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Author Topic: Divorce & Remarriage  (Read 8555 times) Average Rating: 0
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TonyS
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« Reply #45 on: June 25, 2003, 11:01:41 AM »

Strange, Bp Tikhon sent me a three page email telling me when "the rubrics" call for crossing oneself.  I will have to dig it out and see if he specifies what "the rubrics" are.

anastasios

anastasios,

It would be interesting to know what these "rubrics" are taken from.  Just to be clear, rubrics are AFAIK the indications within the liturgical texts (set apart by color, type size or placement) for actions of the celebrant/con-celebrants, reader and choir; sometimes they are in a prologue location, I suppose any such ritual indication from the Typikon would also be a rubric which is where I expect anythink like this would be.  

In almost all of the books I have seen indications for the peoples' actions (meaning non-choir/reader) are absent.  Even in collections such as the numerous Zborniki out there which contain the divine liturgy, most (even the GC ones) don't have any signal when to cross oneself or bow or kneel or otherwise -- and these are without a doubt for the people as they do not contain the priest's "private prayers."  

I posted this question on two lists I participate in and have received a few replies, one referred me to the Jordanville Prayerbook and another to the "Abridged Typikon" but both of these are problematic.  The Abridged Typikon seems to be from an Ukaz from the Moscow Patriarchate and does not reflect the actual Slavonic (Synodal) Typikon and the instructions in the Jordanville Prayerbook are even more problematic according to the information I have received.  

Even the private prayerbooks in use today that I have seen (and I have seen tons lately) do not have much indication other than about washing ones face before praying on arising and about the sign of the cross over the bed and kissing the cross on going to sleep.  I admit my ignorance about Greek usage so I queried a member of the GOA about this, he says the Greek books don't have any rubrics for the people and that private prayerbooks may but he does not think so.  Of course, "pew books" may have some indications, these could be called rubrics but I wont call them that just yet.  

One thing for sure, the Old Believers' books (whatever they may be) most surely would have true rubrics for the people and, by our standarsd, complex and demanding ones.

Tony

PS:  An exception is that there are definitely rubrics for the people in the pre-sanctified, in the Slavonic books it says that the people in the church kneel and stand alternately at the "Da ispravitsya/Let my prayer arise," while it is certainly custom to kneel or prostrate I can't find the same rubric or another rubric for the people for the "Nyne sily/Now the powers."  Can someone else?
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« Reply #46 on: July 06, 2003, 11:08:09 PM »

Jenny,

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I understand that there is a lot of temptation in living alone, and Paul says that it is better to marry than to burn with passion (1 Cor 7:9), but what about our Lord's statement: "Whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery."  If the Church allows a person to divorce and remarry for reasons other than unchastity, then wouldn't the person be living an adulterous life?

i)  Taking for granted that our Lord's saying on divorce was as absolutist as say, the Roman Catholics interpret it, it's obvious the Church was practicing leniency in this matter early on - for there is no other way of explaining St.Paul's recommendation of economy in this matter (the so called "Pauline privilege.")  There is nothing inherent to our Lord's command, that allows for the "Pauline privilege" - certainly St.Paul himself would have viewed use of the privilege to be far less than the ideal laid out by the Saviour Himself.  Yet, out of condescension, it is allowed.  Viewing the matter this way, the "economy" allowed by the Orthodox Church throughout the ages is not a scandal, since it is something with roots in the ministry of the Apostles themselves.

ii) While Roman Catholics will often polemically beat Orthodox Christians over the head for their "laxity" on the divorce issue, it's worth pointing out that all "ancient churches" (Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, etc.) practice various forms of "economy" on different subjects.  For example, I can say quite certainly that the RCC accepts in most cases penances for grave offences which many ancient Christian pastors would have considered outright scandalous.  However, it comes down to the question of just how much the Church can tolerate, if the choice is between losing a soul to the world, or keeping them in the Church but allowing what is certainly below the ideal.  The answer, depending on the subject, differs between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.  Given this, finger pointing is really out of the question.

