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Author Topic: does Orthodoxy have celebate parish priests?  (Read 3488 times) Average Rating: 0
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Tikhon.of.Colorado
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« on: February 21, 2011, 04:16:27 PM »

in my reading, I've found that it's traditional for parish priests to be married, but this isn't alwayse the case.  do we even have celebate, unmarried parish priests?  (and I don't mean priest-monks.)
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2011, 04:17:37 PM »

Yes, but not many.
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2011, 04:37:21 PM »

Yes, but not many.

This. Actually, the Russian Orthodox Church has recently discouraged the ordination of young celibate men to the diaconiate and priesthood. There is an article in the Christian News section here about it.

We definitely prefer married priests to be in our parishes. The only times celibate priests are usually found is when a parish is desparate for a priest and is being served by a hieromonk, or when a married priest's wife reposes and the priest remains at the parish as a non-monastic priest (although they sometimes accept tonsuring while remaining at the parish.)

I believe this was done by Hieromonk Matthias, the Bishop-elect of the OCA's Diocese of the Midwest, although he may have ceased serving as a parish priest prior to his tonsure yet not before the passing his his wife, Pani Jeannette. I know he served as the spiritual father of a female monastery and orphanage for a time.
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2011, 04:38:24 PM »

Avoid Ordaining Celibate Young Men

The MP Archpastoral Council, at its present session in Moscow, found it
necessary to limit the practise of ordaining young celibate men to the
clerical state.

 In a special resolution published on Thursday, the bishops resolved, "We
regard the practise of ordaining celibate men not in monastic orders,
especially those not previously married, as not being according to the usual
norms". Having considered the matter, and taking into account the decisions
made by the all-Russian Council of 1918 and the MP Holy Synod in January
1931, the bishops decreed that the ordination of celibate men not in
monastic orders shouldn't occur before the candidate reaches the age of 30,
and "only after the ordaining bishop conducts a thorough examination of
him".

A celibate candidate for ordination not in the monastic state must first
complete their seminary, academic, or other higher theological education. If
he takes external courses not in residence, he must pass at least three
years internship in a diocesan cathedral, a Patriarchal or diocesan
metochion, or a large urban parish or monastery with the blessing of the
ruling bishop and under the general supervision and guidance of an
experienced priest.

3 February 2011

Original Source
http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=39376

English translation
http://02varvara.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/mp-archpastoral-council-tightens-restrictions-on-the-ordination-of-non-monastic-celibates-to-the-clergy/


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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2011, 04:40:04 PM »

Yes, but not many.

Agreed - yes, but not many.  I would include Priest-monks in the number, since many (maybe most, I don't know) hieromonks who serve parishes are separated from their monasteries and, thus, are in the same situation.
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2011, 04:46:07 PM »

I hope I'll not be moderated for telling this anecdote, but there was a young idealistic seminarian from around us that wanted to become a celibate priest. When he met the bishop he yelled at him:"What's the matter with you, aren't your tools working?".
That was the end of his dream.
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2011, 05:29:22 PM »

in my reading, I've found that it's traditional for parish priests to be married, but this isn't alwayse the case.  do we even have celebate, unmarried parish priests?  (and I don't mean priest-monks.)
In the Eastern Slavic tradition, no there is a history of not having "celibate" priests in parishes.  This goes back to a church council in the 13th century.
Then after the Russian Revolution, some hieromonks were placed in parishes in the former Soviet Union because of the shortage of priests and communist persecution.
Hieromonks serve in monasteries and married clergy in parishes.
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2011, 05:29:50 PM »

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

In Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, it is the traditional norm to have a parish priest resided over by a married priest, called a Kesis, who is a kind of priest (kohenat in Amharic) but is not a celibate.  There are three grades of priests in Tewahedo Church structure, the monastic priests, the married priests, and the ranking bishops.  Not every monastic is a priest, and technically once previously ordained priests take on monastic orders they do not generally lead celebrations of the Divine Liturgy or other Divine Mysteries.  This is most often reserved for the married priests and the Bishops.  

Interestingly, this is the opposite of most Roman Catholic parishes, which are held strictly by celebrate parish priests, and further because they do not have co-celebration of the Divine Liturgy, they prefer solitary priests at that.  I have been told that historically, this is part of the legal battles over Church land and taxes, as a married priest, in the instance of divorace would threaten the security of Church holdings.  I understand that in Orthodox traditionally all the financial holdings were not held in authority of local priests, but rather the Bishop (who is of course celibate) where as in the Catholic tradition some finances are headed by local priests (who are also celibate).  Could this play into the development of married priests for Orthodox parishes and not in the Catholic?

