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« on: December 26, 2008, 03:43:37 PM »

A Catholic of the Coptic Rite has taken the Orthodox to task for what he portrays as confusing and conflicting rules for divorce among the Orthodox Churches. 

This is not the case.  To set the record straight, please let me present the grounds for divorce from the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow) and from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America


oOo-
 
Grounds for divorce in the Russian Church  
 
adultery and a new marriage of one of the parties
a spouse's falling away from Orthodoxy,
perversion,
impotence which had set in before marriage or was self-inflicted,
contraction of leprosy or syphilis,
prolonged disappearance,
conviction with disfranchisement,
encroachment on the life or health of the spouse,
love affair with a daughter in law,
profiting from marriage,
profiting by the spouse's indecencies,
incurable mental disease,
malevolent abandonment of the spouse,
chronic alcoholism or drug-addiction,
abortion without the husband's consent. 
 
See the 2000 Synodal document
"BASES OF THE SOCIAL CONCEPT
OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH"
http://3saints.com/ustav_mp_russ_english.html
 
 
Grounds for divorce in the Greek Orthodox Church in America
 
one or both parties is guilty of adultery.
one party is proven to be mad, insane or suffers from a social disease which was not disclosed to the spouse prior to the marriage.
one party has conspired against the life of the spouse.
one party is imprisoned for more than seven years.
one party abandons the other for more than three years without approval.
one partner should be absent from home without the other's approval, except in in stances when the latter is assured that such absence is due to psycho-neurotic illness.
one partner forces the other to engage in illicit affairs with others.
one partner does not fulfill the responsibilities of marriage, or when it is medically proven that one party is physically impotent or as the result of a social venereal disease.
one partner is an addict, thereby creating undue economic hardship.
 
http://www.saintdemetrios.com/OurFaith/Divorce.dsp

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« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2008, 07:47:42 PM »

I've always wondered about whether such a list existed.  Now I know.  But I gotta say, some of these reasons seem redundant and others seem kinda' cruel.

 For example;

1.  The redundant issue is that adultery is listed (which we would expect to find given it's one of the reasons Christ himself listed).  But then we find 'affair with a daughter-in-law'.  Isn't this basically the same thing?  I understand that the father-in-law doesn't have to be married, but I thought the word 'adultery' was pretty broadly defined. 

2.  The kinda' cruel issue seems to be the 'impotent' question (and this doesn't always apply just to men).  Just listening to some of the drug commercials, it seems that this affliction can belie deeper health issues (and sometimes psychological too).  From my limited understanding of Scripture, it seems that a married couple are no longer the sole 'owners' of their bodies.  That is, each partner is expected to satisfy the other whenever it's prudent to do so.  But now, with the impotent question hanging over us, do I love my wife for her bedroom abilities or do I love her as a gift from God with all her imperfections?  Seems a couple can enjoy each other sexually whether or not they're handicapped.   I realize that this is a complex issue that should be approached with patience and love and esp with one's priest, but listing this condition seems to give an 'out' if a person is just bored or no longer in love.  Just some thoughts.  What do all y'all say?

 In Christ,

 Gabriel
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« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2008, 09:52:55 PM »

I've always wondered about whether such a list existed.  Now I know.  But I gotta say, some of these reasons seem redundant and others seem kinda' cruel.

 For example;

1.  The redundant issue is that adultery is listed (which we would expect to find given it's one of the reasons Christ himself listed).  But then we find 'affair with a daughter-in-law'.  Isn't this basically the same thing?  I understand that the father-in-law doesn't have to be married, but I thought the word 'adultery' was pretty broadly defined.
The operative word in "daughter-in-law" is daughter, which makes an affair with one's daughter-in-law much more than adulterous.  Call it a grievous sin against one's own son and even somewhat incestuous.

Quote
2.  The kinda' cruel issue seems to be the 'impotent' question (and this doesn't always apply just to men).  Just listening to some of the drug commercials, it seems that this affliction can belie deeper health issues (and sometimes psychological too).  From my limited understanding of Scripture, it seems that a married couple are no longer the sole 'owners' of their bodies.  That is, each partner is expected to satisfy the other whenever it's prudent to do so.  But now, with the impotent question hanging over us, do I love my wife for her bedroom abilities or do I love her as a gift from God with all her imperfections?  Seems a couple can enjoy each other sexually whether or not they're handicapped.   I realize that this is a complex issue that should be approached with patience and love and esp with one's priest, but listing this condition seems to give an 'out' if a person is just bored or no longer in love.  Just some thoughts.  What do all y'all say?
But if one of the main reasons for marriage is the co-creation of children, then it stands to reason that impotence can be a major problem.
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« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2008, 10:02:25 PM »