iii) A worthwhile study is the relationship between the Mosaic "allowance" for divorce and remarriage, and the Christian "hardline" on the subject - a comparison of Deuteronomy 24, and St.Matthew 19.  The two are actually not as far apart as some may think.  For example, the Torah only strictly allowed for divorce in the case of the husband finding something "idencent" (hebrew - ervah) in his wife after their marriage was consumated.  This is probably the word "porneia" (used in the Greek of St.Matthew 19:9) was intended to translate.  The issue between our Lord and the Pharisees, was actually in part a dispute which was already going on in Judaism at the time.  The more lax school of thought (embodied by the Pharisees, and which eventually won out and became normative in what we now know as "Orthodox Judaism") basically says that if a husband is displeased with his wife, he can write her a bill of divorce and send her off.  This is a very loose (and quite disingenous) interpretation of ervah, which clearly refers to "indencency" involving sexuality (since it has it's etymological roots in the idea of "nakedness"...and in Hebrew, to speak of someone seeing another's "nakedness" was euphemistic for sexual relations of some kind).  OTOH, were more strict Jewish jurists, who understood "ervah" the way our Saviour taught - to refer to some kind of sexual indescretion, and this being the only just allowance for a divorce.  Even the idea that the woman is made somehow impure by a divorce is not new to our Lord - in Deuteronomy 24:4, it says quite clearly that a man who divorces a woman cannot take her back after she's remarried, because she has become "defiled" (hebrew - taw-may).  So our Lord was not teaching anything new, per se.  The Tanakh (the Bible accepted by the Jews) itself says quite plainly that God "hates" divorce, which obviously means it's allowance (even without taking our Lord's saying on the subject into consideration) is purely a condescension to human weakness.

What has changed in the Christian context, is simply how "acceptable" this allowance for remarriage (which exists because of the "hardness of hearts") is.  Christ robs us of any illusions that divorce is "ok", the simple breaking of a legal contract, that women are chattle that can be dismissed when we get sick of them.

What I would like to ask Catholics who have a problem with the Orthodox Church's allowance for ecclessiastical divorce and remarriage, is whether "hardness of heart" has disappeared?  Just because we call ourselves Christians, does it mean that such no longer exists?

Tom S,

Quote
I am a Southern Baptist convert to Orthoodoxy, and although I understand the Veneration of the Theotokos, I think that sometimes the words addressed to her border on Worship - which I have a problem accepting. Even now, I do not cross myself, like most Orthodox, when the Theotokos is mentioned in the Liturgy.

To borrow a saying from a Roman Catholic saint (I believe it was Louise de Montfort), "you cannot honour or love our Lady too much, for no honour or devotion you can show her will ever come close to that showered upon her by our Lord Jesus Christ" (I'm sure that's paraphrased, but it makes the same point.)

None of the Saints is revered just because we think they're "swell" - Orthodoxy is not some quasi-polytheistic cult, with a "supreme god" and plenty of lesser divinities of varying powers.  Rather, we venerate the Saints, because they are tabernacles of God - their relics are divinized, their souls radiating the uncreated energies of God.  The Saints are Saints, because they bear God.  "God is glorified in His Saints" as the saying goes.

The Mother of God enjoys a type of veneration then, which is incomparable even to that of other great Saints.  Indeed, to a great extent Old Testament archetypes which can viewed as symbolical of the sacred humanity of our Lord, are just as apt types of the Blessed Virgin - whether it be the Temple/Tabernacle of the Israelites, or most particularly, the Ark of the Covenant.  These physical objects were supremely reverenced by the Israelites, with the understanding they were unique bearers of the Divine Presence, the glory of God, known in Hebrew as "shekinah".  If anything, the intimacy which the Blessed Virgin enjoys with God, is incomparably closer "to the source" than either of these physical edifaces ever was.  Thus, far more worthy is She of our veneration and love.

Simply put, one cannot love and venerate the Holy Mother, and not glorify God at the same time.  It's simply impossible.  The only way to do such, would be to cease to venerate the Virgin, but some other being under the guise of our Lady (as some neo-pagans do, when they co-opt the image of the Blessed Virgin, but blaspheme it by using it as a guise by which they can worship their "goddess").  On the other hand, one cannot venerate the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, the chosen vessel of our salvation, the Mother of all believers, the historical, real, Blessed Virgin, and err with "too much" love and devotion...unless you can laud Her with something better than the honours and titles God Almighty has bestowed on Her.

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« Reply #47 on: May 03, 2007, 01:00:43 PM »

I know, I know, what an issue to start my interaction here on.  Roll Eyes Smiley

I suppose I should add first that if this is the wrong forum for such a discussion I am sorry and ask the staff to kindly direct me in the appropriate placement of such. I ain't sure where diverse theologies are s'poused to transpire.