I would assume that the preference for married priests in Orthodox is related to the Apostles declarations the the heads of the churches also be good heads of their own family households.  Married priests are better equipped to deal with the family and social matters of parish life which is their rightful ministry.  Celibate monks are often good at this precisely because many are widowers or at least were previously married family men and so they have good experience in such things.  People need clergy they can relate to for the spiritual advice and support within the contexts and politics of our family and social lives.

Again, we in Tewahedo then explicitly prefer married priests to head local parishes ( reverently under the Bishops) it is even in some aspects of Church Law and Canon (though not strictly enforced in accord to local circumstances) for Divine Services (such as Communion, Reconciliation, Baptism, Marriage).  

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2011, 06:00:36 PM »

Interesting that Ahramic uses the word kohenat for an Orthodox priest. The word in Biblical Hebrew for an Levite priest is kohen. Obviously cognates. This is interesting because the Greek word for priest is hieros. This is not the word used for New Testament priests. Rather, they are called presbyteros, "elders." This was shortened to "prest" and then "priest" in English to get the modern form. Sometimes, though, we will still refer to our priests as "presbyers." The most common occurance of this I can think of is referring to the specific rank of the priesthood known as the "protopresbyter." I don't know why this is, I guess "protopriest" just sounds funny.

Quote
I would assume that the preference for married priests in Orthodox is related to the Apostles declarations the the heads of the churches also be good heads of their own family households.  Married priests are better equipped to deal with the family and social matters of parish life which is their rightful ministry.

The history of celibacy tied with holy orders is an interesting one. It is my understanding that the Twelve lived celibate lives after receiving the Holy Spirit and leading the Church, even those who were married (among them being St. Peter). None had children.

Then, being a priest or bishop, one was respected when he chose to live a celibate life, but it was not required. The early Church had married priests and bishops.

However, at one point very early (this is only my second-hand understanding, so please correct if I'm mistaken) the idea was pushed that priests and bishops should be celibate, either as single men or participating in a white marriage. This, for obvious reasons, caused some problems. The East and the West took different routes to solve the problem. The Roman Church opted to have only celibate, unmarried priests. The Eastern Churches opted to allow priests to marry and have children. By this time, monasticism had been clearly established and it was decided that only monastics could serve as bishops. This canon was very early and is observed by every historically apostolic church, both Eastern (EO, OO, etc.) and Western (Roman).

Quote
Not every monastic is a priest, and technically once previously ordained priests take on monastic orders they do not generally lead celebrations of the Divine Liturgy or other Divine Mysteries.

This is interesting. Of course not every priest is monastic (this is even true for the Roman Catholic priests, even though they are required to be celibate, they do not automatically receive monastic tonsure). But are you saying that a previously-married priest that is later tonsured in monastic life does not usually serve Liturgy? I find that quite peculiar. I've never heard of there being a stigma attached to previously non-monastics priests serving liturgy after their tonsure.

As a matter of fact, Archimandrite Matthias that I mentioned above is a prime example. A married priest who become a hieromonk, and now he's to be consecrated a bishop!

Another prime example is St. Innocent of Alaska, who had been a married priest. Once his wife passed away, he was consecrated a bishop, and eventually become the Metropolitan of Moscow and All Rus'.
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« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2011, 06:03:20 PM »

None had children.

Hmm.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Petronilla
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« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2011, 07:30:05 PM »

thanks, everyone for the answers! 

then, what about my friend who is a seminarian?  he is about to be ordained a deacon, but is out of seminary trying to find a wife.  what if he never finds a wife?  will he just not be ordained?
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« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2011, 08:43:28 PM »

However, at one point very early (this is only my second-hand understanding, so please correct if I'm mistaken) the idea was pushed that priests and bishops should be celibate, either as single men or participating in a white marriage. This, for obvious reasons, caused some problems. The East and the West took different routes to solve the problem. The Roman Church opted to have only celibate, unmarried priests. The Eastern Churches opted to allow priests to marry and have children. By this time, monasticism had been clearly established and it was decided that only monastics could serve as bishops. This canon was very early and is observed by every historically apostolic church, both Eastern (EO, OO, etc.) and Western (Roman).

Quote
Not every monastic is a priest, and technically once previously ordained priests take on monastic orders they do not generally lead celebrations of the Divine Liturgy or other Divine Mysteries.

This is interesting. Of course not every priest is monastic (this is even true for the Roman Catholic priests, even though they are required to be celibate, they do not automatically receive monastic tonsure). But are you saying that a previously-married priest that is later tonsured in monastic life does not usually serve Liturgy? I find that quite peculiar. I've never heard of there being a stigma attached to previously non-monastics priests serving liturgy after their tonsure.


