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Author Topic: Paying for Orthodox Baptism?  (Read 12345 times) Average Rating: 0
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theotokos
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« on: January 15, 2010, 04:59:15 AM »

Yesterday I posted a topic about getting some information about baptism in Greece. And I got this reply:
Oh, that's why he insists so bad Turkey recognizing him as an Ecumenical Patriarch, hmm...
That also explains his words; "Every day I am being crucified in Turkey.", sad story.

I live in Athens, but I'm not an expert. I know a certain priest (not personally, but I can get his phone easily) who is excellent, he also has an amazing radio show. Most of them can speak English properly, not a big deal.
Every temple is so not-modern in Athens, so any will just do. I recommend avoiding expensive and big churches, choose a small and nice one. For practical reasons. And because they're cuter. Tongue

So, have you chosen a name yet? Grin

I don't have to pay a church for them to baptize me...right? That sounds stupid...
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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2010, 05:06:09 AM »

Maybe he meant churches that were expensive to build.

By the way, some churches do request a donation for baptism, particularly if the priest has to travel a long way to perform the ceremony.  In your situation, I would guess not.  I also think money for a baptism is ridiculous.  If they ask, just refuse to pay it and tell them you'll stay Muslim if Christ costs money. Wink
« Last Edit: January 15, 2010, 05:09:48 AM by Alveus Lacuna » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2010, 05:07:25 AM »

Maybe he meant churches that were expensive to build.
I hope... Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2010, 05:11:33 AM »


If they ask, just refuse to pay it and tell them you'll stay Muslim if Christ costs money. Wink

 laugh
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2010, 05:29:35 AM »

If they ask, just refuse to pay it and tell them you'll stay Muslim if Christ costs money. Wink
Grin Grin
Haha... gosh, you are insane. Well.. I meant you have a good sense of humor Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2010, 06:17:30 AM »

If they ask, just refuse to pay it and tell them you'll stay Muslim if Christ costs money. Wink
Grin Grin
Haha... gosh, you are insane. Well.. I meant you have a good sense of humor Smiley

A gift is usual, and usually money, in normal circumstances.  I gave a donation IIRC for my son's baptism. The priest who batpized my older son was not from our parish (I wanted an Arabic speaking priest), and we were not parish members yet where my second one was baptized.  We had a very large party at the Church for the one.  But then, this was the case of children of an Orthodox family.  Your case is totally different.

Bottom line, the priest CANNOT make you pay for baptism, or any other Holy Mystery for that matter. That would be Simony (after Acts 8:18-15) (not Sodomy, btw: I made that mistake in High School in Medieval History, to the uproar of the whole class.  The teacher's follow up joke introduced me to the term 'Freudian slip." Shocked).  They can (and should) be defrocked for that: Christ said "You received without giving, give without receiviing."  If you are able to show your appreciation with a gift (and knowing that a priest too usually has a family to support), by all means give a gift. But no, Christ is priceless, but costs free. One of the recent readings we had, for Theophany, was Isaiah 55:1-13.  But in consideration of the priest, remember that the laboror is worthy of his wages.  Luke 10:7; I Timothy 5:18.

As of expensive Church, I'm not sure in Greece what that means, but in the US,, Egypt, etc. there is differences between Churches in the inner city or the countryside, where resources are scarcer, and Churches in the suburbs,  whose members are more affluent and have more resources.  They also tend to be bigger and less closely tight knit.
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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2010, 10:20:59 AM »

I was a little confused about the suggestion for finding the 'right' church. Wouldn't you go to your local parish?

Having served on the parish council, I know that no one wants to assign 'suggested donation amounts' but invariably we'd have people asking how much they should give and they'd want you to name a specific amount (to make sure they weren't giving too little or too much).

I'd talk myself blue in the face trying to present "what ever you feel is appropriate will be fine" in different ways as they kept repeating the same question.

Eventually, another council member would walk up and say "give $100 for that."
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2010, 11:55:19 AM »

Just for the record, very often (and especially for Baptisms, since the parents may be struggling financially, or with an adult convert who also may be having financial issues) I refuse a monetary gift if one is made, or return it to the giver with the stipulation that they should purchase an icon or something like that, depending on how I know them and what they are struggling with.

