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Author Topic: Payment for sacraments?  (Read 11789 times) Average Rating: 0
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JimCBrooklyn
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« on: February 16, 2011, 03:24:59 PM »

Greetings in Christ!

I don't mean to stir the pot here, but I heard something that sincerely disturbed me a few days ago, and I meant to ask about it here, but had forgotten about it:

A friend here told me that it is a common custom here in Russia to pay a priest for major sacraments, i.e., baptisms, weddings, etc. This, I understand, makes plenty of sense, as it helps upkeep the church and pay the priests who can be quite poor here, and it is not unlike customs in any church I know of; it's not that there is a fee, but more like a "suggested donation".

That said, this person went on to say that in some instances, people even pay/tip for confession, and that there are scattered parishes where actual prices for sacraments are listed on the wall. This would be a major departure from "suggested donations", and seems borderline blasphemous to me.

Obviously, this is not something that would be universally supported by the church at-large, and I don't mean to suggest that, but I wonder if anyone has encountered this, or maybe could explain it better than the one source I had, who certainly isn't the end all. I understand that all churches have people in them, of course, and that folks can be corrupt. I am coming from the RC church, which obviously has its own struggles, and I live in Russia now, which is not exactly corruption-free, so it's not shocking to me, but I wondered how widespread this is, and if there might be a better explanation for it that I haven't thought of.
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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2011, 03:27:42 PM »

Hmm, I have never heard of this before. Have you had a chance to discuss this with your priest that you spoke with the other day? Do you know if this is the common practice in his parish?
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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2011, 03:32:35 PM »

Hmm, I have never heard of this before. Have you had a chance to discuss this with your priest that you spoke with the other day? Do you know if this is the common practice in his parish?

I haven't spoken with him about it, though I intend to when we next meet. I don't know it to be common practice in his parish, no, particularly not the signs or confession, in fact, I'm quite certain it's not.
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« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2011, 03:43:25 PM »

I have been told by multiple priests that it is forbidden to accept money for confession.

Personally, I don't have a problem with "suggested donations" for all the other sacraments. While conducting divine services is the priest's job, it seems right to give a token for something that might take him a lot of time (such as catechumenate classes, weddings/receptions that take up most of a day, etc.). Especially when a priest is not paid very well, or has a second job, this is important I think.

But to virtually require a set amount, I don't think that's right. Though I'm sure that if someone did not have the cash, the priest would not withhold the sacrament (if he did, I would avoid him and talk to the bishop).
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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2011, 03:44:09 PM »

Hmm, I have never heard of this before. Have you had a chance to discuss this with your priest that you spoke with the other day? Do you know if this is the common practice in his parish?

I haven't spoken with him about it, though I intend to when we next meet. I don't know it to be common practice in his parish, no, particularly not the signs or confession, in fact, I'm quite certain it's not.

This is good, I would ask him about it as well. AFAIK, the only universal financial obligation which we are encouraged to give to the Church is our tithe, which is non-specific. Also, I do not believe catechumens are obliged to follow under this rule, as they are not fully members (however, no parish would turn away good money, of course!)
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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2011, 03:49:09 PM »

It's common in Poland.
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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2011, 03:53:59 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

But to virtually require a set amount, I don't think that's right. Though I'm sure that if someone did not have the cash, the priest would not withhold the sacrament (if he did, I would avoid him and talk to the bishop).

We just recently had this very discussion regarding the Saint Sophia Cathedral here in Los Angeles posting "sacrament fees" on their website in regards to having weddings or baptisms at the Cathedral.  Essentially, the end result was what you are saying, if the priests refuse to perform a Sacrament over financial issues, that would be highly immoral and not Orthodox, however most of us agree there is no harm in charging fees for certain Church services, though I think it is in the best taste to as its been said call these fees "suggested donations"

When it comes to money and the Church, attitude and intention are what define these otherwise gray matters.

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« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2011, 03:57:32 PM »

I have seen at some of the parishes I frequent in Russia that the babushkas on duty in the church won't accept your written prayer requests and hand them on to the priest unless you pay the sum noted on the wall. Once I had to struggle with them for quite some time, as I had left my wallet at my lodgings, but to no avail.
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« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2011, 04:15:44 PM »

I have seen at some of the parishes I frequent in Russia that the babushkas on duty in the church won't accept your written prayer requests and hand them on to the priest unless you pay the sum noted on the wall. Once I had to struggle with them for quite some time, as I had left my wallet at my lodgings, but to no avail.

Wow. That's hardcore.  Shocked
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2011, 04:19:03 PM »


That said, this person went on to say that in some instances, people even pay/tip for confession, and that there are scattered parishes where actual prices for sacraments are listed on the wall. This would be a major departure from "suggested donations", and seems borderline blasphemous to me.


 Undecided Yes, it is common in Romania. People leave a small bill/amount of money in a plate by the priest's chair after confession. I know some priests (younger) who refuse the practice though. Most priests do not care, either way, they'll give you absolution anyway, but people know that they should leave some money.

For baptisms/weddings prices are a lot of time negotiated with the parents/godparents.
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« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2011, 05:36:33 PM »

It's common in Poland.

same thing in Serbia...at least in my experience. 
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« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2011, 05:44:53 PM »

So in the above countries, is this payment substitute for tithing, because most ppl don't tithe, or what?
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« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2011, 05:51:36 PM »

So in the above countries, is this payment substitute for tithing, because most ppl don't tithe, or what?

Sort of.  In serbia, that's definitely part of the "reasoning" but it's not an official policy because not every church has the pricing thing, just some of them.  It always upset me, especially when that was the first thing the priest would tell you. 
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« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2011, 07:29:59 PM »

So in the above countries, is this payment substitute for tithing, because most ppl don't tithe, or what?

Sort of.  In serbia, that's definitely part of the "reasoning" but it's not an official policy because not every church has the pricing thing, just some of them.  It always upset me, especially when that was the first thing the priest would tell you. 

I think that this practice is common throughout Eastern Europe and can be found in both the Orthodox and the Greek Catholic traditions. ( I never saw a 'price list' posted growing up in the post-war era, but in old parish financial annual printed reports from the 1920's and 30's I have seen suggested 'stipends' for various services listed.)

I have heard from my late father that in years' past when he was a young priest that some 'old timer's' would try to leave money for confessions but that he was taught in Seminary not to accept these donations.

I will also say that I have personally never known a priest who would refuse to perform a wedding or funeral or other sacramental without a donation or stipend of sorts, but I am sure there are some who would behave in such an un-Christian manner.  In many American parishes, the salary set by the congregation for the pastor would hardly be sufficient to raise a family and it simply was expected and accepted that the pastor's compensation would be augmented by the 'payment' of these stipends for funerals, weddings, baptisms etc.... To a large extent this has changed in recent times in the US and Canada. I don't think that there was anything insidious about the practice although I can understand how some folks coming from other traditions might misunderstand it.
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« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2011, 09:54:29 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
So in the above countries, is this payment substitute for tithing, because most ppl don't tithe, or what?

I would say that is likely part of it.  Remember in much of the Orthodox world, for most of its history, the Church was the local landlord and even tax collector.  Now that the government collects most of these directly and in the US and other countries even exempts churches from paying taxes, the Church has a significantly smaller income stream.  It seems then that these payments and exchange of monies to priests would be the residual evolution of the original status of the Church in history, just to a far diminished scale.  This is what I understand "Church membership dues/fees" are for, to replace what was originally the legally prescribed tithe, along with any rent due to those who lived on extensive Church lands.  We have only been in this "modern" era for a century or two, so the Church is still in reasonable adjustment.Also, this kind of money exchange seems to be a deeply embedded cultural trait of Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Caucuses Wink

stay blessed,
habte selasssie
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« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2011, 10:29:03 PM »

At one Serbian parish in my city, there is a bar in the basement for hard drinking after liturgy, and next to the bar by the bathrooms there is a list with the prices for the Holy Mysteries with two price lists: one for members who pay their "dues", and one for non-members who just come for baptisms, weddings and funerals.
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« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2011, 10:31:41 PM »

Sort of.  In serbia, that's definitely part of the "reasoning" but it's not an official policy because not every church has the pricing thing, just some of them.  It always upset me, especially when that was the first thing the priest would tell you. 

Another reason why I'm still 100% against it.  Simony is sin, always!
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« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2011, 10:56:02 PM »

In the early years after Perestroika in 1991 in Russia it was not uncommon for parishes to display boards with the suggested cost of services.  This was not totally unreasonable when people had no knowledge of what would be appropriate and whether they should offer $10 or $100 for their baby's Baptism.   

However the practice of displaying prices was not liked by many parish priests and nor was it liked by the bishops and finally the Patriarch and the Synod forbade displaying prices.
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« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2011, 11:00:48 PM »

For the late Metropolitan Anthony Bloom's suggestion about donations for services at the cathedral in London, please see message 1 at

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,33042.msg522321.html#msg522321
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« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2011, 11:15:25 PM »

Sort of.  In serbia, that's definitely part of the "reasoning" but it's not an official policy because not every church has the pricing thing, just some of them.  It always upset me, especially when that was the first thing the priest would tell you. 

Another reason why I'm still 100% against it.  Simony is sin, always!

Ah I knew there was a word for it, just couldn't place my finger on it!
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« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2011, 06:13:49 PM »

Sorry to dig back in to an older thread now, but I'm kind of tormenting myself with this issue. Since I out this topic up, I have seen one of these boards with a list of prices for sacramental services (though not confession/communion) at one parish here. I also can't help but take note of the part of liturgy when (forgive me, I keep forgetting the proper term for this practice) the priests all pray for the names of those written down by the faithful, and that all the people in church directly pay to have those names prayed for.

I am totally comfortable with giving a donation or things, if I feel so inclined; Inhave no issue with collection baskets, etc, and I was blessed to be born financially secure, and as such try to be generous. My issue is that such practices as I mentioned above make me feel REALLY uncomfortable and it just seems like simony, it makes me think of the indulgences that allegedly paid for St. Peter's, something I always had a lot of trouble with as a RC.

I even had trouble at first accepting that any church could have a gift shop for books, icons, candles, etc., as it made me think of Christ in the temple. I've gotten past this.

Are sacraments such as baptism, matrimony, or burial ever refused if no donation is made? Or even a blessing of a house?

I know that running into stumbling blocks on the road to conversion is normal, and this is the biggest one I have yet encountered. Again, I do not wish to stir the pot here, I'm just troubled by this.
In Christ,
Jim
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« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2011, 09:19:29 PM »

Quote
Are sacraments such as baptism, matrimony, or burial ever refused if no donation is made? Or even a blessing of a house?

If they are, then an approach to the local bishop should be made, if the priest insists on payment. Sacraments are not for sale.  Angry Angry Angry
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« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2011, 05:45:44 AM »

Quote
Are sacraments such as baptism, matrimony, or burial ever refused if no donation is made? Or even a blessing of a house?

If they are, then an approach to the local bishop should be made, if the priest insists on payment. Sacraments are not for sale.  Angry Angry Angry
I would hope so, and this is NOT something that I have seen.

That said, I guess I'm still looking for a satisfactory answer as to:
A) Why there are prices listed for sacraments at a number of/if not most churches here in Russia (I can't speak for anywhere else)?
B) Why one must pay a set price to have people prayed for in the written prayers in church? I was in line today to buy a candle behind person after person being charged 200 rubles (7 dollars) a sheet for Lenten prayers, which apparently cost more than regular prayers. (Again I don't know the name for those)

I know it has been discussed above to some extent, but I still can't really understand WHY it's done, or what justifies it.

It's become a thorn in my journey.
In Christ,
Jim
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« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2011, 10:29:05 AM »

A) Why there are prices listed for sacraments at a number of/if not most churches here in Russia (I can't speak for anywhere else)?
B) Why one must pay a set price to have people prayed for in the written prayers in church? I was in line today to buy a candle behind person after person being charged 200 rubles (7 dollars) a sheet for Lenten prayers, which apparently cost more than regular prayers. (Again I don't know the name for those)

I don't know about Russia but I can explain how we have those in Poland.

Priests in Poland do not receive regular salaries from the state (as in Greece) or from their Dioceses. They have to get money by themselves. Most of them do not have secular jobs (whether their duties disable them or it is a cultural thing it's another one case). The money from sacraments, funerals and these paper lists goes to them (in the contrary to the money from collects that goes to the Church).

I suppose the reasons in Russia are similar.
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« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2011, 10:54:52 AM »

A) Why there are prices listed for sacraments at a number of/if not most churches here in Russia (I can't speak for anywhere else)?
B) Why one must pay a set price to have people prayed for in the written prayers in church? I was in line today to buy a candle behind person after person being charged 200 rubles (7 dollars) a sheet for Lenten prayers, which apparently cost more than regular prayers. (Again I don't know the name for those)

I don't know about Russia but I can explain how we have those in Poland.

Priests in Poland do not receive regular salaries from the state (as in Greece) or from their Dioceses. They have to get money by themselves. Most of them do not have secular jobs (whether their duties disable them or it is a cultural thing it's another one case). The money from sacraments, funerals and these paper lists goes to them (in the contrary to the money from collects that goes to the Church).

I suppose the reasons in Russia are similar.

I understand this, though I think that here in Russia many priests are salaried, and I have no issue with it at all. I'd be more than eager to donate a large amount to a priest for those sacraments (though never, confession or communion). We gave generously for our children's chrismations, and intend to do so for mine. My qualm is that there is an actual listed price, which infers that one MUST pay for the sacrament, which would have to be heretical, right?


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« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2011, 11:04:56 AM »

My qualm is that there is an actual listed price, which infers that one MUST pay for the sacrament, which would have to be heretical, right?

There is no 'must'. If you can't afford it your children will get baptised, period.
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« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2011, 02:13:47 PM »

I guess you haven't seen yet people leaving money on a plate by the chair of the priest after confession. It is very costumary in Romania (there confessions are heard priest sitting on a chair and penitent kneeling on a cushion in front of him). The fact that there is a plate for money by the priest, means that money this way is accepted, but also means that people feel obligated to leave money. I was amused when I was a teenager and a priest refused to accept money from me after my confession because I was a student. Cheesy Or when, also as a teen, the older priest who heard my confession told me, as I was leaving the room where confessions were heard having forgotten to leave some money said: "What, don't you have anything for the priest?" There are also priests who refuse money, period. But many don't. Also it is costumary to leave money on the table where the after-communion wine and bread is served. To put money on the book held by the reader who read the post-communion prayers in the back of the church. Or to leave money by the Gospel book exposed during Matins for veneration.

Everybody knows that you need quite a bit of money to get your kids baptized or to get married, so everybody saves money for that. Even the poorest.

Yes, money is expected to be prayed for during lent. And it's not cheap. But you can leave less money if you can't afford it, but most people would do what they have to do in order to have the right kind of money. Yes, money is expected if you want to have your car/house/etc. blessed. Money is expected when the priest comes to bless the house before Christmas and at Epiphany. I remember my mom asking the neighbors around what's the right amount that year (for the priest, for the guy who sings, for the guy who carries the holy water bucket, for the kids who run in front of the priest shouting "kiralesa"...). My grandma was dirt cheap and she would only give as little as she could. Cheesy

So you'd better get used to it, it's just part of the culture. Some priests try to change it, no faithful likes it, but feels as if it's part of the whole thing.
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« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2011, 06:46:51 PM »

This is just a reality that I'm having trouble coming to terms with/being comfortable with. How can such practices be allowed in Christ's church?

I just keep thinking of Christ in the temple, and what He would say about seeing prices for sacraments listed on a wall, or plates for confession money.

I know that in every/any church that is made up of men, wrong will be done, constantly, and I know that much graver offenses have been committed, but this seems different from one man/clergy member acting poorly; it seems like it's just casually institutionally accepted.

I guess I just want to find a good way to come to terms with this. Over the whole process of inquiry/catechesis, I've run into, as anyone will, plenty of hurdles. At each one, I've asked, prayed and learned, and left that hurde behind, more encouraged than in was before. This one is staying with me.

Please pray for me,
In Christ,
Jim
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« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2011, 07:37:49 PM »

Jim, I feel that these questions which disturb you won't find a satisfactory answer on this Forum which is primarily American.    You are asking questions about the practices in the parishes of Petersburg and it is there that you need to turn for your answers.  If someone is leading you through your catechumenate period in a Petersburg parish, I would try enquiring of him or her.
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« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2011, 08:24:25 PM »

I think the "donation" idea is fine on some (depending on wealth of the area or country it is in.  More of a courtesy than a requirement for certain sacraments.

For instance, a couple getting married in let's say San Diego who is using the church, A/C, and hall afterwards should be willing to pay for the building & the priests time. 

However a poor village in some country somewhere and the population mostly lives in hovels, sod, etc., No, I think the priest should be there strictly to give the Sacraments of Christ.   

But even in a rich area, if the couple just wants something simple and are members of the church there should never be a charge.  But I think most Orthodoxy Christians "understand" to give a bit.

Baptism /  is "wishy washy" (no pun intended) in my opinion as far as giving $.  It may be a good idea in a well to do area for the parents, godparents, or relatives of the parents to give a little extra for the time in donation that day.  Again voluntary.  Of course again, in a poor country don't worry about $.  Adult baptism should be a courtesy of heavy donation.  Chrismation same situation.  But again voluntary.

Ordination again.... Donation should be heavier.

I think there are some sacraments that absolutely no money whatsoever in courtesy or not should be given. 
1) Communion - This one because it is a complete miracle.  God is in us, and we in him. 
2) Confession - Hehe, I think this is obvious.  $20 for anger, $30 for adultery - but you get a $5 coupon at Mardi Gras.  Shocked
3) Holy Unction - This is a powerful sacrament.  In those distressful times we need to focus on our spirit.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on it.  I know some churches do differently than others, but most that I have seen go pretty much on the "honor & courtesy system".

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« Reply #30 on: March 13, 2011, 08:28:19 PM »


Ordination again.... Donation should be heavier.


