If the marriage bond is totally broken, why all the scriptural and patristic encouragement of widow(er)s not to remarriage, and the condemnation of remarriage with no reference to whether the former spouse is living?
Perhaps you could provide some scriptural and patristic words regarding marriage as an eternal bond? Is it not enough that the Lord said:
And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
There is also:
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Above it seems clear that the Lord intended in marriage for a husband and wife to become “one flesh”, commanding that “what God has joined together, let not man separate.” Then, we see how marriage is intended to reflect the faithfulness of Christ towards his Church. As you know, being married more than once is permitted in some cases in the Orthodox Church, but second marriages are carried out in a penitential manner because second marriages do not properly reflect God’s will for two to become one flesh and for man to not separate that which God has joined together. If you are advocating that people in heaven who are married on earth are considered married in heaven, and the Lord was simply saying that people do not get married when they are in heaven (which has nothing to do with the question he was asked), how would you respond to the question posed to the Lord about the woman who was married seven times? If you believe in an “eternal bond of marriage”, please provide some scriptural and patristic support for this belief.
Despite the apparent contradiction to scripture (I Cor. 7:39), the canons and Fathers speak of remarriage of widow(ers) as polygamy. Indeed, the only remarriage allowed by all.
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband...The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.'" (Rev. 21:1-2; 22:17). Odd that it ends that way, no?
What is interesting in the Mark and related passages that the why-soil-yourself-with-a-daughter-of-Eve-when-you-can-live-the-life-of-angels crowd seem miss that the Apostles reject Christ's definition of marriage in that passage because it is too easy, but because it is too hard. So much for marriage being "the easy" way.
The Apostles balked at the absolute requirement that a man have one wife without the ability to divorce her (except for very limited circumstances where this would be permissible). This was and is a hard way when compared with the easy way of marrying and divorcing at will.
They copped out:"The disciples said to Him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry
." 11 But He said to them, "Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given."
The disciples were not comparing marriage and dissoluble marriage (which is not marriage). They compared marriage with virginity.
But regarding marriage and virginity, see the following words of St. Athanasius the Great:
St. Athanasius the Great, First Epistle to the monk Amun
For, there being two roads in life as regards these matters, the one a more moderate and helpful road conducive to life, that of marriage, I mean; the other one being angelic and unsurpassable, that of virginity; but if anyone should choose the mundane life, that is to say, the way of marriage, though he is not liable to censure or blame, he will not receive so many gracious gifts. For what he will receive when he bears fruit will be thirty. But if he embraces the chaste and supramundane life, though the road is rough in comparison with the first and difficult to achieve, yet it has more wonderful features in the way of gracious gifts: for it has produced the perfect fruit, the hundred.
You leave out a lot before this: immediately preceeding your quote:
....But even now one might reasonably enough say that no natural excretion commends us to God for punishment. Even the children of physicians (to be ashamed of their externals) might counter to this that certain necessary passageways have been given to the animal for the purpose of enabling each of us to eliminate superfluous humors that accumulate in our members. Thus, for instance, the hairs of the head are superfluities, or excess baggage; and the aqueous ejections from the head, and the expulsions from the stomach, and above all the emissions of seminal passages. After all, what sort of things, for God, O most God-beloved old fellow, constitute the sinfulness when the Lord has created the animal such and has wanted to have it have such passages in its members’? But inasmuch as we have to anticipate the objections of the wicked ones (for one might say that even their true use is not a sin either if the organs have been formed by the Creator), for this purpose let us cease asking them questions. What use are you referring to? That in the Law which God allowed by saying: "Be fruitful, and multiply; and replenish the earth!" (Gen. 1:28), which the Apostle accepted when he said: "Marriage is honorable, and the bed un-defiled" (Heb. 13:4): or the popular kind, performed clandestinely and adulterously Since in other transactions in life too we shall find differences to occur in some way or another: for instance, it is not permissible to murder anyone (Exod. 20:13), yet in war it is praiseworthy and lawful to slay the adversaries. Thus at any rate those who have distinguished themselves in war are entitled to and are accorded great honors, and columns are erected in memory of them reciting their exploits. So that the same matter in some respect and at some time or other is not permitted, but in another respect and at some other time when there is a good occasion for it, may be allowed and permitted. The same argument holds also with regard to coition. Blessed is the man who in his youth having a free yoke employs his natural parts for the prudence of creating children. But if he employs them for licentious or lascivious purposes, he will receive the punishment prescribed by the Apostle for fornicators and adulterers (Heb. 13:4). For, there being two roads in life as regards these matters....
