Author Topic: Discouraged by ordination impediments  (Read 984 times)

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Offline Corporal Tunny

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Discouraged by ordination impediments
« on: November 03, 2015, 02:17:59 PM »
I had a secular courthouse marriage years ago which I quickly learned was just a total sham for my spouse to get military benefits as she left me 6 weeks later and went out of state and off the grid to avoid divorce procedures so she could keep said benefits. I was pretty young and foolish when it happened. Now I am a catechumen with a girlfriend of 3 years that I would like to marry with the blessing of the Church and have an Orthodox wedding. I would very much like to be ordained as a priest someday but I've read that you can only be married once if you want to be ordained. I want to major in pastoral ministry or religious studies(retired military using GI Bill) and go to seminary someday, so much so that I have a hard time picturing myself doing anything else. Now I feel very conflicted, I feel like I'm just going to be told no and that's that, or I suppose I could pursue the ascetic life but that would mean ruining my relationship of 3 years. Or I could leave the Church and go be a Protestant pastor somewhere I suppose(but I don't want to and will not do that). I understand that if the Church says no then its not my place to question their authority, I'm certainly not going to argue with a Bishop. Is there any advice for me? Is there another option I'm missing? This is an enormous weight on my shoulders as I feel like I'm in between a rock and a hard place. I understand if I just sound like an overzealous convert but this is something I've thought about for a long time, before I ever stepped foot in an Orthodox parish.

Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Discouraged by ordination impediments
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2015, 02:21:19 PM »
Talk to your priest.


any advice or ideas beyond what he tells you is speculation.

All opinions expressed by myself are quite tragically my own, and not those of any other poster or wall hangings.

Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Discouraged by ordination impediments
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2015, 02:23:53 PM »
I had a secular courthouse marriage years ago which I quickly learned was just a total sham for my spouse to get military benefits as she left me 6 weeks later and went out of state and off the grid to avoid divorce procedures so she could keep said benefits. I was pretty young and foolish when it happened. Now I am a catechumen with a girlfriend of 3 years that I would like to marry with the blessing of the Church and have an Orthodox wedding. I would very much like to be ordained as a priest someday but I've read that you can only be married once if you want to be ordained. I want to major in pastoral ministry or religious studies(retired military using GI Bill) and go to seminary someday, so much so that I have a hard time picturing myself doing anything else. Now I feel very conflicted, I feel like I'm just going to be told no and that's that, or I suppose I could pursue the ascetic life but that would mean ruining my relationship of 3 years. Or I could leave the Church and go be a Protestant pastor somewhere I suppose(but I don't want to and will not do that). I understand that if the Church says no then its not my place to question their authority, I'm certainly not going to argue with a Bishop. Is there any advice for me? Is there another option I'm missing? This is an enormous weight on my shoulders as I feel like I'm in between a rock and a hard place. I understand if I just sound like an overzealous convert but this is something I've thought about for a long time, before I ever stepped foot in an Orthodox parish.

You simply don't know what is going to happen, so don't assume.

IMO, you were not married, you were deceived. Be kind enough to have proof of that when you approach your priest and bishop about the issue and pray and hope for the best.
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Offline vamrat

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Re: Discouraged by ordination impediments
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2015, 03:09:17 PM »
There are plenty of opportunities for service outside of the priesthood or deaconate.  Readers, chanters, altar servers, choir members, helping out in the hall, cleaning the church, etc are all things your church probably needs. 
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.

Offline rakovsky

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Re: Discouraged by ordination impediments
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2015, 04:05:44 PM »
For a marriage to be recognized by the church, does it have to be done as part of a religious ceremony? Maybe not. If not, can the Church use ekonomia in these cases?

Offline CarolS

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Re: Discouraged by ordination impediments
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2015, 04:16:48 PM »
It depends on your Bishop. Some Orthodox jurisdictions are more willing to make allowances depending on your situation, such as whether it was a real marriage; if it occurred before you were baptized Orthodox; etc.
Be cautious about desiring ordination so much that you would settle on things that you might not be well suited for, such as celibacy, or an ill-suited marriage. (A priest's wife has to be enthusiastic about taking on this burden as well - it's not just a career, it's your whole life and your whole family's life.)  And yes, as was said, there are many ways to serve God in a parish as a layperson.

Offline Minnesotan

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Re: Discouraged by ordination impediments
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2015, 04:21:05 PM »
There's generally a lot of economia involved when ordaining people. Fr. Seraphim Rose was one noticeable example.
I'm not going to be posting as much on OC.Net as before. I might stop in once in a while though. But I've come to realize that real life is more important.

Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: Discouraged by ordination impediments
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2015, 04:43:03 PM »
Talk to your parish priest.