At any rate I am not looking so much for debate as I am discussion. I am curious what the Orthodox understanding of Christian teaching is in regards to divorce, etc.

Here is a snippet of my understanding and interpretation of the NT on such issues:


I think divorce, generally speaking, is wrong. It is never prescribed by God. But it is permitted in some cases. Jesus teaches us that one may divorce because of infidelity to the marriage.

Paul (in Corinthians 7) lays down the principle that when an unbelieving spouse does not wish to dwell (i.e. remain married and/or perhaps more broadly to live together peacefully) with their spouse then a believer is permitted to divorce in such cases. To me that principle covers several scenarios (i.e. physical or sexual abuse, abandonment, etc.).

However, there is nothing explicit in Scripture ever permitting remarriage after divorce except in the case of death of one's spouse OR  (of consequence) if one is in a civil union with someone who has wrongly divorced and married again outside of Biblical sanction.

The only passage that even suggests remarriage is possible following a divorce from a legitimate marriage is the exception clause by Jesus in Matthew. There can be a strong argument made that Christ is implicitly permitting both divorce and remarriage in such cases. But again, it is not explicit. And the rest of NT Scripture fails to confirm the notion (IMO). So, I personally believe divorce is permitted in some cases from a valid marriage -- but remarriage is not permitted so long as one's spouse is living.

What do you think?

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Cleopas
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« Reply #48 on: May 03, 2007, 01:04:37 PM »

I'll leave it to the Orthodox to explain their position of allowing divorce and remarriage up to three times, but your position is quite close to the Catholic position---separation can be justified, but re-marriage is not possible so long as the spouse lives.
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« Reply #49 on: May 03, 2007, 01:14:48 PM »

There have been many threads on this topic over the years. Perhaps you can do a search and read some of them?

For now, here's part of an article by Fr. Ted Stylianopoulos. It covers the basics of the Orthodox position. Much more could be said, most especially that the Church's primary concern is the salvation of everyone, including people whose marriages have fallen apart. Thus, our canonical tradition is applied by the Bishop on a case by case basis with this in mind.

Quote
The Orthodox Church views marriage as a holy union between a man and a woman that is established and blessed by God. Marriage therefore is 'a bond of a covenant that may not be broken,' according to the words of the sacrament. And yet the Church, for certain grave reasons, permits divorce and remarriage. This seemingly paradoxical position arises out of, on the one hand, respect for biblical teaching and, on the other, compassionate concern for human weakness.

The authority for the unbreakable character of marriage is Christ himself. In Mark 10:6-8, Jesus rejects divorce allowed by the Mosaic Law (Dt 24-14) and appeals to God's order of creation: 'God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh' (Gn 1:27; 2:24). Then he commands: 'What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder' (Mk 10:9). The same teaching is found among the radical standards of conduct proclaimed in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:31-33). These principles are intended for all those who accept Christ's saving message and commit themselves to live by the reality of God's kingdom revealed by Christ.

The Orthodox tradition has always fostered the ideal of the permanency of marriage on the basis of Christ's teaching. For example, the great Church Father, John Chrysostom (fourth century), writes, 'Both by the manner of creation and by the manner of [new] lawgiving, Christ showed that one man must dwell with one woman continually and never break off from her.' In his book 'Against Remarriage,' Chrysostom goes as far as to counsel widows and widowers themselves not to remarry but to remain faithful to their deceased spouses and honor their memory.

However, because of human frailty, not all people can uphold the ideal of the permanency of marriage. And the radical principles of the Sermon on the Mount must ultimately be interpreted in the light of the Gospel, not law. In cases of moral failure, the Gospel requires that we respond to people with compassion and forgiveness, not judgment and condemnation. According to the Gospel of Matthew, divorce can occur for reasons of 'unchastity' (porneia, literally 'fornication'), probably referring to sexual misconduct (Mt 5:32; 19:9). Similarly, though St. Paul mentions the standard of Christ's strict teaching about marriage, nevertheless he accommodates his pastoral instructions to human weakness, including the possibility of separation and divorce (1 Cor 7:10-15). In this spirit, the Orthodox Church has developed the principle of 'economy' (oikonomia, meaning 'flexibility'), by which it permits divorce and subsequent remarriage. But it does so only in the context of individual pastoral guidance, and for grave reasons such as abandonment, permanent insanity, adultery, forcing the spouse into prostitution, or endangering the life of the spouse. In such cases, it is not that the Church 'dissolves' a marriage by granting a divorce, but rather that the Church officially acknowledges and certifies that a marriage has already tragically failed. The Church acts by God's mercy to recognize the failed marriage and to allow the possibility of another in order to forestall worse moral consequences.
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« Reply #50 on: May 03, 2007, 01:28:30 PM »

There have been many threads on this topic over the years. Perhaps you can do a search and read some of them?

