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Author Topic: Payment for sacraments?  (Read 10014 times) Average Rating: 0
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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,
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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.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2011, 12:15:39 AM by Irish Hermit » Logged
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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.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2011, 03:46:37 AM by Irish Hermit » Logged
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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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