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Author Topic: Paying for Orthodox Baptism?  (Read 12333 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?
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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?

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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.
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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.
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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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« Reply #45 on: January 16, 2010, 08:05:56 PM »

Maybe he meant churches that were expensive to build.
I hope... Smiley
Haha, of course I meant rich temples! Wink

Explain it in more detail please, what do you mean by rich temples, rich of what?
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« Reply #46 on: January 17, 2010, 03:04:31 AM »


...recently, the Russian Government made a 100 million dollars public donation to the Moscow Patriarchate, as their "christmas payment".

This is a double-edged sword and one the Church has been quite ambivalent about.  While the State has returned thousands of churches to the Russian Church for worship the State has retained ownership.   The State has been repairing them and bringing them up to a wonderful standard.  The State has been doing this all over the country and it has not cost the Church a rouble.  It has been compensation for the decades of Socialist destruction.

Now the State is beginning to hand over the title deeds of all these churches to the Church.   The immense burden of restoring and maintaining them will now fall on the shoulders of the Church itself.   The $100 million Christmas present was the State's contribution towards the costs it is now unloading on the Church.

Quote
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"
 

Thank you for pointing this out.  It proves that an immense amount of money IS needed to keep churches well maintained and working.  It justifies churches expecting and receiving donations for weddings and funerals.

-oOo-

This news article below confirms what I am saying that until now the Church has been using the restored churches "free of charge."

Russia may return churches seized in 1917

MOSCOW, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- The Russian government wants to return property seized from the Orthodox church more than 90 years ago, an official says.

While a bill being written by the Economics Ministry would apply to all religious property, the Russian Orthodox Church, the country's dominant religion for centuries, is expected to be the major beneficiary, RIA Novosti reported.

The ministry has been working on the legislation since 2000. But Andrei Sebentsov, secretary of the commission on religious organizations, said a meeting Wednesday made considerable progress on the bill.

"We agreed to remove all weak points in it by February," he said.

Religious groups now use facilities owned by the government free of charge. The Economics Ministry sees their return to the church as a cost-saving measure.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, about 100 of the 16,000 Orthodox churches and cathedrals seized after the 1917 revolution have been returned. About 4,000 mosques and 70 synagogues would also be returned.

The bill would not apply to St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square in Moscow and other facilities listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.



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« Reply #47 on: January 17, 2010, 07:04:31 PM »

This topic is what disturbed me the most about my early Orthodox experiences, and is one of the things that caused me to leave the particular SCOBA church where I entered Orthodoxy.  My father was a Lutheran pastor, and we spent much of the time that he was in the seminary, and at his first parish, very poor.  But God saw to it that we lacked none of the necessities of life.  My father would accept no donations for weddings, baptisms and the like.  If the people gave him money, he would either put it in the General Fund, or give it to someone worse off than we were.  He WOULD accept monetary gifts from people OUTSIDE of fulfilling the duties of his office (such as Christmas gifts and the like).  When I entered into Orthodoxy, the first thing that struck me as odd was that offerings were taken up during the Liturgy.  This did not seem right, and disrupted the flow of the service.  Later, I was told that I had to pay for my Chrismation certificates if I wanted them (something NEVER done with baptisms in the Lutheran Churches that I attended, LCMS or WELS). 

The final straw came with the paying of dues to belong to the parish.  To me, this relegated the Church to nothing more than a club.  I have always been taught to support my Church and its leaders, but I have also been taught that it should come from the heart.  This is religion and not commerce (although I have come to find out that there is really not a lot of difference anymore).  It was refreshing when I attended another parish in a non-SCOBA Church and saw their indifference to money.  An alms box and candles were in the Narthex, and one put in them what one was compelled by the Spirit to give.  No offering was taken during the Liturgy, and one of the monks seemed scandalized when I told him that it was a practice in my former Church.  What really blew me away was when I asked the priest where I should send my offerings (since I lived quite far away from this parish), he asked me "Is there nothing in your home town that needs your attention?"  Since I could not attend this parish often, he encouraged me to find something in my home town to support!  This is not a rich parish by any means, but I saw in it the example that I had always been taught in my youth.

The practice of paying for Sacraments is disgusting to me.  So is the practice of a parish not taking care of its Priest, if it is able to do so.  The poorer parishes in my Church expect their pastors to have employment outside of the Church to supplement their pay (as Paul supplemented his pay as a tent maker).  But I have yet to hear anyone from my Church tell me - priest, monk, or layman, that additional money was expected for blessings and Sacraments.  And when an additional donation is made, I have been told to place it in the alms box in the front of the Church, where it will be used for what is most necessary.

As I have gotten older, my wife and I have decided to start attending some of the local parishes again, particularly since the relationship between my Church and SCOBA has thawed, somewhat.  I will support those Churches financially because my heart compels me to do so.  However, I will NOT join them as a member.  Hell will freeze before I pay dues to belong to a Church. 
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« Reply #48 on: January 18, 2010, 12:32:57 AM »

When I entered into Orthodoxy, the first thing that struck me as odd was that offerings were taken up during the Liturgy.  This did not seem right, and disrupted the flow of the service.

I see you are in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.  Our custom is to take the plate round the church during one of the Ektenias after the Gospel.

Quote
The final straw came with the paying of dues to belong to the parish.  To me, this relegated the Church to nothing more than a club.

In the Russian Church Abroad you must pay your annual dues to have the right to speak at Parish Meetings and to vote.  If you do not pay you may normally attend but may not vote.  Annual dues are set very low - in our parishes (New Zealand) at $20 per household and $10 for unwaged.  In Australia parishes ask for $70 a family.  Compare that with the $800 per person per annum with the synagogue next door to me!

Quote
  I have always been taught to support my Church and its leaders, but I have also been taught that it should come from the heart.
   

If you read the article by the ROCA priest Fr Alexander Lebedeff you will see that the level of compensation paid to ROCA priests is, frankly, abysmal.

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...."


Quote
An alms box and candles were in the Narthex, and one put in them what one was compelled by the Spirit to give.

Candles MUST be paid for.  Why?  Because they, in a sense, continue the Old Testament way of making a whole burnt offering.  Would you, as a Hebrew, have expected to walk into the temple and pick up a dove for free and take it into the temple to be sacrificed?