Ordination?   That one caught me by surprise!   Smiley
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« Reply #31 on: March 13, 2011, 08:38:01 PM »

I would express your concerns to your priest, tell him you're not comfortable with it, and ask him about donating to church instead via tithing...
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« Reply #32 on: March 13, 2011, 08:41:25 PM »

I guess you haven't seen yet people leaving money on a plate by the chair of the priest after confession. It is very costumary in Romania (there confessions are heard priest sitting on a chair and penitent kneeling on a cushion in front of him). The fact that there is a plate for money by the priest, means that money this way is accepted, but also means that people feel obligated to leave money. I was amused when I was a teenager and a priest refused to accept money from me after my confession because I was a student. Cheesy Or when, also as a teen, the older priest who heard my confession told me, as I was leaving the room where confessions were heard having forgotten to leave some money said: "What, don't you have anything for the priest?" There are also priests who refuse money, period. But many don't. Also it is costumary to leave money on the table where the after-communion wine and bread is served. To put money on the book held by the reader who read the post-communion prayers in the back of the church. Or to leave money by the Gospel book exposed during Matins for veneration.

Everybody knows that you need quite a bit of money to get your kids baptized or to get married, so everybody saves money for that. Even the poorest.

Yes, money is expected to be prayed for during lent. And it's not cheap. But you can leave less money if you can't afford it, but most people would do what they have to do in order to have the right kind of money. Yes, money is expected if you want to have your car/house/etc. blessed. Money is expected when the priest comes to bless the house before Christmas and at Epiphany. I remember my mom asking the neighbors around what's the right amount that year (for the priest, for the guy who sings, for the guy who carries the holy water bucket, for the kids who run in front of the priest shouting "kiralesa"...). My grandma was dirt cheap and she would only give as little as she could. Cheesy

So you'd better get used to it, it's just part of the culture. Some priests try to change it, no faithful likes it, but feels as if it's part of the whole thing.

Yuck. just yuck. Sorry, but I think this goes beyond the cultural differences explanation and borderlines on corruption.

I can see how this type of thing could easily translate into those who are well off in the parish getting 'special treatment' (i.e. extra prayers, etc.) while those who can't afford to get the bare minimum (if that).
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« Reply #33 on: March 13, 2011, 08:54:55 PM »



Yuck. just yuck. Sorry, but I think this goes beyond the cultural differences explanation and borderlines on corruption.

Well, that's actually not all of it. Apparently, at least in Romania, or parts of it, there's an unofficial tax for ordination, as in 10.000 euro for ordination and appointment to a good, urban parish. Under the guise of some present to the bishop...

These are sad realities in the old orthodox countries, and I think that, although they might raise terrible concerns, it is good to know about them, and come to terms with them, before an actual and serious committment.

On the other hand: although it might sound yucky to a westerner, most locals wouldn't even bet an eye, it's just the way you do things, not only in church stuff, but also in education, justice, etc. Teachers receiving gifts from their students, including money? Most normal thing in the world! And anyhow: nowadays, nobody would force you to leave money after confession, or at the gospel book, or whatever. Nobody puts in the plate more than the equivalent of 25 cents, up to a dollar. It's really symbolic. But it does happen. And it does change here and there with the younger priests.
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« Reply #34 on: March 14, 2011, 03:24:34 AM »

I guess you haven't seen yet people leaving money on a plate by the chair of the priest after confession. It is very costumary in Romania (there confessions are heard priest sitting on a chair and penitent kneeling on a cushion in front of him). The fact that there is a plate for money by the priest, means that money this way is accepted, but also means that people feel obligated to leave money. I was amused when I was a teenager and a priest refused to accept money from me after my confession because I was a student. Cheesy Or when, also as a teen, the older priest who heard my confession told me, as I was leaving the room where confessions were heard having forgotten to leave some money said: "What, don't you have anything for the priest?" There are also priests who refuse money, period. But many don't. Also it is costumary to leave money on the table where the after-communion wine and bread is served. To put money on the book held by the reader who read the post-communion prayers in the back of the church. Or to leave money by the Gospel book exposed during Matins for veneration.

Everybody knows that you need quite a bit of money to get your kids baptized or to get married, so everybody saves money for that. Even the poorest.

Yes, money is expected to be prayed for during lent. And it's not cheap. But you can leave less money if you can't afford it, but most people would do what they have to do in order to have the right kind of money. Yes, money is expected if you want to have your car/house/etc. blessed. Money is expected when the priest comes to bless the house before Christmas and at Epiphany. I remember my mom asking the neighbors around what's the right amount that year (for the priest, for the guy who sings, for the guy who carries the holy water bucket, for the kids who run in front of the priest shouting "kiralesa"...). My grandma was dirt cheap and she would only give as little as she could. Cheesy

So you'd better get used to it, it's just part of the culture. Some priests try to change it, no faithful likes it, but feels as if it's part of the whole thing.

Yuck. just yuck. Sorry, but I think this goes beyond the cultural differences explanation and borderlines on corruption.

I can see how this type of thing could easily translate into those who are well off in the parish getting 'special treatment' (i.e. extra prayers, etc.) while those who can't afford to get the bare minimum (if that).

Right. I have seen this sort of thing happen all over; my grandmother is a very prominent figure in Atlanta, and for a time there was an Anglican pastor that played her shadow, one who had a history of working his way into wills.

Even my RC priest, who I like and respect, I believe treated me somewhat differently and gave me extra attention because he knew that I was wealthy. That is something I dobt I can ever avoid, utbwhen you are setting up these kinds of precedents, I could just see things going off the deep end, i.e., wealthy Italian families deciding who the pope was for however many hundreds of years. Especially with the oligarch situation being what it is in Russia, it's a dangerous thought.

I'm trying to determine how to address it with my priest here; I don't want to offend him, which is why I was seeking to understand the practice first by asking here, at least to contextualize it for me.
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« Reply #35 on: March 14, 2011, 03:34:12 AM »


I'm trying to determine how to address it with my priest here; I don't want to offend him, which is why I was seeking to understand the practice first by asking here, at least to contextualize it for me.

Dear Jim,

As I mentioned, I am unsure if responses from America will be of much use to you.  They simply are not familiar with the situation you are describing in Petersburg and in fact they could get you "all fired up" and set up your conversation with your catechumen teacher and your priest in Russia for failure.   Best to deal with your local people.
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« Reply #36 on: March 14, 2011, 03:51:42 AM »

As far as those who are in the states, did you pay any money for your baptism/chrismation services?  Huh

Did you pay for anything (besides marriage services and tithing)?
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« Reply #37 on: March 14, 2011, 02:46:54 PM »

To the OP:
You say you are wealthy. Then you should afford the best of the services the Church has to offer. I do not understand what this is all about.
Americans being shocked not all cultures are imbued with strong Calvinist work ethic? Good grief. Get over it.
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« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2011, 03:08:40 PM »

To the OP:
You say you are wealthy. Then you should afford the best of the services the Church has to offer. I do not understand what this is all about.
Americans being shocked not all cultures are imbued with strong Calvinist work ethic? Good grief. Get over it.

Like I've said a number of times, my personal wealth is totally irrelevant in terms of how I feel about this. I don't really feel comfortable going into details, but I am happy to donate generously to the Church and Her clergy, and I do so, all the time! I intend to, as God has been kind to me in terms of my birth, be a great benefactor of the Church in my life. It has nothing to do with an unwillingness to give money, or some sort of "Calvinist work ethic".

My issues in principle, are that
A) It is downright un-Christian to directly charge for services of the Church, Christ would be appalled by this, and some of these practices being discussed seem very close to this to me.
B) It is troubling to me when I feel that the Church or a member of clergy shows favor to a layperson based on the layperson's social status.
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« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2011, 03:27:55 PM »

Jim: I don't think this is news to you, but the Church IS made of sinners. All sorts of sinners. The same as I think that leaving the Latin church for the sex abuse scandals is really superficial, the same I think that stumbling over the sort of financial murckiness that one could find in the OC is also not a reason to leave it or not joining it. It's a non issue, faith-wise. Sure, one might want to know what is the underlying problem that causes this, is this dogmatic, cultural, or what?

For your comfort: I live in the Netherlands and it's normal for catholic churches here to have on their website a list of prices for weddings, funerals, preparation for first communion and confirmation. Sometimes for baptism as well. Nobody is scandalized, the prices are there for everybody to see, and yes indeed, there are discounts for those who pay for their parish membership annualy. Through, I have never ever seen people leaving money after confession. And the priest blessed cars and bikes and rosaries and the like without expecting any compensation.

On the other hand, I read on the Dutch Orthodox Romanian parish's  website that the priest will not officiate any service, as in moleben, blessings, memorial services, baptisms, weddings, house blessings, I guess confessions also, to those who are not paying members of the parish.  Undecided I've never been there to see that this is indeed done, but that's on the website...Doesn't make me wanna go visit though, I guess I'll just stay with teh catholics.

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« Reply #40 on: March 14, 2011, 03:28:54 PM »

To the OP:
You say you are wealthy. Then you should afford the best of the services the Church has to offer. I do not understand what this is all about.
Americans being shocked not all cultures are imbued with strong Calvinist work ethic? Good grief. Get over it.

Like I've said a number of times, my personal wealth is totally irrelevant in terms of how I feel about this. I don't really feel comfortable going into details, but I am happy to donate generously to the Church and Her clergy, and I do so, all the time! I intend to, as God has been kind to me in terms of my birth, be a great benefactor of the Church in my life. It has nothing to do with an unwillingness to give money, or some sort of "Calvinist work ethic".

My issues in principle, are that
A) It is downright un-Christian to directly charge for services of the Church, Christ would be appalled by this, and some of these practices being discussed seem very close to this to me.
B) It is troubling to me when I feel that the Church or a member of clergy shows favor to a layperson based on the layperson's social status.

Your concerns are perfectly legitimate. There are, however, certain Ortho-hipsters who see corruption and indifference as the seal of authenticity.
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« Reply #41 on: March 14, 2011, 04:05:06 PM »

To the OP:
You say you are wealthy. Then you should afford the best of the services the Church has to offer. I do not understand what this is all about.
Americans being shocked not all cultures are imbued with strong Calvinist work ethic? Good grief. Get over it.

Like I've said a number of times, my personal wealth is totally irrelevant in terms of how I feel about this. I don't really feel comfortable going into details, but I am happy to donate generously to the Church and Her clergy, and I do so, all the time! I intend to, as God has been kind to me in terms of my birth, be a great benefactor of the Church in my life. It has nothing to do with an unwillingness to give money, or some sort of "Calvinist work ethic".

My issues in principle, are that
A) It is downright un-Christian to directly charge for services of the Church, Christ would be appalled by this, and some of these practices being discussed seem very close to this to me.
B) It is troubling to me when I feel that the Church or a member of clergy shows favor to a layperson based on the layperson's social status.

I TOTALLY agree with this.

I must say, I don't know any priests (my husband certainly included) who would refuse a sacrament because of some sort of financial issue (like not paying "minimum dues").  In fact, most of the priests I know (my husband again included) work very hard to separate the financial issues from sacraments.  I also don't know any priests who would even consider taking money for a confession!

Personally, when my husband comes home, having been given a gift by someone for performing a sacrament, we view it as exactly that- a gift.  And we are very grateful for it.  If he isn't given one, we don't even think twice about it.  Because that's not why he (or we, if I'm chanting) is there.  And in all cases, the money he is given goes toward his vestments, other things he may need for his ministry (such as a new anderi or a new communion kit or a liturgical book), and we view it strictly as a gift that someone has given out of love for the Church.

I have found in my experience that often these "fees" or "suggested donations" are something set up by parish councils, often to the priests' shagrin.  It ranks up there with "minimum dues/minimum stewardship" in my book-- absolutely unacceptable.  This is a battle we have been fighting in our parish.  They finally did away with the "minimum dues" and have instead replaced it with a "fee for using the building" of equivalent price.  I think that's no better (and maybe even worse), but I guess it's a start.

I have only known one priest in my time who was one of these as you describe, JimC, who goes after people for their money.  I was completely disgusted by it.  Especially when he was successful.  I think it's manipulative.  What's worse, it totally disregards the person as a child of God, one of your flock to whom you are supposed to minister- not take advantage of.  

**Edited for clarity**
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« Reply #42 on: March 14, 2011, 04:18:08 PM »

To the OP:
You say you are wealthy. Then you should afford the best of the services the Church has to offer.

And what of those who are not wealthy? Do we not deserve the best of the services the Church has to offer?  Huh  Tongue
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« Reply #43 on: March 14, 2011, 04:23:13 PM »

I have found in my experience that often these "fees" or "suggested donations" are something set up by parish councils, often to the priests' shagrin.  It ranks up there with "minimum dues/minimum stewardship" in my book-- absolutely unacceptable.  This is a battle we have been fighting in our parish.  They finally did away with the "minimum dues" and have instead replaced it with a "fee for using the building" of equivalent price.  I think that's no better (and maybe even worse), but I guess it's a start.


And what of these minimum dues? If you aren't able to pay them then you're out?  Huh
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« Reply #44 on: March 14, 2011, 04:23:57 PM »

To the OP:
You say you are wealthy. Then you should afford the best of the services the Church has to offer.
Is this a serious statement or sarcasm?

Quote
I do not understand what this is all about.
Americans being shocked not all cultures are imbued with strong Calvinist work ethic? Good grief. Get over it.
Do you think it's okay for the Church to charge money for services?
Don't you think it smacks of the money-changers in the temple whom Christ Himself threw out?

That Gospel always comes to my mind when I walk in and see people making change at the Pangari to "buy" a candle to light, and when I see people making change in the collection plate (which I'm also against- but that's another topic, I guess).
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« Reply #45 on: March 14, 2011, 04:29:22 PM »

I have found in my experience that often these "fees" or "suggested donations" are something set up by parish councils, often to the priests' shagrin.  It ranks up there with "minimum dues/minimum stewardship" in my book-- absolutely unacceptable.  This is a battle we have been fighting in our parish.  They finally did away with the "minimum dues" and have instead replaced it with a "fee for using the building" of equivalent price.  I think that's no better (and maybe even worse), but I guess it's a start.


And what of these minimum dues? If you aren't able to pay them then you're out?  Huh

That's exactly my point.  And the answer used to be yes-- if you didn't pay them, you were not considered a member in good standing with the Church.  A lot of parishes do this, unfortunately.  It is quite common and, I think, a terrible mistake.  It teaches the people nothing about true Stewardship.  A true steward is one who gives from his heart of his service, his abilities, his wealth, and who attends and participates in the life of the Church. 
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« Reply #46 on: March 14, 2011, 04:35:38 PM »

I have found in my experience that often these "fees" or "suggested donations" are something set up by parish councils, often to the priests' shagrin.  It ranks up there with "minimum dues/minimum stewardship" in my book-- absolutely unacceptable.  This is a battle we have been fighting in our parish.  They finally did away with the "minimum dues" and have instead replaced it with a "fee for using the building" of equivalent price.  I think that's no better (and maybe even worse), but I guess it's a start.


And what of these minimum dues? If you aren't able to pay them then you're out?  Huh

That's exactly my point.  And the answer used to be yes-- if you didn't pay them, you were not considered a member in good standing with the Church.  A lot of parishes do this, unfortunately.  It is quite common and, I think, a terrible mistake.  It teaches the people nothing about true Stewardship.  A true steward is one who gives from his heart of his service, his abilities, his wealth, and who attends and participates in the life of the Church.  

Hmm I can see the potential ramifications of this...

I approach the chalice one Sunday and the priest checks his little book and sees that I haven't paid my dues for the month, scolds me and turns me away....

next week I go to confession and say, 'forgive me, for I have not paid my monthly dues' then he says 'you are forgiven...wait...' and then holds out his hand. I put my monthly dues in his hand and then he says... 'you are forgiven, go and sin no more'.
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« Reply #47 on: March 14, 2011, 04:36:38 PM »

To the OP:
You say you are wealthy. Then you should afford the best of the services the Church has to offer.
Is this a serious statement or sarcasm?
Envy and bitterness.
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« Reply #48 on: March 14, 2011, 04:37:10 PM »

I have found in my experience that often these "fees" or "suggested donations" are something set up by parish councils, often to the priests' shagrin.  It ranks up there with "minimum dues/minimum stewardship" in my book-- absolutely unacceptable.  This is a battle we have been fighting in our parish.  They finally did away with the "minimum dues" and have instead replaced it with a "fee for using the building" of equivalent price.  I think that's no better (and maybe even worse), but I guess it's a start.


And what of these minimum dues? If you aren't able to pay them then you're out?  Huh

That's exactly my point.  And the answer used to be yes-- if you didn't pay them, you were not considered a member in good standing with the Church.  A lot of parishes do this, unfortunately.  It is quite common and, I think, a terrible mistake.  It teaches the people nothing about true Stewardship.  A true steward is one who gives from his heart of his service, his abilities, his wealth, and who attends and participates in the life of the Church.  

My parish has "minimum suggested dues." We are not a wealthy parish and many people would have to leave if we booted people for non-payment.
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« Reply #49 on: March 14, 2011, 05:21:50 PM »

I have found in my experience that often these "fees" or "suggested donations" are something set up by parish councils, often to the priests' shagrin.  It ranks up there with "minimum dues/minimum stewardship" in my book-- absolutely unacceptable.  This is a battle we have been fighting in our parish.  They finally did away with the "minimum dues" and have instead replaced it with a "fee for using the building" of equivalent price.  I think that's no better (and maybe even worse), but I guess it's a start.


And what of these minimum dues? If you aren't able to pay them then you're out?  Huh

That's exactly my point.  And the answer used to be yes-- if you didn't pay them, you were not considered a member in good standing with the Church.  A lot of parishes do this, unfortunately.  It is quite common and, I think, a terrible mistake.  It teaches the people nothing about true Stewardship.  A true steward is one who gives from his heart of his service, his abilities, his wealth, and who attends and participates in the life of the Church.  

Hmm I can see the potential ramifications of this...

I approach the chalice one Sunday and the priest checks his little book and sees that I haven't paid my dues for the month, scolds me and turns me away....

next week I go to confession and say, 'forgive me, for I have not paid my monthly dues' then he says 'you are forgiven...wait...' and then holds out his hand. I put my monthly dues in his hand and then he says... 'you are forgiven, go and sin no more'.