Yes as I understand it, in Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the ideal is for monk-priests not to celebrate (ie, lead) the Divine Liturgy or even necessarily conduct other Divine Mysteries such as Baptisms and Weddings. They are of course allowed to stand at the Altar (as they are still priests, and only ordained clergy and deacons can stand "in" the Altar of Ethiopian churches at ANY time) during these Services but are not supposed to lead them.  However, in a jam, so  long as the monk-priest is indeed an ordained priest, then he is allowed to celebrate the Mysteries.  Especially in the remoter rural areas or here in the United States, this is becoming a bit more common place for monk-priests to celebrate the Mysteries, however it sometimes offends the sentiments of older, old-country parishioners who are accustomed to a bit more traditionalism.  In the Liturgy schools in Ethiopia young monks are not taught the Divine Liturgy, rather they learn the Psalter, the Mahalet (Vigil hymns) and the Se'at (Hours prayers), only those monks who were previously trained priests tend to have been taught the Liturgy proper (and with 14 anaphora in three different tones this is quite and education in and of itself). 

I wonder the historical connections for the time frame when the Canons shifted towards defining married and unmarried priests and also defining Church land and revenue ownership.  It was a Roman Catholic historian who explained to me the connections between land ownership and celibacy in the Catholic tradition, but I am curious its related history specifically in Orthodox.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2011, 09:04:45 PM »

The history of celibacy tied with holy orders is an interesting one. It is my understanding that the Twelve lived celibate lives after receiving the Holy Spirit and leading the Church, even those who were married (among them being St. Peter). None had children.

Then, being a priest or bishop, one was respected when he chose to live a celibate life, but it was not required. The early Church had married priests and bishops.

However, at one point very early (this is only my second-hand understanding, so please correct if I'm mistaken) the idea was pushed that priests and bishops should be celibate,
Another prime example is St. Innocent of Alaska, who had been a married priest. Once his wife passed away, he was consecrated a bishop, and eventually become the Metropolitan of Moscow and All Rus'.



I see that you are not yet a member of the Orthodox Church.  Your post has so many mistakes that I think it would be useful for you to read this book:
Constantelos, Demetrios J. Marriage, Sexuality and Celibacy: A Greek Orthodox Perspective. Minneapolis: Light & Life, 1975.

Most of the bishops in the Eastern Slavic Orthodox churches before the Russian Revolution were widowers like St. Innocent.
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« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2011, 09:06:28 PM »

thanks, everyone for the answers! 

then, what about my friend who is a seminarian?  he is about to be ordained a deacon, but is out of seminary trying to find a wife.  what if he never finds a wife?  will he just not be ordained?

Maybe you really mean he is about to be ordained a sub-deacon.  A man can be a sub-deacon and still marry before he is a deacon.
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« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2011, 09:14:33 PM »

Just one slight correction to something stated in several posts.

In the Orthodox Church Priests can't marry but men who are already married can become Priests. That is why seminarians  get married before they are Ordained.
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« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2011, 04:13:50 AM »

thanks, everyone for the answers! 

then, what about my friend who is a seminarian?  he is about to be ordained a deacon, but is out of seminary trying to find a wife.  what if he never finds a wife?  will he just not be ordained?

Maybe you really mean he is about to be ordained a sub-deacon.  A man can be a sub-deacon and still marry before he is a deacon.

No, he can't. A man can become a reader blessed to act as subdeacon but not a subdeacon itself.
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« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2011, 05:57:34 AM »

I guess if a priest's wife died and he stayed in parish minstry he would then be a celibate parish priest.
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« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2011, 09:27:17 AM »

thanks, everyone for the answers! 

then, what about my friend who is a seminarian?  he is about to be ordained a deacon, but is out of seminary trying to find a wife.  what if he never finds a wife?  will he just not be ordained?

Maybe you really mean he is about to be ordained a sub-deacon.  A man can be a sub-deacon and still marry before he is a deacon.

This is one place where administrative separation (i.e. overlapping jurisdictions) has been problematic in the US.  The Churches under the EP do not allow men to marry after becoming subdeacons (following the canon of Penthekte that forbids the practice); however, the OCA and AOA do ordain subdeacons and allow them to marry afterward (before becoming deacons, if that is the course of action for them) - this they have done in order to "resurrect" the nearly defunct order of subdeacons and to allow many parishes to have them, and in practice they have often ordained young men as subdeacons to encourage them to remain active in parish life after the usual period of service as an acolyte has ended.  Someone attempted to explain to me that they were a "blessed" rather than "ordained" subdeacon, as if this was the "way around" the canonical prohibition.  I'm not sure if this was accurate, but it doesn't necessarily matter to me, as I'm in a jurisdiction where the question is moot.

