
Site Supporter
Sr. Member
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 171


« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2005, 05:16:01 PM »

This topic is interesting to me.

I can imagine that the situation is different among the various jurisdictions, but isn't it the usually case in the USA that title to the property is held by the parish community itself, and not the bishop?

Michael
Logged

"Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living"
Jaroslav Pelikan
arimethea
Getting too old for this
Section Moderator
Archon
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch
Posts: 2,968


Does anyone really care what you think?


« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2005, 05:31:24 PM »

Quote
but isn't it the usually case in the USA that title to the property is held by the parish community itself, and not the bishop?

Yes and no, there have been several high profile court cases that have dealt with this matter over the past 20 years. Even in cases where a parish does hold the deed to the property the courts have determined that the Orthodox Church is a hierarchal church and therefore all the property actually belongs to the Diocese.

The reason the court cases come up is when a jurisdiction decides to clean up house and fix parish constitutions that may be ambiguous. Check out http://www.ocl.org if you want to read more on this subject. They tend to be wrong on a lot of their conclusions but they do have a lot of material on similar subjects.
Logged

Joseph
BJohnD
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 213


St. John of Damascus, pray for us.


« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2005, 07:42:56 PM »

Title to parish property is becoming a hot topic. In the ECUSA for instance, title is always held by the diocese, not the parish. In Virginia, a bill's been introduced in the legislature that would change the law to give title to individual churches. Supporters say the bill (which of course does not single out any denomination) is just a property-rights matter, but opponents, including ECUSA dioceses in the Commonwealth, see an agenda to make it easier for parishes that oppose the ordination of homosexuals, etc., to jump ship without giving up the church and grounds.

Here's a story from the Washington Post:

Virginia Bill Would Alter Rules on Church Property

By Rosalind S. Helderman and Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, February 2, 2005; Page B01


RICHMOND, Feb. 1 -- A bill before the Virginia Senate has alarmed the Episcopal Church and other mainline Protestant denominations that are deeply torn over the ordination of gay ministers and the blessing of same-sex marriages because, they say, the measure would give local congregations unprecedented powers to break away from their national denominations.

Several major church groups on Tuesday urged lawmakers to reject the bill, which they said would entangle state government in church politics.

The bill, now on the Senate floor, would allow congregants to vote to leave their denominations and keep their church buildings and land, unless a legally binding document such as a deed specified otherwise.

Many denominations have long had rules that prevent dissenting congregations from leaving the parent church and taking their land, buildings and other property with them. Since 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous other courts have upheld those rules in all but a few exceptional circumstances.

As a result, relatively few of the Episcopal congregations in Virginia and other states that vehemently object to the consecration of a gay bishop in New Hampshire have simply left the Episcopal Church USA. Instead, most have formed a network of disenchanted parishes that some call a church within a church, and they have tried to muster international pressure on the U.S. Episcopal hierarchy from the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Opponents of Senate Bill 1305, sponsored by Sen. William C. Mims (R-Loudoun), said it would be an unconstitutional intrusion of the government into that dispute.

"It puts us in the middle of that argument, and I think it's very inappropriate that we be there," said Sen. Martin E. Williams (R-Newport News), who said he plans to vote against the bill Wednesday.

Mims, a lawyer whose practice includes settling real estate matters on behalf of church groups, said his bill is designed to distance government from church disputes. Without it, he said, courts are forced to look to church doctrine to resolve arguments over congregational property.

"Those church members who have donated their money to build the church or expand the church or maintain it would probably be surprised to find that an authority hundreds of miles away could take that from them," he said. "If in fact that could happen, it needs to be clearly stated in the deed or trust agreement."

Mims said the bill was not meant to target the Episcopal denomination or get involved in its internecine conflict. Though the laity in his own Episcopal congregation in Ashburn has discussed the issue, Mims said, there have been no official moves to split with the church.

He said the congregation, which objected to New Hampshire's gay bishop and has joined the opposition Network of Anglican Communion Parishes, did not request that he introduce the bill.

The Rev. Clancy Nixon, vicar of Church of the Holy Spirit, Mims's congregation, said he supports the measure.

"They say it's about states interfering with internal church matters. I think that's baloney. It's all about property," Nixon said. "I think the bill is a good idea because it's a basic justice issue. In most cases, the local people bought the property, they paid for it and they maintain it, and now they're being told that in the event of a dispute, they can't keep it."

L. Martin Nussbaum, a Roman Catholic lawyer in Colorado who has served as general counsel to more than 30 religious institutions and denominations, called the Virginia bill "a rare example of a legislative attempt to rejigger the polity, or governance, of a church."

Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists and others -- as well as Episcopalians -- have raised questions about the bill. At a news conference Tuesday at Richmond's historic St. Paul's Episcopal Church, clergy lined up to oppose it.

Bishop Charlene P. Kammerer of the United Methodist Church said she is concerned it could promote schisms in churches by allowing a simple majority concerned about any doctrinal or social issue to vote to leave and take property.

Although Episcopal Church officials did not learn of the bill until the middle of last week, delegates to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia's annual convention in Reston over the weekend passed a resolution opposing it, said Russell V. Palmore, the chancellor, or lawyer, of the diocese.

"It came up on such short notice, it's been difficult to develop any type of coordinated effort, but I can tell you based on my conversations with other denominations that we are all against it," he said.

Cooperman reported from Washington.




-¬ 2005 The Washington Post Company
Logged
Hesychios
perpetual neophyte
Site Supporter
Sr. Member
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 171


« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2005, 05:22:52 PM »

In the case of Orthodox parishes (and monasteries), what justification is given for a parish to change jurisdictions?

