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Author Topic: Marital Fast  (Read 944 times) Average Rating: 0
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john_mo
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« Reply #45 on: July 17, 2014, 03:06:39 PM »

I have not listened to this so I cannot comment on the content of this talk or whether I agree or disagree with any of it, but I am passing it along for general interest:

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New Talk Available!

Talk 63

Sexual Relations in an Orthodox Marriage

Father Kosmas


There exists today a general confusion regarding the topic of sex, due primarily to the considerable conflicting and often incorrect information available on the topic. Many Orthodox clergy and theologians are among those confused regarding sexual relations in married life. There is a growing belief amongst Orthodox Christians that the Church should stay out of a married couple’s bedroom. Instead, God’s commandments, the canons, and the teachings and examples of the saints have been replaced by sex therapists, psychologists, doctors, sex manuals, pornography, television and the internet.

In this talk, Father Kosmas draws on various saints and contemporary elders and the Holy Canons to present the Orthodox Church’s teaching on sexual relations in married life. In particular, he answers some very important questions about which Orthodox Christians are often confused....

http://www.orthodoxtalks.com/talk-63-sexual-relations-in-an-orthodox-marriage/

Sounds interesting, but it costs 10 Euros.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 03:07:22 PM by john_mo » Logged

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« Reply #46 on: July 17, 2014, 03:33:57 PM »

Sounds interesting, but it costs 10 Euros.

Yes, I am totally confused.  Per the description of the talk "Other topics covered in this talk include: . . . and how some believe that monastics should not give advice on matters regarding marriage and sex."  I would have to get over that belief before I would spend the $14.06 to listen to a Priestmonk talk nearly 4 hours about an activity that he is not supposed to be doing . . . even though it looks like I may agree with a lot of what he says.

« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 03:35:08 PM by Punch » Logged

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« Reply #47 on: July 17, 2014, 04:01:15 PM »

Sounds interesting, but it costs 10 Euros.

Yes, I am totally confused.  Per the description of the talk "Other topics covered in this talk include: . . . and how some believe that monastics should not give advice on matters regarding marriage and sex."  I would have to get over that belief before I would spend the $14.06 to listen to a Priestmonk talk nearly 4 hours about an activity that he is not supposed to be doing . . . even though it looks like I may agree with a lot of what he says.

I have only listened to about an hour, but I think you would appreciate what he says.  He answers a lot of objections and questions that have been asked in this and similar threads.

Regarding the objection that I do not want the Church or my spiritual father in my bedroom, he makes the good point that we allow everyone else into our bedroom when allowing society, TV shows, pornography, youtube, commercials, advertisements, and all manner of other things to influence our views regarding sexual relations in marriage.  There is no way to do justice to a 4 hr talk, and I have not yet listened to the whole thing, but so far it is very good.

Regarding whether monks should give advice on such things, he does not say yes or no unequivocally, but gives a good explanation based on the lives of the saints on when and why this is and is not appropriate.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 04:02:40 PM by jah777 » Logged
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« Reply #48 on: July 17, 2014, 05:17:51 PM »

Regarding the objection that I do not want the Church or my spiritual father in my bedroom, he makes the good point that we allow everyone else into our bedroom when allowing society, TV shows, pornography, youtube, commercials, advertisements, and all manner of other things to influence our views regarding sexual relations in marriage.  

I know that it was not at all your intent to say I or anyone else does these things, so I am not accusing you of such; however, his good point is only such if he is dealing with someone who does indeed allow these things.  I cannot stand most television programs, and I intensly dislike the attempted manipulation of commercials (so I mute the TV during the few times that I actually watch the thing).  My YouTube is limited to watching Gary Numan and Brian Eno videos, or watching tanks blow each other up.  So, I think, at least in my case, he has not made a good point as to why he should be in my bedroom.  Granted, I get a bit excited watching a nice, long 128 mm bore diameter cannon pump a nice fat projectile into the soft rear of a Sherman tank, but I don't think that has anything to do with the relationship between my wife and me.
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« Reply #49 on: July 17, 2014, 07:25:43 PM »