Quote
  No offering was taken duringthe Liturgy, and one of the monks seemed scandalized when I told him that it was a practice in my former Church.

Must be a convert who has never experienced parish life?

Quote
But I have yet to hear anyone from my Church tell me - priest, monk, or layman, that additional money was expected for blessings and Sacraments.
 
You are in a ROCA parish?  Most unusual.  Talk to some people on the Parish Council about this.  To my knowledege all parishes expect a donation when the church is used for such as weddings and funerals and what Chrisitian worth his salt would not want to give the priest a few dollars when he comes round to bless the house?  Theophany tomorrow by the way.

Quote
to do so.  However, I will NOT join them as a member.  Hell will freeze before I pay dues to belong to a Church. 

So you are not a full member of your ROCA parish but a visitor who may not participate in AGMs and such like?
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« Reply #49 on: January 18, 2010, 01:25:35 AM »

This topic is what disturbed me the most about my early Orthodox experiences, and is one of the things that caused me to leave the particular SCOBA church where I entered Orthodoxy.  My father was a Lutheran pastor, and we spent much of the time that he was in the seminary, and at his first parish, very poor.  But God saw to it that we lacked none of the necessities of life.  My father would accept no donations for weddings, baptisms and the like.  If the people gave him money, he would either put it in the General Fund, or give it to someone worse off than we were.  He WOULD accept monetary gifts from people OUTSIDE of fulfilling the duties of his office (such as Christmas gifts and the like).  When I entered into Orthodoxy, the first thing that struck me as odd was that offerings were taken up during the Liturgy.  This did not seem right, and disrupted the flow of the service.  Later, I was told that I had to pay for my Chrismation certificates if I wanted them (something NEVER done with baptisms in the Lutheran Churches that I attended, LCMS or WELS). 

The final straw came with the paying of dues to belong to the parish.  To me, this relegated the Church to nothing more than a club.  I have always been taught to support my Church and its leaders, but I have also been taught that it should come from the heart.  This is religion and not commerce (although I have come to find out that there is really not a lot of difference anymore).  It was refreshing when I attended another parish in a non-SCOBA Church and saw their indifference to money.  An alms box and candles were in the Narthex, and one put in them what one was compelled by the Spirit to give.  No offering was taken during the Liturgy, and one of the monks seemed scandalized when I told him that it was a practice in my former Church.  What really blew me away was when I asked the priest where I should send my offerings (since I lived quite far away from this parish), he asked me "Is there nothing in your home town that needs your attention?"  Since I could not attend this parish often, he encouraged me to find something in my home town to support!  This is not a rich parish by any means, but I saw in it the example that I had always been taught in my youth.

The practice of paying for Sacraments is disgusting to me.  So is the practice of a parish not taking care of its Priest, if it is able to do so.  The poorer parishes in my Church expect their pastors to have employment outside of the Church to supplement their pay (as Paul supplemented his pay as a tent maker).  But I have yet to hear anyone from my Church tell me - priest, monk, or layman, that additional money was expected for blessings and Sacraments.  And when an additional donation is made, I have been told to place it in the alms box in the front of the Church, where it will be used for what is most necessary.

As I have gotten older, my wife and I have decided to start attending some of the local parishes again, particularly since the relationship between my Church and SCOBA has thawed, somewhat.  I will support those Churches financially because my heart compels me to do so.  However, I will NOT join them as a member.  Hell will freeze before I pay dues to belong to a Church. 
To see why dues etc. are set up, one need only look in Chicago at the Vatican's parishes in the city and in the suburbs. One gets the impression that the Archdiocese is loosing members, but such is not the case.  What does happen is the younger families go out to the suburbs to parishes there, and then come back to the "home parish" only for baptisms, weddings and funerals.  You can't run a Church on the attendence from baptisms, weddings and funerals only, and hence why the parishes wither.  A counter example is St. Mary of the Angels:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Mary_of_the_Angels_in_Chicago
It was slated for demonlition, but the parish protested and asked for a year to prove they could raise funds etc. to repair and upkeep the church, which they did.  Now, after considerable outreach and expansion and change of neighborhood (gentrification), the church is on fine footing.

It might seem unseemy, but someone has to pay the bills.

No one should be charged for the Holy Mysteries, much less be deprived of them based on pay, but it is nice to have some guidelines on what to contribute to the Church. Some people want to, but have no idea.

When I had some icons and my cross blessed at St. George's in Constantinople, IIRC the priest asked for a donation.  Then he gave it back because he thought I didn't know how much Turkish money was worth (I gave him 10x what he was expecting: given that my finances were OK and the Patriarch's are not, I counted it a splurge). He took it only after much insistence from me (he had spent a great deal of time getting prayers and the office for the specific type of icon I brought).
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« Reply #50 on: January 18, 2010, 02:31:15 AM »

Would you, as a Hebrew, have expected to walk into the temple and pick up a dove for free and take it into the temple to be sacrificed?

Do you seriously want to bring the money changers into this?
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« Reply #51 on: January 18, 2010, 02:43:57 AM »

Would you, as a Hebrew, have expected to walk into the temple and pick up a dove for free and take it into the temple to be sacrificed?

Do you seriously want to bring the money changers into this?

Instead of exchanging your dollar note for a candle to burn, I suppose you could burn the note where people place candles.  Probably better if it is a candle box with sand though (usually the case in Serbian churches.)   Alternatively you could burn the money outside the church?   The point is the principle that something must be offered and sacrified.  Money or a candle.   I imagine the kids will start to watch for your arrival at church!    laugh
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« Reply #52 on: January 18, 2010, 03:18:29 AM »

The point is the principle that something must be offered and sacrificed.

Like our lives?
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« Reply #53 on: January 18, 2010, 03:23:38 AM »

The point is the principle that something must be offered and sacrificed.

Like our lives?

Would not recommend immolating yourself in the parish churchyard.  Leave that to Thai Buddhists!  Stay with candle immolation.


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« Reply #54 on: January 18, 2010, 03:27:09 AM »

Do you seriously want to bring the money changers into this?