I rarely return physical gifts, such as an icon, coffee mug, sorghum, etc. I have refused kittens and chickens, since I have no space to take care of them.
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2010, 12:47:40 PM »

 Many larger/city churches in Romania have a sort of a list with the cost of the services performed/provided:
Baptism costs x lei.
Marriage costs xy lei.
Burial costs xyz lei.
A year-long  commemoration (pomelnic) costs ...
Sorry I'm not very up to date as to the actual prices.
But exceptions/rebates of course are made and are not rare.
The most expensive, in terms of what is paid to church related personnel, are burials:
You end up paying the parish church, the priest, the chanters, the sacristan to toll the bells, the people carrying the Cross & banners, the candles, the towels, the special bread (colaci), the memorial meal, the grave diggers etc.
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2010, 01:03:19 PM »

Many larger/city churches in Romania have a sort of a list with the cost of the services performed/provided:
Baptism costs x lei.
Marriage costs xy lei.
Burial costs xyz lei.
A one year commemoration (pomelnic) costs ...
Sorry I'm not very up to date to the actual prices.
But exceptions/rebates of course are made and are not rare.

That is not right. I'm pretty sure there is a canon against making the faithful pay for sacrements. As St. Arsenios the Cappodocian would often say (when people tried to give him money for services he performed): "Our Faith is not for sale!"
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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2010, 01:08:36 PM »

Comm'on, it doesn't really outrage me or most of the faithful.
We don't have blind respect for the clergy either, but the situation is livable.
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2010, 01:43:10 PM »

I have not usually given an honorarium to a priest when performing a sacrament or similar thing (e.g. prayer service), though that's mainly because I'm dirt poor. When I was chrismated I didn't give anything, but at the time it didn't even occur to me that I should. A year later, when my wife and I got married, we gave a modest honorarium to the priest. We didn't give money either time my daughters were baptized and brought into the Orthodox Church. Generally I think it's a good idea to give if you can afford it, especially if the sacrament in question requires the priest to use up a large chunk of his time or change his schedule significantly. I mean, being chrismated on Saturday evening when the priest would have been doing vespers anyway is one thing, but taking away almost an entire day of his to do a wedding/reception is something different.
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2010, 02:01:39 PM »

I agree.  But no one in my parish pays for baptism.  Maybe in the old world the sate keeps the churches open and so people do not give regularly to the church, but here the parishes stay open solely by the faithfuls' support.  Most people in the parish tithe, and most baptisms are converts who would probably be scandalized at the prospect of paying for a baptism.  I can understand with infants in Orthodox lands where everyone is Orthodox, but it's just different here. 

In the USA, religions usually hit you up for money after you are initiated.  It's the only polite way to do it, unless the Orthodox want to be in the company of the Scientologists.
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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2010, 02:02:42 PM »

Comm'on, it doesn't really outrage me or most of the faithful.
We don't have blind respect for the clergy either, but the situation is livable.

The Church isn't some business. It is an institution of God. Christ cleansed the temple of the money changers since they were selling sacrements and services. If people need to pay for services such as Baptism, then what makes us different than the ones who bought and sold in the temple?
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2010, 02:14:21 PM »

Most people in the parish tithe, and most baptisms are converts who would probably be scandalized at the prospect of paying for a baptism.  I can understand with infants in Orthodox lands where everyone is Orthodox, but it's just different here. 

Well, St. Arsenios lived in an old Orthodox land and he would never accept money for any of the services he did. People would come to him for healing and they would try to give him money and he would never accept it since the "Faith is not for sale." St. Theophylact in his commentary on Mark says this: "And the seats of those who sell doves are overturned as well, meaning that the Lord drives out from their episcopacy those bishops who sell the gifts of the Spirit (the dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit)." He then mentions the canon that if a bishop ordains for money he is deposed but I think it can work the same way for those who sell the sacraments such as Baptism. They didn't have some "new world" convert metality that would make them to be scandalized by such practices but I think it was the purity of the Orthodox Faith.
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« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2010, 03:13:53 PM »