I am one who thinks that the only monks that should be confessing laity are widowers.  There is a reason why, for 19 centuries, there was a distinction between white and black clergy (married and celibate for those who don't know what I am talking about), that only white clergy were appointed to head parishes and be their confessors, and only black clergy appointed to monasteries and be their confessors.  However, many things made the past century+ an anomaly.  One is that, under the Turks, married priests were not able to be educated, and so, were not allowed to be confessors.  Monastics, who were not seminary educated but were "monastery educated" filled the role.  Among the Slavs under communist oppression, you simply got the priest you got.  In diaspora, with shortage of priests, you got the priest you got (and get the priest you get).  St. Timothy gives a great standard for those under normal situations--that from the middle of the night one concentrates on prayer abstaining from other things (no food, no sex, etc. etc.) until the morning partaking of communion.  This is why St. Dionysius gives the absolute limits, that only married couples know their own situation, and the marriage bed is undefiled in any case. 
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« Reply #50 on: July 21, 2014, 12:44:55 PM »

I am one who thinks that the only monks that should be confessing laity are widowers.  There is a reason why, for 19 centuries, there was a distinction between white and black clergy (married and celibate for those who don't know what I am talking about), that only white clergy were appointed to head parishes and be their confessors, and only black clergy appointed to monasteries and be their confessors.  However, many things made the past century+ an anomaly.  One is that, under the Turks, married priests were not able to be educated, and so, were not allowed to be confessors.  Monastics, who were not seminary educated but were "monastery educated" filled the role.  Among the Slavs under communist oppression, you simply got the priest you got.  In diaspora, with shortage of priests, you got the priest you got (and get the priest you get).  St. Timothy gives a great standard for those under normal situations--that from the middle of the night one concentrates on prayer abstaining from other things (no food, no sex, etc. etc.) until the morning partaking of communion.  This is why St. Dionysius gives the absolute limits, that only married couples know their own situation, and the marriage bed is undefiled in any case. 

Thank you, Father, for this historical info.  It does indeed shed light on the issue.  To me it also just makes practical sense that married clergy would be better suited to council married laity.  Of course, that's not to say that monastics can't teach us marrieds a thing or two about marriage or chastity. 

What I don't understand is why I hear so many Orthodox believe that monastics have a lot of wisdom to impart on marrieds (true), but I never hear that about how monastics might be able to learn from married clergy. Even Fr. Josiah Trenham has mentioned that some monastics become monastics because they were no good at relationships.
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« Reply #51 on: July 21, 2014, 01:37:27 PM »

^Yes.  Most priests who are hieromonks or archimandrites who take parishes are very gracious to do so, and most do well at caring for their flock in confession and otherwise.  My remark about monks (in a monastery) confessing laity on a regular basis is the recent development in a few jurisdictions, especially in the past 15 years, where laity (married laity) will skip going to their parish priest for confession and instead go to a monastery on a regular basis.  The layman will then return to a parish priest and his advice will clash with what the layman received in the monastery.  Instead of the monastery confessor telling them that, while it is ok for them to occasion the monastery, that they should regularly be confessing in the parish setting, they will instead confess them regularly.  This resulted, for example in a marriage that came to a screeching halt as one spouse stopped going to the parish priest and went to the monastery.  The advice that was received from the monastery confessor was to stop having intercourse altogether and live as brother and sister.  It resulted in divorce.  Lord have mercy.  
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« Reply #52 on: July 21, 2014, 02:17:46 PM »