Yeah, well there are some discrepancies between the stories, but based on Mark's version, I think Jesus was just having a bad day when the money changers incident happened. Just look at what he did to that poor tree, it wasn't even the season for figs and he got all angry about it. (Mk. 11:12-21) Even a God-man has bad days from time to time.
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« Reply #55 on: January 18, 2010, 07:52:48 AM »

Irish Hermit - I won't answer your response point by point because I don't have time this morning before work, but these few points should address all of the points you made.

1. I have always given an offering in any Church that I attend.  Perhaps what I give from my heart exceeds what is expected, hence the reason that I have not had the parish goon squad visit me at night :-)

2. I try give enough in my weekly offerings that I do not feel the need to pay more for each individual action.  I don't have a problem with donating to the Priest, I don't like to be told to.  The former, to me, is religion, the latter is commerce, and I don't deal in selling religion.

3. The ROCOR parish where I attend does NOT take up offering during the Liturgy.

4. I have absolutely NO desire to get involved in parish politics, and do not attend parish meetings and the like.  I go to Church to pray.  I got burnt out on the "parish life" growing up as a pastor's son, and found it to be the biggest source of negative vibes when I became Orthodox.

5. Of course I pay for the candles.  I put in the box what I think my prayers are worth to me.  However, if you want to mark your candle at $0.50, I guess that is what I'll give you (at this point it becomes commerce to me).  If you have them sitting there, I think a minimum of $20.00 for what I take is appropriate for my salary and for what I am asking.  I have often had to bring my own because I will not burn paraffin as an offering to God.  Yes, I still put money in the candle box when I do (btw - SCOBA Churches and rare.  Even the one that had paraffin candles has converted to bee's wax).

6. If the above makes me a "guest" of the Orthodox Church, so be it.  I have enough to answer for on the last day, one more thing will not make that much difference.

I hope this addresses some of your points.  If not, we can discuss them further this evening when I get home.
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« Reply #56 on: January 18, 2010, 08:14:24 AM »

Irish Hermit - I won't answer your response point by point because I don't have time this morning before work, but these few points should address all of the points you made.

1. I have always given an offering in any Church that I attend.  Perhaps what I give from my heart exceeds what is expected, hence the reason that I have not had the parish goon squad visit me at night :-)

2. I try give enough in my weekly offerings that I do not feel the need to pay more for each individual action.  I don't have a problem with donating to the Priest, I don't like to be told to.  The former, to me, is religion, the latter is commerce, and I don't deal in selling religion.

3. The ROCOR parish where I attend does NOT take up offering during the Liturgy.

4. I have absolutely NO desire to get involved in parish politics, and do not attend parish meetings and the like.  I go to Church to pray.  I got burnt out on the "parish life" growing up as a pastor's son, and found it to be the biggest source of negative vibes when I became Orthodox.

5. Of course I pay for the candles.  I put in the box what I think my prayers are worth to me.  However, if you want to mark your candle at $0.50, I guess that is what I'll give you (at this point it becomes commerce to me).  If you have them sitting there, I think a minimum of $20.00 for what I take is appropriate for my salary and for what I am asking.  I have often had to bring my own because I will not burn paraffin as an offering to God.  Yes, I still put money in the candle box when I do (btw - SCOBA Churches and rare.  Even the one that had paraffin candles has converted to bee's wax).

6. If the above makes me a "guest" of the Orthodox Church, so be it.  I have enough to answer for on the last day, one more thing will not make that much difference.

I hope this addresses some of your points.  If not, we can discuss them further this evening when I get home.

I can sympathize with your desire to be untrammeled by money in your relationship with your parish but what you seem to be doing is saying, I'll do it my way and no other way.  You are paying no attention to what the Orthodox have done traditionally and for many centuries.   There is also a feeling that the ordinary parishioner who conforms with the practices of his brotherrs and sisters in the parish smells a little less 'spiritual.'  It also smells like an attack on the priests and bishops and your fellow parishioners since they allow prices to be marked for candles, prosfirki, etc. and you call that "commerce."  I am just not sure what to make of your way of thinking.

The Normal Parish By-Laws of the Russian Church Abroad apply universally across the globe and here is what they say about parish dues and the criteria for parish membership....

PART III
(Parishioners and Parish Members.)


11. All Orthodox Christians of both sexes, regardless of their nationality, who have reached the age of 21 years, who pay the established membership dues, who make their confession and take Holy Communion not less than once a year, and who tend to the moral and economic welfare of the parish may become parish members.

http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/english/pages/regulations/parishlaws.html


Today (18 January) is the commemoration of St. Dicuil of Lure
See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celt-saints

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« Reply #57 on: January 18, 2010, 08:17:01 AM »

Not really aimed at you, but just to throw some thoughts out:
Irish Hermit - I won't answer your response point by point because I don't have time this morning before work, but these few points should address all of the points you made.

1. I have always given an offering in any Church that I attend.  Perhaps what I give from my heart exceeds what is expected, hence the reason that I have not had the parish goon squad visit me at night :-)

2. I try give enough in my weekly offerings that I do not feel the need to pay more for each individual action.  I don't have a problem with donating to the Priest, I don't like to be told to.  The former, to me, is religion, the latter is commerce, and I don't deal in selling religion.

3. The ROCOR parish where I attend does NOT take up offering during the Liturgy.

4. I have absolutely NO desire to get involved in parish politics, and do not attend parish meetings and the like.  I go to Church to pray.  I got burnt out on the "parish life" growing up as a pastor's son, and found it to be the biggest source of negative vibes when I became Orthodox.

My parish is rather boring, as there is neither parish politics nor gossiping.  Yet the parish meetings are still held (and the priest insists on attendance) because things like repairing the roof, paying for renovation of the basement, etc. not to mention the priorities of missions to donate to, have to be attended to.  they don't work themselves out of their own accord.  It is not unreasonable that those voting on the parish finances have a financial stake in the matters.  Our parish pays dues, but doesn't assess them, so we are odd there.  



Quote
5. Of course I pay for the candles.  I put in the box what I think my prayers are worth to me.  However, if you want to mark your candle at $0.50, I guess that is what I'll give you (at this point it becomes commerce to me). 