Btw, just being single doesn't transform you into a monastic.
Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him."
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our Image, after Our Likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."
So God created man in His Own Image
in the Image of God He created him
Male and female He created them.
Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.
And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it."From the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder
----God, as dictated to Moses, as cited by God in the Flesh
Many other such passages are found in the Fathers. Do you wish to ridicule them?
Only those who remove the landmarks which the Fathers have set (see below), and thereby burst their bonds and set themselves up for ridicule.
I am a married man with four children, and am exceedingly thankful for the marriage with which I have been blessed,
God bless you, you are blessed indeed it seems.
but I have no problem believing that monastic life is a greater calling.
Is an orange greater than an apple?
How can you read St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians and come to a different conclusion?
Because I read his letter to the Ephesians, where he calles Marriage, not Tonsuring, a Holy Mystery. In fact, Marriage is the only Holy Mystery named as such by the whole New Testament.
This humbles me but doesn’t infuriate me. Why does it seem to infuriate others?
Zeal for the canons (see below).
What about the following?
"For… there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”
The Church canonized that (Canon I of the First Ecumenical Council etc.) with penalties of deposition.
Do not these words from the Lord, and those of St. Paul to the Corinthians, clearly establish what is the higher or better way? Now regarding virginity in marriage, one only has to read “Marriage as a Path to Holiness” to see many examples of saints who have chosen this way and been blessed by God
Besides the example you give, who else is given?
Was the example of St. Innocent, the Apostle to America, Enlightener of Alaska, and Metropolitan of Moscow, given?
St. John of Kronstadt is one more recent saint who was married and yet lived with his wife as “brother and sister”.
Btw, there was a practice of monks and nuns living as "brother and sister." It was stamped out by the Church authority.
If you want to consecrate your virginity, you do that with the tonsuring, not a wedding.
I'm glad you brought up the damnable propaganda of the "white marriage" created by the why-soil-yourself-with-a-daughter-of-Eve-when-you-can-live-the-life-of-angels crowd. Although there can be extenuating circumstances, and grace can work in spite of the recipient:
Someone who enters the baptismal font without any intention of living out his baptismal vows is damned. (such things are common with baptisms of convenience).
Someone who is chrismated who has no intention of walking according to the Spirit, is damned.
Someone who takes communion out of tradition, thinking he is tasting only bread and wine, is damned.
Someone who gains the pat on his head from the bishop by simony with the intent to gain and to be served and not to serve, is damned.
Someone who goes to confession out of "tradition" and says "I have nothing to confess" is damned, as so is the priest who gives such a person absoution.
Someone who comes to receive Holy Unction like he would a witch's herbal remedy, and puts it on the same level, is damned.
So what are we to make of a couple, or worse yet, one spouse, who go to receive the Church's blessing to "wed them into one flesh," when they have no intention of doing so? Does the priest say all those prayers for children for his health? Would you have no problem with the couple who has been living together and intend to not have children (perhaps even intent to abort if necessary), coming for a Church wedding? Why should you?
Do not these words from the Lord "whom God has joined together let no man draw asunder" (and that includes the man who refuses to cleave), and those of St. Paul to the Corinthians "do not defraud each other" clearly establish what is the judgement of a man who enters marriage with the intent of not of a bridegroom but of a monk?