One thing that is interesting to me about the talks given by Fr. Kosmas is that while he may not turn people away who come to him for help and advice, he does ask the people coming to him why they aren't going to their parish priest, or suggests that they talk to their parish priest about their problems if they have not.  One thing monastic spiritual fathers learn very quickly, which Fr. Kosmas also relates with specific examples, is that some parish priests don’t want to talk to their people about certain things, while others may give terrible and even dangerous advice.  In the lives of the countless saints and elders that we have from so many countries over so many centuries, their stories are filled with accounts of laity seeking out these monastic spiritual fathers.  There is a reason why they do this, and if they are helped, they will return over and over again.  Some parish priests are good spiritual fathers but some parish priests who are confessors should not be, and those who should not be can do a lot of damage.  Not all monastics are good spiritual fathers either.  I have a dear friend who has had different married parish priests as his confessors when he belonged to their respective parishes and who now has a monastic spiritual father.  He often has told me that, without question, his monastic spiritual father has been the most helpful to both he and his wife, both in terms of their individual spiritual development and the guidance and help they received at some very rocky periods of their marriage.  They say that, had it not been for their monastic spiritual father, their marriage very well could have fallen apart.  This is just anecdotal and does not imply anything in an absolute sense, but from my experience and from others that I know, I disagree entirely with the assertion that laity should not seek guidance from monastic spiritual fathers.     
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« Reply #53 on: July 21, 2014, 08:26:58 PM »

Agreed.  Based on what you said, Fr. Kosmas seems to have a right attitude about this.  We have two extremes to avoid.  One extreme includes the view that there should be less monasteries (fortunately, this view seems to be waning).  The other extreme is the view that monasteries are the only place to find holiness, and that monastics are the only people from which to gain holiness.  The historical norm of the Church strikes a balance, where for a regular confessor, married people go to parish or cathedral clergy, and monastics go to monastic (monastery) clergy.  I do agree that not every parish priest makes a good confessor, which is why historically not every parish priest was a confessor, and village laity who had a priest that was not given the blessing to hear confessions would often confess when attending a cathedral service or a service of the deanery clergy.  We still have a vestige of this practice in some places, where, during Lenten Vespers, various deanery or area clergy will hear confessions.            
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« Reply #54 on: Yesterday at 09:06:15 AM »

^Yes.  Most priests who are hieromonks or archimandrites who take parishes are very gracious to do so, and most do well at caring for their flock in confession and otherwise.  My remark about monks (in a monastery) confessing laity on a regular basis is the recent development in a few jurisdictions, especially in the past 15 years, where laity (married laity) will skip going to their parish priest for confession and instead go to a monastery on a regular basis.  The layman will then return to a parish priest and his advice will clash with what the layman received in the monastery.  Instead of the monastery confessor telling them that, while it is ok for them to occasion the monastery, that they should regularly be confessing in the parish setting, they will instead confess them regularly.  This resulted, for example in a marriage that came to a screeching halt as one spouse stopped going to the parish priest and went to the monastery.  The advice that was received from the monastery confessor was to stop having intercourse altogether and live as brother and sister.  It resulted in divorce.  Lord have mercy.  


Lord have mercy! That is a real shame.  As has been discussed in similar threads, I really don't think some people within Orthodoxy honor marriage enough or even understand how important sex is to the relationship.

I have heard of similar things happening (though not ending so tragically) with other people.  Fortunately for me, the monastery (in Essex, UK) that I was in contact with was not so far into another world that they weren't able to give good sound guidance to those of us living outside of the monastery who are married or have families.  Still, I have been to some other ones which I wouldn't dream of even trying to speak with one of the monks on such issues based on their behavior alone.

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« Reply #55 on: Yesterday at 10:59:50 AM »

Sounds interesting, but it costs 10 Euros.

Yes, I am totally confused.  Per the description of the talk "Other topics covered in this talk include: . . . and how some believe that monastics should not give advice on matters regarding marriage and sex."  I would have to get over that belief before I would spend the $14.06 to listen to a Priestmonk talk nearly 4 hours about an activity that he is not supposed to be doing . . . even though it looks like I may agree with a lot of what he says.



I have not heard this talk, but would certainly like to do so.  I'm of the opinion that Father Kosmas' talks are well worth $3.51 per hour.  I have listened to at least a dozen of his talks.  He has said things that surprise me and challenge me, but it is all good advice.  I think the Church could use many more teachers like Father Kosmas.

Love, elephant
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