Well so be it: I myself have no idea what a candle would cost me if I went to the store to buy it.  So I like to know at least what amount is at cost for the Church for a candle, so I can match it and then some, besides what other offering I have.


Quote
If you have them sitting there, I think a minimum of $20.00 for what I take is appropriate for my salary and for what I am asking.  I have often had to bring my own because I will not burn paraffin as an offering to God.  Yes, I still put money in the candle box when I do (btw - SCOBA Churches and rare.  Even the one that had paraffin candles has converted to bee's wax).

6. If the above makes me a "guest" of the Orthodox Church, so be it.  I have enough to answer for on the last day, one more thing will not make that much difference.

Thinking about the Last Things are fine, but we have to worry in the meantime for the Church's upkeep.


Quote
I hope this addresses some of your points.  If not, we can discuss them further this evening when I get home.
I won't be able to: got to spend more time on other things, less time here.
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« Reply #58 on: January 18, 2010, 11:34:01 AM »


(1) I can sympathize with your desire to be untrammeled by money in your relationship with your parish but what you seem to be doing is saying, I'll do it my way and no other way.  (2) You are paying no attention to what the Orthodox have done traditionally and for many centuries.   (3) There is also a feeling that the ordinary parishioner who conforms with the practices of his brotherrs and sisters in the parish smells a little less 'spiritual.'  (4) It also smells like an attack on the priests and bishops and your fellow parishioners since they allow prices to be marked for candles, prosfirki, etc. and you call that "commerce."  (5) I am just not sure what to make of your way of thinking.


Taking a break at work.  Thank you for your answer (and ialmisry, too). 

(1) Not quite true.  A late Serbian Priest told me that this was acceptable.  As with all of my decisions in life, I consider this one "for now", even though this has been my path for most of the last 15 years.  Who knows, tomorrow I may be shown a completely different path.

(2) In my experience, most Orthodox don't seem to pay attention to what the Orthodox have done for centuries.  I guess that if I had to pick and choose among traditions, I would choose some different ones than charging money to belong to the Body of Christ.

(3) Quite the contrary.  I don't worry about other people's sprituallity, nor do I justify or condemn an act based on how many people do it.  There are many kinds of "spirituality", and I am not the judge of which is best.  I follow my concience and assume that others follow theirs.  I keep in mind the parable of the workers in the field, and those who were paid the same for one hour of work as those who worked all day.  They each got what they agreed to.  I see "spirituality" the same way.  God has put a certain burden on my heart, and I must obey that burden to the extent that I am able.  How he has bound others is not my concern, nor is how they are rewarded.  If asked, I will explain my position.  But I usually do not walk up to a person of a given parish and start the conversation with matters of which I disagree.

(4) Attack?  Not really.  I see it more as a fact, and a practice of which I disagree.  I am in no particular mood to go through the Church with a whip, or nail documents to the door.  If selling candles and such is not commerce, what is it?  I define as one's gift to God through giving to His Church to be offerings, since the are "offered" by the giver from his heart.  When a price tag is put on it and demanded, it is no longer an offering, but commerce.

(5) You can certainly be forgiven for that, since I myself am not always sure what to make of my line of thinking.  I am not cradle Orthodox, but rather a repenting heretic.  Perhaps, as you say, I am just a guest of the Church, which is one reason that I do not embrace a particular parish as I perhaps should.  It was rather traumatic for me to find that I had been lied to for 30 some odd years of my life, and by those whom I trusted most.  What is more, to find that they really did not intend to lie, but had themselves been decieved, also affected my line of thinking.  I don't intend to let that happen again.  Given the history of the Church, and the fact that most heresies have come from the clergy, I am not prepared to go against my concience simply because a group of people have been doing it, even if those people are priests and bishops.  I have spent most of my life studying the Scriptures, the Fathers, and the Lives of the Saints.  I have done this with the prayer that God show me the Truth, and I believe that He has answered my prayer by bringing me to the Orthodox Church.  What has been distressing, to a point, are the number of "Orthodox Churches" and the wide variety of what they teach (beyond the core beliefs).  So, I tend to be a bit cautious before I swallow something hook, line and sinker.  On the other hand, I do listen, and your comments and teaching are not wasted on me, as your words will be carefully considered and dwelled upon.  I do not doubt that God speaks to me through His Word, the Church and the Clergy.  I do doubt my abilty to always understand what He is saying, so I am, by nature, cautious.

Ialmisry - I do not disagree with your position in whole.  What confuses me is that for my entire time in the Lutheran Church (including multiple parishes since we moved around a lot when I was younger), we had no dues and charged nothing for sacraments.  Yet, we seemed to manage to take care of our clergy and have the Church's needs attended to.  And this was true even in poor areas.  To what would you attribute this?  For my part, and based on my experience only, I have found that people give more generously when they are taught to give than when they are compelled to give.  Perhaps I am wrong in this - but it is difficult for me to reject my experiences in this matter.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to discuss this matter, as it really does bother me a great deal.
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« Reply #59 on: January 18, 2010, 11:58:30 AM »

Ialmisry - I do not disagree with your position in whole.  What confuses me is that for my entire time in the Lutheran Church (including multiple parishes since we moved around a lot when I was younger), we had no dues and charged nothing for sacraments.  Yet, we seemed to manage to take care of our clergy and have the Church's needs attended to.  And this was true even in poor areas.  To what would you attribute this?  For my part, and based on my experience only, I have found that people give more generously when they are taught to give than when they are compelled to give.  Perhaps I am wrong in this - but it is difficult for me to reject my experiences in this matter.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to discuss this matter, as it really does bother me a great deal.

I too come from a Lutheran background in the US. A couple of things different between them and us: the Lutherans were more established way back when in comparison to the Orthodox.  The Church of Sweden had some support for some time in the East, and the first speaker of the US House of Representatives, Frederick Muhlenberg, was otherwise involved with the other Founding Fathers, while also involved in getting the Lutheran church of America organized. In contrast, the Orthodox have never become part of the "Establishment" (the Orthodox who do tend to go Episcopalian to fit in.  Look at Spyro Agnew).  The Lutherans also got eased into not depending on State support: the Orthodox had to go cold turkey. Then there is the issue of cost: take your typical Lutheran communion service, which takes place only periodically, how much does it really cost for services etc?  When I went, the vestments were all plain black and white. The Orthodox ones are a bit more. No candles, a minimum of decoration.  The biggest budget item (and a worthy one) among the Lutherans was Sunday School materials.  And I do recall a collection plate.