Andrew,
Like it or not, regardless of what some canons might say or some of us might think they say, giving a sum of money or, in the more agrarian societies of old, livestock, poultry or agricultural products in exchange for some religious services is a long established and still thriving custom in the various national Orthodox churches.
Nobody pays for communion or confession, but most parent pay when their kid is baptized, most pay when they get married and most families pay to have their dead properly buried.
In addition, you give some money when the priest comes, before theophany to bless your house, or whenever you ask him for an extra-service like that. You also give some money  to have your deceased relatives' graves blessed on Thomas Sunday, where they do that or to be commemorated at the liturgy.
On the other hand we never tithe-not a traditional concept in our church.
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« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2010, 03:48:54 PM »

Andrew,
Like it or not, regardless of what some canons might say or some of us might think they say, giving a sum of money or, in the more agrarian societies of old, livestock, poultry or agricultural products in exchange for some religious services is a long established and still thriving custom in the various national Orthodox churches.
Nobody pays for communion or confession, but most parent pay when their kid is baptized, most pay when they get married and most families pay to have their dead properly buried.
In addition, you give some money when the priest comes, before theophany to bless your house, or whenever you ask him for an extra-service like that. You also give some money  to have your deceased relatives' graves blessed on Thomas Sunday, where they do that or to be commemorated at the liturgy.
On the other hand we never tithe-not a traditional concept in our church.

I'm not against giving money to the Church if a priest does extra services such as house blessing, etc. but I don't think it should be a requirement for those people who need services done.
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« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2010, 04:32:49 PM »

I'm not against giving money to the Church if a priest does extra services such as house blessing, etc. but I don't think it should be a requirement for those people who need services done.
Shouldn't that really be the final answer? Those who can afford to give should do so while those who cannot should still receive what is needed.
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« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2010, 05:04:01 PM »

Just for the record, very often (and especially for Baptisms, since the parents may be struggling financially, or with an adult convert who also may be having financial issues) I refuse a monetary gift if one is made, or return it to the giver with the stipulation that they should purchase an icon or something like that, depending on how I know them and what they are struggling with.

I rarely return physical gifts, such as an icon, coffee mug, sorghum, etc. I have refused kittens and chickens, since I have no space to take care of them.

Father, it is easy to take care of the chickens-just make sure no litle ones are around.
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« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2010, 07:39:04 PM »

Whether or not people wish to make a personal gift of money to the priest people are obliged by commonsense and decency to offer something for the use of the church and its facilities.  Those churches don't stand there through the years of summer sun and winter snow without needing lots of money for their maintenance, for the electricity bills, etc.  It is even more necessary to make an offering (commensurate with your own financial resources) if you are not a due-paying member of that particular church community but wish to make use of the facilities which others have provided for you.   What is your fare going to cost you from Istanbul to Athens?  Why not give the church an equivalent donation?  Be generous and God will be generous with you.
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« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2010, 08:59:03 PM »

Whether or not people wish to make a personal gift of money to the priest people are obliged by commonsense and decency to offer something for the use of the church and its facilities.  Those churches don't stand there through the years of summer sun and winter snow without needing lots of money for their maintenance, for the electricity bills, etc.  It is even more necessary to make an offering (commensurate with your own financial resources) if you are not a due-paying member of that particular church community but wish to make use of the facilities which others have provided for you.   What is your fare going to cost you from Istanbul to Athens?  Why not give the church an equivalent donation?  Be generous and God will be generous with you.

Well, as noted before, we "diaspora" communities have to keep the place open ourselves (as I'm sure you also do in New Zealand).  If I give 10% of my income to the Church, then I am keeping the place open and maintained.  I understand paying to use the building for a wedding, especially if you are not a member of the church, but paying for the Mysteries of Christ is insane.  Matrimony is a Mystery, and so is Holy Baptism.  Of course I know you are a priest and know all of this.