For now, here's part of an article by Fr. Ted Stylianopoulos. It covers the basics of the Orthodox position. Much more could be said, most especially that the Church's primary concern is the salvation of everyone, including people whose marriages have fallen apart. Thus, our canonical tradition is applied by the Bishop on a case by case basis with this in mind.



I suppose a search would be good. But then it kind of takes away from the fun if fresh interaction and actual dialog (especially for someone with no foreknowledge of your position, such as I) is intended.  Wink Cheesy

Thank you for the quote. And as to the intent of looking after the welfare and salvation of every once concerned, I whole heartedly agree with that.
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Cleopas
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« Reply #51 on: May 03, 2007, 01:37:52 PM »

I'll leave it to the Orthodox to explain their position of allowing divorce and remarriage up to three times, but your position is quite close to the Catholic position---separation can be justified, but re-marriage is not possible so long as the spouse lives.

Meaning, in the Catholic Church one needs to get an annulment if one's spouse is living.
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« Reply #52 on: May 03, 2007, 03:16:26 PM »

I think divorce, generally speaking, is wrong. It is never prescribed by God.

Read Deuteronomy 24, and I think you may find your latter statement doesn't stand up.
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« Reply #53 on: May 03, 2007, 04:29:44 PM »

I think divorce, generally speaking, is wrong. It is never prescribed by God. But it is permitted in some cases. Jesus teaches us that one may divorce because of infidelity to the marriage.

Check out the Gospels according to St. Mark 10:10-11 and St. Matthew 19:9.  Christ himself gives the conditions for divorce and when it is acceptable.  It is clearly not a carte blanche endorsement for whatever reason like society tells us divorce can/should be.
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« Reply #54 on: May 03, 2007, 04:53:49 PM »

Read Deuteronomy 24, and I think you may find your latter statement doesn't stand up.

How so? God permitted divorce ... but He did not prescribe it. Did he?
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« Reply #55 on: May 04, 2007, 12:06:35 PM »

How so? God permitted divorce ... but He did not prescribe it. Did he?

I guess I don't see the importance of the distinction.  Does God permit evil?  That's what you should ask.
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« Reply #56 on: May 23, 2007, 12:44:05 AM »

How so? God permitted divorce ... but He did not prescribe it. Did he?

 Hi Cleopas,

 To permit something is to allow it; to prescribe something is to lay down a rule, to dictate, or to lay down as a guide, direction, or rule of action. God wouldn't go about telling us how to do something correctly (prescribing) if He didn't allow it in the first place (permitting).

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« Reply #57 on: August 14, 2007, 10:31:46 PM »

Recently I have come across a few mentions (most recently by a commentator on Ancient Faith Radio) of the verse in the Gospel according to St. Matthew where Jesus says "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven."  I know that many western Christians view this as meaning that the "marriage contract" is broken at physical death, freeing the remaining partner to marry again without worry.  I was surprised, though, to hear a form of this view coming from an Orthodox source.  I have always understood the Orthodox teaching on marriage and the afterlife to be (from Fr Thomas Hopko):

Quote
So, for those who love truly, the savior and accomplisher of their love is Christ. He gives every virtue and every fruit of the Spirit. He allows them to grow ever more perfectly one. He allows them to live and to love for eternity in the Kingdom of God. A marriage in Christ does not end in sin; it does not part in death. It is fulfilled and perfected in the Kingdom of heaven.

Similarly, Bishop Kallistos (Ware), from an essay about the Orthodox view of death and the future life:

Quote
There is a Russian lady in the Orthodox community at Oxford who strongly objects to being called a widow.  Although her husband died many years ago, she insists: "I am his wife, not his widow."  She is right.