I agree that a higher priority should be on teaching to give. There are many who will spend thousands for the reception hall, but give nothing for the use of the Church.
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« Reply #60 on: January 18, 2010, 02:28:43 PM »

I guess that if I had to pick and choose among traditions, I would choose some different ones than charging money to belong to the Body of Christ.

That is incorrect and I am sure you know it.  Nobody is charged to belong to the Body of Christ, no more than your donations on a Sunday is buying you Holy Communion.

Again, you are expressing a (probably unwitting) contempt for the bishops of your Church who drew up the Norrmal Parish By-Laws and laid down that parish members must pay their annual dues.   Speak to your bishop about your idea that he is charging you money to belong to the Body of Christ,  I am sure he has a different view and will try to set you straight.

-oOo-

The Normal Parish By-Laws of the Russian Church Abroad apply universally across the globe and here is what they say about parish dues and the criteria for parish membership....

PART III
(Parishioners and Parish Members.)

11. All Orthodox Christians of both sexes, regardless of their nationality, who have reached the age of 21 years, who pay the established membership dues, who make their confession and take Holy Communion not less than once a year, and who tend to the moral and economic welfare of the parish may become parish members.

http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/english/pages/regulations/parishlaws.html


Today (18 January) is the commemoration of St. Dicuil of Lure
See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celt-saints




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« Reply #61 on: January 18, 2010, 03:13:57 PM »

I had actually been baptized for a few years until I even heard of paying membership dues in order to belong to a parish! I had no concept of the idea and no one told me such a thing existed. I consider myself unable to pay such dues as I have no job and no income presently. I can barely afford to buy even one candle when I go to church, because I have to spend over 5 dollars just on the round trip to church. Then there is an offering, then there is a meal that must be paid for after the service and then there is money to put down if you participate in a moleben and also for the lists of names during the liturgy. I know it costs money to operate the church, but if you have no income this type of spending can be very draining indeed.

Another thing that bothers me is the obvious fact of favouritism which results when there are wealthy parish patrons and then poor people like me who can't even afford membership. With human nature the way it is, it's very easy for priests to be more attentive to the rich people than to the poor.
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« Reply #62 on: January 18, 2010, 03:29:02 PM »

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Another thing that bothers me is the obvious fact of favouritism which results when there are wealthy parish patrons and then poor people like me who can't even afford membership. With human nature the way it is, it's very easy for priests to be more attentive to the rich people than to the poor.

Sad (James 2:1-13)
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« Reply #63 on: January 18, 2010, 03:30:08 PM »

I know it costs money to operate the church, but if you have no income this type of spending can be very draining indeed.


Everybody's financial situation is different of course,  Down here we ask $10 a year from an unwaged person for their parish dues.  That works out to 19c per week which ought to be possible for everybody.  Do you know what your own parish would ask?
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« Reply #64 on: January 18, 2010, 03:41:21 PM »

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Do you know what your own parish would ask?


Father, the $10 per year sounds very reasonable. I wasn't aware of such an option. The monthly dues aren't very much at my parish, last I checked, but still too much for me. I'll have to see if the option you mention exists. We have a very huge parish school and I think the parish generates a fair bit of income from that venture (though I could be wrong).

Yes, Asteriktos, that verse from James often goes through my mind, and it is a very, very real problem unfortunately. Cry
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« Reply #65 on: January 18, 2010, 03:45:40 PM »

Father, the $10 per year sounds very reasonable. I wasn't aware of such an option. The monthly dues aren't very much at my parish, last I checked, but still too much for me. I'll have to see if the option you mention exists. We have a very huge parish school and I think the parish generates a fair bit of income from that venture (though I could be wrong).


If you pay your parish dues you ought to receive an annual statement of accounts at the time of the AGM.   That ought to sbow details of income from the school.
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« Reply #66 on: January 18, 2010, 03:47:33 PM »

What does AGM stand for?
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« Reply #67 on: January 18, 2010, 03:54:50 PM »

What does AGM stand for?


Annual General Meeting.  Sorry, I don't know what term you use in the States?
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« Reply #68 on: January 18, 2010, 03:59:20 PM »

Thanks! I guess everything is said in Russian at my parish (for the most part) and so I wouldn't even know what it's called in English!
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« Reply #69 on: January 18, 2010, 04:07:32 PM »

Thanks! I guess everything is said in Russian at my parish (for the most part) and so I wouldn't even know what it's called in English!

You could always just ask when the AGM is??
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« Reply #70 on: January 18, 2010, 04:51:11 PM »

I have actually attended one parish council meeting, if that's what you're talking about, but it was very depressing in many ways and so I have stayed away since then.
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« Reply #71 on: January 18, 2010, 08:41:00 PM »

Question  Grin Some sebian churches have bingo night , how about other Orthodox Churches, do you do this also to raise Money curious...
Isn't it considered Gambling ....
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« Reply #72 on: January 19, 2010, 12:59:23 PM »

I guess that if I had to pick and choose among traditions, I would choose some different ones than charging money to belong to the Body of Christ.

That is incorrect and I am sure you know it.  Nobody is charged to belong to the Body of Christ, no more than your donations on a Sunday is buying you Holy Communion.

Again, you are expressing a (probably unwitting) contempt for the bishops of your Church who drew up the Norrmal Parish By-Laws and laid down that parish members must pay their annual dues.   Speak to your bishop about your idea that he is charging you money to belong to the Body of Christ,  I am sure he has a different view and will try to set you straight.

-oOo-

The Normal Parish By-Laws of the Russian Church Abroad apply universally across the globe and here is what they say about parish dues and the criteria for parish membership....

PART III
(Parishioners and Parish Members.)