And then series of interesting canons of the Council of Gangra, confirmed by canon 2 of the Pentheke Council (5-6 Ecumenical Councils)
1. If anyone disparages marriage, or abominates or disparages a woman sleeping with her husband, notwithstanding that she is faithful and reverent, as though she could not enter the Kingdom, let him be anathema. (Ap. cc. V, LI; c. XIII of the 6th; cc. I, IV, IX, XIV of Gangra.)
Just as the Manichees earlier, and other heretics, had traduced lawful marriage, so did the disciples of vile Eustathius later, concerning whom the divine Apostle said prophetically that "in the latter times some persons will depart from the faith, in the role of liars, of persons with a seared conscience, of persons forbidding marriage" (1 Tim. 4:1-3). For this reason the present Canon anathematizes such persons as disparage marriage and loathe a Christian and reverent wife as unclean who sleeps with her Christian husband, alleging that on account of this carnal mingling she cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. See also Ap. cc. V and LI.
4. If anyone discriminates against a married Presbyter, on the ground that he ought not to partake of the offering when that Presbyter is conducting the Liturgy, let him be anathema. (Ap. c. V; cc. XIII, XLVIII of the 6th; cc. IV, XXXIII of Carthage.)
The present Canon anathematizes the Eustathians and all the rest who discriminate and are inclined to fight shy of partaking of the divine Mysteries from a married priest, on the allegation that such a priest ought not to officiate at Liturgy on account of his marriage. Read also Ap. c. V.
9. If anyone should remain a virgin or observe continence as if, abominating marriage, he had become an anchorite, and not for the good standard and holy feature of virginity, let him be anathema. (Ap. cc. V and LI.)
Virginity and sobriety (or chastity) are a good thing, true enough, but only when they are practiced for the sake of the good itself and for the sanctification resulting from them. If, however, anyone remains a virgin or keeps sober (i.e., stays chaste), not for this reason, but because he abhors marriage as being unclean and tainted, as did the Eustathians, he is anathematized by the present Canon. See also Ap. cc. V and LI.
10. If anyone leading a life of virginity for the Lord should regard married persons superciliously, let him be anathema.
This Canon too anathematizes those who remain virgins for love of the Lord, but who maintain a proud attitude as regards those who are united in lawful marriage, as did the Eustathians. See also Ap. cc. V and LI.
11. If anyone should scorn those who hold love-feasts (or agapae) in good faith, and who invite their brethren to ‘join them for honor of the Lord, and should refuse to respond to the invitations, for the sake of vilifying the affair, let him be anathema. (c. LXXIV of the 6th; c. XXVII of Laodicea; c. XLIX of Carthage.)
The Christians of that time were accustomed, after partaking of the divine Mysteries, to hold so-called agapae, or love-feasts, i.e., banquets for brotherly love and for the honor of the Lord to invite the poor brethren to a free dinner. Hence the present Canon anathematizes those who refuse to attend such banquets ("affairs," that is to say, held, not with an improper propensity, but for the honor and faith of the Lord, and for love cherished for poor brethren. And not inside of the church, for this was prohibited; but outside of the church), but proudly disparage them and try to vilify them, as did the Eustathians, it would appear. Read also c. LXXIV of the 6th.
12. If any of the menfolk uses a wrapper for the sake of supposedly ascetic exercise, and as if endowed with righteousness by this he should regard disdainfully those men who are wearing robes called beri and using the common dress which is in vogue, let him be anathema. (c. XXVII of the 6th; c. XVII of the 7th; c. XXI of Gangra.)
The Eustathians used to teach their disciples among other things to wear ragged and poor overcoats, not for the sake of truly ascetic exercise, but for pretended sake of asceticism, in order that by feigning to be holy and righteous men, they might be glorified by the masses, and disparage those who with reverence and fear of God (not, that is to say, to be proud of these things in the face of those who lacked them, nor for the sake of carnal love, or for the sake of stultification and adornment of the human body) are wearing robes, or, more explicitly speaking, silk garments, and using those clothes which are common and usual to all men. For this reason the present Canon anathematizes those men and their like on the ground that they are exalting themselves above their brethren. See also c. XXVII of the 6th.