I have never known, or heard of a priest in my Diocese or any other for that matter, who would act in such a manner. Now, I have heard of people being denied a church funeral or burial in the church cemetery if they removed themselves from the body of the church by not maintaining active membership. It is common for parishes to be forgiving when there are extenuating circumstances in someone's household as well.

While man may not live by bread alone, neither may a parish live without a commitment by its members to support and keep up the parish.
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« Reply #50 on: March 14, 2011, 05:40:37 PM »

I have found in my experience that often these "fees" or "suggested donations" are something set up by parish councils, often to the priests' shagrin.  It ranks up there with "minimum dues/minimum stewardship" in my book-- absolutely unacceptable.  This is a battle we have been fighting in our parish.  They finally did away with the "minimum dues" and have instead replaced it with a "fee for using the building" of equivalent price.  I think that's no better (and maybe even worse), but I guess it's a start.


And what of these minimum dues? If you aren't able to pay them then you're out?  Huh

That's exactly my point.  And the answer used to be yes-- if you didn't pay them, you were not considered a member in good standing with the Church.  A lot of parishes do this, unfortunately.  It is quite common and, I think, a terrible mistake.  It teaches the people nothing about true Stewardship.  A true steward is one who gives from his heart of his service, his abilities, his wealth, and who attends and participates in the life of the Church.  

Hmm I can see the potential ramifications of this...

I approach the chalice one Sunday and the priest checks his little book and sees that I haven't paid my dues for the month, scolds me and turns me away....

next week I go to confession and say, 'forgive me, for I have not paid my monthly dues' then he says 'you are forgiven...wait...' and then holds out his hand. I put my monthly dues in his hand and then he says... 'you are forgiven, go and sin no more'.

I have never known, or heard of a priest in my Diocese or any other for that matter, who would act in such a manner. Now, I have heard of people being denied a church funeral or burial in the church cemetery if they removed themselves from the body of the church by not maintaining active membership. It is common for parishes to be forgiving when there are extenuating circumstances in someone's household as well.

While man may not live by bread alone, neither may a parish live without a commitment by its members to support and keep up the parish.
Someone (I won't mention nationalities) was telling me how someone refused to contribute to the Church, something hsi son kept up when the father died.  He laid the father out in the parlor, and waited for the priest to come.  When he didn't, after two days the son slung his father's body over his shoulder and stormed off to the priest's house, where he set his father up on a chair next to the front door and left him there, saying "he'll get around to burying him."
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« Reply #51 on: March 14, 2011, 05:46:51 PM »

I have found in my experience that often these "fees" or "suggested donations" are something set up by parish councils, often to the priests' shagrin.  It ranks up there with "minimum dues/minimum stewardship" in my book-- absolutely unacceptable.  This is a battle we have been fighting in our parish.  They finally did away with the "minimum dues" and have instead replaced it with a "fee for using the building" of equivalent price.  I think that's no better (and maybe even worse), but I guess it's a start.


And what of these minimum dues? If you aren't able to pay them then you're out?  Huh

That's exactly my point.  And the answer used to be yes-- if you didn't pay them, you were not considered a member in good standing with the Church.  A lot of parishes do this, unfortunately.  It is quite common and, I think, a terrible mistake.  It teaches the people nothing about true Stewardship.  A true steward is one who gives from his heart of his service, his abilities, his wealth, and who attends and participates in the life of the Church.  

Hmm I can see the potential ramifications of this...

I approach the chalice one Sunday and the priest checks his little book and sees that I haven't paid my dues for the month, scolds me and turns me away....

next week I go to confession and say, 'forgive me, for I have not paid my monthly dues' then he says 'you are forgiven...wait...' and then holds out his hand. I put my monthly dues in his hand and then he says... 'you are forgiven, go and sin no more'.

I have never known, or heard of a priest in my Diocese or any other for that matter, who would act in such a manner. Now, I have heard of people being denied a church funeral or burial in the church cemetery if they removed themselves from the body of the church by not maintaining active membership. It is common for parishes to be forgiving when there are extenuating circumstances in someone's household as well.

While man may not live by bread alone, neither may a parish live without a commitment by its members to support and keep up the parish.
Someone (I won't mention nationalities) was telling me how someone refused to contribute to the Church, something hsi son kept up when the father died.  He laid the father out in the parlor, and waited for the priest to come.  When he didn't, after two days the son slung his father's body over his shoulder and stormed off to the priest's house, where he set his father up on a chair next to the front door and left him there, saying "he'll get around to burying him."

This sounds like urban legend.

Come on, there is a vast difference between someone who 'refused to contribute to the church' across the generations and someone who can't contribute.

At some point there is a line between disagreement with your Church and willful disobedience.
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« Reply #52 on: March 14, 2011, 06:03:17 PM »

I have found in my experience that often these "fees" or "suggested donations" are something set up by parish councils, often to the priests' shagrin.  It ranks up there with "minimum dues/minimum stewardship" in my book-- absolutely unacceptable.  This is a battle we have been fighting in our parish.  They finally did away with the "minimum dues" and have instead replaced it with a "fee for using the building" of equivalent price.  I think that's no better (and maybe even worse), but I guess it's a start.


And what of these minimum dues? If you aren't able to pay them then you're out?  Huh

That's exactly my point.  And the answer used to be yes-- if you didn't pay them, you were not considered a member in good standing with the Church.  A lot of parishes do this, unfortunately.  It is quite common and, I think, a terrible mistake.  It teaches the people nothing about true Stewardship.  A true steward is one who gives from his heart of his service, his abilities, his wealth, and who attends and participates in the life of the Church.  

Hmm I can see the potential ramifications of this...

I approach the chalice one Sunday and the priest checks his little book and sees that I haven't paid my dues for the month, scolds me and turns me away....

next week I go to confession and say, 'forgive me, for I have not paid my monthly dues' then he says 'you are forgiven...wait...' and then holds out his hand. I put my monthly dues in his hand and then he says... 'you are forgiven, go and sin no more'.

I have never known, or heard of a priest in my Diocese or any other for that matter, who would act in such a manner. Now, I have heard of people being denied a church funeral or burial in the church cemetery if they removed themselves from the body of the church by not maintaining active membership. It is common for parishes to be forgiving when there are extenuating circumstances in someone's household as well.

While man may not live by bread alone, neither may a parish live without a commitment by its members to support and keep up the parish.
Someone (I won't mention nationalities) was telling me how someone refused to contribute to the Church, something hsi son kept up when the father died.  He laid the father out in the parlor, and waited for the priest to come.  When he didn't, after two days the son slung his father's body over his shoulder and stormed off to the priest's house, where he set his father up on a chair next to the front door and left him there, saying "he'll get around to burying him."

This sounds like urban legend.

He claimed (and I know him personally) that he himself witnessed the event when a teenager.  I personally know some other bizarre incidents that lead me to lay aside my doubts, besides actually knowiing the witness.

Quote
Come on, there is a vast difference between someone who 'refused to contribute to the church' across the generations and someone who can't contribute.

At some point there is a line between disagreement with your Church and willful disobedience.
Indeed. Some people don't want to recognize it. They think the Church's resources materialize out of thin air.
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« Reply #53 on: March 14, 2011, 06:35:22 PM »

A good question was raised at a clergy retreat I attended today: If the Lord were to pluck your parish off the Earth now, would the community miss it?  Would the poor, widows, homeless, orphans, unchurched, etc. miss it?

I have a feeling that if, objectively, the answer to the question is "yes," then your parish likely has no need to have minimum dues, or sacrament fees.
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« Reply #54 on: March 14, 2011, 07:18:33 PM »

I'd like to thank everyone for chiming in. I'm glad not all of you think that this has something to do with me being cheap  Cheesy

I suppose I was trying to make this distinction:
Are such practices, i.e., sacrament "fees", "minimum dues", etc. the product of certain priests/laypeople in control of parishes who are misguided for whatever reason, be it cultural, or darker, or are they generally accepted things in the Church as a whole?

I am converting from being a RC, so of course I am familiar with fallen man being fallen man, and the abuse scandal has very little to do with my conversion, though I believe to some extent that if the papacy is what it claims to be, its hierarchy, particularly the Pope himself, should be held to a standard that almost transcends that sort of thing, and that mandatory celibacy does not help. Even so, I was always a staunch defender of the church in spite of the scandals, and still am, because obviously, pedophilia is not condoned in church doctrine, canon or by the church at-large.

If such is the case with this sort of thing, then of course, it does not threaten my faith/conversion at all. If, on the other hand, and I think this highly unlikely, it were shown to me that it is church doctrine that salvation must be paid for, I would have an issue. That's Peter Popoff stuff.

Partially, at this point I'm curious as to whether there are efforts to minimize things like this that reek of simony? Basically, are there folks, particularly in jurisdictions/areas where such practices are prevalent, who have an approach that is not "this is what has always been done, so it is what always will be done, its too bad, oh well"?

In Christ,
Jim
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« Reply #55 on: March 14, 2011, 07:35:19 PM »

I am surprised that you are finding public lists with the price of services in Petersburg churches.

This was specifically forbidden by the Patriarch and the Holy Synod a few years ago.
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« Reply #56 on: March 14, 2011, 08:01:56 PM »

I am surprised that you are finding public lists with the price of services in Petersburg churches.

This was specifically forbidden by the Patriarch and the Holy Synod a few years ago.

This is great news, whether it is being disobeyed to some extent or not.
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« Reply #57 on: March 14, 2011, 11:51:19 PM »

Our parish in the states encourages people to pay what they are able as a percentage of their salaries. Also, they ask that people make a 'pledge' at the beginning of the year to estimate how much they will be able to give over the course of the year, to estimate church budget and make allowances.
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« Reply #58 on: March 15, 2011, 12:01:33 AM »

Well some will always be tempted by some Cathar -type of fantasy. The real church, on the other hand, does business as usual. One only needs to get over it.
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« Reply #59 on: March 15, 2011, 04:28:27 AM »

So those of us who think that simony has no place in the church are now Gnostics?
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« Reply #60 on: March 15, 2011, 08:28:20 AM »

I have found in my experience that often these "fees" or "suggested donations" are something set up by parish councils, often to the priests' shagrin.  It ranks up there with "minimum dues/minimum stewardship" in my book-- absolutely unacceptable.  This is a battle we have been fighting in our parish.  They finally did away with the "minimum dues" and have instead replaced it with a "fee for using the building" of equivalent price.  I think that's no better (and maybe even worse), but I guess it's a start.


And what of these minimum dues? If you aren't able to pay them then you're out?  Huh

That's exactly my point.  And the answer used to be yes-- if you didn't pay them, you were not considered a member in good standing with the Church.  A lot of parishes do this, unfortunately.  It is quite common and, I think, a terrible mistake.  It teaches the people nothing about true Stewardship.  A true steward is one who gives from his heart of his service, his abilities, his wealth, and who attends and participates in the life of the Church. 

This practice also distorts our understanding of the nature of the church, of the relationships between the clergy and the laity, etc... BTW, the baby and you look in great health. May the Lord grant you, the baby and Father Chris many years!
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« Reply #61 on: March 15, 2011, 10:23:58 AM »

I'm in the uncomfortable position of seeing both sides of this issue. While I think that demanding payment for "services rendered" is certainly simony and to be deplored, parishes have to pay the light bill and priests (and their families!) have to eat.

Where is that money coming from?

If I have to put a donation in the box for candles, I'm ok with that. After all, my parish is paying for the candles, and at .25 each, I don't think it's a major source of income, though I could be wrong.

I do have a problem also with a posted list of payments. But then again, in countries where priests don't receive much in the way of salaries, and the church is recovering from many years of oppression, perhaps a list of "suggested donations" is not too far out of line, in order to inform.
If my daughter were getting married, or the like, I would certainly want to know what would be considered a proper gift or honorarium for the priest, to show my appreciation and gratitude - even though that is, to a certain extent, his job. I would also consider it reasonable to pay some sort of building use fee, since we would be using utilities etc. and someone would have to set up and clean up afterward.

That said, most Orthodox come from countries where there is some sort of state-supported Orthodox Church, so that we do need to work on communicating the concept of tithing and real stewardship, which is how parishes and priests are supported in the US.

Also, as my priest has pointed out, everyone can give something. Btw, we don't pass the hat- we only have a box by the steps that you can drop your offering in. But Father is adamant that everyone should be giving something to support their church.

(To the OP, however, and please forgive me if I have misunderstood - I sincerely apologize in advance if I have got this wrong - from your posts, I get the feeling that, perhaps because of your financial circumstances, this is a chink in your armor. Although you are certainly reasonable to be concerned, I just get the idea that this may be your weak point, that the devil may be exploiting to destroy your peace of mind and your joy in your journey.)





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« Reply #62 on: March 15, 2011, 10:26:35 AM »

So those of us who think that simony has no place in the church are now Gnostics?

Sometimes he just says things for the joy of irritating people. Don't pay it any mind.
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« Reply #63 on: March 15, 2011, 02:25:43 PM »

Lenten Thought
Do not start examining the deeds of people, do not judge, do not say: “Why is it this way? What is this for?” It is better to say to yourself, “What does their work have to do with me? I will not answer for them at the Dread Judgement of God.” Divert every thought of yours from judging the deeds of people, and pray fervently to the Lord that He help you in this, because without the help of God we can do nothing good, as the Lord Himself said: “Without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). — St. Ambrose of Optina"

I just read this and it reminded me of this thread.

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« Reply #64 on: March 15, 2011, 02:32:47 PM »

So those of us who think that simony has no place in the church are now Gnostics?

I don't know why you're following advice from non-Russians (including myself) in this thread because either they are trying to confuse you or you're trying to "stir the pot."

I concur with Father Ambrose - seek consultation from Church officials in St. Petersburg, RUSSIA not an Internet Forum.   Smiley
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« Reply #65 on: March 15, 2011, 02:38:30 PM »

If my daughter were getting married, or the like, I would certainly want to know what would be considered a proper gift or honorarium for the priest, to show my appreciation and gratitude - even though that is, to a certain extent, his job.

What do you pay for lunch at a nice restaurant (including gratuities)?  Double that amount - that is appropriate honorarium for the Priest.  You are free to give more or less or zero.
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« Reply #66 on: March 15, 2011, 02:47:56 PM »

So those of us who think that simony has no place in the church are now Gnostics?

I don't know why you're following advice from non-Russians (including myself) in this thread because either they are trying to confuse you or you're trying to "stir the pot."

I concur with Father Ambrose - seek consultation from Church officials in St. Petersburg, RUSSIA not an Internet Forum.   Smiley

Honestly, I don't feel they are confusing me. I think I've gotten some fairly good answers to this, including the last one from katherineofdixie, and I felt weird about being the American guy who's being catechized here just going up to a Russian priest/official and asking about whether a certain practice at their parish is corrupt or not. I don't take the thoughts of anyone on here to be infallible at all, but the forum can be helpful. I suppose I'm just more interested in discussing faith, liturgy, etc. with my priest here, and would feel awkward attempting to articulate exactly how I felt about this issue to him.

As for the quote of mine above, I've gathered that the poster who called my/our attitude "cathar-like" just has his own approach, and may be trying to get a rise out of people with whom he does not agree.

Third, I don't want to be misinterpreted, again. I absolutely believe that parishioners have a duty to support their church, and that it is more than correct to give such honorariums to priests at many occasions, donate generously to their parish and especially to pay for things like candles, as the church has obviously paid for them. My concern is that folks who are unable to pay for sacraments, the things which above all else bring us to God, or who would be awfully compromised by it  (a position I am thankful to not be in), would be left out. Such people can choose to never eat out, and as such not be subject to tipping, but should they then choose to not attend church and partake in the sacraments, as well? This is why I find the issue slippery, especially in a country like Russia, where the state is very generous to the church.
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« Reply #67 on: March 15, 2011, 03:44:36 PM »

What do you pay for lunch at a nice restaurant (including gratuities)?  Double that amount - that is appropriate honorarium for the Priest.  You are free to give more or less or zero.

Sorry, you've got the wrong gal here. "Frugal" is a nice way to describe me - but "incredibly cheap" would be nearer the mark. I rarely eat out, unless I have a coupon. So if I followed your guidelines, an appropriate honorarium for a priest would be $10 (that's the most that I will spend on lunch, and even that is a rare expensive treat!)
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« Reply #68 on: March 15, 2011, 04:04:54 PM »


Ordination again.... Donation should be heavier.


Ordination?   That one caught me by surprise!   Smiley

I feel that a man who is being ordained should be very giving at the moment he becomes in service of God - in spirit, in time, and financially to the Orthodox faith.  Of course as the thread is about money, "should" of course is not concrete.  I just feel it would be a nice gesture to the church he is now a clergy of.
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« Reply #69 on: March 15, 2011, 04:07:28 PM »

It's also hard to describe "prices" as a price is the amount of money in fair trade for something.  Of course fluctuating on the value of the currency you are giving.

Needless to say, $5 to one man may be all the money he has.  A complete sacrifice where he'll be only to eat millet for a month.

$5,000,000 to another may be pocket change.
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« Reply #70 on: March 15, 2011, 04:08:26 PM »

So those of us who think that simony has no place in the church are now Gnostics?

I don't know why you're following advice from non-Russians (including myself) in this thread because either they are trying to confuse you or you're trying to "stir the pot."

I concur with Father Ambrose - seek consultation from Church officials in St. Petersburg, RUSSIA not an Internet Forum.   Smiley

Honestly, I don't feel they are confusing me. I think I've gotten some fairly good answers to this, including the last one from katherineofdixie, and I felt weird about being the American guy who's being catechized here just going up to a Russian priest/official and asking about whether a certain practice at their parish is corrupt or not. I don't take the thoughts of anyone on here to be infallible at all, but the forum can be helpful. I suppose I'm just more interested in discussing faith, liturgy, etc. with my priest here, and would feel awkward attempting to articulate exactly how I felt about this issue to him.

As for the quote of mine above, I've gathered that the poster who called my/our attitude "cathar-like" just has his own approach, and may be trying to get a rise out of people with whom he does not agree.