So technically, no, a man cannot marry after being ordained a subdeacon; however, that answer is not universal according to the jurisdictional practices in the US.
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« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2011, 10:08:19 AM »

In The Serbian Church ,The Late Bishop Dionisija Allowed A Deacon To Marry Again After his wife either left him, or she may of passed away.....Because he said he couldn't live without a woman in his life..... Grin

Can Bishops allow economy in situations like this , like this Bishop did .......Curious
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« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2011, 10:12:23 AM »

thanks, everyone for the answers! 

then, what about my friend who is a seminarian?  he is about to be ordained a deacon, but is out of seminary trying to find a wife.  what if he never finds a wife?  will he just not be ordained?

That's up to him and his bishop. Once he is ordained a deacon, he can never marry (unless he decides to first leave the ranks of the clergy). So, either he waits to get ordained until he is married (very common), or, after a certain number of years, he and his bishop may agree that he'll never end up getting married and that it is therefore OK to proceed to ordination with the understanding that he'll always remain celibate.

It's not the norm by any means, but there are indeed life-long celibate parish clergy in most Orthodox jurisdictions. I can think of about 20 off the top of my head. That's not a high percentage of clergy, considering there are at least 2,000 Orthodox priests in the United States, but it's not unheard of. My parish priest is one of them, actually. Some of these life-long celibate parish clergy are technically tonsured, but they never spent any real time in a monastery (monk's in name only); others are simply celibate men.
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« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2011, 10:12:55 AM »

I hope I'll not be moderated for telling this anecdote, but there was a young idealistic seminarian from around us that wanted to become a celibate priest. When he met the bishop he yelled at him:"What's the matter with you, aren't your tools working?".
That was the end of his dream.


Now This Is Funny......Like It...... Grin
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« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2011, 10:18:29 AM »

In The Serbian Church ,The Late Bishop Dionisija Allowed A deacon To Marry Again After his wife either left him, or she may of passed away.....Because he said he couldn't live without a woman in his life..... Grin

Can Bishops allow economy in situations like this , like this Bishop did .......Curious

Well, obviously he can, because he did. Should he have done so is another question. That depends on who you talk to. But the only opinion that matters is that of the bishop himself, in consultation with and in obedience to his synod. No one else has the canonical standing to decide where, when, and how economy should be applied.
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« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2011, 11:01:52 AM »


The article seems unsure if St. Petronilla lived in the 1st or 3rd centuries (the latter would mean she was certainly not the daughter of St. Peter). I also can't find this saint, or any of her variants, on Orthodox websites. A Google search turns up no Orthodox sources about a daughter of St. Peter, and she does not appear on the OCA Lives of the Saints. Only one Orthodox source mentions a "St. Petronilla" in another hagiography on the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, as them being foster sisters. There is no mention of St. Peter. Further, the wiki article claims she is only venerated in the Roman Catholic Church, and not the Orthodox Church.

I'll gladly accept correction, so please disprove me, but I've always heard that the Orthodox tradition being that none of the Twelve had children.

Yes as I understand it, in Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the ideal is for monk-priests not to celebrate (ie, lead) the Divine Liturgy or even necessarily conduct other Divine Mysteries such as Baptisms and Weddings. They are of course allowed to stand at the Altar (as they are still priests, and only ordained clergy and deacons can stand "in" the Altar of Ethiopian churches at ANY time) during these Services but are not supposed to lead them.

Wait, you are saying that this typically only applies to monks that were previously priests...right? It would be quite difficult for monasteries to conduct divine services if they could not ordain their own priests. The usual avoidance of weddings makes sense to me, though. I believe there is a blanket prohibition on monastics attending both weddings and funerals, since they are celibates that have already died to the world, in the EO Church.

Interesting about only priests and deacons serving in the altar. Is there no taper-bearer in the Ethiopian tradition? I thought that the order was universal throughout the Church. Of course, it does not exist in Eastern Orthodoxy at all anymore, having been attached to the duties of the tonsured reader, and practically carried out by laymen who are simply blessed to serve in the altar.


I see that you are not yet a member of the Orthodox Church.  Your post has so many mistakes that I think it would be useful for you to read this book:
Constantelos, Demetrios J. Marriage, Sexuality and Celibacy: A Greek Orthodox Perspective. Minneapolis: Light & Life, 1975.

Most of the bishops in the Eastern Slavic Orthodox churches before the Russian Revolution were widowers like St. Innocent.

I don't see a point to your post. Huh

I said that this was "my understanding." There are several theories about celibacy and the early Church that I have heard, Constantelos does not have a corner on the market. I'm familiar with his works. If you seem to think I've made so many horrible mistakes (the non-faithful, ignorant catechumen that I am), please point them out and discuss our disagreements rather than flatly "correcting the newbie." It's quite condescending and not appreciated. I'll gladly admit I'm wrong, but talk with me about it and convince me, and please don't insist instead on simply proclaiming my error from on high.