13. If for the sake of supposedly ascetic exercise any woman change apparel, and instead of the usual and customary women’s apparel, she dons men’s apparel, let her be anathema. (c. LXII of the 6th.)
Many women taught by the Eustathians used to doff clothing appropriate and suitable for women, and to don men’s clothing, on the presumption that this would enable them to become justified and to become sainted. For this reason the present Canon anathematizes women who do this for the sake of supposed and pretended ascetic exercise, and not for the sake of true and veritable ascetic exercise. See c. LXII of the 6th.
14. If any woman should abandon her husband and wish to depart, because she abominates marriage, let her be anathema. (Ap. cc. V, LI; c. XIII of the 6th; c. XX of Gangra.)
This too was a doctrine of the Eustathians, the idea, that is to say, that women might leave their husbands, and conversely that men might leave their wives, and depart, on the ground that they had an abhorrence of marriage. Hence the present Canon condemned those who do this to the anathema. See also Ap. cc. V and LI.
15. If anyone should abandon his own children, or fail to devote himself to feeding his children, and fail, as far as depends on them, to bring them up to be godly and to have respect for God, but, under the pretext of ascetic exercise, should neglect them, let him be anathema.(c. XLII of Carthage.)
If it is true that irrational animals, including even wild beasts and lions, take care of their cubs and their children, how much more ought rational human beings to nurture them! That is why divine Paul says in one place, "But if anyone provide not for his own dependents, and especially for those of his own household, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel" (1 Tim. 5:8 ), and in another place, "Ye fathers, bring up your children in the education and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4). And again with reference to the widow he asks whether she has brought up children and fed them, and with reference to elderly and old women he says for them to educate the young women to love their husbands and their children (Titus 2:4). But the heretic Eustathius and those who sided with him, not listening to these Apostolic commandments, used to teach parents to abandon their children and go in for asceticism. Hence the present Canon anathematizes those parents who desert their children and fail to feed them, and who teach them neither godliness and respect for God nor virtue. Canon XLII of Carthage, on the other hand, decrees that no cleric shall emancipate his children (i.e., allow them to act as their own masters) before they are convinced that this way or that way of theirs is a good one, and their age can discern what ought to be done. See also the Footnote to c. VI of the lst-&-2nd.
16. If any children of parents, especially of faithful ones, should depart, on the pretext of godliness, and should fail to pay due honor to their parents, godliness, that is to say, being preferred with them, i.e., among them, let them be anathema.
Not only are parents obliged to look after their children, but children too have an obligation to look after their parents, to whom they ought to pay due honor. But taking care of the aged is also a kind of honor, and so is feeding those ill on account of old age and in want. In saying "especially of faithful ones," the present Canon means that children ought not to depart from their parents even when the latter are infidels or heretics if they are not trying to incite them to unbelief or heresy. For this reason it also anathematizes those children who leave their parents unprovided for, and fail to honor them or to take care of them in old age on the pretext of godliness and virtue. If parents, however, who are infidels or heretics incite their children to unbelief and heresy, or, even though they are believers they nevertheless are preventing them or prohibiting them from living according to Christ and from being virtuous, and are inciting them to acts that are harmful to the soul and improper, then and in that case children ought to prefer godliness and virtue to carnal parents, which amounts to saying that they ought to leave them without hating them, and take their departure. See also the Footnote to c. VI of the lst-&-2nd, and c. XX of the 6th.
17. If any woman for the sake of supposedly ascetic exercise cuts off her hair, which God gave her to remind her of the fact that she is subject to the will of her husband, let her be anathema, on the ground that she has disobeyed the injunction to be obedient.