Third, I don't want to be misinterpreted, again. I absolutely believe that parishioners have a duty to support their church, and that it is more than correct to give such honorariums to priests at many occasions, donate generously to their parish and especially to pay for things like candles, as the church has obviously paid for them. My concern is that folks who are unable to pay for sacraments, the things which above all else bring us to God, or who would be awfully compromised by it  (a position I am thankful to not be in), would be left out. Such people can choose to never eat out, and as such not be subject to tipping, but should they then choose to not attend church and partake in the sacraments, as well? This is why I find the issue slippery, especially in a country like Russia, where the state is very generous to the church.

Again, I think your concerns again are 100% legitimate. Personally, what I would do is talk to my priest, and tell him that this payment thing is kind of confusing/inconvenient, and I would ask him if I could instead make a "pledge" which will indicate what I plan on donating to the church over the course of the year so that he can better anticipate his budget and make it simpler on myself as well. Perhaps this may 'spark' an idea, and maybe over time he may encourage other parishoners to do the same. I find it difficult to see how he could object to such a notion.
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« Reply #71 on: March 15, 2011, 04:20:42 PM »

So those of us who think that simony has no place in the church are now Gnostics?

I don't know why you're following advice from non-Russians (including myself) in this thread because either they are trying to confuse you or you're trying to "stir the pot."

I concur with Father Ambrose - seek consultation from Church officials in St. Petersburg, RUSSIA not an Internet Forum.   Smiley

Honestly, I don't feel they are confusing me. I think I've gotten some fairly good answers to this, including the last one from katherineofdixie, and I felt weird about being the American guy who's being catechized here just going up to a Russian priest/official and asking about whether a certain practice at their parish is corrupt or not. I don't take the thoughts of anyone on here to be infallible at all, but the forum can be helpful. I suppose I'm just more interested in discussing faith, liturgy, etc. with my priest here, and would feel awkward attempting to articulate exactly how I felt about this issue to him.

As for the quote of mine above, I've gathered that the poster who called my/our attitude "cathar-like" just has his own approach, and may be trying to get a rise out of people with whom he does not agree.

Third, I don't want to be misinterpreted, again. I absolutely believe that parishioners have a duty to support their church, and that it is more than correct to give such honorariums to priests at many occasions, donate generously to their parish and especially to pay for things like candles, as the church has obviously paid for them. My concern is that folks who are unable to pay for sacraments, the things which above all else bring us to God, or who would be awfully compromised by it  (a position I am thankful to not be in), would be left out. Such people can choose to never eat out, and as such not be subject to tipping, but should they then choose to not attend church and partake in the sacraments, as well? This is why I find the issue slippery, especially in a country like Russia, where the state is very generous to the church.

Again, I think your concerns again are 100% legitimate. Personally, what I would do is talk to my priest, and tell him that this payment thing is kind of confusing/inconvenient, and I would ask him if I could instead make a "pledge" which will indicate what I plan on donating to the church over the course of the year so that he can better anticipate his budget and make it simpler on myself as well. Perhaps this may 'spark' an idea, and maybe over time he may encourage other parishoners to do the same. I find it difficult to see how he could object to such a notion.
Parishes do not operate like this in the Orthodox home-countries. Is there a Calvinist beneath every American? I hope not. What about just going with the flow? Doesn't that sound more humble, especially for a catechumen?
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« Reply #72 on: March 15, 2011, 04:22:31 PM »

So those of us who think that simony has no place in the church are now Gnostics?

I don't know why you're following advice from non-Russians (including myself) in this thread because either they are trying to confuse you or you're trying to "stir the pot."

I concur with Father Ambrose - seek consultation from Church officials in St. Petersburg, RUSSIA not an Internet Forum.   Smiley

Honestly, I don't feel they are confusing me. I think I've gotten some fairly good answers to this, including the last one from katherineofdixie, and I felt weird about being the American guy who's being catechized here just going up to a Russian priest/official and asking about whether a certain practice at their parish is corrupt or not. I don't take the thoughts of anyone on here to be infallible at all, but the forum can be helpful. I suppose I'm just more interested in discussing faith, liturgy, etc. with my priest here, and would feel awkward attempting to articulate exactly how I felt about this issue to him.

As for the quote of mine above, I've gathered that the poster who called my/our attitude "cathar-like" just has his own approach, and may be trying to get a rise out of people with whom he does not agree.

Third, I don't want to be misinterpreted, again. I absolutely believe that parishioners have a duty to support their church, and that it is more than correct to give such honorariums to priests at many occasions, donate generously to their parish and especially to pay for things like candles, as the church has obviously paid for them. My concern is that folks who are unable to pay for sacraments, the things which above all else bring us to God, or who would be awfully compromised by it  (a position I am thankful to not be in), would be left out. Such people can choose to never eat out, and as such not be subject to tipping, but should they then choose to not attend church and partake in the sacraments, as well? This is why I find the issue slippery, especially in a country like Russia, where the state is very generous to the church.

Again, I think your concerns again are 100% legitimate. Personally, what I would do is talk to my priest, and tell him that this payment thing is kind of confusing/inconvenient, and I would ask him if I could instead make a "pledge" which will indicate what I plan on donating to the church over the course of the year so that he can better anticipate his budget and make it simpler on myself as well. Perhaps this may 'spark' an idea, and maybe over time he may encourage other parishoners to do the same. I find it difficult to see how he could object to such a notion.
Parishes do not operate like this in the Orthodox home-countries. Is there a Calvinist beneath every American? I hope not. What about just going with the flow? Doesn't that sound more humble, especially for a catechumen?

Sounds like a better system to me, both for the parishoner and the priest, and avoids the whole simony issue altogether. Do you not agree?
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« Reply #73 on: March 15, 2011, 04:27:44 PM »

Parishes do not operate like this in the Orthodox home-countries. Is there a Calvinist beneath every American? I hope not. What about just going with the flow? Doesn't that sound more humble, especially for a catechumen?

Exactly!  After all, the Lord didn't care when stuff was being sold in the temple.  Why should we?
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« Reply #74 on: March 15, 2011, 04:28:40 PM »


Ordination again.... Donation should be heavier.


Ordination?   That one caught me by surprise!   Smiley

I feel that a man who is being ordained should be very giving at the moment he becomes in service of God - in spirit, in time, and financially to the Orthodox faith.  Of course as the thread is about money, "should" of course is not concrete.  I just feel it would be a nice gesture to the church he is now a clergy of.

?
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« Reply #75 on: March 15, 2011, 04:29:39 PM »

So those of us who think that simony has no place in the church are now Gnostics?

I don't know why you're following advice from non-Russians (including myself) in this thread because either they are trying to confuse you or you're trying to "stir the pot."

I concur with Father Ambrose - seek consultation from Church officials in St. Petersburg, RUSSIA not an Internet Forum.   Smiley

Honestly, I don't feel they are confusing me. I think I've gotten some fairly good answers to this, including the last one from katherineofdixie, and I felt weird about being the American guy who's being catechized here just going up to a Russian priest/official and asking about whether a certain practice at their parish is corrupt or not. I don't take the thoughts of anyone on here to be infallible at all, but the forum can be helpful. I suppose I'm just more interested in discussing faith, liturgy, etc. with my priest here, and would feel awkward attempting to articulate exactly how I felt about this issue to him.

As for the quote of mine above, I've gathered that the poster who called my/our attitude "cathar-like" just has his own approach, and may be trying to get a rise out of people with whom he does not agree.

Third, I don't want to be misinterpreted, again. I absolutely believe that parishioners have a duty to support their church, and that it is more than correct to give such honorariums to priests at many occasions, donate generously to their parish and especially to pay for things like candles, as the church has obviously paid for them. My concern is that folks who are unable to pay for sacraments, the things which above all else bring us to God, or who would be awfully compromised by it  (a position I am thankful to not be in), would be left out. Such people can choose to never eat out, and as such not be subject to tipping, but should they then choose to not attend church and partake in the sacraments, as well? This is why I find the issue slippery, especially in a country like Russia, where the state is very generous to the church.

Again, I think your concerns again are 100% legitimate. Personally, what I would do is talk to my priest, and tell him that this payment thing is kind of confusing/inconvenient, and I would ask him if I could instead make a "pledge" which will indicate what I plan on donating to the church over the course of the year so that he can better anticipate his budget and make it simpler on myself as well. Perhaps this may 'spark' an idea, and maybe over time he may encourage other parishoners to do the same. I find it difficult to see how he could object to such a notion.
Parishes do not operate like this in the Orthodox home-countries. Is there a Calvinist beneath every American? I hope not. What about just going with the flow? Doesn't that sound more humble, especially for a catechumen?

True, but in much of Europe the practice of state support for the church has been long standing, although that is now changing. That has never been the case in the US so things differ here.
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« Reply #76 on: March 15, 2011, 04:31:53 PM »

Parishes do not operate like this in the Orthodox home-countries. Is there a Calvinist beneath every American? I hope not. What about just going with the flow? Doesn't that sound more humble, especially for a catechumen?

Exactly!  After all, the Lord didn't care when stuff was being sold in the temple.  Why should we?
You forget. That happened in the Bible. Only Calvinistic sectarians and gnostics read the Bible.
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« Reply #77 on: March 15, 2011, 04:33:46 PM »

Parishes do not operate like this in the Orthodox home-countries. Is there a Calvinist beneath every American? I hope not. What about just going with the flow? Doesn't that sound more humble, especially for a catechumen?

Exactly!  After all, the Lord didn't care when stuff was being sold in the temple.  Why should we?
You forget. That happened in the Bible. Only Calvinistic sectarians and gnostics read the Bible.

what is this 'Bible' you speak of??  angel

Is this it??

http://www.lolcatbible.com/index.php?title=Main_Page
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« Reply #78 on: March 15, 2011, 07:01:01 PM »

Parishes do not operate like this in the Orthodox home-countries. Is there a Calvinist beneath every American? I hope not. What about just going with the flow? Doesn't that sound more humble, especially for a catechumen?

Exactly!  After all, the Lord didn't care when stuff was being sold in the temple.  Why should we?

Right.

And I'm not uncomfortable with the system. When my chldren were chrismated a little while back, I very happily slipped my priest a generous sum, without reservation. This is a totally ok system to me, its just the actually listed prices that seem like they're overstepping the bounds.

What any of this has to do with Calvinism, who knows? I've read Max Weber, it was interesting enough, and I've never been a Protestant, so the whole Puritan work ethic thing does not apply here. I will openly admit that the majority of all the wealth I possess or ever will does not and will not come from my own labor; I was born into a very fortunate circumstance, and as such, was taught to be very generous, and try to be very generous. I have no interest in withholding it from anyone, most especially the church and Her clergy. Please stop accusing me of this and de-railing the point. My concern is for the less fortunate, and for the overall principle, and the things that Our Lord stood for.

In Christ,
Jim
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« Reply #79 on: March 15, 2011, 07:28:17 PM »

Right.

And I'm not uncomfortable with the system. When my chldren were chrismated a little while back, I very happily slipped my priest a generous sum, without reservation. This is a totally ok system to me, its just the actually listed prices that seem like they're overstepping the bounds.

What any of this has to do with Calvinism, who knows? I've read Max Weber, it was interesting enough, and I've never been a Protestant, so the whole Puritan work ethic thing does not apply here. I will openly admit that the majority of all the wealth I possess or ever will does not and will not come from my own labor; I was born into a very fortunate circumstance, and as such, was taught to be very generous, and try to be very generous. I have no interest in withholding it from anyone, most especially the church and Her clergy. Please stop accusing me of this and de-railing the point. My concern is for the less fortunate, and for the overall principle, and the things that Our Lord stood for.

In Christ,
Jim

I'm not sure where you get that I'm accusing you of trying to withhold anything from the Church or the clergy, as I was responding to augustin's claim that the entire system you describe is a good thing.  Quite frankly, I think even the expectation of money for "services rendered" to be appalling.  It distorts our relationship with the Church and what we give to her by changing it from a realization that what we have is temporarily given us by God and return of part of it in gratitude into a quid pro quo purchase of what we need at the moment.  It transforms us from stewards into customers and it really doesn't matter whether there's a price list posted in the parish hall or it's a wink and a nod and an unspoken expectation that you will pay for the sacrament.
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« Reply #80 on: March 15, 2011, 07:38:45 PM »

Right.

And I'm not uncomfortable with the system. When my chldren were chrismated a little while back, I very happily slipped my priest a generous sum, without reservation. This is a totally ok system to me, its just the actually listed prices that seem like they're overstepping the bounds.

What any of this has to do with Calvinism, who knows? I've read Max Weber, it was interesting enough, and I've never been a Protestant, so the whole Puritan work ethic thing does not apply here. I will openly admit that the majority of all the wealth I possess or ever will does not and will not come from my own labor; I was born into a very fortunate circumstance, and as such, was taught to be very generous, and try to be very generous. I have no interest in withholding it from anyone, most especially the church and Her clergy. Please stop accusing me of this and de-railing the point. My concern is for the less fortunate, and for the overall principle, and the things that Our Lord stood for.

In Christ,
Jim

I'm not sure where you get that I'm accusing you of trying to withhold anything from the Church or the clergy, as I was responding to augustin's claim that the entire system you describe is a good thing.  Quite frankly, I think even the expectation of money for "services rendered" to be appalling.  It distorts our relationship with the Church and what we give to her by changing it from a realization that what we have is temporarily given us by God and return of part of it in gratitude into a quid pro quo purchase of what we need at the moment.  It transforms us from stewards into customers and it really doesn't matter whether there's a price list posted in the parish hall or it's a wink and a nod and an unspoken expectation that you will pay for the sacrament.

Ой! Methinks my quoting skills need to improve! I was quoting your statement about Christ in the temple simply to agree with you; I think were on the completely same page.

My longer response in that post was directed at augustin, who more than once has accused me of simply being cheap, and of having Calvinist impulses, didn't have anything to do with you, I know you didn't do any such thing!
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« Reply #81 on: March 15, 2011, 07:44:35 PM »

Ой! Methinks my quoting skills need to improve! I was quoting your statement about Christ in the temple simply to agree with you; I think were on the completely same page.

Happens to us all.  No worries!
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« Reply #82 on: March 15, 2011, 11:22:03 PM »

What do you pay for lunch at a nice restaurant (including gratuities)?  Double that amount - that is appropriate honorarium for the Priest.  You are free to give more or less or zero.

Sorry, you've got the wrong gal here. "Frugal" is a nice way to describe me - but "incredibly cheap" would be nearer the mark. I rarely eat out, unless I have a coupon. So if I followed your guidelines, an appropriate honorarium for a priest would be $10 (that's the most that I will spend on lunch, and even that is a rare expensive treat!)

That's why they're called guidelines - they can be adapted from huge urban areas where I live to smaller communities.  Maybe instead of doubling - quintupling.   Wink
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« Reply #83 on: March 15, 2011, 11:32:28 PM »

So those of us who think that simony has no place in the church are now Gnostics?

I don't know why you're following advice from non-Russians (including myself) in this thread because either they are trying to confuse you or you're trying to "stir the pot."

I concur with Father Ambrose - seek consultation from Church officials in St. Petersburg, RUSSIA not an Internet Forum.   Smiley

Honestly, I don't feel they are confusing me.

Other than the one poster who made snippy comments about Calvinism - he represents a National Orthodox Church and pretty much has said the same thing everyone else has said here - minus the snippiness.

I think I've gotten some fairly good answers to this, including the last one from katherineofdixie, and I felt weird about being the American guy who's being catechized here just going up to a Russian priest/official and asking about whether a certain practice at their parish is corrupt or not. I don't take the thoughts of anyone on here to be infallible at all, but the forum can be helpful. I suppose I'm just more interested in discussing faith, liturgy, etc. with my priest here, and would feel awkward attempting to articulate exactly how I felt about this issue to him.

As for the quote of mine above, I've gathered that the poster who called my/our attitude "cathar-like" just has his own approach, and may be trying to get a rise out of people with whom he does not agree.

Third, I don't want to be misinterpreted, again. I absolutely believe that parishioners have a duty to support their church, and that it is more than correct to give such honorariums to priests at many occasions, donate generously to their parish and especially to pay for things like candles, as the church has obviously paid for them. My concern is that folks who are unable to pay for sacraments, the things which above all else bring us to God, or who would be awfully compromised by it  (a position I am thankful to not be in), would be left out. Such people can choose to never eat out, and as such not be subject to tipping, but should they then choose to not attend church and partake in the sacraments, as well? This is why I find the issue slippery, especially in a country like Russia, where the state is very generous to the church.

I apologize for saying that you were "stirring" the pot; If your Priest does not expect you to make "suggested" gifts for sacraments, et al. and allows you (for sake of argument) to give 1000 rubles a month, each month, as a "steward," of that Parish, then you're OK.   Smiley
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« Reply #84 on: March 16, 2011, 12:08:01 AM »

Parishes do not operate like this in the Orthodox home-countries. Is there a Calvinist beneath every American? I hope not. What about just going with the flow? Doesn't that sound more humble, especially for a catechumen?

Exactly!  After all, the Lord didn't care when stuff was being sold in the temple.  Why should we?
You forget. That happened in the Bible. Only Calvinistic sectarians and gnostics read the Bible.

Our Lord did not object to the sale of doves and sheep, etc., in the temple which people had to buy and offer as sacrifices.

In the same way the Church allows for the sale and purchase of sacrificial candles and prosphora in the church building, at a kiosk or table at the rear of the church.

What He objected to was the money changers in the temple who took the Roman coins with images of Caesar on them which the temple authorities would not accept and changed them, *at an excessive exchange rate*, for image-free temple coinage.
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« Reply #85 on: March 16, 2011, 12:13:38 AM »


.....and especially to pay for things like candles, as the church has obviously paid for them.

If you don't pay hard cash for your candles, does God ignore them?

See message 11 at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,4068.msg470848.html#msg470848
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« Reply #86 on: March 16, 2011, 03:15:50 AM »

So those of us who think that simony has no place in the church are now Gnostics?

I don't know why you're following advice from non-Russians (including myself) in this thread because either they are trying to confuse you or you're trying to "stir the pot."

I concur with Father Ambrose - seek consultation from Church officials in St. Petersburg, RUSSIA not an Internet Forum.   Smiley
To confirm what?  That that is the practice, well then yes ask the Russians. If it is correct, that I expect he will learn only from a fellow American.
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« Reply #87 on: March 16, 2011, 03:35:03 AM »

Do Americans give some payment to the choir members who sing at weddings and funerals?

