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Author Topic: Orthodox/ Catholic issue of divorce  (Read 7244 times) Average Rating: 0
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Irish Hermit
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« Reply #90 on: October 12, 2010, 08:35:05 PM »


So why does the Eastern Orthodox Church ignore certain Fathers in favor of others? Why did later Fathers ignore the teachings of the earlier ones?

Catholics have to remember that these are *their* Fathers.  According to the Catholic teaching they were part of the Church in submission to the Pope.   Indeed we can look at hundreds of years when the Eastern Catholic bishops, in submission to the Pope until the Schism of 1054AD, applied the marriage and divorce rules such as we have even today in the Eastern Church and the Pope permitted it during those centuries.

The Popes also permitted divorce and remarriage on their own turf in the West but not with any largesse.  We have the extant correspondence between Saint Columban and Pope Saint Bonaventure (I think, memory is slipping) where Columban asked about a king in his missionary territory who wished to divorce his wife and remarry.  She was ill and could not perform her wifely duties for the king. The Pope replied affirmatively, giving permission for the king to divorce and remarry, and with a stipulation that the king must make arrangements for the welfare of his divorced wife.

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Punch
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« Reply #91 on: October 12, 2010, 10:10:16 PM »

Dear Brother Punch,

I invite you to discern the voice of the faithful.  Perhaps when you are at trapeza after Liturgy you can approach those who have divorced and remarried and explain to them that they are living in adultery.  See if this is also their belief.  This will be a useful hands-on study which will enable you to ascertain the beliefs of the faithful in this area.  Caution: you may need your personal telohranitelj standing behind you.  :-)

Is it the teaching of your Serbian parish priest and bishop?  And are they happy to perform a holy Mystery over an adulterous couple?  This was NEVER my understanding during almost 20 years working as a Serbian priest.

Btw, Saint Ambrose of Milan forbids second marriage:  "No one is permitted to know a woman other than his wife. The marital right is given you for this reason: lest you fall into the snare and sin with a strange woman. If you are bound to a wife do not seek a divorce; for you are not permitted, while your wife lives, to marry another."

About baptism and marriage he says:  Baptism erases all sins but not marriage" and he means of course that the person getting baptized still remains married to his non-believing spouse and is not freed by Baptism to look for another believing wife.

Dear Father,

As I said before, I will certainly ask my Serbian priest for his opinion on this matter.  I will report back to you what he says.  Since I have joined his Church and put myself under his rule, I take his words seriously (as I do yours, BTW).  As to your other suggestion; I think that I will pass.  First, I do not know the marital state of the members of the congregation since it is not my business to do so.  And second, their belief on the matter is of really no interest to me.  I will, however, take your words to heart and search some of the fathers that came later.  My library is more lacking in this area, and the ones that I have read do not really touch upon the subject as much as the earlier ones, and deal mostly with asceticism.  If you have suggestions as to which ones I should start with, let me know.  Most of my latter books are from Russian Saints from the 1800's.
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I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.
Punch
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« Reply #92 on: October 12, 2010, 11:23:58 PM »

Well, I had some time here before I go to bed, and I picked two of the "later" Orthodox works that I had readily available.  The first, "Orthodox Dogmatic Theology" by Father Michael Pomazansky, has the following to say about the Sacrament of Marriage:

The entrance into a second marriage after the death of a husband or wife, or in general the loss of one's spouse by the other, is allowed by the Church, although in the prayers for those being married the second time, forgiveness is asked for the sin of a second marriage.  A third marriage is tolerated only as a lesser evil to avoid a greater evil - immoral life (as St. Basil the Great explains).

Perhaps Fr. Pomazansky was not aware of the service for a second marriage, nor was Archbishop Averky who blessed the publication of this work.  The work dates from 1963.

In the commentary on St. Matthew by the Blessed Theophylact (lived about 1000 years ago, or 600 years after my previously cited writings), he says:

But I say to you, Christ says, that it is good to divorce as an adulteress a wife who has committed fornication, but if one divorces a wife who has not committed fornication, he becomes in part the cause of adultery for her if she should marry again.  