11. All Orthodox Christians of both sexes, regardless of their nationality, who have reached the age of 21 years, who pay the established membership dues, who make their confession and take Holy Communion not less than once a year, and who tend to the moral and economic welfare of the parish may become parish members.

http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/english/pages/regulations/parishlaws.html


Today (18 January) is the commemoration of St. Dicuil of Lure
See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celt-saints






The more and more that I think of this, and ponder on it, the more I wonder if there is a misunderstanding of terms.  I have NO contempt for my (or any other) Bishops.  On the other hand, I cannot see how compulsory membership dues is NOT charging for membership.  It is one thing to do, as we did in the Wisconsin Synod Lutheran Church, and tell the people what it costs per year to run the parish and perform all budgeted mission work, and then tell them what that comes to per each member family (informing them, but leaving to their concience as to what they offer), and yet quite another to tell a person "you have to pay $300 per year to belong to this Church".  In the first case, it allows each family to examine their giving and reflect.  For those that already give far above the base, there is no adjustment required.  However, if I am told by my priest that it costs $300 per year to keep the parish afloat, and I am giving less than this, it is a good time to examine my habits and see if my heart is in the right place.  The second case cannot be seen as anything other than purchasing Church membership, at least in any form of English which I am familiar (admitting that English is not my first language).  Without expressing any comtempt for the Bishops who wrote the Bylaws, as I am quite sure that English was not their first language either, I wonder if they really understood what the English word "pay" means - to give money in return for goods or services rendered. 
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« Reply #73 on: January 19, 2010, 01:14:07 PM »

Ialmisry - I do not disagree with your position in whole.  What confuses me is that for my entire time in the Lutheran Church (including multiple parishes since we moved around a lot when I was younger), we had no dues and charged nothing for sacraments.  Yet, we seemed to manage to take care of our clergy and have the Church's needs attended to.  And this was true even in poor areas.  To what would you attribute this?  For my part, and based on my experience only, I have found that people give more generously when they are taught to give than when they are compelled to give.  Perhaps I am wrong in this - but it is difficult for me to reject my experiences in this matter.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to discuss this matter, as it really does bother me a great deal.

I too come from a Lutheran background in the US. A couple of things different between them and us: the Lutherans were more established way back when in comparison to the Orthodox.  The Church of Sweden had some support for some time in the East, and the first speaker of the US House of Representatives, Frederick Muhlenberg, was otherwise involved with the other Founding Fathers, while also involved in getting the Lutheran church of America organized. In contrast, the Orthodox have never become part of the "Establishment" (the Orthodox who do tend to go Episcopalian to fit in.  Look at Spyro Agnew).  The Lutherans also got eased into not depending on State support: the Orthodox had to go cold turkey. Then there is the issue of cost: take your typical Lutheran communion service, which takes place only periodically, how much does it really cost for services etc?  When I went, the vestments were all plain black and white. The Orthodox ones are a bit more. No candles, a minimum of decoration.  The biggest budget item (and a worthy one) among the Lutherans was Sunday School materials.  And I do recall a collection plate.

I agree that a higher priority should be on teaching to give. There are many who will spend thousands for the reception hall, but give nothing for the use of the Church.

Very good points.  FWIW - LCMS and WELS churches usually have a communion service every week.  The smaller congregations that have only one service per week commune every other week.  Since wafers and individual cups (when used) are purchased, and since all members normally commune (no confession or vigil), the costs of the average Lutheran service are comperable to the Orthodox.  Offering is a big part of the service, and the service books include a place in the service for collection.  As you state, Sunday School (and Bible Study) items are a huge budget item.  Also, pastor salary minimums are set by the Synod, and a congregation may not be allowed to have its own pastor if they cannot pay him.  I spent a good deal of time Preaching and Teaching as a layman, since the Chairman of the Elders was pretty much in charge when the pastor was not there.  A layman could not give communion, however.  Missions are another large budget item in even the smaller congregations, with the norm being about 10% of the overall budget going toward missions.  A good deal of our expenses were somewhat more discretionary since we spent a lot less on ornamentation.  Vestments were usually donated to the pastor by the Ladies (that is how my father got a lot of his), and there were no Icons and the like.  The only candles were on either side of the altar and a week long candle that was always lit (both budgeted items).  Even as it was, the last WELS Church that I attended was able to operate on a $120,000 per year budget with only around 100 full time members.  There were no dues, and the members covered a broad spectrum of people, mostly working class or middle professionals. 
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« Reply #74 on: January 19, 2010, 07:17:52 PM »

Being a paid-up member of an Orthodox parish allows one to vote at AGMs and the like, but, in no way, prevents you from attending services, receiving Holy Communion, or any other benefit or mystery/sacrament as an Orthodox Christian. In my long life, I have never been a paid-up member of any parish, Slavic or Greek, and I have never been denied anything of Orthodox worship and devotion.
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« Reply #75 on: January 19, 2010, 07:37:59 PM »

In my long life, I have never been a paid-up member of any parish, Slavic or Greek,

Why did you not pay your parish dues?   What benefits do you see from not committing to a parish and not becoming a parishioner who may participate in its governance and parochial decisions on a wide variety of important issues?   This is a "professional" question on my part.   Smiley   I'd really like to understand.
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« Reply #76 on: January 19, 2010, 07:42:47 PM »

Why did you not pay your parish dues?   What benefits do you see from not committing to a parish and not becoming a parishioner who may participate in its governance and parochial decisions on a wide variety of important issues?   This is a "professional" question on my part.   Smiley   I'd really like to understand.

I recently moved parishes and I just saw the membership application the other day. I don't necessarily think the amount is too much, but for my current finances...its alot of money.
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« Reply #77 on: January 19, 2010, 07:51:07 PM »

The Normal Parish By-Laws of the Russian Church Abroad apply universally across the globe and here is what they say about parish dues and the criteria for parish membership....

PART III
(Parishioners and Parish Members.)

11. All Orthodox Christians of both sexes, regardless of their nationality, who have reached the age of 21 years, who pay the established membership dues, who make their confession and take Holy Communion not less than once a year, and who tend to the moral and economic welfare of the parish may become parish members.

http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/english/pages/regulations/parishlaws.html


The more and more that I think of this, and ponder on it, the more I wonder if there is a misunderstanding of terms.  .......... Without expressing any comtempt for the Bishops who wrote the Bylaws, as I am quite sure that English was not their first language either, I wonder if they really understood what the English word "pay" means - to give money in return for goods or services rendered.  