And I never said anything about Slavic Churches using or not using widowers...I simply sighted St. Innocent as an example of such...Huh
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« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2011, 11:20:38 AM »

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

In Ethiopian Orthodox Tweaked Church, it is the traditional norm to have a parish priest resided over by a married priest, called a Jesus, who is a kind of priest (Kent in Amharic) but is not a celibate.  There are three grades of priests in Tweaked Church structure, the monastic priests, the married priests, and the ranking bishops.  
There is no such thing as "Grades" of Priests. In Ethiopia if you are a priest, it is optional to be married or not. But it is obvious to stay unmarried to fullfill his spiritual duty.
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« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2011, 11:48:14 AM »

I also can't find this saint, or any of her variants, on Orthodox websites. A Google search turns up no Orthodox sources about a daughter of St. Peter, and she does not appear on the OCA Lives of the Saints. Only one Orthodox source mentions a "St. Petronilla" in another hagiography on the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, as them being foster sisters. There is no mention of St. Peter. Further, the wiki article claims she is only venerated in the Roman Catholic Church, and not the Orthodox Church.

There are hundreds of Saints that are not mentioned on websites of the OCA, AOA or Wikipedia.
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« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2011, 12:22:09 PM »

I am a little skeptical that none of the Apostles had children. In their culture to be married as several were and not have kids would have been seen as a curse.

I think the Church simply had no interest in a hereditary Priesthood, so the story grew that they were all childless. I am just speculating of course.
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« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2011, 12:51:19 PM »

Quote
I think the Church simply had no interest in a hereditary Priesthood, so the story grew that they were all childless. I am just speculating of course.
What is "hereditary Priesthood"?
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« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2011, 02:56:39 PM »

There are hundreds of Saints that are not mentioned on websites of the OCA, AOA or Wikipedia.


Truth, but their lack of being mentioned does not mean they do exist, either.

I am a little skeptical that none of the Apostles had children. In their culture to be married as several were and not have kids would have been seen as a curse.

I think the Church simply had no interest in a hereditary Priesthood, so the story grew that they were all childless. I am just speculating of course.

I would be skeptical about a lot of the lives of saints passed down. Some are pretty far-fetched. I would go as far to say that there would be no reason for them not to have children, and should have, except that they became the leaders of the New Testament Church and would need to dedicate their whole lives to the spread of the Gospel. This doesn't mean they would have to be celibate, but it would make family life difficult.

Ultimately, it doesn't really matter whether they did or not, but I have always heard that they did not, and I think it makes sense in light of their positions within the Church. It's not like the Orthodox faith hangs on it either way.

Likewise, the Faith does not hang on whether or not St. Seraphim of Sarov tamed bears or if St. Nicholas Planas levitated during the Divine Liturgy. Yet, these happenings are often approved of and passed on by the Church. They are not necessary to our salvation, but Orthodoxy is not a minimalistic faith.

What is "hereditary Priesthood"?

The passing-down of the role of the priesthood from father to son, instead of ordaining individuals regardless of their genetic lineage. The Levitical priesthood was hereditary.
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« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2011, 04:37:40 PM »

Quote
I think the Church simply had no interest in a hereditary Priesthood, so the story grew that they were all childless. I am just speculating of course.
What is "hereditary Priesthood"?

The Job of Priest would go to the son of the current Priest.

They have this in Japan among the Buddhists. The son gets the gig after the old man retires or dies.
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« Reply #29 on: February 22, 2011, 04:43:03 PM »

Quote
I think the Church simply had no interest in a hereditary Priesthood, so the story grew that they were all childless. I am just speculating of course.
What is "hereditary Priesthood"?

The Job of Priest would go to the son of the current Priest.

They have this in Japan among the Buddhists. The son gets the gig after the old man retires or dies.
I hear this is why the vatican doesn't let priests marry.
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« Reply #30 on: February 22, 2011, 04:45:23 PM »

Quote
I think the Church simply had no interest in a hereditary Priesthood, so the story grew that they were all childless. I am just speculating of course.
What is "hereditary Priesthood"?

The Job of Priest would go to the son of the current Priest.

They have this in Japan among the Buddhists. The son gets the gig after the old man retires or dies.
I hear this is why the vatican doesn't let priests marry.

I have heard that too. I think they did not want  valuable properties held in private hands and then passed down.
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« Reply #31 on: February 22, 2011, 04:57:32 PM »

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



Wait, you are saying that this typically only applies to monks that were previously priests...right? It would be quite difficult for monasteries to conduct divine services if they could not ordain their own priests. The usual avoidance of weddings makes sense to me, though. I believe there is a blanket prohibition on monastics attending both weddings and funerals, since they are celibates that have already died to the world, in the EO Church.

Interesting about only priests and deacons serving in the altar. Is there no taper-bearer in the Ethiopian tradition? I thought that the order was universal throughout the Church. Of course, it does not exist in Eastern Orthodoxy at all anymore, having been attached to the duties of the tonsured reader, and practically carried out by laymen who are simply blessed to serve in the altar.