BTW - this second work was given to me by one of the Priests that told me that the second marriage ceremony was penitential.  I was beginning to feel bad that I may have misunderstood him and falsely attributed my warped views to him.  However, since he is the one that translated this work from the Greek to the English and published this work (with the Blessing of Archbishop Alypy), and I was given it shortly after its publication, this could have been the passage that we were discussing at the time.  This passage was always explained to me (in the Lutheran Church) as meaning that even the aggrieved party was guilty of adultery in a second marriage, but the sin was upon the party causing the grievance.  This is the guidance that we were instructed to use on the Board of Elders in the Wisconsin Synod when deciding Church Discipline.  It could be seen that given this understanding of this passage before our conversion (both of us were sons of Lutheran clergy), the interpretation of the passage by the Blessed Theophylact would do little to dispel our former belief.  It does not explain Fr. Pomazansky's apparent erroneous understanding of the second and third marriages since I don't believe that he was ever a Lutheran heretic as was I for so many years.

Maybe I just need to go to bed and stop reading Orthodox books and just ask some divorced people what they think next Sunday. I am not sure what a "personal telohranitelj" is, but I am guessing that it is a guardian angel and not my Smith & Wesson, which I don't bring into Church with me  Wink
« Last Edit: October 12, 2010, 11:24:50 PM by Punch » Logged

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« Reply #93 on: October 13, 2010, 01:19:25 AM »

From the 2000 Statement by the Synod of Russian Bishops "The Basis of the Social Concept"

X.5:  In its Decision of December 28, 1998, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church denounced the actions of those spiritual fathers who «prohibit their spiritual children from contracting a second marriage on the grounds that second marriage is allegedly denounced by the Church and who prohibit married couples from divorce if their family life becomes impossible for this or that reason».

At the same time, the Holy Synod resolved that «pastors should be reminded that in her attitude to the second marriage the Orthodox Church is guided by the words of St. Paul: ‘Art thou bound unto a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned… the wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord’ (1 Cor. 7:27-28, 39)».
« Last Edit: October 13, 2010, 01:19:59 AM by Irish Hermit » Logged
Punch
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« Reply #94 on: October 13, 2010, 01:14:48 PM »

From the 2000 Statement by the Synod of Russian Bishops "The Basis of the Social Concept"

X.5:  In its Decision of December 28, 1998, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church denounced the actions of those spiritual fathers who «prohibit their spiritual children from contracting a second marriage on the grounds that second marriage is allegedly denounced by the Church and who prohibit married couples from divorce if their family life becomes impossible for this or that reason».

At the same time, the Holy Synod resolved that «pastors should be reminded that in her attitude to the second marriage the Orthodox Church is guided by the words of St. Paul: ‘Art thou bound unto a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned… the wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord’ (1 Cor. 7:27-28, 39)».


As I read this, it seems to say that second marriages are allowed only to a widow or widower.  Could I ask why you chose to omit the paragraph above the one you quoted?  It provides a lot more clarity about the position of the Moscow Patriarchate:

“ For the spiritual education of those contracting a marriage and consolidation of marital bonds, the clergy are urged before celebrating a Marriage to explain in detail to the bridegroom and bride that a marital union concluded in church is indissoluble. They should emphasize that divorce as the last resort can be sought only if spouses committed actions defined by the Church as causes for divorce. Consent to the dissolution of a marriage cannot be given to satisfy a whim or to “confirm” a common-law divorce. However, if a divorce is an accomplished fact, especially when spouses live separately, the restoration of the family is considered impossible and a church divorce may be given if the pastor deigns to concede the request. The Church does not at all approve of a second marriage. Nevertheless, according to the canon law, after a legitimate church divorce, a second marriage is allowed to the innocent spouse. Those whose first marriage was dissolved through their own fault a second marriage is allowed only after repentance and penance imposed in accordance with the canons. According to the rules of St. Basil the Great, in exceptional cases where a third marriage is allowed, the duration of the penance shall be prolonged.”
« Last Edit: October 13, 2010, 01:16:49 PM by Punch » Logged

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« Reply #95 on: October 13, 2010, 06:04:00 PM »

The Russian Orthodox Church recently (in the last 5 years?) issued a proclamation that common law marriages must be respected as true marriages.  This was as a rebuff to some "spiritual fathers" in Russia who were dealing with them too harshly, refusing communion and refusing to baptize the children..


Following on with this topic --- there is a special and very brief Rite  - the "Rite of Blessing Spouses who have lived for many years without a church blessing."

"Чин благословения супругов, проживших много лет без церковного благословения"

http://lib.eparhia-saratov.ru/books/noauthor/noauthor5/257.html

Some clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad make use of it when people with common law marriages or civil marriages approach the priest and ask the blessing of the Church. 
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Tags: marriage  annulment divorce 
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