But what about adoption? I know many good christian couples who were unable to have children biologically speaking, but they either adopted or they became loving parents to many spiritual children. All sorts of things can happen in this life, and surely this should not be grounds for deserting  one's spouse to find another? That seems extremely selfish to me. I thought marriage was a life-long commitment wherein the two devote themselves to loving and caring for one another through thick and thin.
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« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2008, 10:06:51 PM »

I've always wondered about whether such a list existed.  Now I know.  But I gotta say, some of these reasons seem redundant and others seem kinda' cruel.

 For example;

1.  The redundant issue is that adultery is listed (which we would expect to find given it's one of the reasons Christ himself listed).  But then we find 'affair with a daughter-in-law'.  Isn't this basically the same thing?  I understand that the father-in-law doesn't have to be married, but I thought the word 'adultery' was pretty broadly defined. 

2.  The kinda' cruel issue seems to be the 'impotent' question (and this doesn't always apply just to men).  Just listening to some of the drug commercials, it seems that this affliction can belie deeper health issues (and sometimes psychological too).  From my limited understanding of Scripture, it seems that a married couple are no longer the sole 'owners' of their bodies.  That is, each partner is expected to satisfy the other whenever it's prudent to do so.  But now, with the impotent question hanging over us, do I love my wife for her bedroom abilities or do I love her as a gift from God with all her imperfections?  Seems a couple can enjoy each other sexually whether or not they're handicapped.   I realize that this is a complex issue that should be approached with patience and love and esp with one's priest, but listing this condition seems to give an 'out' if a person is just bored or no longer in love.  Just some thoughts.  What do all y'all say?

 In Christ,

 Gabriel


The issue is not the impotence, but if it was not revealed BEFORE marriage, or self inflicted.  So it's not an exception to the "in sickness and in health."
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« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2008, 10:08:12 PM »

All sorts of things can happen in this life, and surely this should not be grounds for deserting  one's spouse to find another? That seems extremely selfish to me. I thought marriage was a life-long commitment wherein the two devote themselves to loving and caring for one another through thick and thin.
Amen, sister.  Thanks for articulating this much better than I... Wink
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« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2008, 10:10:30 PM »

A Catholic of the Coptic Rite has taken the Orthodox to task for what he portrays as confusing and conflicting rules for divorce among the Orthodox Churches. 

If it is who I think it is, has he yet explained (away) the Corban of annullments?  Talk about confusion and conflicting rules, not to mention hypocrisy.
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« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2008, 10:11:42 PM »

Quote
The kinda' cruel issue seems to be the 'impotent' question (and this doesn't always apply just to men).  ...  What do all y'all say?

I'd agree. And there have been quite a number of saintly families that couldn't have children. Sometimes they prayed and God gave them children in spite of their natural inability, sometimes not.
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« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2008, 10:11:49 PM »



The issue is not the impotence, but if it was not revealed BEFORE marriage, or self inflicted.  So it's not an exception to the "in sickness and in health."

Yes, you're right; lying by omission is a serious issue.    
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« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2008, 10:12:32 PM »

But what are the chances that a teenage or twenty-something virgin is going to know that he's impotent? Wink
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« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2008, 10:12:58 PM »

I'm sure there are many couples who marry without realizing that one of the two is infertile (if this is what you are referring to). Sometimes, sadly, one knows this beforehand, and of course, it would be most uncharitable not to mention it, but other times folks are simply unaware. I don't think infertility should be a reason to consign folks to a life of loneliness.

Thanks, Gabriel, for your kind words. I very much appreciated your initial post as well. Very sad things can happen in one's life which cause a person to suddenly see everything from a very different perspective...
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« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2008, 10:20:23 PM »

But what are the chances that a teenage or twenty-something virgin is going to know that he's impotent? Wink

He knows if there is lead in the pencil, even if he's never had anyone to write.
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« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2008, 11:27:51 PM »

That's true, he might, and my last post was an overstatement. I was thinking of guys with more psychological issues when the time came, though, among other problems. Your point is well taken, though, most guys would know ahead of time if they couldn't perform.
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« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2008, 01:56:52 AM »

The Culture of Divorce

St. Mark 10:2-12 (12/23) Gospel for Tuesday of the
Thirty-first Week after Pentecost