In writing to the Corinthians St. Paul says: "The head of the wife is the husband" (1 Cor. 11:3) — because Eve was taken out of Adam, and he became the cause of her becoming a woman). And further below he goes on to say that if a woman does not cover her head, let her cut off her hair. But if it is shameful for a woman to cut off her hair or to shave herself, why, then let her cover her head. (Ibid. 11:6). And again: "But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory and an honor to her" (paraphrasing ibid. 11:15). But Eustathius and his disciples used to teach women to cut off their hair on the alleged ground that they would thus be doing something godly and virtuous; the dolts failing to understand that this doctrine of theirs is opposed even to nature herself, seeing that she has never produced a woman that was bald-headed and without hair, as she has some men. For this reason the present Canon anathematizes any woman who cuts off her hair for the sake of appearing and feigning to be engaged in ascetic exercise, which hair God gave her to remind her of the fact that she is under the rulership and subject to the will of her husband, since by so doing she is disregarding and transgressing the commandment, or injunction, to be submissive. And the Fathers took this from St. Paul, who says that a wife must have an authority upon her head, or, more explicitly speaking, a sign of her husband’s authority, and of her subjection to her husband, which is the natural cover of hair, and the external cover of headkerchiefs.
The same Pentheke/Quinsext Council which ratified Gangra, issued this canon:
13. Since we have learned that in the church of the Romans it is regarded as tantamount to a canon that ordinands to the deaconry or presbytery must solemnly promise to have no further intercourse with their wives. Continuing, however, in conformity with the ancient canon of apostolic rigorism and orderliness, we desire that henceforward the lawful marriage ties of sacred men become stronger, and we are nowise dissolving their intercourse with their wives, nor depriving them of their mutual relationship and companionship when properly maintained in due season, so that if anyone is found to be worthy to be ordained a Subdeacon, or a Deacon, or a Presbyter, let him nowise be prevented from being elevated to such a rank while cohabiting with a lawful wife. Nor must he be required at the time of ordination to refrain from lawful intercourse with his own wife, lest we be forced to be downright scornful of marriage, which was instituted by God and blessed by His presence, as attested by the unequivocal declaration of the Gospel utterance: "What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder" (Matt. 19:6); and the Apostle’s teaching: "Marriage is honorable, and the bed is undefiled" (Heb. 13:4), and: "Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be freed" (1 Cor. 7:27). We are cognizant, though, that those who met in Carthage and made provision of decency in the life of ministers declared that Subdeacons and Deacons and Presbyters, busying themselves as they do with the sacred mysteries, according to their rules are obliged to practice temperance in connection with their helpmates, in order that we may likewise keep the injunction handed down through the Apostles, and continued from ancient times in force, well knowing that there is a proper season for everything, and especially for fasting and praying. For those who assist in the ceremonies at the sacrificial altar have to be temperate in all things at the time when they are handling holy things, so that they may be able to gain whatever they ask God for. If, therefore, anyone acting contrary to the Apostolic Canons require any person who is in sacred orders — any Presbyter, we mean, or Deacon, or Subdeacon — to abstain from intercourse and association with his lawful wife, let him be deposed from office. Likewise, if any Presbyter or Deacon expel his own wife on the pretext of reverence, let him be excommunicated; and if he persist, let him be deposed from office.