Or if it is just a psalti, is he paid?

Donations to the priest and choir members for weddings and funerals, should be borne by the godparents.
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« Reply #88 on: March 16, 2011, 03:59:57 AM »



I apologize for saying that you were "stirring" the pot; If your Priest does not expect you to make "suggested" gifts for sacraments, et al. and allows you (for sake of argument) to give 1000 rubles a month, each month, as a "steward," of that Parish, then you're OK.   Smiley
[/quote]

But what I have reiterated is that I don't mind making donations for these things at all, and wouldn't necessarily prefer giving 1000 rubles/mo: I'm happy to do both, and I'm not even really concerned about my personal interactions with the practices one way or the other. My issue here is not my personal feelings about what I am forced to do, one way or the other; this is not an individualist argument. My concern is in the overall practice, and in what is right, and ialmisry is right on target when he says that I'm essentially looking for the objective answer to the question, removed from its (correct or incorrect) culturally ingrained setting.

In Christ,
Jim
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« Reply #89 on: March 16, 2011, 04:15:39 AM »

There is the matter of obtaining relics from various places in Rome where they have what are virtually warehouses of relics run by monasteries and convents.

Now, no Catholic would ever dream of committing the awful sin of simony by selling a relic.    So what you must do is make a payment of $50 to the good Sisters, not for the relic but for the theca which contains it -and these days that may be a plastic thing worth about 20 cents.

So, could we look at it in a similar way for other sacred things?    A person does not pay the priest for a funeral for his mother but he makes a donation for some new vestments or for the school fees of the priest's daughter?
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« Reply #90 on: March 16, 2011, 04:48:23 AM »

Parishes do not operate like this in the Orthodox home-countries. Is there a Calvinist beneath every American? I hope not. What about just going with the flow? Doesn't that sound more humble, especially for a catechumen?

Exactly!  After all, the Lord didn't care when stuff was being sold in the temple.  Why should we?
You forget. That happened in the Bible. Only Calvinistic sectarians and gnostics read the Bible.

Our Lord did not object to the sale of doves and sheep, etc., in the temple which people had to buy and offer as sacrifices.

In the same way the Church allows for the sale and purchase of sacrificial candles and prosphora in the church building, at a kiosk or table at the rear of the church.

What He objected to was the money changers in the temple who took the Roman coins with images of Caesar on them which the temple authorities would not accept and changed them, *at an excessive exchange rate*, for image-free temple coinage.

Thank you.
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« Reply #91 on: March 16, 2011, 04:51:32 AM »

Something to chew on - a description of the poverty in which many Russian priests live.....

Extract:
"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.

"Priesthood and Salary"

https://listserv.indiana.edu/cgi-bin/wa-iub.exe?A2=ind0006A&L=ORTHODOX&P=R8636&X=76010D35E15B037DAD&Y
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« Reply #92 on: March 16, 2011, 05:08:14 AM »

Something to chew on - a description of the poverty in which many Russian priests live.....

Extract:
"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.

"Priesthood and Salary"

https://listserv.indiana.edu/cgi-bin/wa-iub.exe?A2=ind0006A&L=ORTHODOX&P=R8636&X=76010D35E15B037DAD&Y

I totally understand this, and I know it applies to my priest, which is why I am very generous to him for services, and often invite him to dine with us. This should be, ideally, the approach of all the faithful. That said, it does not suggest that attaching a price to a sacrament is the answer.

As for catholic relics, I still maintain plenty of admiration for much of the tradition of the Catholic Church, but I must say that She is not a good example of an institution free of simony. Among many other things, it is fairly well documented that the divorce restriction in the RC church tends to fade away for the wealthy. This is the sort of thing that simony leads to, and it's not good.

As for the temple argument concerning candles, prosphora, etc., I'm not at all opposed to payment for these things, even, hard, firm prices, beyond just suggestions. These are material items that cost money, which go to the church for good and holy reasons. I can't see any problems with this.

Paying for objects:OK, great! Making donations for any service to the church or to one's priest, even better! But to me, it just boils down to this: whether the priest is destitute or driving a porsche (something I've also seen in Russia), whether the parishioner is Roman Abramovich or using food stamps, the sacraments of the church should never have a mandatory price, or, in my eyes, even have the intimation of having one. I don't know what could be scandalous about this idea.
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« Reply #93 on: March 16, 2011, 05:15:25 AM »

Jim,  I hope you won't mind my curiosity but I admit that I am curious.

What are the prices which your parish advertises for various sacraments and services?

And how does that fit with the average salaries in your city?
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« Reply #94 on: March 16, 2011, 08:44:28 AM »

Jim,

Can I borrow some money?

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« Reply #95 on: March 16, 2011, 09:29:24 AM »

Do Americans give some payment to the choir members who sing at weddings and funerals?
It depends. Some do - some don't. I would. I would ask the priest what would be appropriate. Perhaps a donation toward choir robes or music or the like.

Quote
Or if it is just a psalti, is he paid?
I know of a couple of churches who do have a psalti that is paid, though he's not paid much.

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« Reply #96 on: March 16, 2011, 10:23:53 AM »

Do Americans give some payment to the choir members who sing at weddings and funerals?

Or if it is just a psalti, is he paid?

Donations to the priest and choir members for weddings and funerals, should be borne by the godparents.

From my personal experience, it was common, at least in Slavic parishes to for a gratuity to be given to the cantor or choir director for their participation at weddings and funerals. It should be the responsibility of the godfather or the 'starost' at the wedding to see this done. In some cases, it was customary for the priest to 'tip' the cantor. Likewise during house blessing, it was expected to give a gift to the priest a gratuity. For those converts who are upset by these practices, it has to be remembered that this was a way of compensating these people for their services. Compensation from the parish was spotty at best and priests needed to support their families. In the old world priests would receive farm animals, chickens, ducks, vegetables, preserves etc...depending on the season or the region.

Again, I spent my life in the company of priests and priests' families. There were a few and far between stories of priests who would abuse this system by being demanding or overbearing. These men were scorned by their peers and frequently would wash out so to speak and float from small to smaller to smallest parish. Unfair and wrong, but such men did, and probably do, exist. That being said, it shouldn't be a barrier to one's faith.
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« Reply #97 on: March 16, 2011, 11:26:05 AM »

I guess if I may also add -

"You can not serve both God and money"

So

How can a church serve God for money?  Literally.

Sacraments should always be absolutely free, but the people should always be willing to donate what they can & give freely and with love.
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« Reply #98 on: March 16, 2011, 11:36:00 AM »

I guess if I may also add -

"You can not serve both God and money"

So

How can a church serve God for money?  Literally.

Sacraments should always be absolutely free, but the people should always be willing to donate what they can & give freely and with love.
They are free, even when you have a price list; in my experience nobody would be refused even if they didn't have the necessary amount of money. It's just that if you pay handsomely more solemnity will be added to the celebration. Otherwise they'll be done on the "fast-track" mode. But even this varies from priest to priest etc.
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« Reply #99 on: March 16, 2011, 11:40:57 AM »

Jim,

Can I borrow some money?



I'm so sorry, but what is the purpose behind this question?  Jim has every right, no matter what his financial status, to ask the questions he's asking.  And my feeling is that he's right in EVERYTHING he's said and that no one would even begin to challenge him had he not mentioned that his financial status is that he is blessed.  With all due respect, this question, and many of the comments on this thread, appear to me to be nothing more than envy!
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« Reply #100 on: March 16, 2011, 11:42:53 AM »

It's just that if you pay handsomely more solemnity will be added to the celebration. Otherwise they'll be done on the "fast-track" mode. But even this varies from priest to priest etc.
Speaking both as a chanter and as a priest's wife, that disgusts me.  Just sayin'...
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« Reply #101 on: March 16, 2011, 11:46:05 AM »

It's just that if you pay handsomely more solemnity will be added to the celebration. Otherwise they'll be done on the "fast-track" mode. But even this varies from priest to priest etc.
Speaking both as a chanter and as a priest's wife, that disgusts me.  Just sayin'...
Real world is as it is.
In Romanian there is even a humorously rhymed couplet for this sort of fast-track celebrations for the poor.
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« Reply #102 on: March 16, 2011, 11:55:35 AM »

I think it's good to know all these things, as they are stuff most Westerners wouldn't run into in Frederica's books, or any other books of that ilk.
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« Reply #103 on: March 16, 2011, 12:20:55 PM »

So those of us who think that simony has no place in the church are now Gnostics?

I don't know why you're following advice from non-Russians (including myself) in this thread because either they are trying to confuse you or you're trying to "stir the pot."

I concur with Father Ambrose - seek consultation from Church officials in St. Petersburg, RUSSIA not an Internet Forum.   Smiley
To confirm what?  That that is the practice, well then yes ask the Russians. If it is correct, that I expect he will learn only from a fellow American.

Not to confirm anything....

Responses to the OP's question, given by people who lack first hand knowledge of traditions present in other Orthodox Churches (besides their own), started to go around in circles (especially with the injection of Calvinism accusations).
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« Reply #104 on: March 16, 2011, 12:25:13 PM »

Some of the most heartfelt and beautiful Orthodox weddings and funerals I have attended over the years have been for the poorest of the poor. Let's put an end to this discussion as it has ranged far beyond the simple and honest question asked by the OP. Remember the funeral lamentations of St. John Damascene as all of our bones will be dust and ashes and who will know the rich man from the poor!
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« Reply #105 on: March 16, 2011, 12:42:43 PM »


Well said Podkarpatska!

My godfather/uncle passed away 6 years ago.  All his life he worked for the Church in some capacity.  His last years he served in the Altar, helping the priest where needed, keeping the young altar servers in line, etc.  He died from complications brought on by a stroke.  The last Sunday before he fell ill, he served in the Altar.

When it was time for his funeral, we requested a full Divine Liturgy be served.

Without our asking for another thing, everyone came together to help us bury our beloved uncle.  The Divine Liturgy was sung by a full choir, grown men who were once altar servers came to serve again (remembering how my uncle had taught them)....it was like a funeral our parish hadn't seen in a long time.

When we went to make payment arrangements (some to the church, some to the priest, a lot to the choir), nobody would take a penny.  They outright refused.  Therefore, we simply donated money to the church in honor of my uncle's memory.  We gave the priest some money to buy something for the church/altar.  He went to Ukraine and brought back a Gospel Book with blue velvet/gold cover.  Every time that Gospel Book is raised I think of my uncle.

Therefore, not everyone takes money for performing services.  I know first hand.
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However, it is the responsibility and duty of every parishioners to support their priest and their church.  The lights will not stay on, if someone doesn't pay the bills.

Give what you can.
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« Reply #106 on: March 16, 2011, 12:44:44 PM »


Well said Podkarpatska!

My godfather/uncle passed away 6 years ago.  All his life he worked for the Church in some capacity.  His last years he served in the Altar, helping the priest where needed, keeping the young altar servers in line, etc.  He died from complications brought on by a stroke.  The last Sunday before he fell ill, he served in the Altar.

When it was time for his funeral, we requested a full Divine Liturgy be served.

Without our asking for another thing, everyone came together to help us bury our beloved uncle.  The Divine Liturgy was sung by a full choir, grown men who were once altar servers came to serve again (remembering how my uncle had taught them)....it was like a funeral our parish hadn't seen in a long time.

When we went to make payment arrangements (some to the church, some to the priest, a lot to the choir), nobody would take a penny.  They outright refused.  Therefore, we simply donated money to the church in honor of my uncle's memory.  We gave the priest some money to buy something for the church/altar.  He went to Ukraine and brought back a Gospel Book with blue velvet/gold cover.  Every time that Gospel Book is raised I think of my uncle.

Therefore, not everyone takes money for performing services.  I know first hand.
________________

However, it is the responsibility and duty of every parishioners to support their priest and their church.  The lights will not stay on, if someone doesn't pay the bills.

Give what you can.


Exactly my point. I think that this is something common among 'cradle' communities as the founders had little in the way of material goods, but much in the way of heart and soul. Hence, I can see where there is something of an honest disconnect within this discussion.
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« Reply #107 on: March 16, 2011, 01:14:42 PM »


Well said Podkarpatska!

My godfather/uncle passed away 6 years ago.  All his life he worked for the Church in some capacity.  His last years he served in the Altar, helping the priest where needed, keeping the young altar servers in line, etc.  He died from complications brought on by a stroke.  The last Sunday before he fell ill, he served in the Altar.

When it was time for his funeral, we requested a full Divine Liturgy be served.

Without our asking for another thing, everyone came together to help us bury our beloved uncle.  The Divine Liturgy was sung by a full choir, grown men who were once altar servers came to serve again (remembering how my uncle had taught them)....it was like a funeral our parish hadn't seen in a long time.

When we went to make payment arrangements (some to the church, some to the priest, a lot to the choir), nobody would take a penny.  They outright refused.  Therefore, we simply donated money to the church in honor of my uncle's memory.  We gave the priest some money to buy something for the church/altar.  He went to Ukraine and brought back a Gospel Book with blue velvet/gold cover.  Every time that Gospel Book is raised I think of my uncle.

Therefore, not everyone takes money for performing services.  I know first hand.


What a beatiful story and an incredible testimony to his life and service in the Church!  May his memory be eternal!
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« Reply #108 on: March 16, 2011, 01:17:03 PM »


Well said Podkarpatska!

My godfather/uncle passed away 6 years ago.  All his life he worked for the Church in some capacity.  His last years he served in the Altar, helping the priest where needed, keeping the young altar servers in line, etc.  He died from complications brought on by a stroke.  The last Sunday before he fell ill, he served in the Altar.

When it was time for his funeral, we requested a full Divine Liturgy be served.

Without our asking for another thing, everyone came together to help us bury our beloved uncle.  The Divine Liturgy was sung by a full choir, grown men who were once altar servers came to serve again (remembering how my uncle had taught them)....it was like a funeral our parish hadn't seen in a long time.

When we went to make payment arrangements (some to the church, some to the priest, a lot to the choir), nobody would take a penny.  They outright refused.  Therefore, we simply donated money to the church in honor of my uncle's memory.  We gave the priest some money to buy something for the church/altar.  He went to Ukraine and brought back a Gospel Book with blue velvet/gold cover.  Every time that Gospel Book is raised I think of my uncle.

Therefore, not everyone takes money for performing services.  I know first hand.


What a beatiful story and an incredible testimony to his life and service in the Church!  May his memory be eternal!

Agreed. Very touching.

Memory Eternal!
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« Reply #109 on: March 16, 2011, 02:25:27 PM »

That is a very cool, and very touching story.

For what it's worth, I believe my question has been answered. My faith is not in peril; I wanted, essentially, to be certain that the spirit of cash for salvation was not a pervading/universally accepted sentiment within the church, and I am confident it is not. Of course, none of us, and none of those who, for the most part, do a wonderful job taking care of the church, are perfect, and people will be people. I also understand that there is a cultural context for everything, and that these things, for better or worse, do not seem as strange in Slavic countries, thereby making them harder to break, or more common.

I also think it's an important thing to be aware of, and to be careful about. After all, the mission of the church-at-large is to evangelize, and while these things may not disturb Russians, Serbs or Romanians who have generations of precedent behind them, they may seem very alien and crass to people from other backgrounds who are investigating Holy Orthodoxy. Obviously, the church should never betray Her principles for the sake of attracting converts, but this is not such a case.

I apologize if my involving my own financial status proved to be confusing, or seemed a prideful way to express my feelings; I was merely attempting to be honest and transparent, and to contextualize where I was coming from, and to show that this was not about protecting my own money. I also believe that my position has allowed me to be privy to some of the darker sides of this slippery slope, i.e., favoritism towards the wealthy, and as someone who has been on the receiving end of it, I don't like it, certainly not in a religious context.

Thank you to all for all the thoughtful responses.

Augustin, or any other posters who took exception to any of my assertions, forgive me for any way in which I may have offended you.
And know that I am not now, nor have I ever been a Calvinist!  Cheesy

In Christ,
Jim
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« Reply #110 on: March 16, 2011, 02:26:57 PM »

Jim,

Can I borrow some money?



I'm so sorry, but what is the purpose behind this question?  Jim has every right, no matter what his financial status, to ask the questions he's asking.  And my feeling is that he's right in EVERYTHING he's said and that no one would even begin to challenge him had he not mentioned that his financial status is that he is blessed.  With all due respect, this question, and many of the comments on this thread, appear to me to be nothing more than envy!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humour
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« Reply #111 on: March 16, 2011, 03:16:21 PM »

Jim,

Can I borrow some money?



I'm so sorry, but what is the purpose behind this question?  Jim has every right, no matter what his financial status, to ask the questions he's asking.  And my feeling is that he's right in EVERYTHING he's said and that no one would even begin to challenge him had he not mentioned that his financial status is that he is blessed.  With all due respect, this question, and many of the comments on this thread, appear to me to be nothing more than envy!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humour

NOT FUNNY.   police
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« Reply #112 on: March 16, 2011, 03:54:04 PM »

It's just that if you pay handsomely more solemnity will be added to the celebration. Otherwise they'll be done on the "fast-track" mode. But even this varies from priest to priest etc.
Speaking both as a chanter and as a priest's wife, that disgusts me.  Just sayin'...
Real world is as it is.

The real world is more complicated than your homogeneous "old country" romanticism.
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« Reply #113 on: March 16, 2011, 04:04:06 PM »

I also think it's an important thing to be aware of, and to be careful about. After all, the mission of the church-at-large is to evangelize, and while these things may not disturb Russians, Serbs or Romanians who have generations of precedent behind them, they may seem very alien and crass to people from other backgrounds who are investigating Holy Orthodoxy.

Here again, I am on the fence. As I have said, I'm not advocating simony. Heaven forfend!

However, as someone who is not an ethnic Orthodox (unless you count being Southern as an ethnicity), just because some customs/traditions/ways of doing things may appear crass or tacky to me does not give me the right (nor the responsibility) to assume the worst and take it upon myself to correct those poor benighted folks. I could certainly ask why, with humility, but not with the assumption that I know best.