We do not let our priest go without being taken care of, but the notion that the priest should "expect something" for his time is ridiculous.  The parish is responsible for taking care of the priest's needs as much as possible, meaning housing, food, and medical care for him and his family.  But the idea that my priest will bless my house for $50.00 is offensive and absurd.  If he does, I will certainly drop a little extra in the plate the next Sunday as a thank you for his time, but I'm not going to hand him a check with "House Blessing" in the memo line as he leaves my house.  The blessings of God are not bought in a financial transaction.

Quote from: Matthew 10:8; KJV
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Forgive if it seems that I am lecturing a priest, as I would never do this in real life and have the utmost respect for your office.  I simply strongly disagree with the Life-giving Mysteries being for sale.
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« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2010, 09:06:24 PM »


 but I'm not going to hand him a check with "House Blessing" in the memo line as he leaves my house.  The blessings of God are not bought in a financial transaction.

Surely everybody in your parish would give him a donation when he blesses their houses, whether it is $5 or $50?
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« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2010, 09:08:20 PM »

Whether or not people wish to make a personal gift of money to the priest people are obliged by commonsense and decency to offer something for the use of the church and its facilities.  Those churches don't stand there through the years of summer sun and winter snow without needing lots of money for their maintenance, for the electricity bills, etc.  It is even more necessary to make an offering (commensurate with your own financial resources) if you are not a due-paying member of that particular church community but wish to make use of the facilities which others have provided for you.   What is your fare going to cost you from Istanbul to Athens?  Why not give the church an equivalent donation?  Be generous and God will be generous with you.

Well, as noted before, we "diaspora" communities have to keep the place open ourselves (as I'm sure you also do in New Zealand).  If I give 10% of my income to the Church, then I am keeping the place open and maintained.  I understand paying to use the building for a wedding, especially if you are not a member of the church, but paying for the Mysteries of Christ is insane.  Matrimony is a Mystery, and so is Holy Baptism.  Of course I know you are a priest and know all of this.

We do not let our priest go without being taken care of, but the notion that the priest should "expect something" for his time is ridiculous.  The parish is responsible for taking care of the priest's needs as much as possible, meaning housing, food, and medical care for him and his family.  But the idea that my priest will bless my house for $50.00 is offensive and absurd.  If he does, I will certainly drop a little extra in the plate the next Sunday as a thank you for his time, but I'm not going to hand him a check with "House Blessing" in the memo line as he leaves my house.  The blessings of God are not bought in a financial transaction.

Quote from: Matthew 10:8; KJV
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Forgive if it seems that I am lecturing a priest, as I would never do this in real life and have the utmost respect for your office.  I simply strongly disagree with the Life-giving Mysteries being for sale.

You are not paying for the sacrament. You are paying as you are able for the fact that he took time out of his busy schedule to bless your home etc. If you can't pay then don't pay. For my baptism, I simply wrote a thank you card and enclosed a sum I deemed appropriate. Honestly, it's not something to get all worked up over.
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« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2010, 09:34:38 PM »

How's this for serendipity?  Or God's way of delivering a message?  On Old New Year's day, two days ago, I received into the Church a retired Anglican bishop and his wife.  Lovely people.

Now I have just opened this morning's mail and there is a nice card from them and a very generous donation.   Very welcome since the City Council rates are due and I was not sure how I could pay them!   Glory to God! 
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« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2010, 10:21:49 PM »

Dear Theotokos,

Sadly in many jurisdictions such as the Moscow Patriarchate, they charge you for the sacraments.

According to the Orthodox Faith, this is a very heavy sin, it's called simony, and in the True Orthodox Church, if anyone wants to charge anyone for a sacrament, he is subject to excommunication on the spot.

Some, as it happens in Russia in the temples of the Moscow Patriarchate, will set fees in the parishes, if you want to be baptized by the priest, it's N... but if you want a Bishop to baptize you, it's more expensive. If you want a private baptize, you have to pay more.

If anyone charges you, either directly, or by suggesting what "is customary" or makes you feel you "want to make a donation for a sacrament" or oblige you by saying "this priest has to travel a long distance, etc.", that person is comitting the sin of simony.

According to the orthodox canons, sacraments are done by free, and if anyone wants to pay for them, the priest or bishop should not accept it.  That's the canonical and decent thing to do, but of course, decency is a rarity in the Moscow Patriarchate and the rest of World Orthodoxy.

