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Author Topic: Proper way to seek cheirothesis/cheirotonia  (Read 889 times) Average Rating: 0
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ilyazhito
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« on: April 30, 2011, 10:04:42 PM »

Christ is Risen!
How do you properly seek ordination? Would you contact the Bishop directly, or would you go through your Rector and local Dean?
P.S. A group of men from my ROCOR parish wanted to petition the Bishop, but did not tell me. They told my mom instead.
I believe that their actions were improper, and want to know how to ask without appearing presumptuous.
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Asteriktos
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2011, 10:17:28 PM »

I would assume that a person would discuss it with their confessor/priest, and let him guide them through the discernment process, bringing the bishop into the picture when appropriate...?
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arimethea
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2011, 08:52:27 AM »

In most of the Orthodox world today some sort of education would be required before ordination is even discussed. Some, it is equivalent to an undergraduate program but, most require a Masters level program. There are also age issues. I do not know any bishop who would even talk to an unmarried man about ordination who is under the age of 30 unless, they are a monastic.

If one is considering ordination it would be good to start with your father confessor. Your father confessor would be aware of any impediments you may have to ordination. If there are no impediments then he may suggest or introduce you to the bishop so that your development can begin.
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Joseph
ilyazhito
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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2011, 10:50:55 PM »

Well, I wanted to know how to petition for minor orders/ deacon. Would the procedure be the same for all orders , or would there be differences?
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arimethea
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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2011, 11:56:07 PM »

Well, I wanted to know how to petition for minor orders/ deacon. Would the procedure be the same for all orders , or would there be differences?

You don't request this. If your parish has a need then your priest will ask the bishop. To be ordained a Deacon you still need to be of a certain age (canonically 25) and married since most will not ordain a celibate unless he is at least 30 or been in the monastic life for some time.

You appear to be from a Russian tradition so the farthest they will make you is a reader until you are married or living in a monastic community and have entered seminary.
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Joseph
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2011, 10:24:03 AM »

Well, I wanted to know how to petition for minor orders/ deacon. Would the procedure be the same for all orders , or would there be differences?

The holy diaconate is not a minor priestly order. Deacons receive full "cheirotonia", and the ordination takes place during the Divine Liturgy in front of the Holy Table behind the iconostasion. Once ordained a deacon, you are subject to all of the canonical regulations of the clergy and are officially under full obedience to the bishop.

Readers and sub-deacons are another matter. They are "minor" orders. They receive "cheirothesia" at the hands of their Bishop outside of the iconostasion and before the Divine Liturgy.

If you want to be tonsured a reader, talk to your parish priest. If he agrees, he can speak to the bishop.
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ilyazhito
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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2011, 03:04:51 PM »

Well, I wanted to know how to petition for minor orders/ deacon. Would the procedure be the same for all orders , or would there be differences?

The holy diaconate is not a minor priestly order. Deacons receive full "cheirotonia", and the ordination takes place during the Divine Liturgy in front of the Holy Table behind the iconostasion. Once ordained a deacon, you are subject to all of the canonical regulations of the clergy and are officially under full obedience to the bishop.

Readers and sub-deacons are another matter. They are "minor" orders. They receive "cheirothesia" at the hands of their Bishop outside of the iconostasion and before the Divine Liturgy.

If you want to be tonsured a reader, talk to your parish priest. If he agrees, he can speak to the bishop.
WEll, I know that the deacons are not a minor order.I wanted to know if the procedure and preparation are different from that of a priest candidate.
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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2011, 03:33:56 PM »

Well, I wanted to know how to petition for minor orders/ deacon. Would the procedure be the same for all orders , or would there be differences?

The holy diaconate is not a minor priestly order. Deacons receive full "cheirotonia", and the ordination takes place during the Divine Liturgy in front of the Holy Table behind the iconostasion. Once ordained a deacon, you are subject to all of the canonical regulations of the clergy and are officially under full obedience to the bishop.

Readers and sub-deacons are another matter. They are "minor" orders. They receive "cheirothesia" at the hands of their Bishop outside of the iconostasion and before the Divine Liturgy.

If you want to be tonsured a reader, talk to your parish priest. If he agrees, he can speak to the bishop.
WEll, I know that the deacons are not a minor order.I wanted to know if the procedure and preparation are different from that of a priest candidate.

You will not be able to become a deacon, so don't worry about it.
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ilyazhito
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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2011, 10:29:15 PM »

I intend this for anyone who wants to become a deacon. By the way, I will become eligible age-wise in 8 years. I want to know how to seek major and/or minor orders and not look foolish.
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Subdeacon Michael
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2011, 01:47:50 PM »

Dear ilyazhito,

Christ is risen!