(although certainly everything would be much easier and more pleasant for everyone if y'all would simply do like I want you to do! angel)
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« Reply #114 on: March 16, 2011, 04:04:27 PM »

Jim,

Can I borrow some money?



I'm so sorry, but what is the purpose behind this question?  Jim has every right, no matter what his financial status, to ask the questions he's asking.  And my feeling is that he's right in EVERYTHING he's said and that no one would even begin to challenge him had he not mentioned that his financial status is that he is blessed.  With all due respect, this question, and many of the comments on this thread, appear to me to be nothing more than envy!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humour

NOT FUNNY.   police

Neither is the balance in my bank account.
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« Reply #115 on: March 16, 2011, 04:10:52 PM »

NOT FUNNY.   police

Neither is the balance in my bank account.

See now that is funny.  Smiley
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« Reply #116 on: March 16, 2011, 04:12:48 PM »

It's just that if you pay handsomely more solemnity will be added to the celebration. Otherwise they'll be done on the "fast-track" mode. But even this varies from priest to priest etc.
Speaking both as a chanter and as a priest's wife, that disgusts me.  Just sayin'...
Real world is as it is.

The real world is more complicated than your homogeneous "old country" romanticism.
Well, I mean the  life of an average parish in the Orthodox world does not stand up to what you might have read in Frederica's books that probably led you to the "True Church" Wink
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« Reply #117 on: March 16, 2011, 04:16:00 PM »

It's just that if you pay handsomely more solemnity will be added to the celebration. Otherwise they'll be done on the "fast-track" mode. But even this varies from priest to priest etc.
Speaking both as a chanter and as a priest's wife, that disgusts me.  Just sayin'...
Real world is as it is.

The real world is more complicated than your homogeneous "old country" romanticism.
Well, I mean the  life of an average parish in the Orthodox world does not stand up to what you might have read in Frederica's books that probably led you to the "True Church" Wink

What is it with you and MATUSHKA Frederica, anyway?  What'd she ever do to you?   angel
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« Reply #118 on: March 16, 2011, 04:17:42 PM »

It's just that if you pay handsomely more solemnity will be added to the celebration. Otherwise they'll be done on the "fast-track" mode. But even this varies from priest to priest etc.
Speaking both as a chanter and as a priest's wife, that disgusts me.  Just sayin'...
Real world is as it is.

The real world is more complicated than your homogeneous "old country" romanticism.
Well, I mean the  life of an average parish in the Orthodox world does not stand up to what you might have read in Frederica's books that probably led you to the "True Church" Wink

What is it with you and MATUSHKA Frederica, anyway?  What'd she ever do to you?   angel
Converted.
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« Reply #119 on: March 16, 2011, 04:18:59 PM »

Nothing personal. I just find that sort of literature sanctimonious, sirupy and way too much aimed at the middle/upper class.
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« Reply #120 on: March 16, 2011, 04:21:16 PM »

It's just that if you pay handsomely more solemnity will be added to the celebration. Otherwise they'll be done on the "fast-track" mode. But even this varies from priest to priest etc.
Speaking both as a chanter and as a priest's wife, that disgusts me.  Just sayin'...
Real world is as it is.

The real world is more complicated than your homogeneous "old country" romanticism.
Well, I mean the  life of an average parish in the Orthodox world does not stand up to what you might have read in Frederica's books that probably led you to the "True Church" Wink

 Cheesy You sound more like a hipster with every post.  I never read those books but you seem to be familiar with them. Anyway, it's one thing to recognize the way things are and another to hold it up as the ideal because you think it's more authentic. Perhaps you can extol the virtues of "going with the flow" of Romanian anti-semitism?
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« Reply #121 on: March 16, 2011, 04:22:14 PM »

It's just that if you pay handsomely more solemnity will be added to the celebration. Otherwise they'll be done on the "fast-track" mode. But even this varies from priest to priest etc.
Speaking both as a chanter and as a priest's wife, that disgusts me.  Just sayin'...
Real world is as it is.

The real world is more complicated than your homogeneous "old country" romanticism.
Well, I mean the  life of an average parish in the Orthodox world does not stand up to what you might have read in Frederica's books that probably led you to the "True Church" Wink

You are right as there is day and night: the actual praxis may indeed be less than ideal in an average parish. My problem with your approach is not that you believe that we should take into account this average, actual praxis (assuming that your experience represents the average) but that we do not need to even try to move towards the ideal praxis. Forgive me, by the way, if I am wrong in my conclusions regarding your approach. I stand ready to be corrected.
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« Reply #122 on: March 16, 2011, 04:29:46 PM »

It's just that if you pay handsomely more solemnity will be added to the celebration. Otherwise they'll be done on the "fast-track" mode. But even this varies from priest to priest etc.
Speaking both as a chanter and as a priest's wife, that disgusts me.  Just sayin'...
Real world is as it is.

The real world is more complicated than your homogeneous "old country" romanticism.
Well, I mean the  life of an average parish in the Orthodox world does not stand up to what you might have read in Frederica's books that probably led you to the "True Church" Wink

 Cheesy You sound more like a hipster with every post.  I never read those books but you seem to be familiar with them. Anyway, it's one thing to recognize the way things are and another to hold it up as the ideal because you think it's more authentic. Perhaps you can extol the virtues of "going with the flow" of Romanian anti-semitism?

I do not believe that "Romanian anti-semitism" is evident in augustine's contributions on this thread or that such a thing is even germane to the topic.
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« Reply #123 on: March 16, 2011, 04:34:35 PM »

It's just that if you pay handsomely more solemnity will be added to the celebration. Otherwise they'll be done on the "fast-track" mode. But even this varies from priest to priest etc.
Speaking both as a chanter and as a priest's wife, that disgusts me.  Just sayin'...
Real world is as it is.

The real world is more complicated than your homogeneous "old country" romanticism.
Well, I mean the  life of an average parish in the Orthodox world does not stand up to what you might have read in Frederica's books that probably led you to the "True Church" Wink

 Cheesy You sound more like a hipster with every post.  I never read those books but you seem to be familiar with them. Anyway, it's one thing to recognize the way things are and another to hold it up as the ideal because you think it's more authentic. Perhaps you can extol the virtues of "going with the flow" of Romanian anti-semitism?

I do not believe that "Romanian anti-semitism" is evident in augustine's contributions on this thread or that such a thing is even germane to the topic.

Antisemitism, if given enough time, is germane to every to every topic (see Godwin's Law).
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« Reply #124 on: March 16, 2011, 04:36:07 PM »

It's just that if you pay handsomely more solemnity will be added to the celebration. Otherwise they'll be done on the "fast-track" mode. But even this varies from priest to priest etc.
Speaking both as a chanter and as a priest's wife, that disgusts me.  Just sayin'...
Real world is as it is.

The real world is more complicated than your homogeneous "old country" romanticism.
Well, I mean the  life of an average parish in the Orthodox world does not stand up to what you might have read in Frederica's books that probably led you to the "True Church" Wink

 Cheesy You sound more like a hipster with every post.  I never read those books but you seem to be familiar with them. Anyway, it's one thing to recognize the way things are and another to hold it up as the ideal because you think it's more authentic. Perhaps you can extol the virtues of "going with the flow" of Romanian anti-semitism?

I do not believe that "Romanian anti-semitism" is evident in augustine's contributions on this thread or that such a thing is even germane to the topic.

I'm just saying, if you're going to hold up ordinary corrupt village parish life in Romania as the ideal of Orthodoxy, you ought to be consistent about it.
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« Reply #125 on: March 16, 2011, 04:37:06 PM »

Well to address the red-herring of anti-semitism, the only places in the Romanian  church where one can find such an animal nowadays are a few monasteries (like Petru-Voda) and some zealot organizations  (the women members are instantly recognized by their nun-ish looks, the men by their  monk-ish appearence) that I have no stomach for anyways, since these folks are also big on "correcting" the "superstitions"  of the people. It's simply not the faith I've known in my native place.
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« Reply #126 on: March 16, 2011, 04:49:51 PM »

It's just that if you pay handsomely more solemnity will be added to the celebration. Otherwise they'll be done on the "fast-track" mode. But even this varies from priest to priest etc.
Speaking both as a chanter and as a priest's wife, that disgusts me.  Just sayin'...
Real world is as it is.

The real world is more complicated than your homogeneous "old country" romanticism.
Well, I mean the  life of an average parish in the Orthodox world does not stand up to what you might have read in Frederica's books that probably led you to the "True Church" Wink

What is it with you and MATUSHKA Frederica, anyway?  What'd she ever do to you?   angel

This goes back to a question which remained unanswered here before:

Is it policy to use a title when referring to the wife of a Priest?

If so which do you use? I have seen Frederica Matthews-Green(?) referred in the Russian, Greek, etc. traditions.
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« Reply #127 on: March 16, 2011, 05:10:28 PM »

It's just that if you pay handsomely more solemnity will be added to the celebration. Otherwise they'll be done on the "fast-track" mode. But even this varies from priest to priest etc.
Speaking both as a chanter and as a priest's wife, that disgusts me.  Just sayin'...
Real world is as it is.

The real world is more complicated than your homogeneous "old country" romanticism.
Well, I mean the  life of an average parish in the Orthodox world does not stand up to what you might have read in Frederica's books that probably led you to the "True Church" Wink

 Cheesy You sound more like a hipster with every post.  I never read those books but you seem to be familiar with them. Anyway, it's one thing to recognize the way things are and another to hold it up as the ideal because you think it's more authentic. Perhaps you can extol the virtues of "going with the flow" of Romanian anti-semitism?

I do not believe that "Romanian anti-semitism" is evident in augustine's contributions on this thread or that such a thing is even germane to the topic.

I'm just saying, if you're going to hold up ordinary corrupt village parish life in Romania as the ideal of Orthodoxy, you ought to be consistent about it.

That is a rather bigoted, elitist statement if ever I read one.
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« Reply #128 on: March 16, 2011, 05:15:47 PM »

Nothing personal. I just find that sort of literature sanctimonious, sirupy and way too much aimed at the middle/upper class.
Like the Fathers?
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« Reply #129 on: March 16, 2011, 06:06:59 PM »

Nothing personal. I just find that sort of literature sanctimonious, sirupy and way too much aimed at the middle/upper class.
Like the Fathers?
Has she been canonized recently?
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« Reply #130 on: March 16, 2011, 06:10:35 PM »

It's just that if you pay handsomely more solemnity will be added to the celebration. Otherwise they'll be done on the "fast-track" mode. But even this varies from priest to priest etc.
Speaking both as a chanter and as a priest's wife, that disgusts me.  Just sayin'...
Real world is as it is.

The real world is more complicated than your homogeneous "old country" romanticism.
Well, I mean the  life of an average parish in the Orthodox world does not stand up to what you might have read in Frederica's books that probably led you to the "True Church" Wink

 Cheesy You sound more like a hipster with every post.  I never read those books but you seem to be familiar with them. Anyway, it's one thing to recognize the way things are and another to hold it up as the ideal because you think it's more authentic. Perhaps you can extol the virtues of "going with the flow" of Romanian anti-semitism?

I do not believe that "Romanian anti-semitism" is evident in augustine's contributions on this thread or that such a thing is even germane to the topic.

I'm just saying, if you're going to hold up ordinary corrupt village parish life in Romania as the ideal of Orthodoxy, you ought to be consistent about it.

That is a rather bigoted, elitist statement if ever I read one.

It was Augustin who defended simony as a standard feature of parish life which should therefore be praised and emulated. I'm just saying that, if you're going to make a caricature, be consistent about it.
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« Reply #131 on: March 16, 2011, 06:11:29 PM »

Nothing personal. I just find that sort of literature sanctimonious, sirupy and way too much aimed at the middle/upper class.
Like the Fathers?
Has she been canonized recently?

How clericalist of you.
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« Reply #132 on: March 16, 2011, 06:17:07 PM »

Nothing personal. I just find that sort of literature sanctimonious, sirupy and way too much aimed at the middle/upper class.
Like the Fathers?
Precisely.
And for the record, I haven't read any of her work. It was my connection with one of the "Old" countries that brought me to the steps of the church. While I am guilty of being one of these hated upper class westerners, my marriage with a lower-class easterner, and the independent interest in the east that I possessed which grew exponentially after my marriage, got me here. I do not have an sort of American Orthodox bias; almost my entire experience with the church has been in Russia, and I have almost no experience at all with American Orthodoxy, to be honest. I've never been to liturgy in English, only at Slavonic services in Russia or the US. But while I do adore Russia in many ways, and both symbolically and practically (I go to church in Russia, after all) probably practice my faith in a "Russian" way, I don't let Russia, any nation, or any idea of this group or that group define Orthodoxy, or what is more correct in Orthodoxy.

That's about as PC as I've ever sounded in my life. laugh

Also, did the church ever stipulate that the upper class did not belong among Her flock? So what if certain works allegedly target an upper/middle class audience? Good! More of whoever is more.
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« Reply #133 on: March 16, 2011, 06:25:10 PM »

Well to address the red-herring of anti-semitism, the only places in the Romanian  church where one can find such an animal nowadays are a few monasteries (like Petru-Voda) and some zealot organizations  (the women members are instantly recognized by their nun-ish looks, the men by their  monk-ish appearence) that I have no stomach for anyways, since these folks are also big on "correcting" the "superstitions"  of the people.
I think you're just going to have to accept that some people are going to be crazy zealots with fascist sympathies. Why complain? Just go with the flow, dude. Don't be such a Puritan.  

Quote
It's simply not the faith I've known in my native place.

You need to cope with the fact that no one else here has been to or likely will ever visit your particular "native place", and therefore no one here is particularly interested in emulating your village life as the gold standard of authentic Orthodoxy.  

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« Reply #134 on: March 16, 2011, 06:27:59 PM »

If we go about this pissing contest : my native place is more typical of Orthodoxy, as a whole than yours, dude.
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« Reply #135 on: March 16, 2011, 06:29:29 PM »

If we go about this pissing contest : my native place is more typical of Orthodoxy, as a whole than yours, dude.

I'm sure it is. But then again I'm not holding my place up as a model for everyone to follow.
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« Reply #136 on: March 16, 2011, 07:20:37 PM »

Nothing personal. I just find that sort of literature sanctimonious, sirupy and way too much aimed at the middle/upper class.
Like the Fathers?
Has she been canonized recently?
No, but neither has Origen. Your point?
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« Reply #137 on: March 16, 2011, 07:23:19 PM »

Nothing personal. I just find that sort of literature sanctimonious, sirupy and way too much aimed at the middle/upper class.
Like the Fathers?
Precisely.
And for the record, I haven't read any of her work. It was my connection with one of the "Old" countries that brought me to the steps of the church. While I am guilty of being one of these hated upper class westerners, my marriage with a lower-class easterner, and the independent interest in the east that I possessed which grew exponentially after my marriage, got me here. I do not have an sort of American Orthodox bias; almost my entire experience with the church has been in Russia, and I have almost no experience at all with American Orthodoxy, to be honest. I've never been to liturgy in English, only at Slavonic services in Russia or the US. But while I do adore Russia in many ways, and both symbolically and practically (I go to church in Russia, after all) probably practice my faith in a "Russian" way, I don't let Russia, any nation, or any idea of this group or that group define Orthodoxy, or what is more correct in Orthodoxy.

That's about as PC as I've ever sounded in my life. laugh

Also, did the church ever stipulate that the upper class did not belong among Her flock? So what if certain works allegedly target an upper/middle class audience? Good! More of whoever is more.
if the upper/middle class, i.e. those who could read, were cut off from the Church's flock, who were the Fathers writing to?
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« Reply #138 on: March 16, 2011, 07:25:34 PM »

Well to address the red-herring of anti-semitism, the only places in the Romanian  church where one can find such an animal nowadays are a few monasteries (like Petru-Voda) and some zealot organizations  (the women members are instantly recognized by their nun-ish looks, the men by their  monk-ish appearence) that I have no stomach for anyways, since these folks are also big on "correcting" the "superstitions"  of the people.
I think you're just going to have to accept that some people are going to be crazy zealots with fascist sympathies. Why complain? Just go with the flow, dude. Don't be such a Puritan.  

Quote
It's simply not the faith I've known in my native place.

You need to cope with the fact that no one else here has been to or likely will ever visit your particular "native place", and therefore no one here is particularly interested in emulating your village life as the gold standard of authentic Orthodoxy.  


I don't know if I've been to his particular "native place," but I do know that I've been close, and there are those here who probably have. Augustin is less representative of Romanians than he lets on.
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« Reply #139 on: March 16, 2011, 08:38:19 PM »

If we go about this pissing contest

At least you've admitted that your words are excrement.
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« Reply #140 on: March 16, 2011, 09:46:27 PM »

If we go about this pissing contest : my native place is more typical of Orthodoxy, as a whole than yours, dude.

What part of Romania? Within Transylvania, I was primarily in a small village in Făgăraş.
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« Reply #141 on: March 16, 2011, 09:50:57 PM »

Well to address the red-herring of anti-semitism, the only places in the Romanian  church where one can find such an animal nowadays are a few monasteries (like Petru-Voda) and some zealot organizations  (the women members are instantly recognized by their nun-ish looks, the men by their  monk-ish appearence) that I have no stomach for anyways, since these folks are also big on "correcting" the "superstitions"  of the people.
I think you're just going to have to accept that some people are going to be crazy zealots with fascist sympathies. Why complain? Just go with the flow, dude. Don't be such a Puritan.  

Quote
It's simply not the faith I've known in my native place.

You need to cope with the fact that no one else here has been to or likely will ever visit your particular "native place", and therefore no one here is particularly interested in emulating your village life as the gold standard of authentic Orthodoxy.  


I don't know if I've been to his particular "native place," but I do know that I've been close, and there are those here who probably have. Augustin is less representative of Romanians than he lets on.

Dated a Romanian for years. And all I can say is that the more "exuberant" folks at my parish when I was announced as a catachumen were the Romanians.

My "second sponsor" is a Romanian fellow. He says:

It is good. You choose Orthodoxy. It is the Church. Too many people born to it take it for granted like me until I was 45 . . . .