My spiritual father and my cross father payed for my baptism, the cross, the icons and everything, they took money from their savings and donations, and refused my family to give them any money, and helped us do the pilgrimage to the monastery. My father wanted to give them some of our best goats for them, and brought them some kasha, but they did not accept anything, because it could be considered a payment for the baptism.  All of our Bishops and priest must work hard, and earn their living, and they are always generous, well most of them. Not once did my spiritual father or anyone made us feel they did a sacrifice, and now we must pay back the favour, quite the contrary.

On the other hand, Bishops and Priests of the Moscow Patriarchate are bureaucrats and receive a very nice paycheck from the government, they have money, recently, the Russian Government made a 100 million dollars public donation to the Moscow Patriarchate, as their "christmas payment".

And that's not all, they receive millions of euros from organizations such as UNESCO, to keep the churches and places considered "patrimony of humanity".

World Orthodoxy is also like this, their Bishops and clergy are bureaucrats, employees receiving a salary from the governments and they really don't have the right to charge for something they are already being payed for.

You should have the right to go to any church, and demand to be baptized at no cost, and no one has the right to say no.
 




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« Reply #25 on: January 15, 2010, 10:32:53 PM »

Dear Theotokos,

Sadly in many jurisdictions such as the Moscow Patriarchate, they charge you for the sacraments.

According to the Orthodox Faith, this is a very heavy sin, it's called simony, and in the True Orthodox Church, if anyone wants to charge anyone for a sacrament, he is subject to excommunication on the spot.

Some, as it happens in Russia in the temples of the Moscow Patriarchate, will set fees in the parishes, if you want to be baptized by the priest, it's N... but if you want a Bishop to baptize you, it's more expensive. If you want a private baptize, you have to pay more.

In anyone charges you, either directly, or by suggesting what "is customary" or makes you feel you "want to make a donation for a sacrament", that person is comitting the sin of simony.

According to the orthodox canons, sacraments are done by free, and if anyone wants to pay for them, the priest or bishop should not accept it.  That's the canonical and decent thing to do, but of course, decency is a rarity in the Moscow Patriarchate and the rest of World Orthodoxy.








Cut the crap.  I've been involved in several chrismations, baptisms and weddings of the Catholic (i.e. Universal, not a splinter) Orthodox Church, and no one has ever charged.  And while we are at it, can you back up your allegations?
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« Reply #26 on: January 15, 2010, 10:40:29 PM »

Simoniacs!  And I'm the heretic.

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« Reply #27 on: January 15, 2010, 11:07:15 PM »

Simoniacs!  And I'm the heretic.


Oh, I won't air your dirty laundry here....
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« Reply #28 on: January 16, 2010, 02:34:36 AM »

Surely everybody in your parish would give him a donation when he blesses their houses, whether it is $5 or $50?

You mean that surely everybody would pay him for his conferring the blessings of Christ on their home?  Surely not!  I already said that blessings don't cost money, and clarified that I do give to the church on a regular basis.

Maybe we should put a tip jar in front of the chalice?  After confession we could shake the priest's hand, while discreetly placing a crisp ten dollar bill in his palm?

Mysteries aren't for sale; I don't care if you say otherwise.  Forgive me for my harsh tone toward a priest, but this is unacceptable!
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« Reply #29 on: January 16, 2010, 03:34:43 AM »

[
Mysteries aren't for sale; I don't care if you say otherwise.  Forgive me for my harsh tone toward a priest, but this is unacceptable!

Agreed.  The Mysteries are not for sale.  Agreed.   When I was a youngster and took over the spiritual care of the Russian parishes, people insisted on pushing money (notes) under the Gospels on the analogion at Confession.  It took quite a long-term effort to persuade them that Confessions were free.     The ones with the least money, old age pensioners, were usually the most insistent! 

I don't usually expect much for a Baptism since these are young couples starting out in life, with mortgages, etc.

Marriages are another story and I have often been surprised by people's generosity.  When asked "how much?" for a wedding in London, Metropolitan Anthony Blooom would say:  "Consider how much you are are paying for the wedding, the gown, the reception and the honeymoon and then decide on the appropriate donation to the church."