The Culture of Divorce: St. Mark 10:2-12, especially vs. 9: "Therefore
what God has joined together, let not man separate." The Church calls
her Lord, "The Bridegroom," and she knows herself as His bride (Mk.
2:19,20; Jn. 3:29; Eph. 5:21-32; Rev. 21:2). Those who have been joined
to Christ rejoice in their mystical and life-giving union, for they
belong to the heavenly Bridegroom, are "no longer two, but one flesh."
They are being healed and deified.
Contemporary society to the contrary is "a culture of divorce," not
simply because the majority live comfortably with divorces, but also
because a spiritual rupture deeply permeates the soul of modern men and
women. In contemporary parlance this spiritual divorce is called
"secularism. " Biblically, and in Orthodox Tradition, it is known as
worldliness and godlessness.

The secularist multitudes around the Church are impoverished
spiritually, being divorced from God. They have no inkling of the
blessings of being "one flesh with Him." They are confused, without
resources for escaping the scourge with which secularism lashes them and
their marriages! Of course they embrace divorce as a good "solution"
when wedlock fails them.

There are unimaginable blessings in being united to the Lord Jesus. He
encourages, strengthens, loves, and bestows illumination on us to resist
and struggle against the prevailing secular acceptance of easy divorce.
Be aware, however. Since divorce is common, nominal, immature
Christians may also confront marriage without the resources of life in
Christ. Many, therefore, taste the bitterness of divorce. Such
tragedies warn us to enter ever more deeply into union with Christ, meet
one another in Him and live in the culture of divorce victoriously.

Whatever our life status - never married, celibate, married, divorced,
remarried - you and I are in a life and death dialog with the culture
around us, with its godless spirit and its easy predisposition to
divorce. It is urgent to realize that those whom "God has joined
together" in Christ can divorce by mindlessly wandering off from the
Bridegroom. But God is not about to "walk out" on you nor divorce you.
That is not His nature. Do not leave Him! It is death.

Union with Christ is at work "both now and unto the ages of ages." One
day we will stand before His Judgment Seat. Now is the time to repent
of "hardness of your heart" (Mk. 10:5). How kindly Christ teaches His
Bride to restore those who are divorced and even to permit remarriage.
There is, however, no overlooking past failures. Confession, penance,
and absolution are always needed by all. The Bridegroom expects His
members to be chaste. Fornication, adultery, and divorce are sins but
not unforgivable. You are united to Christ. Take your cross. Remain
pure.

To remain strong amidst the storms of divorce and perversion, you and I
need to embrace the Bridegroom's vision of marriage - He Who takes you
to Himself. Whether married or single our task is to pursue
illumination in this world and thus bring light from our living union
with Christ. The saints reveals what a saving beacon Christian lives
and marriages can be!

Christian couples, you have the privilege of giving to the floundering
world the message that "God has not abandoned you! He loves you. He
will welcome you home. His arms are stretched out." Understand both
the single life and marriage in this light! When you grasp such truth
and seek to make your station in life into a living icon of hope, then
the grace of your union with Christ will flow out to the world through
your life. Marriages on earth can be opportunities to bless. Likewise,
those who are single, being in a marriage bond with Christ the
Bridegroom, may proclaim the power of true marriage to the floundering
culture of divorce.

O Master, send down Thy grace upon all Thy servants, married and
single. Preserve us all, O Lord, as Thou didst preserve Noah in the
Ark, and let Thy gladness come upon us.

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« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2008, 11:29:29 AM »

That's true, he might, and my last post was an overstatement. I was thinking of guys with more psychological issues when the time came, though, among other problems. Your point is well taken, though, most guys would know ahead of time if they couldn't perform.

However, correct me if I'm wrong, but guys wouldn't know if they had low or no sperm count until they actually tried to conceive with someone and discovered they couldn't?

There are many, many women out there who have no clue that they can't conceive until they actually try and are unsuccessful.  There are plenty of reasons that a woman would not know ahead of time. 

I agree, though, that it should NOT be grounds for divorce unless the person knew before the marriage and did not tell the spouse.  That would be purposely misleading.  My own personal opinion, though, is that if a person leaves their spouse after the spouse finds out they are unable to conceive or bear children, they should never have been married to begin with, as it is cruel, selfish, and unsupportive.  A husband does not exist solely for the purpose of providing a seed, nor does a wife exist solely for the purpose of carrying children.  To leave because one or the other is unable to do so is to say that this is the only reason they existed to begin with.  It's wrong.  And I am a true believer in adoption and fervently pray that someday my husband and I will be blessed to adopt a child who needs a loving home. 