Then he started giving me very specific instructions on what I should be doing. Today, he asked about how strict my fast was today. Did you have a meal? I had a small one, but you are young and can go without.

He's a good guy. Love him.

I've always loved Romanians.
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« Reply #142 on: March 17, 2011, 10:12:51 AM »

If we go about this pissing contest

At least you've admitted that your words are excrement.
it's the job of the clergy to constantly emit pious "stuff" . So, yeah.
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« Reply #143 on: March 17, 2011, 10:14:02 AM »

Quote
Augustin is less representative of Romanians than he lets on.
That's highly debatable.
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« Reply #144 on: March 17, 2011, 10:31:33 AM »

Wow.  I was wondering how long it would take for the purple demons of Lent to take over this thread.  It actually took longer than I thought!
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« Reply #145 on: March 17, 2011, 10:32:17 AM »

It's just that if you pay handsomely more solemnity will be added to the celebration. Otherwise they'll be done on the "fast-track" mode. But even this varies from priest to priest etc.
Speaking both as a chanter and as a priest's wife, that disgusts me.  Just sayin'...
Real world is as it is.

The real world is more complicated than your homogeneous "old country" romanticism.
Well, I mean the  life of an average parish in the Orthodox world does not stand up to what you might have read in Frederica's books that probably led you to the "True Church" Wink

What is it with you and MATUSHKA Frederica, anyway?  What'd she ever do to you?   angel

This goes back to a question which remained unanswered here before:

Is it policy to use a title when referring to the wife of a Priest?

If so which do you use? I have seen Frederica Matthews-Green(?) referred in the Russian, Greek, etc. traditions.

That's a good question.  Maybe a mod can answer for us?
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« Reply #146 on: March 17, 2011, 10:33:57 AM »

I love augustin717. He's one of the folks I want at my OC.net meet-up, even if he and I have to travel to Romania to properly conduct it.
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« Reply #147 on: March 17, 2011, 10:35:13 AM »

It's just that if you pay handsomely more solemnity will be added to the celebration. Otherwise they'll be done on the "fast-track" mode. But even this varies from priest to priest etc.
Speaking both as a chanter and as a priest's wife, that disgusts me.  Just sayin'...
Real world is as it is.

The real world is more complicated than your homogeneous "old country" romanticism.
Well, I mean the  life of an average parish in the Orthodox world does not stand up to what you might have read in Frederica's books that probably led you to the "True Church" Wink

What is it with you and MATUSHKA Frederica, anyway?  What'd she ever do to you?   angel

This goes back to a question which remained unanswered here before:

Is it policy to use a title when referring to the wife of a Priest?

If so which do you use? I have seen Frederica Matthews-Green(?) referred in the Russian, Greek, etc. traditions.

That's a good question.  Maybe a mod can answer for us?

Or anyone. I've asked it a couple times before. Heck, I am never sure how hard to keep the rule in "RL".
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« Reply #148 on: March 17, 2011, 10:40:04 AM »

I love augustin717. He's one of the folks I want at my OC.net meet-up, even if he and I have to travel to Romania to properly conduct it.
It would have to be: Orthodox soil and all.
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« Reply #149 on: March 17, 2011, 10:51:26 AM »

I love augustin717. He's one of the folks I want at my OC.net meet-up, even if he and I have to travel to Romania to properly conduct it.
It would have to be: Orthodox soil and all.

We'll we could have a ton of soil brought from the Holy Romania and consecrate the Calvinist, heretical ground upon which we tread.

If it worked for a bloodsucker like Dracula, it should be OK with augustin.  Wink
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« Reply #150 on: March 17, 2011, 10:53:00 AM »

I love augustin717. He's one of the folks I want at my OC.net meet-up, even if he and I have to travel to Romania to properly conduct it.
It would have to be: Orthodox soil and all.

We'll we could have a ton of soil brought from the Holy Romania and consecrate the Calvinist, heretical ground upon which we tread.

If it worked for a bloodsucker like Dracula, it should be OK with augustin.  Wink

Yeah, but we'd have to have an OC.net collection for the bribe gift to the clergy afterwards.
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« Reply #151 on: March 17, 2011, 10:54:49 AM »

I love augustin717. He's one of the folks I want at my OC.net meet-up, even if he and I have to travel to Romania to properly conduct it.
It would have to be: Orthodox soil and all.

We'll we could have a ton of soil brought from the Holy Romania and consecrate the Calvinist, heretical ground upon which we tread.

If it worked for a bloodsucker like Dracula, it should be OK with augustin.  Wink

Yeah, but we'd have to have an OC.net collection for the bribe gift to the clergy afterwards.

I doubt any of the Preists here are going to want to meet either augustin or me without greasing their palm a little.
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« Reply #152 on: March 17, 2011, 10:56:03 AM »


If so which do you use? I have seen Frederica Matthews-Green(?) referred in the Russian, Greek, etc. traditions.

That's a good question.  Maybe a mod can answer for us?

I would call the priest's wife the respectful title she is due - in whichever language she speaks.

 - Presbytera - Greek
 - Popadia/Papadiya - Serbian
 - Matushka - Russian
 - Pani Matushka/Pani Dobrodiyka - Ukrainian
 - Khouria - Syrian
 - etc.

Remember, the priest's wife is also due respect.  Her role in her parish is greater than any other woman's.

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« Reply #153 on: March 17, 2011, 10:57:38 AM »


If so which do you use? I have seen Frederica Matthews-Green(?) referred in the Russian, Greek, etc. traditions.

That's a good question.  Maybe a mod can answer for us?

I would call the priest's wife the respectful title she is due - in whichever language she speaks.

 - Presbytera - Greek
 - Popadia/Papadiya - Serbian
 - Matushka - Russian
 - Pani Matushka/Pani Dobrodiyka - Ukrainian
 - Khouria - Syrian
 - etc.

Remember, the priest's wife is also due respect.  Her role in her parish is greater than any other woman's.



And in English?

EDIT: The above is rhetorical, as I know of no one using an English title for the wife of a Priest. Find it odd.
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« Reply #154 on: March 17, 2011, 11:02:27 AM »

And in English?

EDIT: The above is rhetorical, as I know of no one using an English title for the wife of a Priest. Find it odd.

It's not odd, because there isn't an English title other than "wife of the priest," which just doesn't sound right. 
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« Reply #155 on: March 17, 2011, 11:05:57 AM »

The very British sounding "vicar's wife" is about as close as you get.
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« Reply #156 on: March 17, 2011, 11:06:40 AM »

I can call her "priestess", but I'll refuse any other title. So, priestess Frederica here we go.
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« Reply #157 on: March 17, 2011, 11:06:53 AM »

And in English?

EDIT: The above is rhetorical, as I know of no one using an English title for the wife of a Priest. Find it odd.

It's not odd, because there isn't an English title other than "wife of the priest," which just doesn't sound right. 

I think the collection of geniuses here could develop one.

That being said. Your Priest is thoroughly a native English-speaker as is his wife and he is the Priest of an OCA parish of nearly all native-English speakers:

Which language does everyone choose to use? Or do the Priest and wife choose to use? Whichever "tradition" they like the best?
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« Reply #158 on: March 17, 2011, 11:08:06 AM »

It's just that if you pay handsomely more solemnity will be added to the celebration. Otherwise they'll be done on the "fast-track" mode. But even this varies from priest to priest etc.
Speaking both as a chanter and as a priest's wife, that disgusts me.  Just sayin'...
Real world is as it is.

The real world is more complicated than your homogeneous "old country" romanticism.
Well, I mean the  life of an average parish in the Orthodox world does not stand up to what you might have read in Frederica's books that probably led you to the "True Church" Wink

What is it with you and MATUSHKA Frederica, anyway?  What'd she ever do to you?   angel

This goes back to a question which remained unanswered here before:

Is it policy to use a title when referring to the wife of a Priest?

If so which do you use? I have seen Frederica Matthews-Green(?) referred in the Russian, Greek, etc. traditions.

That's a good question.  Maybe a mod can answer for us?

Or anyone. I've asked it a couple times before. Heck, I am never sure how hard to keep the rule in "RL".

Not to derail the thread (not that it was particularly productive anyway...), but the real life question is kind of a difficult one, actually.  Some presvyteres prefer to be called presvytera (or whichever term is in the proper language for them), some prefer not to be.  I try to listen to how they introduce themselves.

For me personally, I've been a priest's wife now for several years and it's still an akward and difficult subject just because I feel so unworthy of a term that makes reference to God (more on that below).  I introduce myself to people as "Presvytera Mari" and within the parish I do wish to be called "Presvytera" simply because it is what my husband, my spiritual father, my hierarch, and the Church expect.  The Church has decided that it is important for priests' wives to be called by such a term because it defers to her husband's priesthood and thus ultimately to God.

Now honestly, most of the people in our parish do not call me Presvytera.  The reason, so I'm told, is because I am young.  Their idea of a Presvytera is one much older than I, and they always say "that's a term for older women," and then we have to have a conversation... But the majority of the time I don't correct people or say anything about it because I don't want people to think that I expect some sort of title or place of honor.  I don't feel that way at all.  I only accept the term because of the reference it makes to my husband and to God.  I only accept the term because it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with me.

Just my $.02.   Honestly, I would REALLY love to hear what Fr. George and Serb1389 have to say on the subject (maybe we should start a new thread?).
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« Reply #159 on: March 17, 2011, 11:09:10 AM »

The very British sounding "vicar's wife" is about as close as you get.

Ask GreekChef if we can all start referring to her as Vicar's Wife... Tongue

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« Reply #160 on: March 17, 2011, 11:12:10 AM »

To answer my own question I think Presbytera is probably the best, since using the word "Priest" is an unfortunate use of the word in English. Since all members of the Church are members of the Priesthood. "Presbyter" instead of "Priest" would be better, thus making Presbytera a better choice. IMHO
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« Reply #161 on: March 17, 2011, 11:14:02 AM »

And in English?

EDIT: The above is rhetorical, as I know of no one using an English title for the wife of a Priest. Find it odd.

It's not odd, because there isn't an English title other than "wife of the priest," which just doesn't sound right. 

I think the collection of geniuses here could develop one.

That being said. Your Priest is thoroughly a native English-speaker as is his wife and he is the Priest of an OCA parish of nearly all native-English speakers:

Which language does everyone choose to use? Or do the Priest and wife choose to use? Whichever "tradition" they like the best?


Given the Slavic background of the OCA as a whole, I've always heard and used "matushka" (similar to how we use "vladyka" for bishops).  I imagine in similar situations in the Antiochian Archdiocese, you hear "khouriya" (sp?) and "presbytera" in the GOA.  In general, they probably use the tradition they're most familiar with and are used to, rather than whichever one they "like."
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« Reply #162 on: March 17, 2011, 11:15:43 AM »

I love augustin717. He's one of the folks I want at my OC.net meet-up, even if he and I have to travel to Romania to properly conduct it.
It would have to be: Orthodox soil and all.

We'll we could have a ton of soil brought from the Holy Romania and consecrate the Calvinist, heretical ground upon which we tread.

If it worked for a bloodsucker like Dracula, it should be OK with augustin.  Wink
LOL. They did that for Bela Lugosi, with soil from his birthplace IIRC: throught the magic of WWI, it was Romanian soil by the time he died.

Btw, IIRC Augsutin is from Transylvania, the only Orhtodox Church that went through a period when it was officially (and only officially) Calvinist.
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« Reply #163 on: March 17, 2011, 11:19:18 AM »

I love augustin717. He's one of the folks I want at my OC.net meet-up, even if he and I have to travel to Romania to properly conduct it.
It would have to be: Orthodox soil and all.

We'll we could have a ton of soil brought from the Holy Romania and consecrate the Calvinist, heretical ground upon which we tread.

If it worked for a bloodsucker like Dracula, it should be OK with augustin.  Wink

Yeah, but we'd have to have an OC.net collection for the bribe gift to the clergy afterwards.

I doubt any of the Preists here are going to want to meet either augustin or me without greasing their palm a little.
well that will have to be with sunflower oil right now.
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« Reply #164 on: March 17, 2011, 11:21:54 AM »

The very British sounding "vicar's wife" is about as close as you get.

Ask GreekChef if we can all start referring to her as Vicar's Wife... Tongue



LOL!  Uhhhhhhh... Awkward!
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« Reply #165 on: March 17, 2011, 11:22:04 AM »

And in English?

EDIT: The above is rhetorical, as I know of no one using an English title for the wife of a Priest. Find it odd.

It's not odd, because there isn't an English title other than "wife of the priest," which just doesn't sound right.  

I think the collection of geniuses here could develop one.

That being said. Your Priest is thoroughly a native English-speaker as is his wife and he is the Priest of an OCA parish of nearly all native-English speakers:

Which language does everyone choose to use? Or do the Priest and wife choose to use? Whichever "tradition" they like the best?


Given the Slavic background of the OCA as a whole, I've always heard and used "matushka" (similar to how we use "vladyka" for bishops).  I imagine in similar situations in the Antiochian Archdiocese, you hear "khouriya" (sp?) and "presbytera" in the GOA.  In general, they probably use the tradition they're most familiar with and are used to, rather than whichever one they "like."

Although my Presbyter definitely comes from a "slavic angle", we address his wife as Presbytera. Also, among the parishioners the rubrics they follow skew more "Greek".
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« Reply #166 on: March 17, 2011, 11:23:11 AM »

Quote
the only Orhtodox Church that went through a period when it was officially (and only officially) Calvinist.
Not really Calvinist but overseen by Calvinist princes that wanted to implement some calvinist reforms(more moderate than elsewhere) in it. In true eastern and national spirit Simion Stefan, Ilie Iorest, Sava Brancovici et told their masters what they wanted o hear, and in their church they still did what they had been always doing. Actually Sava Brancovici was thrown into prison by the Hungarian Calvinists when they realized he had been lying to them.
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« Reply #167 on: March 17, 2011, 11:38:22 AM »

EDIT: The above is rhetorical, as I know of no one using an English title for the wife of a Priest. Find it odd.

I'm not a native speaker of English so I guess I shouldn't say much about this but...  Is it really that different from other religious loanwords such as "hosanna" and "hallelujah" etc. ?

Btw, technically there's no Finnish title for the wife of a Priest either. Instead of that the Finnish Orthodox use a little reformulated loanword from Russian "maatuska" as a title for priests' wives. The other Christians just talk about wives of priests' or in more informal speech some people use "pastorska" which is probably a loanword from Swedish.

As a sidenote, most Finns won't probably know that "maatuska" is actually a title for priest's wives since Matryoshka dolls are also called as maatuskas in Finnish. Tongue
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« Reply #168 on: March 17, 2011, 11:58:04 AM »

Quote
the only Orhtodox Church that went through a period when it was officially (and only officially) Calvinist.
Not really Calvinist but overseen by Calvinist princes that wanted to implement some calvinist reforms(more moderate than elsewhere) in it. In true eastern and national spirit Simion Stefan, Ilie Iorest, Sava Brancovici et told their masters what they wanted o hear, and in their church they still did what they had been always doing. Actually Sava Brancovici was thrown into prison by the Hungarian Calvinists when they realized he had been lying to them.
The Orthodox hiearchy were supordinate legally to the Calvinist Superintenendent
Early modern religious communities in East-Central Europe: ethnic diversity, denominational plurality, and corporative politics in the principality of Transylvania (1526-1691) By István Keul
http://books.google.com/books?id=5J09mqMWiogC&pg=PA190&dq=Transylvania+Orthodox+superintendent&hl=en&ei=KCyCTaGcPNLUgAekmNG9CA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=Transylvania%20Orthodox%20superintendent&f=false

http://books.google.com/books?id=5J09mqMWiogC&pg=PA169&dq=%22subordination+and+obedience+to+the+Calvinist+superintendent%22&hl=en&ei=ejCCTfT2OsjYgAeC1_DHCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22subordination%20and%20obedience%20to%20the%20Calvinist%20superintendent%22&f=false

History of the Orthodox Church in Austria-Hungary By Margaret Georgiana Dampier
Quote
With the royal patent confirming his appointment as Archbishop of Weissenburg, Rakoczy transmitted to Stephen, on October 10, 1643, a long 'instruction,' dealing minutely with matters of doctrine and practice. From this remarkable document we may see that the new archbishop was expected to conform more closely to the standard of a Protestant superintendent than to that of an archbishop of the Orthodox Church.

Among its most noteworthy provisions are the following :—

(1) Stephen is to make use exclusively of the reformed catechism supplied to him by the Protestant Church, and is to insist that his bishops and clergy use it too in all teaching given by them to the Roumanian people.

(2) Baptism is to be administered in the name of the Holy Trinity with water only, according to Christ's institution. (Is this aimed at trine immersion, or at the anointing with chrism which immediately follows baptism in the Eastern Church ?)

(3) Holy Communion is to be administered in both kinds (this must mean separately, since the Eastern Church does not allow Communion in one kind), and only to adults of good moral life.

(4) Crosses and pictures in churches are not to be accorded religious veneration, but only to be used as reminders of our Lord's life and death.

(5) Burials are to be conducted 'according to the Calvinist rite.

(6) Nobody, either priest or layman, is to be hindered or dissuaded from joining the Reformed Church. They are to be treated with the same affection as the faithful adherents of the orthodox faith.

(7) A synod is to be held yearly, which all the Roumanian clergy are to attend, but the decision of any difficult points of dogma is to be submitted to the General Superintendent of the Protestant Church.

(Cool The superintendent is to have a vote in the election or deposition of a proto-pope just as much as the bishop, the members of his consistory court, and the clergy of the district concerned.

(9) All decisions of the bishop's consistory court in disputes between the clergy must be referred finally to the Protestant superintendent.

(10) A Roumanian priest may not marry or bury a Hungarian or baptize their children. Only in the case of a Roumanian marrying a Hungarian woman may the Roumanian priest perform the ceremony.

It is difficult to see how Stephen reconciled the acceptance of such regulations with his position as archbishop. However he professed at least an outward compliance, and allowed the Protestant Confession to be circulated and taught amongst his flock, though its appearance in the Danubian provinces was the signal for an outburst of horror and indignation.