I think that the issue of closing is linked to this.

Clearly the RC has a different case, having almost always been organized as a corporation sole (in the USA) I  could not imagine a case where a Roman Catholic parish could successfully withdraw from it's own bishop and retain the property. Orthodox churches seem to have been different from the beginning, it seems from casual reading of parish histories that many early parishes were organized independently and aligned themselves under bishop's later, some having switched from one jurisdiction to another more than once over the last 120 years.

I am curious about the legal/financial mechanisms employed to accomplish these gymnastic feats. Does the parish council just write a letter to the bishop telling him he's fired? (I'm being facetious, I doubt that it woulld be so simple)

ACROD for example, removed itself entirely from Ruthenian-Catholic oversight, I  can imagine that it was a legal mess. Have there been cases of parishes switching from ACROD to OCA or OCA to ROCOR that anyone can recall? I am just interested in how that all works, if a bishop states that he wants to close down a parish couldn't that parish approach a bishop of another jursdiction to receive it?

Michael
Logged

"Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living"
Jaroslav Pelikan
Anastasios
Webdespota
Administrator
Merarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Old Calendarist
Posts: 10,487


Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina

anastasios0513
WWW
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2005, 05:45:29 PM »

When then-Archbishop Herman enforced the OCA Synodal decree of 1982 establishing the Gregorian Calendar officially, a few of his parishes went to ROCOR.

A few years ago a Carpatho-Rusyn Church went ROCOR but I am not sure why.

There have probably been ROCOR parishes that have left as well.

Anastasios
Logged

Please Buy My Book!

Past posts reflect stages of my life before my baptism may not be accurate expositions of Orthodox teaching. Also, I served as an Orthodox priest from 2008-2013, before resigning.
A Sombra
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 112


« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2007, 12:51:39 AM »

There have been ROCOR parishes that have left to the OCA, Carpatho-Russians, even the Greek Archdiocese I think. I would think that by the virtue of the Bishop's authority, he could indeed close a parish.

What justifies a parish leaving its jurisidiction? Well, by the Canons, only heresy taught "bareheaded" by the Bishop will justify a parish or manstery switching jurisdictions, but in these days, they leave for all kinds of reasons-"the Bishop doesnt like me (the priest) or us (the parish) so we will go to ...." money reasons-"the Archdiocese wants $00,000 before they will call us a parish so we are going to ..." property-"the Diocese wants title to our church, so we are going to . . ." and more . . .
Logged
username!
Moderator
Protokentarchos
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Ukrainian Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Pennsylvaniadoxy
Posts: 5,069



« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2007, 05:50:10 PM »

How many other parishes are  in your immediate area?  I can name a city near me that has 7, yes 7 (one is Byzantine Catholic) Catholic Churches in the span of maybe 10 small city blocks.  It is a miracle they are all still open, as the industry left town years ago and the population is dwindling as we speak.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2007, 05:51:10 PM by username! » Logged

FrChris
The Rodney Dangerfield of OC.net
Site Supporter
Taxiarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 7,252


Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!


« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2007, 05:54:11 PM »

Username!--

You do realise the OP is almost 3 years old, right? johng3110 hasn't visited the site since September 4, 2005, so he's unlikely to respond to your question..

But, it'd be great if he did!
Logged

"As the sparrow flees from a hawk, so the man seeking humility flees from an argument". St John Climacus
Mo the Ethio
Proud Capitalist
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Ορθοδοξία ή θάνατος!
Posts: 453



« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2007, 06:23:32 PM »



What justifies a parish leaving its jurisidiction? Well, by the Canons, only heresy taught "bareheaded" by the Bishop will justify a parish or manstery switching jurisdictions, but in these days, they leave for all kinds of reasons-"the Bishop doesnt like me (the priest) or us (the parish) so we will go to ...." money reasons-"the Archdiocese wants $00,000 before they will call us a parish so we are going to ..." property-"the Diocese wants title to our church, so we are going to . . ." and more . . .


    ......the Metropolitan embezzels millions and is involved in a cover up.....oops Lips Sealed........did I just say that?



                          ....  edited for spelling....
« Last Edit: November 12, 2007, 06:28:25 PM by Mo the Ethio » Logged

"Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names."
- John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)
username!
Moderator
Protokentarchos
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Ukrainian Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Pennsylvaniadoxy
Posts: 5,069



« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2007, 06:42:55 PM »

Username!--

You do realise the OP is almost 3 years old, right? johng3110 hasn't visited the site since September 4, 2005, so he's unlikely to respond to your question..

But, it'd be great if he did!

At least we'd know if his parish was merged or not!  Thank you for showing me that little tidbit Father!
My grandfather's parish and the parish a few blocks away were merged a while back.  For a while it got out of control and to attend mass at the parish down the street you HAD to be a member of the parish.  The parish was ethnic Polish and my grandfather's parish was not ethnic anything.  The Polish-Americans were highly upset, I'm not sure of the battle.  But I do remember the signs on the doors saying you had to be a member.  I'd ask my grandfather about it, but as he would say, somethings that are resolved are resolved and you just don't talk about things after they are fixed.
Logged

Αριστοκλής
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
Posts: 10,026


« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2007, 06:52:46 PM »

^ Sounds like Pittsburgh
Logged

"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides
username!
Moderator
Protokentarchos
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Ukrainian Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Pennsylvaniadoxy
Posts: 5,069



« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2007, 10:05:45 PM »

^ Sounds like Pittsburgh

Close.................
Logged

Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.086 seconds with 46 queries.