That being said, you can request a Spiritual Court to hear your case and render a verdict as to the exact nature of your previous marriage.  Be prepared to pay the expenses involved, since there will need to be three clergymen for the Triumvirate, an Archdiocesan Advocate, your Advocate, and witnesses... all of which will have travel expenses.  That, of course, depends on whether the Metropolitan is willing to hear your case.

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Offline hecma925

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Re: Discouraged by ordination impediments
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2015, 02:31:37 AM »
Step One:  Be received into the Church. 

Everything after that is as God wills.
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

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Offline Tom

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Re: Discouraged by ordination impediments
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2015, 03:41:21 PM »
... I want to major in pastoral ministry or religious studies(retired military using GI Bill) and go to seminary someday, so much so that I have a hard time picturing myself doing anything else. ...
There are many ways to serve in a pastoral ministry without being a priest.  Among other ways you could major in pastoral counseling, psychology, psychiatry, become a licensed clinical social worker, etc.  Even if you could not be ordained, you may still be able to go to seminary.

But, as others have written, enter the church first.  If you don't have it yet finish your undergrad work.  Talk to your priest, and most of all: pray!  Then pray some more.  God be with you and guide you.

Offline Corporal Tunny

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Re: Discouraged by ordination impediments
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2015, 02:45:31 PM »
I understand there are other things I could do with that degree but they're mostly protestant jobs like being a youth group director at a Baptist church and stuff like that. If there are Orthodox positions like that available they're not advertised so I have no way of knowing how far it might take me without ordination. My priest said I could be chrismated on Palm Sunday so maybe I'll inquire more after that.

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Discouraged by ordination impediments
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2015, 03:07:16 PM »
This sort of marriage MAY be subject to a civil annulment and/or an ecclesiastical divorce as Father G. suggests. But as others  have speculated, it is premature at best in this point of your relationship with the Orthodox Church to speculate. Keep in touch with your priest and be open about your thoughts and concerns.

Offline Agabus

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Re: Discouraged by ordination impediments
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2015, 03:19:33 PM »
I understand there are other things I could do with that degree but they're mostly protestant jobs like being a youth group director at a Baptist church and stuff like that. If there are Orthodox positions like that available they're not advertised so I have no way of knowing how far it might take me without ordination. My priest said I could be chrismated on Palm Sunday so maybe I'll inquire more after that.

Some pastoral ministry, such as hospice or prison chaplaincies, are not always denominationally affiliated and do not require ordination per se. The OCA has an institutional chaplaincy office that could give you some ideas.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2015, 03:20:09 PM by Agabus »
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Discouraged by ordination impediments
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2015, 06:20:32 PM »
You need to take 10 steps back for a moment.  You're not even a member of the Holy Orthodox Church and you're already talking about wanting to be ordained.  I've met many people like this over the course of my life who feel that they are called to be a priest and then spend time trying to rush through their catechumenate to be baptized more quickly so that they can get to seminary.  That's hubris of the highest degree.  You need to worry about becoming Orthodox first and spend lots of time just being Orthodox, not rushing  into every ministry available at your parish. That is why so many converts get burned out because they think they have to do too much to be fully Orthodox.  So, put the brakes on any ordination talk for awhile and learn and listen and pray.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Discouraged by ordination impediments
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2015, 10:47:14 PM »
You need to take 10 steps back for a moment.  You're not even a member of the Holy Orthodox Church and you're already talking about wanting to be ordained.  I've met many people like this over the course of my life who feel that they are called to be a priest and then spend time trying to rush through their catechumenate to be baptized more quickly so that they can get to seminary.  That's hubris of the highest degree.  You need to worry about becoming Orthodox first and spend lots of time just being Orthodox, not rushing  into every ministry available at your parish. That is why so many converts get burned out because they think they have to do too much to be fully Orthodox.  So, put the brakes on any ordination talk for awhile and learn and listen and pray.
I 100% agree.
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Offline Onesimus

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Re: Discouraged by ordination impediments
« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2015, 12:52:22 AM »
You need to take 10 steps back for a moment. 

As a 15 year veteran of the military, I think I can speak to your mindset, your zeal, and your question.

First off...I'm so glad you have found the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church!!!  May you enter Her embrace!

I had a similar life experience (similar - not the same).  The above advice from scamadrius is correct.   Military folks are used to being hard chargers, ready to "get into the fight," etc.   We're planners, builders, givers...etc.  But let's look at this a bit.

Quote
I understand if I just sound like an overzealous convert but this is something I've thought about for a long time, before I ever stepped foot in an Orthodox parish.