Not every monk is excluded from celebrating (ie, leading/conducting) these services at all, but rather the tradition is in regards to hieromonks in local parishes.  Further, the "abbot" of Ethiopian monastery holds a kind of distinction and esteem similar to local bishops and so is of course even preferred to lead the Divine Mysteries in honor.

In regards to the sacredness of the Altar, yes only ordained priests and deacons may enter "into" the Altar and even there, only the priests can touch or hold the even more sacred Tabot (altar stone) which is what defines a Church in the first place.  We are all named in baptism after the local tabot and it is what makes a church building actually a church proper, and it is the center of our worship life.   Those in the Tewahedo Church are are equivalent to the Orthodox taper-bearer, the debtera (unordained clerics who conduct administrative but also musical/liturgical services in the Vigils) are not allowed near the Altar proper, rather assist in the Reception of the Offering by the people when it is brought out of the Altar into the sanctuary where the people receive it.  No unordained person can ever enter the Altar (except perhaps in the case of an emergency of some kind of construction and even then, with hundreds of thousands of priests in Ethiopia there is often a priest available equally capable of performing the needed task while maintaining the strictness of the prohibition).

Ethiopian Christianity reveres the Altar and the Altar Stone with the literally same bewildering even fearful veneration the Old Testament worshipers gave the Tabernacle/Temple and the Ark of the Covenant.  It is beyond superstition, it is living and keenly operative faith in the power of God to work  in the physical world directly, tangibly, and we are duty bound to respect this Divine activity, just as the Apostle Paul explained in Hebrews 12.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #32 on: February 22, 2011, 05:00:24 PM »

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



Wait, you are saying that this typically only applies to monks that were previously priests...right? It would be quite difficult for monasteries to conduct divine services if they could not ordain their own priests. The usual avoidance of weddings makes sense to me, though. I believe there is a blanket prohibition on monastics attending both weddings and funerals, since they are celibates that have already died to the world, in the EO Church.

Interesting about only priests and deacons serving in the altar. Is there no taper-bearer in the Ethiopian tradition? I thought that the order was universal throughout the Church. Of course, it does not exist in Eastern Orthodoxy at all anymore, having been attached to the duties of the tonsured reader, and practically carried out by laymen who are simply blessed to serve in the altar.



Not every monk is excluded from celebrating (ie, leading/conducting) these services at all, but rather the tradition is in regards to hieromonks in local parishes.  Further, the "abbot" of Ethiopian monastery holds a kind of distinction and esteem similar to local bishops and so is of course even preferred to lead the Divine Mysteries in honor.

In regards to the sacredness of the Altar, yes only ordained priests and deacons may enter "into" the Altar and even there, only the priests can touch or hold the even more sacred Tabot (altar stone) which is what defines a Church in the first place.  We are all named in baptism after the local tabot and it is what makes a church building actually a church proper, and it is the center of our worship life.   Those in the Tewahedo Church are are equivalent to the Orthodox taper-bearer, the debtera (unordained clerics who conduct administrative but also musical/liturgical services in the Vigils) are not allowed near the Altar proper, rather assist in the Reception of the Offering by the people when it is brought out of the Altar into the sanctuary where the people receive it.  No unordained person can ever enter the Altar (except perhaps in the case of an emergency of some kind of construction and even then, with hundreds of thousands of priests in Ethiopia there is often a priest available equally capable of performing the needed task while maintaining the strictness of the prohibition).

Ethiopian Christianity reveres the Altar and the Altar Stone with the literally same bewildering even fearful veneration the Old Testament worshipers gave the Tabernacle/Temple and the Ark of the Covenant.  It is beyond superstition, it is living and keenly operative faith in the power of God to work  in the physical world directly, tangibly, and we are duty bound to respect this Divine activity, just as the Apostle Paul explained in Hebrews 12.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
\


this is very interesting!  thanks for teaching us about the Ethiopian Church. 
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« Reply #33 on: February 22, 2011, 05:10:04 PM »

thanks, everyone for the answers! 

then, what about my friend who is a seminarian?  he is about to be ordained a deacon, but is out of seminary trying to find a wife.  what if he never finds a wife?  will he just not be ordained?

Maybe you really mean he is about to be ordained a sub-deacon.  A man can be a sub-deacon and still marry before he is a deacon.

No, he can't. A man can become a reader blessed to act as subdeacon but not a subdeacon itself.
Are you giving the rules for the Polish orthodox Church only?
Because the rule varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  In is common for seminary students who are at the end of their final or 4th year to be ordained a sub-deacon even if unmarried because it gives them time to get married before they are ordained a deacon.
Some people think it is good for seminarians to spend some time in the working world while they are looking fior a wife.
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« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2011, 05:36:19 PM »

Are you giving the rules for the Polish orthodox Church only?