Christ is born!  Glorify Him!
Presbytera Mari
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« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2008, 11:37:37 AM »

I think it should be added that the items in the OP list are not "compelling," in that even if there is a fact of adultery or abandonment or whatever, the innocent party should not feel as if he/she is under an OBLIGATION to divirce his/her spouse.
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« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2008, 11:51:36 AM »

That's true, he might, and my last post was an overstatement. I was thinking of guys with more psychological issues when the time came, though, among other problems. Your point is well taken, though, most guys would know ahead of time if they couldn't perform.

However, correct me if I'm wrong, but guys wouldn't know if they had low or no sperm count until they actually tried to conceive with someone and discovered they couldn't?

There are many, many women out there who have no clue that they can't conceive until they actually try and are unsuccessful.  There are plenty of reasons that a woman would not know ahead of time. 

I agree, though, that it should NOT be grounds for divorce unless the person knew before the marriage and did not tell the spouse.  That would be purposely misleading.  My own personal opinion, though, is that if a person leaves their spouse after the spouse finds out they are unable to conceive or bear children, they should never have been married to begin with, as it is cruel, selfish, and unsupportive.  A husband does not exist solely for the purpose of providing a seed, nor does a wife exist solely for the purpose of carrying children.  To leave because one or the other is unable to do so is to say that this is the only reason they existed to begin with.  It's wrong.  And I am a true believer in adoption and fervently pray that someday my husband and I will be blessed to adopt a child who needs a loving home. 

Christ is born!  Glorify Him!
Presbytera Mari

Note: infertility was NOT on the list.

One can be impotent, but not technically infertile.

As for leaving, that could only be justified if someone knew and hid it.  I've known the opposite situation: an older guy who married a women who knew (I don't know how, nor care to) she couldn't have children.  So it wasn't an issue.

I think it should be added that the items in the OP list are not "compelling," in that even if there is a fact of adultery or abandonment or whatever, the innocent party should not feel as if he/she is under an OBLIGATION to divirce his/her spouse.

Actually, the canons point that out: the priest is supposed to attempt reconciliation before starting the process of recognizing a divorce.  In some jurisdictions, the recognition is not sought until the innocent party wants to remarry.

Btw, show this to your gnostic friends.  Let them notice that infertility is not on the list, while impotence is, i.e. it is expected to have sex (actually make love) in marriage.
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« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2009, 10:37:13 PM »

Impotency has nothing to do with infertility.  The Catholic Church will marry infertile people.  It will not marry a couple in which one partner is in capable of sexual union, i.e. impotent.  For a male this could be inability to achieve an erection or lack of a penus all together, for a female this could be vaginal deformity making penetration impossible.  Fortunately modern medicine and corrective surgery make permanent incurable impotency something of a rarity nowadays.

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« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2009, 12:17:06 AM »

In Orthodoxy, can one of the parties in marriage disavow that marriage to go off and become a monastic?

Or do monasteries not take previously-married people who decide that they would rather be monks/nuns?

One reads in Byzantine and Medieval Russian times when an aging tsar or emperess would go off and join a monastery (whether by their own choice or by force).

Is that monastic then considered unmarried, or still married?
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« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2009, 03:07:06 AM »

Yes, the late Patriarch of Moscow did just that.
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« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2009, 04:06:06 AM »

A Catholic of the Coptic Rite has taken the Orthodox to task for what he portrays as confusing and conflicting rules for divorce among the Orthodox Churches. 

If it is who I think it is, has he yet explained (away) the Corban of annullments?  Talk about confusion and conflicting rules, not to mention hypocrisy.
I am not sure why the word corban would be used in this context. I think that the annulment process of the Roman Catholic Church as practiced before Vatican II, was entirely reasonable and made a lot of sense. For example, if someone were married before and did not reveal that fact before attempting a second marriage, it is entirely reasonable that the second attempted marriage be declared null and void. However, after Vatican II, soft psychological reasons, such as defect of consent,  were admitted, at least in the USA, as grounds for annulment, and in my personal opinion, this has led to a serious abuse and misuse of the annulment process.
The reasons for divorce in the Orthodox Church, as listed above, appear to be pretty reasonable, but I have heard of a case where an Orthodox couple did obtain a divorce on what seemed to be lighter grounds than what was listed here.
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« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2009, 10:10:42 PM »

Indeed, routine declarations of nullity seems to be largely an American issue.

In 2004, 70,235 annulments were granted worldwide---53,885, more than three quarters, were in America. I have doubts about the legitimacy of so many of these annulments---only God can read the consciences of those involved and judge.



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