It is good that you recognize this *could sound like* overzealousness.  Now accept that it is overzealous.  You should continue to think about about it for a long, long time.   The marriage won't be an impediment (economia of the Bishop will decide)...but your eagerness might be.   Think about it this way.   A private comes straight out of training into your unit - and says he wants to be the First Sergeant!!!!   That's all well and good, but you know that even if he's the best of the best, he has a lot of years and a lot of growing to do before he is ready for that.  In such a case, you tell the private, what?   Be a good private first.   Show up to formation on time, keep your uniform and weapon clean, stay out of trouble, keep up your PT, become technically and tactically proficient.  Then we can look at getting you into a Jr. NCO billet.   But you have to be a good private first.   Then a good Corporal...then a good Sergeant...then a Good Staff Sergeant...then a good etc.

Same with Orthodoxy.   Just because there is not rank on people's shoulders doesn't mean there isn't an invisible hierarchy of spiritual gifts and maturity in the midst of the Church.   I see Holy women shine like the sun...and I know they are my spiritual elders...just by their holiness.   Look for these, learn from these, grow like these.   Be a good private first.   Then a good corporal, etc.   Being a priest is not like getting a commission to Lt....it should be like becoming a First Sergeant or Sergeant Major.  It requires *maturity* in the faith. 

Quote
Is there another option I'm missing?

Yep.  Focus on your wife and family now if you have them.  Work out your own salvation with "fear and trembling" and then focus on your family.    The family is the first test and growth to ministry in the Church.  This is your priesthood.   

Quote
This is an enormous weight on my shoulders as I feel like I'm in between a rock and a hard place.

We all have beds we've made that we need to lie in sometimes.   Trust me...from a lot of experience...you can work really hard and stress out about impediments and push and push and push to get to a goal...only to have God pull it our from under you because he has other plans, but you were intent upon your own.   Look at what is right in front of you and inside of you and work there.   Be simple.   Be humble.   Otherwise, God will humble you.   Trust me...He will humble you in ways you weren't prepared for...if you don't work to do it with Him.

God will use you wherever you are.   When you realize that...you can be truly free.  The rock and the hard place are in your head.   These are what are called *Logoismoi*.

Blessings
« Last Edit: November 07, 2015, 12:57:52 AM by AaronIsom »

Offline Reader KevinAndrew

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Re: Discouraged by ordination impediments
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2015, 05:22:22 PM »
There are plenty of opportunities for service outside of the priesthood or deaconate.  Readers, chanters, altar servers, choir members, helping out in the hall, cleaning the church, etc are all things your church probably needs.

I agree 100%. I have sponsored nearly a dozen people over the years (I was chrismated in the Orthodox Church in college). Many times I have seen this zeal turn immediately into inquiry on ordination, scarcely before the chrism is dry. Readers, acolytes, help around the church, being an Orthodox witness and volunteering to feed the homeless and poor, etc are all ministries, not in any way inferior to those requiring ordination - hence why I see no big deal that women cannot be ordained, as there are a kazillion ways to witness Christ and have a ministry.

The OP could very well have the right intentions on Holy Orders. My post was simply in praise of the comment above, which is near and dear to my heart and what I've said to others many times myself.

Offline Thomas

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Re: Discouraged by ordination impediments
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2015, 05:42:20 PM »
I agree and Endorse what Reader Kevin Andrew said.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2015, 05:42:54 PM by Thomas »
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Offline Reader KevinAndrew

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Re: Discouraged by ordination impediments
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2015, 05:48:28 PM »
You need to take 10 steps back for a moment.  You're not even a member of the Holy Orthodox Church and you're already talking about wanting to be ordained.  I've met many people like this over the course of my life who feel that they are called to be a priest and then spend time trying to rush through their catechumenate to be baptized more quickly so that they can get to seminary.  That's hubris of the highest degree.  You need to worry about becoming Orthodox first and spend lots of time just being Orthodox, not rushing  into every ministry available at your parish. That is why so many converts get burned out because they think they have to do too much to be fully Orthodox.  So, put the brakes on any ordination talk for awhile and learn and listen and pray.

I agree 1000%. This zealousness is a complete misunderstanding of what Holy Orders are and, more fundamentally, what it means to live the Christian life and serve. Being ordained does not get a person any further ahead in the line to heaven or theosis. It does not make them a better Christian, or the example of ministry par excellence. Holy Orders are just some of literally countless ways to minister and serve. That's why not having women ordained is no big deal, as it's not the be-all and end-all of Christian service.

As a sponsor of many in the past, I have recommended to ones that were talking ordination so quickly after chrismation to wait at minimum 5 years. One has to pray, fast, and worship the complete Church calendar several times to even know what you're talking about yourself when thinking of the Church. You can't read your way through that or watch it all on YouTube videos. You can't be in Holy Orders in a church you don't completely understand. This isn't any mainline Protestant denomination you're joining (no offence to my prot friends).

Luckily, most times, we have good bishops and others in authority who can vet this kind of thing well. But sometimes it doesn't work (i.e. Nathan Monk).