Nope. As has been pointed out, there are canons which prohibit the marriage of a subdeacon after tonsure. The Roman Catholics could correct me here, as I could easily be wrong, but I believe the subdeaconiate in the West is considered a major order.

Some local churches, including my own, have granted economy on the issue in order to revive this fairly defunct office. I'm not sure why it is so important to revive the subdiaconate that economy of this magnitude was granted. The main role of the subdeacon is to serve with the bishop, and vest him during the Liturgy. Without a bishop serving, he becomes a glorified altar server. We surely don't need a subdeacon in every parish. Several at a cathedral, some to travel with the bishop (most likely monastics), but I don't see a need beyond this, unless I'm missing something.
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« Reply #35 on: February 22, 2011, 05:36:51 PM »

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I believe there is a blanket prohibition on monastics attending both weddings and funerals, since they are celibates that have already died to the world, in the EO Church.

Not quite. It is not uncommon for bishops (who are, after all, celibate, and drawn from monastic ranks) to conduct weddings and funerals - indeed, it is usually a bishop who serves a funeral for a deceased priest, and more than one bishop for the funeral of a deceased bishop. The funeral of an archbishop, metropolitan or patriarch brings out crowds of bishops.

In the past two years, I have attended two weddings where bishops conducted the service, one was for a priest's daughter, the other for a priest's son.
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« Reply #36 on: February 22, 2011, 06:03:11 PM »

Quote
I believe there is a blanket prohibition on monastics attending both weddings and funerals, since they are celibates that have already died to the world, in the EO Church.

Not quite. It is not uncommon for bishops (who are, after all, celibate, and drawn from monastic ranks) to conduct weddings and funerals - indeed, it is usually a bishop who serves a funeral for a deceased priest, and more than one bishop for the funeral of a deceased bishop. The funeral of an archbishop, metropolitan or patriarch brings out crowds of bishops.

In the past two years, I have attended two weddings where bishops conducted the service, one was for a priest's daughter, the other for a priest's son.

Interesting. I didn't realize it was that common for bishops to conduct weddings. Of course, the funeral makes sense.

Bishops are in an interesting position. They are monastics, called to live vary ascetically in their personal lives, and yet have flocks which are in the world that they must travel to, care for and interact with regularly, and so a lot of the "traditional monastic things" can't be as strictly applied. Bishops attend weddings and funerals, bishops eat meat, etc.
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« Reply #37 on: February 22, 2011, 11:18:08 PM »

The priest at the parish I attended in Naples, FL was celibate. I believe he was in his late 30s, early 40s when he was ordained, which was 5 years ago. The parish's priest had died, so Fr. Gleb volunteered to become the parish priest because they desperately needed one and he knew the services really well. He forsook marriage to serve his fellow Orthodox. I found that to be admirable.

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« Reply #38 on: February 23, 2011, 10:41:15 AM »

Some local churches, including my own, have granted economy on the issue in order to revive this fairly defunct office. I'm not sure why it is so important to revive the subdiaconate that economy of this magnitude was granted. The main role of the subdeacon is to serve with the bishop, and vest him during the Liturgy. Without a bishop serving, he becomes a glorified altar server. We surely don't need a subdeacon in every parish. Several at a cathedral, some to travel with the bishop (most likely monastics), but I don't see a need beyond this, unless I'm missing something.

My husband is a subdeacon and gives thanks to God to be a glorified altar server. He is grateful for and humbled by the opportunity to serve in the Holy Altar at any time, and takes his responsibilities seriously. We have several subdeacons in our parish and they are all devout men with servant's hearts, active in many roles in our parish.
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« Reply #39 on: February 23, 2011, 10:43:34 AM »

Interesting. I didn't realize it was that common for bishops to conduct weddings. Of course, the funeral makes sense.

It's fairly common. A GOA bishop that I know probably conducts several weddings, baptisms and funerals every month, and also celebrates the Divine Liturgy weekly in the Metropolis chapel, as a priest.
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« Reply #40 on: February 23, 2011, 10:53:10 AM »

Quote
I believe there is a blanket prohibition on monastics attending both weddings and funerals, since they are celibates that have already died to the world, in the EO Church.

Not quite. It is not uncommon for bishops (who are, after all, celibate, and drawn from monastic ranks) to conduct weddings and funerals - indeed, it is usually a bishop who serves a funeral for a deceased priest, and more than one bishop for the funeral of a deceased bishop. The funeral of an archbishop, metropolitan or patriarch brings out crowds of bishops.

In the past two years, I have attended two weddings where bishops conducted the service, one was for a priest's daughter, the other for a priest's son.