My understanding is that the toleration of remarriage for widows is a concession to our fallen nature.  I have also read that the Church did not even bless second marriages at all until around the 10th century.  Is it correct to think of marriage as something intended to be eternal (though not necessarily in its earthly form), while second and third marriages are earthly concessions?
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« Reply #58 on: August 15, 2007, 03:09:48 PM »

My understanding is that the toleration of remarriage for widows is a concession to our fallen nature.  I have also read that the Church did not even bless second marriages at all until around the 10th century.  Is it correct to think of marriage as something intended to be eternal (though not necessarily in its earthly form), while second and third marriages are earthly concessions?

This is the way I have understood it as well.  However, I am definitely not an expert. 

There is a parable about this in scripture...but i'm having problems finding it.  If someone can help out that would be great. 

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« Reply #59 on: December 03, 2007, 12:59:09 PM »

I'm resurrecting this thread due to the recent interest in the question of marriage in the afterlife. Please read this thread carefully before posting, as many of your questions may have already been answered. Also, please use this existing thread for discussion of this issue rather than creating new ones. Thank you.

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« Reply #60 on: November 30, 2010, 06:23:16 PM »

...it's obvious the Church was practicing leniency in this matter early on - for there is no other way of explaining St.Paul's recommendation of economy in this matter (the so called "Pauline privilege.")
From a historical point of view, is there any documentation showing that in early times, the Orthodox (or Eastern part of the Catholic Church) allowed divorce for serious reasons and Rome did not object. I am thinking of documentation which would go back more than 1000 years, such as declarations from the Fathers, or early decisions of the local Churches, etc.
Thanks a lot.
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« Reply #61 on: November 30, 2010, 07:42:57 PM »

...it's obvious the Church was practicing leniency in this matter early on - for there is no other way of explaining St.Paul's recommendation of economy in this matter (the so called "Pauline privilege.")
From a historical point of view, is there any documentation showing that in early times, the Orthodox (or Eastern part of the Catholic Church) allowed divorce for serious reasons and Rome did not object. I am thinking of documentation which would go back more than 1000 years, such as declarations from the Fathers, or early decisions of the local Churches, etc.
Thanks a lot.

St. Vladimir divorced all his wives (as opposed to keeping the first, which is the practice the Vatican has mandated at least since Trent) to marry the Emperor's sister. I don't recall any objection at all. Eupraxia of Kiev divorced the Emperor Henry with Pope Urban's approval, but that is only 900 years ago.

Other, earlier material exists, but I'd have to go dredge it up.  Besides council decisions, etc. you would have to look at divorces of the upper clases: lower class divorces are documented in papyri etc., but nothing that Rome would comment on.
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« Reply #62 on: November 30, 2010, 09:01:23 PM »

...it's obvious the Church was practicing leniency in this matter early on - for there is no other way of explaining St.Paul's recommendation of economy in this matter (the so called "Pauline privilege.")
From a historical point of view, is there any documentation showing that in early times, the Orthodox (or Eastern part of the Catholic Church) allowed divorce for serious reasons and Rome did not object. I am thinking of documentation which would go back more than 1000 years, such as declarations from the Fathers, or early decisions of the local Churches, etc.
Thanks a lot.

St. Vladimir divorced all his wives (as opposed to keeping the first, which is the practice the Vatican has mandated at least since Trent) to marry the Emperor's sister. I don't recall any objection at all. Eupraxia of Kiev divorced the Emperor Henry with Pope Urban's approval, but that is only 900 years ago.

Other, earlier material exists, but I'd have to go dredge it up.  Besides council decisions, etc. you would have to look at divorces of the upper clases: lower class divorces are documented in papyri etc., but nothing that Rome would comment on.
Thank you kindly, Isa, for this. I'll look up the references you have given. In the meantime, I found this:
according to St. Epiphanius of Cyprus (d403) , “He who cannot keep continence after the death of his first wife, or who has separated from his wife for a valid motive, as fornication, adultery, or another misdeed, if he takes another wife, or if the wife takes another husband, the divine word does not condemn him nor exclude him from the Church or the life; but she tolerates it rather on account of his weakness” (Against Heresies).
I am looking for more documentation along the lines of what was declared by St. Epiphanius. In the meantime,
Do you have a link handy for the case where Eupraxia of Kiev divorced the Emperor Henry with Pope Urban's approval?

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