Here is the Russian version.  

РАЗДЕЛ 3-ий. (Прихожане и члены прихода.)

№ 11. Членами прихода могут быть все лица Православного вероисповедания обоего пола, достигшие 21-летнего возраста, платящие установленные членские взносы, исповедающиеся и причащающиеся Св. Таин не менее одного раза в год и ревнующие о нравственном и материальном благополучии прихода.

http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/synod/documents/normparishbylaws.html
« Last Edit: January 19, 2010, 08:04:10 PM by Irish Hermit » Logged
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« Reply #78 on: January 19, 2010, 07:52:45 PM »

I guess that if I had to pick and choose among traditions, I would choose some different ones than charging money to belong to the Body of Christ.

That is incorrect and I am sure you know it.  Nobody is charged to belong to the Body of Christ, no more than your donations on a Sunday is buying you Holy Communion.

Again, you are expressing a (probably unwitting) contempt for the bishops of your Church who drew up the Norrmal Parish By-Laws and laid down that parish members must pay their annual dues.   Speak to your bishop about your idea that he is charging you money to belong to the Body of Christ,  I am sure he has a different view and will try to set you straight.

-oOo-

The Normal Parish By-Laws of the Russian Church Abroad apply universally across the globe and here is what they say about parish dues and the criteria for parish membership....

PART III
(Parishioners and Parish Members.)

11. All Orthodox Christians of both sexes, regardless of their nationality, who have reached the age of 21 years, who pay the established membership dues, who make their confession and take Holy Communion not less than once a year, and who tend to the moral and economic welfare of the parish may become parish members.

http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/english/pages/regulations/parishlaws.html


Today (18 January) is the commemoration of St. Dicuil of Lure
See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celt-saints



The more and more that I think of this, and ponder on it, the more I wonder if there is a misunderstanding of terms.  I have NO contempt for my (or any other) Bishops.  On the other hand, I cannot see how compulsory membership dues is NOT charging for membership.  It is one thing to do, as we did in the Wisconsin Synod Lutheran Church, and tell the people what it costs per year to run the parish and perform all budgeted mission work, and then tell them what that comes to per each member family (informing them, but leaving to their concience as to what they offer), and yet quite another to tell a person "you have to pay $300 per year to belong to this Church".  In the first case, it allows each family to examine their giving and reflect.  For those that already give far above the base, there is no adjustment required.  However, if I am told by my priest that it costs $300 per year to keep the parish afloat, and I am giving less than this, it is a good time to examine my habits and see if my heart is in the right place.

I've expounded on this in the $1,000,000 Stewardship Question Thread.  Feel free to read through what's been posted there and if anything agrees or disagrees with your views, we can discuss them in that thread since what you bring up is different than paying money for Sacraments or giving gifts to Priests above and beyond their salary.

The second case cannot be seen as anything other than purchasing Church membership, at least in any form of English which I am familiar (admitting that English is not my first language).  Without expressing any comtempt for the Bishops who wrote the Bylaws, as I am quite sure that English was not their first language either, I wonder if they really understood what the English word "pay" means - to give money in return for goods or services rendered. 

The early Orthodox Christian immigrants, who were mostly functionally illiterate in both their native language and English, understood paying union dues from coal mining, car manufacturing, et al.  Perhaps the idea of Church dues is an extension of union dues especially if written by Bishops who were not any more literate than their flock.  However, a Priest should never demand upfront payment for a Sacrament nor should a Church post a "menu" listing for Sacraments; however, that is not to say that corruption did exist (and remains) in some Churches.  In Greek, we call such gifts λαδομα (e.g. greasing / oiling).
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« Reply #79 on: January 19, 2010, 07:57:39 PM »

Why did you not pay your parish dues?   What benefits do you see from not committing to a parish and not becoming a parishioner who may participate in its governance and parochial decisions on a wide variety of important issues?   This is a "professional" question on my part.   Smiley   I'd really like to understand.

I recently moved parishes and I just saw the membership application the other day. I don't necessarily think the amount is too much, but for my current finances...its alot of money.

Parishes usually offer two options for parish dues.

1.  The full amount for those who in settled circumstances and working - in our parish this is $20 per annum
      (in Australia this is $70 per annum per household)

2.  A lesser amount for people in difficult circumstances or not working - in our case $10 per year.
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« Reply #80 on: January 19, 2010, 08:03:31 PM »

Of course, if people all followed Punch's way, the parish priest would be in the glorious position of having no Parish Council and no Parish Meetings and he would be free to make all parish decisions on his own.  Hmmm... this is a positive side to non-due paying I had not seen before..... laugh


Today (19 January) is the commemoration of St. Fillan of Strathfilan
See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celt-saints

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« Reply #81 on: January 19, 2010, 10:41:12 PM »

A few points:

1.  Compulsory (prerequisite) amounts for sacraments are not permitted in the Orthodox Church.  The Mysteries are free
2.  Requested offerings of thanksgiving are frequently and legitimately requested in the Orthodox Church.
3.  There is a difference between "fees" and thanksgiving offerings
4.  As for tithing, the Ukrainian Orthodox Word a few months back had an article about tithing in early Rus.   To say that tithing is not Orthodox and is the invention of former protestants is simply untrue
5.  We are all obligated to support the Church and to pay the priest and his family an adequate amount, for the "laborer is worthy of his wages," as we recently heard in the Gospel reading for the holy 70 Apostles. 
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« Reply #82 on: January 19, 2010, 10:49:29 PM »

Of course, if people all followed Punch's way, the parish priest would be in the glorious position of having no Parish Council and no Parish Meetings and he would be free to make all parish decisions on his own.  Hmmm... this is a positive side to non-due paying I had not seen before..... laugh


Today (19 January) is the commemoration of St. Fillan of Strathfilan
See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celt-saints



Having read your posts with interest for quite some time, I knew that we would eventually come to agreement.  While I understand that this may not be practical in our modern society, you would find no objection from me.  Also, I thank you for taking the time to discuss this matter.
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« Reply #83 on: January 19, 2010, 10:49:46 PM »



Quote
4.  As for tithing, the Ukrainian Orthodox Word a few months back had an article about tithing in early Rus.   To say that tithing is not Orthodox and is the invention of former protestants is simply untrue
 


Indeed, Father, I was puzzled about people saying that tithing has no place in Orthodoxy, for I well remember exploring the foundations of a church built in Kyiv by Prince Vladimir, named the "Desyatina Church" (Church built on Tithes), located on Desyatina Street.
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« Reply #84 on: January 19, 2010, 11:09:36 PM »


I've expounded on this in the $1,000,000 Stewardship Question Thread.  Feel free to read through what's been posted there and if anything agrees or disagrees with your views, we can discuss them in that thread since what you bring up is different than paying money for Sacraments or giving gifts to Priests above and beyond their salary.