The Greek people are hugely generous and during the six months I was de facto parish priest for them, I had money flowing into my pockets (and out again - streetkids, Russian refugees.)

Most of the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad live close to penury and donations are very welcome.

Fr Alexander Lebedeff has addressed this situation in a message he sent to Indiana...

https://listserv.indiana.edu/cgi-bin/wa-iub.exe?A2=ind0006A&L=ORTHODOX&P=R8636

"....The fact is that with very few exceptions the clergy of the Church Abroad
receive a salary that is so far below the poverty line, that all of these
clergymen and their families would be easily eligible for welfare...."
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« Reply #30 on: January 16, 2010, 03:47:43 AM »

I don't usually expect much for a Baptism since these are young couples starting out in life, with mortgages, etc.

Marriages are another story and I have often been surprised by people's generosity.  When asked "how much?" for a wedding in London, Metropolitan Anthony Blooom would say:  "Consider how much you are are paying for the wedding, the gown, the reception and the honeymoon and then decide on the appropriate donation to the church."

Should one expect anything for a baptism?

I agree that donating to the church facility for a wedding is completely appropriate.  People pay to use any building, even a secualr one.

Should the priest be payed for a wedding?  When I was married by a Southern Baptist minister several years ago we of course paid him for the ceremony.  However, at the time I didn't have a sacramental understanding of marriage, so that was different.  This one seems trickier to me, so I'll refrain from having an opinion.

I think the practical difference here is that people are looking at certain Mysteries as sort of "family gatherings" which mark phases in the person's life, like a high school graduation or something, and not as the sacred and fearful Mysteries of Jesus Christ.  In such situations, it's more about potlucks and pictures than about the power of God manifesting itself in a special way.

If the Eucharist can kill people by it's deifying power, shouldn't the same level of reverence be given to an infant's baptism, as they are both Holy Mysteries of the same Christ?

To be clear, if a priest is traveling to a small town to do a round of baptisms and the people want to offer him a place to stay and food, as well as reimbursing him his traveling expenses, this is all seems perfectly acceptable to me.  But a priest should be willing to lose every single penny and starve to death administering the Mysteries.  Wouldn't it be worth it to starve using your last bit of money to reach a community and wash away the sins of a few poor souls?  Don't priests don the black garb because they are in a sense dying to their own way of life and entering into a sacrificial lifestyle of a higher calling?
« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 03:50:48 AM by Alveus Lacuna » Logged
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« Reply #31 on: January 16, 2010, 04:16:57 AM »

Too much romanticism above.
This is a non-issue for most Orthodox.
And yeah, house blessings, I cannot conceive of them without paying the priest at least 50 bucks.
A certain church of my ethnicity here clearly states on their website that for a baptism the godparents or whoever should make a donation of $200. The same for a marriage.
Another church, this one Arabic suggests no less than $100 for a baptism and no less than $300 for a marriage.
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« Reply #32 on: January 16, 2010, 04:30:03 AM »


To be clear, if a priest is traveling to a small town to do a round of baptisms and the people want to offer him a place to stay and food, as well as reimbursing him his traveling expenses, this is all seems perfectly acceptable to me.  But a priest should be willing to lose every single penny and starve to death administering the Mysteries.  Wouldn't it be worth it to starve using your last bit of money to reach a community and wash away the sins of a few poor souls?  Don't priests don the black garb because they are in a sense dying to their own way of life and entering into a sacrificial lifestyle of a higher calling?

Dear Alveus,

Please read the link I gave above where Fr Alexander decribes the level of poverty in which most priests of the Russian Church Abroad live, and their wives and children.

Here's the link again

https://listserv.indiana.edu/cgi-bin/wa-iub.exe?A2=ind0006A&L=ORTHODOX&P=R8636

-oOo-
I have been told that the OCA will not assign a priest to a parish unless the parish council has made a commitment to pay him a salary commensurate with that of the local professional people such as a school teacher.  Is that the way it works?

« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 04:50:04 AM by Irish Hermit » Logged
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« Reply #33 on: January 16, 2010, 05:27:00 AM »

This is a non-issue for most Orthodox.
And yeah, house blessings, I cannot conceive of them without paying the priest at least 50 bucks.
A certain church of my ethnicity here clearly states on their website that for a baptism the godparents or whoever should make a donation of $200. The same for a marriage.
Another church, this one Arabic suggests no less than $100 for a baptism and no less than $300 for a marriage.

Oh, great.  Well that certainly explains why it's acceptable.  Because everybody's doing it.  Thanks for clearing that up.

Please read the link I gave above where Fr Alexander decribes the level of poverty in which most priests of the Russian Church Abroad live, and their wives and children.

Here's the link again

https://listserv.indiana.edu/cgi-bin/wa-iub.exe?A2=ind0006A&L=ORTHODOX&P=R8636

-oOo-
I have been told that the OCA will not assign a priest to a parish unless the parish council has made a commitment to pay him a salary commensurate with that of the local professional people such as a school teacher.  Is that the way it works?

I'm not disputing paying priests a salary.  I'm disputing paying for Mysteries.  You've already agreed that Mysteries are not for sale, but that you usually expect payment for baptisms and marriage.  So you're not making much sense to me.

I don't know about the OCA.
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« Reply #34 on: January 16, 2010, 05:41:34 AM »

[I'm not disputing paying priests a salary.  I'm disputing paying for Mysteries.  You've already agreed that Mysteries are not for sale, but that you usually expect payment for baptisms and marriage.  So you're not making much sense to me.


Offering the Mysteries for sale is simony.  Happily and graciously accepting donations is another thing.

Within the Orthodox world, probaby apart from Greece, priests are not paid salaries from their dioceses but they exist on whatever their parishes provide.  If you read Fr Alexander'a account this is very little indeed.    Parish Councils expect their priest to supplement their parish income with the treby - these are Baptisms, Funerals, Weddings, House blessings, Requiems, visits to cemeteries, etc.  Parish Councils factor these free will donations into their calculations when determing how much to pay a priest out of parish income.

If you wanted to stop this custom of a meagre salary supplemented by donations you would need to ensure that the Parish Council is paying the priest a salary appropriate to his needs and the needs of his family.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 05:46:42 AM by Irish Hermit » Logged
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« Reply #35 on: January 16, 2010, 11:59:55 AM »

Quote
Within the Orthodox world, probaby apart from Greece, priests are not paid salaries from their dioceses but they exist on whatever their parishes provide
.
In my country of origin, clergy (even chanters and sacristans) is paid by the state plus what they receive from their parishes, plus, for some, the small or not so small businesses some of them have.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 12:00:50 PM by augustin717 » Logged
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« Reply #36 on: January 16, 2010, 12:34:28 PM »

I do sympathize with Alveus here, because, considering some of our backgrounds, this idea of priests receiving money for "services" is pretty hard to accept/grasp.

I was mostly raised in a church where the entire congregation sang together in church-so we didn't even have a choir. Rather, everyone from young up was taught how to sing well. When the young people gathered, we very often spent the evening at someone's home singing hymns together. Ministers were unpaid and it was a completely volunteer office which was held in addition to a secular job. We had prayer meetings and prayer requests were prayed for by the entire congregation. Folks were taught to tithe in order to cover the expense of the church house, and many opted for worshipping in homes so as to save even that expense. Whenever a church member had hospital etc. expenses, the entire congregation pitched in to cover them. Money was always collected for missions and many people would put in several years combined working on the mission field. Sometimes we'd have a visiting minister for a week of meetings and the church always took up an offering for his travelling expenses.

So when I embarked on Orthodox baptism, I was completely naive and remember well waiting in the narthex for my baptism and then suddenly seeing a paper on the bulletin board with prices for various sacraments...Baptism-$100. I will never forget the terrible shock of it all. The anxiety about paying for this lingered all throughout the service. At that time I had returned from mission work (making US$75/month), and was slaving away doing housecleaning to make a meager living.

When I started attending services I noticed at molebens people would put money down with their lists of names...