What the present Canon decrees is this. Since we have learned that in Rome it is kept as inviolable canon that those who are about to become deacons and presbyters must promise and agree at the time of ordination that after the ordination they will have intercourse with their wives no more, we, following the old Canon of the Holy Apostles, Ap. c. V, that is to say, desire and hereby decree the marriage ties of those in holy orders to remain solid and inseverable, without requiring their separation after ordination from intercourse with their own wives when held at the proper time — when, that is to say, there is no fast, and when they are not engaged in celebrating the divine and sacred mysteries. So that whoever is married with a lawful wife and is worthy to become a Subdeacon, Deacon, or Presbyter, let him become one; and let him not be obliged necessarily to promise that he will separate from his wife — lest as a result of this we be forced to dishonor marriage, sanctioned by the laws laid down by God, and blessed by His presence, at the wedding in Cana, that is to say. For even the Lord’s utterance in the Gospel says unequivocally: Let no man sunder those who have been united by God; and the Apostle teaches that marriage is honorable and the marriage bed is undefiled; and again, if you have been tied up with a wife, do not try to separate from her. But just as the Fathers of the Council held in Carthage, in providing for the decency of those in holy orders, decreed that subdeacons, deacons, and presbyters who come in contact with the divine mysteries must practice temperance by abstaining from their helpmates (or consorts), in accordance with their own rules (or definitions) in accordance with c. XXXIII, in order that we may keep likewise ourselves the tradition handed down through the Apostles from antiquity, in accordance with c. III of the same Council (that is to say, both the written traditions and the unwritten traditions, according to Zonaras and Balsamon), so and in like manner do we, who say the same things as these Fathers, decree that the above three ranks of those in holy orders must temperately abstain from their wives in time of fasting and of praying, in accordance with the words of St. Paul. For those who presiding at the sacrificial altar ought to be temperately abstinent from everything at the time they are engaged in the celebration of sacred rites, in order that by means of this abstinence they may obtain from God that which they seeking in general, or indiscriminately, that is to say, according to Zonaras, or for the common interest of the laity (according to c. III, that is to say, of the same Carthaginian Council). So whoever dares, in disregard of the Apostolic Canons, to prevent subdeacons, deacons, and presbyters from lawfully mingling with their wives, let him be deposed from office. It ingeminates word for word Ap. c. V, the Interpretation of which you may read for yourself
As we see:
5. No Bishop, Presbyter, or Deacon shall put away his own wife under pretext of reverence. If, however, he put her away, let him be excommunicated," and if he persist in so doing, let him be deposed from office.http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/cannons_apostles_rudder.htm
(Canons XIII, XLVIII of 6th; c. IV of Gangra; cc. IV, XXXIII of Carth.).
The old Law permitted married men to divorce their wives whenever they wanted and without any reasonable occasion. The Lord, however, sternly forbade this in the Gospel. Hence it is that the Apostles, too, following the Lord’s injunction, prohibit this in the present Canon, and say that a bishop, or a presbyter, or a deacon may not put away, i.e., forcibly divorce, his wife — without her consent, that is to say — under pretext or pretense of reverence; but if he should nevertheless divorce her, that he is to be excommunicated, until such time as he can be persuaded to take her back into his home. But if he persist in his obstinacy and will not receive her, he is to be deposed from office altogether, since it is apparent from this which he does that he dishonors marriage, which, according to the Apostle, is honorable (Heb. 13:4), and that he thinks bed and intercourse to be impure, which, however, is called undefiled by the same Apostle (ibid.). I need not state that adultery will operate as cause for divorce in this case, as the Lord said: "Whosoever shall put away his wife, save for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery" (Matt. 5:32). The Apostle, too, has said: "Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be freed" (I Cor. 7:27); and "Deprive ye not one of the other, unless it be by mutual agreement for a time, in order to have leisure for fasting and prayer" (ibid. 5).
Thus also the Sixth in its c. XIII ordains that marriages of those in holy orders are to remain unalterable and divorceless; and that if they were married even before admission to holy orders, they are not to be prevented from admission by reason of marriage; nor, when ordained, are they obliged to agree that as soon as they have become priests they will divorce their wives, as was an illegal custom which had come to prevail in Rome. Even if cc. IV and XXXIII of Carthage say for bishops and presbyters and deacons and subdeacons to keep sober and to abstain from their wives according to the same definitions, but the interpreters of the Canons — Zonaras, I mean, and Balsamon, and especially the Sixth in its c. XIII, in interpreting the foregoing Canons — say for them to abstain during the times only of their curacy, and not at all times, with the exception of bishops: and see there.
If we aren’t able to do that, or simply don’t want to, we should be humble about this and not try to condemn those who can, simply because we are offended by our weaknesses.
The canons are quite clear: not only are we NOT to be humbled about this, but those who are offended and condemn us as "simply don't want to" and try to humble us should be DEPOSED and EXCOMMUNICATED.