The early Orthodox Christian immigrants, who were mostly functionally illiterate in both their native language and English, understood paying union dues from coal mining, car manufacturing, et al.  Perhaps the idea of Church dues is an extension of union dues especially if written by Bishops who were not any more literate than their flock.  However, a Priest should never demand upfront payment for a Sacrament nor should a Church post a "menu" listing for Sacraments; however, that is not to say that corruption did exist (and remains) in some Churches.  In Greek, we call such gifts λαδομα (e.g. greasing / oiling).

Thank you.  I found the thread quite interesting and uplifting, and your commentary on the language seems quite plausible.
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« Reply #85 on: January 19, 2010, 11:12:55 PM »

Why did you not pay your parish dues?   What benefits do you see from not committing to a parish and not becoming a parishioner who may participate in its governance and parochial decisions on a wide variety of important issues?   This is a "professional" question on my part.   Smiley   I'd really like to understand.

I recently moved parishes and I just saw the membership application the other day. I don't necessarily think the amount is too much, but for my current finances...its alot of money.

Parishes usually offer two options for parish dues.

1.  The full amount for those who in settled circumstances and working - in our parish this is $20 per annum
      (in Australia this is $70 per annum per household)

2.  A lesser amount for people in difficult circumstances or not working - in our case $10 per year.

I am starting to understand where you are coming from a bit more. 
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« Reply #86 on: January 19, 2010, 11:58:31 PM »


I've expounded on this in the $1,000,000 Stewardship Question Thread.  Feel free to read through what's been posted there and if anything agrees or disagrees with your views, we can discuss them in that thread since what you bring up is different than paying money for Sacraments or giving gifts to Priests above and beyond their salary.

The early Orthodox Christian immigrants, who were mostly functionally illiterate in both their native language and English, understood paying union dues from coal mining, car manufacturing, et al.  Perhaps the idea of Church dues is an extension of union dues especially if written by Bishops who were not any more literate than their flock.  However, a Priest should never demand upfront payment for a Sacrament nor should a Church post a "menu" listing for Sacraments; however, that is not to say that corruption did exist (and remains) in some Churches.  In Greek, we call such gifts λαδομα (e.g. greasing / oiling).

Thank you.  I found the thread quite interesting and uplifting, and your commentary on the language seems quite plausible.

You're welcome.   Smiley

I neglected to add fraternal organizations / benevolent societies to the original commentary which also charged (and continue to charge to this day) annual dues.   Embarrassed
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« Reply #87 on: January 20, 2010, 02:07:09 AM »

In my long life, I have never been a paid-up member of any parish, Slavic or Greek,

Why did you not pay your parish dues?   What benefits do you see from not committing to a parish and not becoming a parishioner who may participate in its governance and parochial decisions on a wide variety of important issues?   This is a "professional" question on my part.   Smiley   I'd really like to understand.

I have my reasons, Father, which are best expressed in a PM. Suffice to say that while I might not be a paid-up member, I do contribute positively to the life of the church in many ways.
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« Reply #88 on: January 20, 2010, 02:28:17 AM »

Of course, if people all followed Punch's way, the parish priest would be in the glorious position of having no Parish Council and no Parish Meetings and he would be free to make all parish decisions on his own.  Hmmm... this is a positive side to non-due paying I had not seen before..... laugh


Today (19 January) is the commemoration of St. Fillan of Strathfilan
See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celt-saints



Having read your posts with interest for quite some time, I knew that we would eventually come to agreement.  While I understand that this may not be practical in our modern society, you would find no objection from me.  Also, I thank you for taking the time to discuss this matter.

Punch,

Thank you.  Next time I am in conversation with the Metropolitan I shall ask him if he has any objection to suggesting at the next Annual Parish Meeting if we float the idea of everybody ceasing to pay their annual dues.  This will do away with the Parish Council and further parish meetings - or if parish meetings do occur it will be at the option of the priest and he may over ride any suggestions.  The priest will enjoy sole control of the parish and its finances, etc.  You have opened my eyes to a possibility I had not contemplated, and it will certainly satisfy people in the parish who like you would rather die than pay parish dues.
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« Reply #89 on: January 20, 2010, 02:46:31 PM »

Of course, if people all followed Punch's way, the parish priest would be in the glorious position of having no Parish Council and no Parish Meetings and he would be free to make all parish decisions on his own.  Hmmm... this is a positive side to non-due paying I had not seen before..... laugh


Today (19 January) is the commemoration of St. Fillan of Strathfilan
See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celt-saints



Having read your posts with interest for quite some time, I knew that we would eventually come to agreement.  While I understand that this may not be practical in our modern society, you would find no objection from me.  Also, I thank you for taking the time to discuss this matter.

Punch,

Thank you.  Next time I am in conversation with the Metropolitan I shall ask him if he has any objection to suggesting at the next Annual Parish Meeting if we float the idea of everybody ceasing to pay their annual dues.  This will do away with the Parish Council and further parish meetings - or if parish meetings do occur it will be at the option of the priest and he may over ride any suggestions.  The priest will enjoy sole control of the parish and its finances, etc.  You have opened my eyes to a possibility I had not contemplated, and it will certainly satisfy people in the parish who like you would rather die than pay parish dues.

Sounds good!  Let me know how that works.  In all humility, I would ask that you not let His Eminence know that the suggestion came from me, as I wish no glory for the matter in this world.  Smiley
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