I'm just saying, it's a completely different system and can come as quite a shock, particularly to someone who was taught that everything connected with church should be done on a volunteer basis as service to God.

It takes awhile to get used to  a completely different system.
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« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2010, 12:46:05 PM »

Maybe he meant churches that were expensive to build.

By the way, some churches do request a donation for baptism, particularly if the priest has to travel a long way to perform the ceremony.  In your situation, I would guess not.  I also think money for a baptism is ridiculous.  If they ask, just refuse to pay it and tell them you'll stay Muslim if Christ costs money. Wink
Don't tell that to a Greek. You will probably end up staying a Muslim. Joke Wink
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« Reply #38 on: January 16, 2010, 12:47:30 PM »

 Grin Grin Haha...
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« Reply #39 on: January 16, 2010, 01:08:27 PM »

Ultimately, it sounds like what we are saying is that:

-Priests should not 'charge' anything for anyone receiving a Mystery.
-Parishioners sometimes want to give a gift of either money or something else. It is their choice to do so.

Now, in some parishes there may be some sort of requested donation to compensate the parish facilities for the clean up, use of facilities, electricity, heat or air conditioning, water, etc. In my experience that is up to the parish and her stewards to decide.

And, I can only speak definitively about myself, but I would never refuse an Orthodox Christian any of the Mysteries that I can be a conduit for based on an inability to compensate me. And, I would venture to say most of the priests that I know on a personal basis would agree with what I just wrote.
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« Reply #40 on: January 16, 2010, 01:11:01 PM »

Maybe he meant churches that were expensive to build.
I hope... Smiley
Haha, of course I meant rich temples! Wink
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« Reply #41 on: January 16, 2010, 01:21:27 PM »

Someone said that it is not the custom of the Orthodox Church to tithe. Why is this, and what would be wrong with tithing? Wouldn't it be better if this were encouraged and then the money divided up to cover various needs-to help the priest and his family, cover building expenses and help needy parishioners and other poor people rather than this rather crass (or so it seems to me) system of having a "price list" affixed to the wall? Sure, there are some traditions which we must maintain, but with others(like this one), isn't it possible to humbly admit that there is possibly a better, more godly way of doing things?
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« Reply #42 on: January 16, 2010, 01:32:14 PM »

Someone said that it is not the custom of the Orthodox Church to tithe. Why is this, and what would be wrong with tithing? Wouldn't it be better if this were encouraged and then the money divided up to cover various needs-to help the priest and his family, cover building expenses and help needy parishioners and other poor people rather than this rather crass (or so it seems to me) system of having a "price list" affixed to the wall? Sure, there are some traditions which we must maintain, but with others(like this one), isn't it possible to humbly admit that there is possibly a better, more godly way of doing things?

I remember reading an Orthodox pamphlet on this subject years ago, but I don't have it anymore. I think the concept of tithing comes from the Old Testament (Malachi in particular is coming to mind for some reason, though I think the origin of the concept is in the first five books). I don't believe that it was a concept that the Church held on to when it superceded Judaism, so it wasn't really an issue for quite a while. I'm guessing that the reemergence of the concept in Protestantism eventually caught the attention of certain Orthodox, and they started to ask themselves: "Hey, why don't we do something like that?" It seems that some Churches do have a dues system, and ask/expect a certain amount of money from official members of their parish, though this is not necessarily 10%.
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« Reply #43 on: January 16, 2010, 01:40:45 PM »

Not that tithing is wrong, it is just not part of the tradition of the various Orthodox churches.
It seems to me that the only places where tithing is working are those parishes formed exclusively or in majority of formerly tithing Protestants.
They had a few largely abortive tries to introduce the concept in a  Rom. church  but most people either don't grasp the concept, or find it alien to their faith, or dislike it. Most would rather pay $200 for a baptism a few times in their lives than pay the same in tithing perhaps every month.
It is also true that it takes a certain sensibility to be shocked and outraged by this. People born within the system find it quite normal, despite often making jokes about it.
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« Reply #44 on: January 16, 2010, 07:14:22 PM »

I have refused kittens and chickens, since I have no space to take care of them.

Then you need a bigger freezer (for the chickens, that is.)  Wink
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