The catechism was repudiated by a Synod of Roumanian bishops, held under the presidency of the Metropolitan of Moldavia, Barlaam, who undertook to refute it in a pastoral letter which he published in 1645. This energetic action on the part of the Roumanian bishops was of great value in checking the spread of Protestantism amongst their co-religionists in Transylvania. Stephen showed a scarcely less culpable weakness and negligence to the true interests of his church, when he consented, in 1651, to consecrate a monk named Peter Parthenius to the see of Munkacs, despite his well-known tendencies towards Roman Catholicism. But the Metropolitanate of Stephen was not without some cheering features. The translation of the Psalms into Roumanian was accomplished in 1651, followed later on by the whole of the New Testament.

Indeed the 'instruction' sent by Rakoczy i. to Stephen at his consecration insisted strongly on the exclusive use of the vernacular in the services of the Roumanian Church as well as in Bible reading and preaching. It is to be feared, however, that Rakoczy's object was not so much the spiritual advancement of the Roumanian Church as its detachment from its sister churches in Greece and beyond the Danube, with a view to propagating Protestant teaching amongst its members.
http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA25&dq=orthodox%20church%20in%20austria%20hungary%20Transylvania&ei=QC2CTdTeAYWRgQfMjvjGCA&ct=result&id=ZhjZAAAAMAAJ&output=text
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« Reply #169 on: March 17, 2011, 12:18:24 PM »

It's just that if you pay handsomely more solemnity will be added to the celebration. Otherwise they'll be done on the "fast-track" mode. But even this varies from priest to priest etc.
Speaking both as a chanter and as a priest's wife, that disgusts me.  Just sayin'...
Real world is as it is.

The real world is more complicated than your homogeneous "old country" romanticism.
Well, I mean the  life of an average parish in the Orthodox world does not stand up to what you might have read in Frederica's books that probably led you to the "True Church" Wink

What is it with you and MATUSHKA Frederica, anyway?  What'd she ever do to you?   angel

This goes back to a question which remained unanswered here before:

Is it policy to use a title when referring to the wife of a Priest?

If so which do you use? I have seen Frederica Matthews-Green(?) referred in the Russian, Greek, etc. traditions.

That's a good question.  Maybe a mod can answer for us?

Or anyone. I've asked it a couple times before. Heck, I am never sure how hard to keep the rule in "RL".

Not to derail the thread (not that it was particularly productive anyway...), but the real life question is kind of a difficult one, actually.  Some presvyteres prefer to be called presvytera (or whichever term is in the proper language for them), some prefer not to be.  I try to listen to how they introduce themselves.

For me personally, I've been a priest's wife now for several years and it's still an akward and difficult subject just because I feel so unworthy of a term that makes reference to God (more on that below).  I introduce myself to people as "Presvytera Mari" and within the parish I do wish to be called "Presvytera" simply because it is what my husband, my spiritual father, my hierarch, and the Church expect.  The Church has decided that it is important for priests' wives to be called by such a term because it defers to her husband's priesthood and thus ultimately to God.

Now honestly, most of the people in our parish do not call me Presvytera.  The reason, so I'm told, is because I am young.  Their idea of a Presvytera is one much older than I, and they always say "that's a term for older women," and then we have to have a conversation... But the majority of the time I don't correct people or say anything about it because I don't want people to think that I expect some sort of title or place of honor.  I don't feel that way at all.  I only accept the term because of the reference it makes to my husband and to God.  I only accept the term because it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with me.

Just my $.02.   Honestly, I would REALLY love to hear what Fr. George and Serb1389 have to say on the subject (maybe we should start a new thread?).


Good thing you are not the wife of a Bulgarian priest, who colloquially is called  as "pop" and his wife is called "popadia." My mother used to hate that and was glad that most folks also called her "presvytera."  Wink
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« Reply #170 on: March 17, 2011, 01:22:50 PM »

Is there an ialmisry fan club?
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« Reply #171 on: March 17, 2011, 01:33:40 PM »


If there's not, there should be.
 Wink
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« Reply #172 on: March 17, 2011, 01:37:12 PM »

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« Reply #173 on: March 17, 2011, 01:46:09 PM »

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« Reply #174 on: March 17, 2011, 01:47:30 PM »

You're right, I didn't mean any harm but that wasn't cool of me. My apologies. You should probably edit it out of your post too.
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« Reply #175 on: March 17, 2011, 01:51:00 PM »

.

Pardon my ignorance,  but I presume that the RL you referenced was neither Ralph Lauren nor a digraph in Australian Aboriginal languages representing a retroflex lateral - although Ialmisry is a linguist.....
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« Reply #176 on: March 17, 2011, 01:53:35 PM »

Quote
the only Orhtodox Church that went through a period when it was officially (and only officially) Calvinist.
Not really Calvinist but overseen by Calvinist princes that wanted to implement some calvinist reforms(more moderate than elsewhere) in it. In true eastern and national spirit Simion Stefan, Ilie Iorest, Sava Brancovici et told their masters what they wanted o hear, and in their church they still did what they had been always doing. Actually Sava Brancovici was thrown into prison by the Hungarian Calvinists when they realized he had been lying to them.
The Orthodox hiearchy were supordinate legally to the Calvinist Superintenendent
Early modern religious communities in East-Central Europe: ethnic diversity, denominational plurality, and corporative politics in the principality of Transylvania (1526-1691) By István Keul
http://books.google.com/books?id=5J09mqMWiogC&pg=PA190&dq=Transylvania+Orthodox+superintendent&hl=en&ei=KCyCTaGcPNLUgAekmNG9CA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=Transylvania%20Orthodox%20superintendent&f=false

http://books.google.com/books?id=5J09mqMWiogC&pg=PA169&dq=%22subordination+and+obedience+to+the+Calvinist+superintendent%22&hl=en&ei=ejCCTfT2OsjYgAeC1_DHCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22subordination%20and%20obedience%20to%20the%20Calvinist%20superintendent%22&f=false

History of the Orthodox Church in Austria-Hungary By Margaret Georgiana Dampier
Quote
With the royal patent confirming his appointment as Archbishop of Weissenburg, Rakoczy transmitted to Stephen, on October 10, 1643, a long 'instruction,' dealing minutely with matters of doctrine and practice. From this remarkable document we may see that the new archbishop was expected to conform more closely to the standard of a Protestant superintendent than to that of an archbishop of the Orthodox Church.

Among its most noteworthy provisions are the following :—

(1) Stephen is to make use exclusively of the reformed catechism supplied to him by the Protestant Church, and is to insist that his bishops and clergy use it too in all teaching given by them to the Roumanian people.

(2) Baptism is to be administered in the name of the Holy Trinity with water only, according to Christ's institution. (Is this aimed at trine immersion, or at the anointing with chrism which immediately follows baptism in the Eastern Church ?)

(3) Holy Communion is to be administered in both kinds (this must mean separately, since the Eastern Church does not allow Communion in one kind), and only to adults of good moral life.

(4) Crosses and pictures in churches are not to be accorded religious veneration, but only to be used as reminders of our Lord's life and death.

(5) Burials are to be conducted 'according to the Calvinist rite.

(6) Nobody, either priest or layman, is to be hindered or dissuaded from joining the Reformed Church. They are to be treated with the same affection as the faithful adherents of the orthodox faith.

(7) A synod is to be held yearly, which all the Roumanian clergy are to attend, but the decision of any difficult points of dogma is to be submitted to the General Superintendent of the Protestant Church.

(Cool The superintendent is to have a vote in the election or deposition of a proto-pope just as much as the bishop, the members of his consistory court, and the clergy of the district concerned.

(9) All decisions of the bishop's consistory court in disputes between the clergy must be referred finally to the Protestant superintendent.

(10) A Roumanian priest may not marry or bury a Hungarian or baptize their children. Only in the case of a Roumanian marrying a Hungarian woman may the Roumanian priest perform the ceremony.

It is difficult to see how Stephen reconciled the acceptance of such regulations with his position as archbishop. However he professed at least an outward compliance, and allowed the Protestant Confession to be circulated and taught amongst his flock, though its appearance in the Danubian provinces was the signal for an outburst of horror and indignation.

The catechism was repudiated by a Synod of Roumanian bishops, held under the presidency of the Metropolitan of Moldavia, Barlaam, who undertook to refute it in a pastoral letter which he published in 1645. This energetic action on the part of the Roumanian bishops was of great value in checking the spread of Protestantism amongst their co-religionists in Transylvania. Stephen showed a scarcely less culpable weakness and negligence to the true interests of his church, when he consented, in 1651, to consecrate a monk named Peter Parthenius to the see of Munkacs, despite his well-known tendencies towards Roman Catholicism. But the Metropolitanate of Stephen was not without some cheering features. The translation of the Psalms into Roumanian was accomplished in 1651, followed later on by the whole of the New Testament.

Indeed the 'instruction' sent by Rakoczy i. to Stephen at his consecration insisted strongly on the exclusive use of the vernacular in the services of the Roumanian Church as well as in Bible reading and preaching. It is to be feared, however, that Rakoczy's object was not so much the spiritual advancement of the Roumanian Church as its detachment from its sister churches in Greece and beyond the Danube, with a view to propagating Protestant teaching amongst its members.
http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA25&dq=orthodox%20church%20in%20austria%20hungary%20Transylvania&ei=QC2CTdTeAYWRgQfMjvjGCA&ct=result&id=ZhjZAAAAMAAJ&output=text

Thanks. That was really interesting, I've heard of this but never saw these details. Munkacs is rhe same as Muchachevo, correct?
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« Reply #177 on: March 17, 2011, 02:07:18 PM »

And in English?

EDIT: The above is rhetorical, as I know of no one using an English title for the wife of a Priest. Find it odd.

It's not odd, because there isn't an English title other than "wife of the priest," which just doesn't sound right. 

I think the collection of geniuses here could develop one.

That being said. Your Priest is thoroughly a native English-speaker as is his wife and he is the Priest of an OCA parish of nearly all native-English speakers:

Which language does everyone choose to use? Or do the Priest and wife choose to use? Whichever "tradition" they like the best?


Given the Slavic background of the OCA as a whole, I've always heard and used "matushka" (similar to how we use "vladyka" for bishops).  I imagine in similar situations in the Antiochian Archdiocese, you hear "khouriya" (sp?) and "presbytera" in the GOA.  In general, they probably use the tradition they're most familiar with and are used to, rather than whichever one they "like."

I prefer "Master" for bishops because when I say "Bless, Vladyka" in an "Igor" voice, it's just not the same.
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« Reply #178 on: March 17, 2011, 02:25:54 PM »

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Thanks. That was really interesting, I've heard of this but never saw these details. Munkacs is rhe same as Muchachevo, correct?
Yeah, it's the same.
Hungarians were kind of as%$##&*(*( though, weather RC or Protestant.
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« Reply #179 on: March 17, 2011, 02:28:39 PM »

Thanks. That was really interesting, I've heard of this but never saw these details. Munkacs is rhe same as Muchachevo, correct?
Mukachevo, yes.  Once the Habsburgs were in a position to take Transylvania's autonomy after 1683 (defeat of the Ottomans at Vienna), they then tried to use the Orthodox as a bulwark agaisnt the Calvinists (as the Calvinists used them against the Vatican's hiearchy), leading to the HRE Leopold decreeing the Orthodox "reunited" to the Vatican a few decades later.
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« Reply #180 on: March 17, 2011, 05:43:07 PM »

Well, we are not in one of the "old countries", and if things are so wonderful there, people would not have left.  And yes, converts tend to be more questioning.  When you find out that you have been lied to for 20 or 30 years (or longer), you tend to test things a bit before you drink the Kool-aid (I can explain that phrase to you if they don't use it in the "old country").  One can be humble and at the same time avoid being just another one of sheeple. 

So those of us who think that simony has no place in the church are now Gnostics?

I don't know why you're following advice from non-Russians (including myself) in this thread because either they are trying to confuse you or you're trying to "stir the pot."

I concur with Father Ambrose - seek consultation from Church officials in St. Petersburg, RUSSIA not an Internet Forum.   Smiley

Honestly, I don't feel they are confusing me. I think I've gotten some fairly good answers to this, including the last one from katherineofdixie, and I felt weird about being the American guy who's being catechized here just going up to a Russian priest/official and asking about whether a certain practice at their parish is corrupt or not. I don't take the thoughts of anyone on here to be infallible at all, but the forum can be helpful. I suppose I'm just more interested in discussing faith, liturgy, etc. with my priest here, and would feel awkward attempting to articulate exactly how I felt about this issue to him.

As for the quote of mine above, I've gathered that the poster who called my/our attitude "cathar-like" just has his own approach, and may be trying to get a rise out of people with whom he does not agree.

Third, I don't want to be misinterpreted, again. I absolutely believe that parishioners have a duty to support their church, and that it is more than correct to give such honorariums to priests at many occasions, donate generously to their parish and especially to pay for things like candles, as the church has obviously paid for them. My concern is that folks who are unable to pay for sacraments, the things which above all else bring us to God, or who would be awfully compromised by it  (a position I am thankful to not be in), would be left out. Such people can choose to never eat out, and as such not be subject to tipping, but should they then choose to not attend church and partake in the sacraments, as well? This is why I find the issue slippery, especially in a country like Russia, where the state is very generous to the church.

Again, I think your concerns again are 100% legitimate. Personally, what I would do is talk to my priest, and tell him that this payment thing is kind of confusing/inconvenient, and I would ask him if I could instead make a "pledge" which will indicate what I plan on donating to the church over the course of the year so that he can better anticipate his budget and make it simpler on myself as well. Perhaps this may 'spark' an idea, and maybe over time he may encourage other parishoners to do the same. I find it difficult to see how he could object to such a notion.
Parishes do not operate like this in the Orthodox home-countries. Is there a Calvinist beneath every American? I hope not. What about just going with the flow? Doesn't that sound more humble, especially for a catechumen?
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« Reply #181 on: March 17, 2011, 05:43:51 PM »

A good question was raised at a clergy retreat I attended today: If the Lord were to pluck your parish off the Earth now, would the community miss it?  Would the poor, widows, homeless, orphans, unchurched, etc. miss it?

I have a feeling that if, objectively, the answer to the question is "yes," then your parish likely has no need to have minimum dues, or sacrament fees.

Amen!
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« Reply #182 on: March 17, 2011, 05:52:14 PM »

I'm also Romanian, grew up in Romania. Augustin is actually not that far off from Orthodox Romanian reality, at all, actually. Cheesy As cynical as it might sound...
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« Reply #183 on: March 17, 2011, 06:01:55 PM »

Since we call her husband "Father", what is wrong with calling her "Mother"?  That is pretty much the way the Russian and Serb words would translate anyway.


If so which do you use? I have seen Frederica Matthews-Green(?) referred in the Russian, Greek, etc. traditions.

That's a good question.  Maybe a mod can answer for us?

I would call the priest's wife the respectful title she is due - in whichever language she speaks.

 - Presbytera - Greek
 - Popadia/Papadiya - Serbian
 - Matushka - Russian
 - Pani Matushka/Pani Dobrodiyka - Ukrainian
 - Khouria - Syrian
 - etc.

Remember, the priest's wife is also due respect.  Her role in her parish is greater than any other woman's.



And in English?

EDIT: The above is rhetorical, as I know of no one using an English title for the wife of a Priest. Find it odd.
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« Reply #184 on: March 17, 2011, 06:07:07 PM »


That's true.

The priest is called "Batyushka" - Father
His wife is called "Matushka" - Mother

However, the word "Mother" might get confused with title given to a nun.
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« Reply #185 on: March 17, 2011, 06:12:10 PM »

I'm also Romanian, grew up in Romania. Augustin is actually not that far off from Orthodox Romanian reality, at all, actually. Cheesy As cynical as it might sound...

Would you promote the Orthodox Romanian reality as the standard which all Orthodox should imitate? Would you agree with him that Orthodox who object to simony are closet Calvinists?
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« Reply #186 on: March 17, 2011, 06:13:57 PM »


That's true.

The priest is called "Batyushka" - Father
His wife is called "Matushka" - Mother

However, the word "Mother" might get confused with title given to a nun.

True.  But that would not be so bad given that monks are called "Father", too.
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« Reply #187 on: March 17, 2011, 06:15:47 PM »

I'm also Romanian, grew up in Romania. Augustin is actually not that far off from Orthodox Romanian reality, at all, actually. Cheesy As cynical as it might sound...

Would you promote the Orthodox Romanian reality as the standard which all Orthodox should imitate? Would you agree with him that Orthodox who object to simony are closet Calvinists?
That isn't really simony. But perhaps you know something I do not know. And america is quite Calvinist, culturally. And it ain't me who said that.
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« Reply #188 on: March 17, 2011, 06:43:02 PM »

I'm also Romanian, grew up in Romania. Augustin is actually not that far off from Orthodox Romanian reality, at all, actually. Cheesy As cynical as it might sound...

Would you promote the Orthodox Romanian reality as the standard which all Orthodox should imitate? Would you agree with him that Orthodox who object to simony are closet Calvinists?

Well, I object to paying for blessings and prayers and the like too. Only that I can't do anything myself about it, so I'll go with the flow. What I am saying is that what Augustin is depicting is indeed a very real face of Orthodoxy. People shouldn't imitate it, no. But they should be aware that it exists and that it is considered a valid way of doing things is some parte of the world. No, Orthdoxy is not spotless.

Well, maybe Calvinists without realizing it. Cheesy
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« Reply #189 on: March 17, 2011, 06:44:41 PM »

And america is quite Calvinist, culturally. And it ain't me who said that.

No doubt.
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« Reply #190 on: March 17, 2011, 07:03:44 PM »

I'm also Romanian, grew up in Romania. Augustin is actually not that far off from Orthodox Romanian reality, at all, actually. Cheesy As cynical as it might sound...

Would you promote the Orthodox Romanian reality as the standard which all Orthodox should imitate? Would you agree with him that Orthodox who object to simony are closet Calvinists?
That isn't really simony. But perhaps you know something I do not know. And america is quite Calvinist, culturally. And it ain't me who said that.
And I don't think anyone has disagreed with that assessment, including myself. What we have disagreed with is your assumption that any of us who take issue with the practices we've been discussing do so as a result of some toxic American Calvinism.
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