I don't think the example you've given is quite germane, as (a) a bishop ceases being a monk at his ordination (when his obedience to the Abbot is broken and he leaves the monastery), and (b) it would be ludicrous to insinuate that the successors of the Apostles would be limited from performing sacraments, hence even if one considered a bishop still a monk their status as a bishop "outranks" any applicable prohibition.

The prohibitions, iirc, are that no weddings are to be done at monasteries, and baptisms are discouraged.  But I've seen hieromonks concelebrate weddings and other sacraments at various parishes (there was 1 at my own wedding).
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« Reply #41 on: February 23, 2011, 11:09:18 AM »

Interesting. I didn't realize it was that common for bishops to conduct weddings. Of course, the funeral makes sense.

It's common enough, but not as common as a parish priest.  Many people tend to not invite hierarchs to serve their weddings because of the assumed lengthening that comes with hierarchical services (even though there is no lengthening to a wedding by merely having a bishop present; now, having 8 couples in the wedding party... that's a different story! Wink ).

Bishops are in an interesting position. They are monastics, called to live vary ascetically in their personal lives, and yet have flocks which are in the world that they must travel to, care for and interact with regularly, and so a lot of the "traditional monastic things" can't be as strictly applied. Bishops attend weddings and funerals, bishops eat meat, etc. 

They are in an interesting position, but they're not really monks anymore, at least de facto.  A monk lives in obedience to the Abbot and typikon of his monastery; a monk is not to leave his monastery; a monk has no property or possessions in their name (outside of their garments, icons, and prayer rope); etc.  The Bishop is in obedience to Christ and his synod, not an abbot; he has a diocese to travel around and through; he typically has an income and property/possessions that are his (i.e. a house he can retire to, etc.).  They ususally come from the ranks of monasticism, and if they are defrocked (laicized is an inappropriate term in this context) they are returned to the status of a monk (maybe we can call it "monkicized"), and very frequently do their best to live like a monk in the world, but they are first and foremost bishops, successors of the Apostles, etc.
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« Reply #42 on: February 23, 2011, 11:42:47 AM »

I guess if a priest's wife died and he stayed in parish minstry he would then be a celibate parish priest.
No he is/was called a widowed priest.  In the old days, after the priest's children had grown up, he retired to a monastery and became a monk.  Or had his children sent off to boarding schools and became a monk.  of course he still kept in touch with them.  In the Russian empire they even had special schools for priests' daughters because most of them ended up marrying priests.  In addition to the usual subjects and theology they also learned house keeping and especially to prepare Lenten foods and how to prepare a meal for a visting bishop.
If a widowed priest decided to re-marry, then he was no longer a priest and wa usually given a job in the local eparchy consistory as a clerk or as a primary teacher.  But this was rare and most widowed priests became monks.

Retired bishops also retired to monasteries to live out the remainder of their days in pray.
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« Reply #43 on: February 23, 2011, 11:46:49 AM »

The history of celibacy tied with holy orders is an interesting one. It is my understanding that the Twelve lived celibate lives after receiving the Holy Spirit and leading the Church, even those who were married (among them being St. Peter). None had children.

Just to set the record straight here, I hope you are not saying that only celebate men were respected and that married clergy were not respected as much.
There is no evidence at all to supose that the apostles lead celebate lives after Pentecost or that they did not have children.
This is certainly not Orthodox tradition & I don't know where you are getting it from.
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« Reply #44 on: February 23, 2011, 11:47:48 AM »

Quote from: Fr. George link=topic=33923.msg536527#msg536527
They are in an interesting position, but they're not really monks anymore, at least [i
de facto[/i].  A monk lives in obedience to the Abbot and typikon of his monastery; a monk is not to leave his monastery; a monk has no property or possessions in their name (outside of their garments, icons, and prayer rope); etc.  The Bishop is in obedience to Christ and his synod, not an abbot; he has a diocese to travel around and through; he typically has an income and property/possessions that are his (i.e. a house he can retire to, etc.).  They ususally come from the ranks of monasticism, and if they are defrocked (laicized is an inappropriate term in this context) they are returned to the status of a monk (maybe we can call it "monkicized"), and very frequently do their best to live like a monk in the world, but they are first and foremost bishops, successors of the Apostles, etc.

Father, bless.

Absolutely, no argument. Bishops work to be in both roles (bishops and monastics) but their episcopacy comes first. Would you say that the same is true of hieromonks and hierodeacons, albiet to a lesser degree? They are called to live monastically, but are also bound to be priests and deacons, acting and serving as such, whether they are currently at a monastery or not?

Perhaps it is considered a technicality, but are not all bishops to be tonsured as monastics? I have been under the impression that if a priest is not a monastic and is to be consecrated as a bishop, he must first receive monastic tonsure. Am I mistaken, Father?

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