I consider it a blessing that your heart seems to be leaning in this direction.  However, "test the spirits, that they be of God".  There is no rush in these matters, and if it is God's will for you to serve Him in this way in his Church, it will unfold in God's time.  To anybody who speaks of seeking ordination, I would recommend reading St John Chrysostom's Six Books on the Priesthood.  Do not necessarily allow it to scare you off any further contemplation of serving as a deacon but certainly allow it to give you a sense of the gravity of what it is to be ordained and to have the grace of holy orders within the life of the Church.  Also, The Orthodox Pastor is incredibly good.  Be My Priest by Fr Lev (Gillet) also seems popular.  Certainly, speak to your parish priest/spiritual father about this and follow his guidance and direction.  Our Orthodox understanding of these things is that the Mystery of Orders belongs to the Church, and is bestowed and exercised according to the will and need of the Church.  It is not solely, or even primarily, about an individual's sense of calling as it is among some Christian groups.  Therefore, all things must be done with humility and obedience, under the direction of the spiritual father and ultimately, the bishop, when the time is right.

There is no standard procedure for this.  Some jurisdictions and dioceses will have a process in place, but this will likely be flexible according to different circumstances.  Many bishops in small dioceses are able to know likely candidates personally and be more directly involved in the discernment process.  I know a deacon who, as a layman, was observed by his priest and fellow parishioners.  They saw his fervour and dedication to the life of the Church.  His priest listened to his confessions and noted his growth in the spiritual life.  It seems that at least one conversation was also had with his bishop without his knowledge.  At no point did he seek ordination.  One day, he simply received a telephone call from the bishop, who expressed a desire to ordain him to the diaconate, and requested his presence at the cathedral on a certain date.

As for canonical concerns, yes, there is a minimum age for ordination to the subdiaconate and diaconate, and these are, I think, in place for good reason.  I am thankful that they seem to be usually adhered to by our bishops.  On the subject of marriage, and with the greatest of respect to arimethea who, I am sure, is speaking from his own experience, in my experience, it is not difficult to find examples of men who were ordained to the diaconate while being neither married nor monastic.  Within my own diocese, we have a priest who was ordained after being widowed and one who was ordained as an unmarried celibate with no intention of monasticism.  ROCOR's Bishop Jerome of Manhattan was only tonsured a monk a matter of days before his episcopal consecration.  Before that, he, too, was a celibate priest for years.  I know of other examples.  There is no canonical requirement for a deacon or priest to be either married or monastic.  Perhaps the culture in some jurisdictions is to lean in that direction and this may be the preference of some bishops but it is by no means universal.  The only canonical requirement as far as marriage goes is that if a man who is to be ordained wishes to marry, he must do so before he is ordained as a subdeacon.  Readers may marry but subdeacons, deacons, and priests may not. (Apostolic Canon 26; Canons 3 and 6 of the 6th Ecumenical Council).

On the last point, you should be aware that, in some jurisdictions, it is not unheard of for bishops to relax their application of these canons and only insist that candidates for ordination marry before ordination to the diaconate.  As a result, they also sometimes do not observe the canonical minimum age for ordination to the subdiaconate.  So teenagers may be ordained as subdeacons, perhaps not realising that, canonically, this commits them to a life of celibacy.  Perhaps men of more mature years who are subdeacons are permitted to get married.  This is all well and good if they remain under that bishop or within a jurisdiction that has a culture of relaxing these canons, but life doesn't always work like that.  Bishops die and get replaced.  Parishes and missions do not always stabilise and sometimes disintegrate.  People sometimes have to move far away because of employment or family commitments, and it may be very difficult to find any Orthodox church at all, let alone one of a particular jurisdiction.  There are any of a number of reasons why a man who marries after ordination to the subdiaconate may later find himself no longer under his ordaining bishop, or may perhaps find himself under a completely different jurisdiction altogether, and he may find that there are consequences.  He may perhaps not be permitted to continue to serve as a subdeacon or, if he is, he may find that he is not permitted to progress beyond the subdiaconate.  It has happened before and it can happen again, so you should bear this in mind for the sake of your own peace and wellbeing.  There is no need for unseemly haste and every need for patience and prayer.

I hope that this has been of some help to you.

In Christ,
Michael
« Last Edit: May 13, 2011, 01:54:42 PM by Subdeacon Michael » Logged

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ilyazhito
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2011, 02:31:03 PM »

Thanks! I'll pursue those resources. Why I'm asking is serious.
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