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Author Topic: Divorce before conversion impediment to ordination?  (Read 1814 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 26, 2012, 10:05:04 AM »

A friend of mine is taking courses that may lead to his ordination to the diaconate.  He has no interest in ordination to the priesthood but was surprised when his Antiochian priest told him that he could be ordained deacon but could not be ordained a priest since he was divorced, even though his divorce took place long before his reception into the Orthodox Church.  He was surprised by this information, as was I.  We both understood that such a divorce would not be an impediment because the marriage itself was never recognized by the Church and all prior sins are washed away upon reception into the Church (this man was received by chrismation, though, rather than baptism). 

I wanted to post this to find out what others have heard from their bishops and clergy regarding divorce prior to conversion as being an impediment to the priesthood.  Did this priest misinform my friend or is this a policy in the Antiochian jurisdiction? What are the policies in other jurisdictions?
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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2012, 10:13:54 AM »

As it should be IMHO. There are always exceptions and extenuating circumstances, but marriage is a serious business, even outside the Church, so it is a good rule.

It is definitely not absolute, as I think Patriarch Alexei of blessed memory was divorced before he was ordained a priest.  I do know that the Antioch Archdiocese has been re-affirming the Church's teaching and practice regarding marriage over the past decade.
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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2012, 11:22:35 AM »

I know about some divorced priests (however they divorced after ordination).
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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2012, 11:46:15 AM »


It is definitely not absolute, as I think Patriarch Alexei of blessed memory was divorced before he was ordained a priest. 

I thought he has divorced when he was alread priest, because he wanted (or he was supposed) to be a monk. I know that it was quite common situation during communism in Russia, that priests were divorcing becasue of the lack of monks (that was meaning no candidates for bishops), so they and their wife were going to monastery. It was also the case of late Polish Metropolitan Bazyli
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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2012, 06:22:12 PM »


It is definitely not absolute, as I think Patriarch Alexei of blessed memory was divorced before he was ordained a priest.  

I thought he has divorced when he was alread priest, because he wanted (or he was supposed) to be a monk. I know that it was quite common situation during communism in Russia, that priests were divorcing becasue of the lack of monks (that was meaning no candidates for bishops), so they and their wife were going to monastery. It was also the case of late Polish Metropolitan Bazyli

I understood that his wife abandoned him, and, after a period of time where attempts were made to locate her without success, he was allowed a divorce.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 06:22:34 PM by LBK » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2012, 06:35:29 PM »

Have him write an updated biography of Mt. Philip.  Who knows what doors will open for him.
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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2012, 06:42:20 PM »

I understood that his wife abandoned him, and, after a period of time where attempts were made to locate her without success, he was allowed a divorce.

His wife enterred a monastery.
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2012, 06:51:47 PM »

In the Russian Orthodox Church, a divorce prior to baptism is an impediment to ordination to any rank.

This was the position of St. Ambrose of Milan, who saw in marriage a status or state which is not in or of itself sinful, and therefore not undone by baptism.

What's really odd about this is that he never asked his priest before starting classes. That seems totally wrong and inappropriate. The first thing one does, if one wishes to be ordained, is consult one's spiritual father about it and ask a blessing to proceed. And in most parishes, that's the parish priest.
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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2012, 07:03:49 PM »

I have seen divorce handled a number of ways.  Some juridictions do not count any marriages prior to Baptism, while some do.  There is also the matter of the circumstances of the divorce, and, in some cases, remarriage.

For example, I know of a priest who divorced and remarried prior to ordination.  An investigation prior to his ordination found that the marriage was 'forced' by both families on the couple, which is why it produced no children and was rather brief.  The second marriage was long-term and stable, and so it was the opinion of the hierarch that the second marriage should not be held against him.

There was another case of an unmarried deacon who married after ordination.  It turns out he was married at the tender age of 12.  Allowances were made for this unusual case (in areas held by the Ottomans a few hundred years ago, such young ordinations were common to keep boys out of the Janissaries, and has only died out recently).

It really is the responsibility of the hierarchs to straighten out these affairs.
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« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2012, 08:11:06 PM »

As it should be IMHO. There are always exceptions and extenuating circumstances, but marriage is a serious business, even outside the Church, so it is a good rule.

No it's not. I know of plenty marriages which were quite in fact business more than anything else. I would not have described them as "serious" business, not in your sense I think. They were nearly strictly business.

Marriage for insurance.

Marriage for the ability to stay in the States.

The former is becoming quite common unfortunately.

How the Church could consider such marriages any different than co-habitation (in some cases the partners didn't co-habitate) is beyond me.
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« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2012, 10:30:51 AM »

What's really odd about this is that he never asked his priest before starting classes. That seems totally wrong and inappropriate. The first thing one does, if one wishes to be ordained, is consult one's spiritual father about it and ask a blessing to proceed. And in most parishes, that's the parish priest.

Of course, the decision is up to his bishop ultimately, but perhaps in response to your message I should make some clarifications about my friend's personal situation, for what its worth.  He began the diaconate classes with the blessing of his priest but was mostly interested in benefitting from the educational opportunity provided by these courses.  Ordination to the diaconate was understood as a possibility after completing the courses, but this is and was not a primary goal.  Also, it was understood that after completing the course work he would have to attend seminary for a couple of years afterwards in order to have the educational qualifications for ordination to the priesthood, but this was not something that he was in any position or inclination to pursue.  To complicate matters a bit, he moved during his course work and is now in a different jurisdiction than when he started, but is still taking the same courses which are also recognized by his new jurisdiction as adequate educational prerequesites for ordination to the diaconate.  In the OCA, the pre-conversion divorce was not mentioned as an impediment to ordination to the priesthood, but the issue may not have come up since he was not seeking ordination to the priesthood.  In the Antiochian parish, after some time passed, he was told that he could be ordained to the diaconate but not to the priesthood after completing the courses due to the pre-conversion divorce.  This is fine with him, as he has no interest in ordination to the priesthood, but he was surprised since he had never before heard that a pre-conversion divorce could be an impediment to priestly ordination.  I also was not familiar with such a policy, and so I submitted the above post as in inquiry.
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« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2012, 11:03:43 AM »

That kind of impediment seems bizarrely legalistic to me. St Ambrose certainly has authority, but how much authority is there for this in the Eastern Fathers? This seems to confer some kind of sacramental status on marriage outside the Church, but my understanding is that it is only within the Church that you can have true marriage. This smacks more of Latin reasoning to me: ex opere operato and all that.

Would any kind of intercourse prior to baptism be an impediment to ordination? Does the Church recognize any difference between fornication and a civilly contracted marriage outside the Church? I imagine they could be treated differently on pastoral grounds, but not as a canonical distinction.
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« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2012, 11:18:17 AM »

That kind of impediment seems bizarrely legalistic to me. St Ambrose certainly has authority, but how much authority is there for this in the Eastern Fathers? This seems to confer some kind of sacramental status on marriage outside the Church, but my understanding is that it is only within the Church that you can have true marriage. This smacks more of Latin reasoning to me: ex opere operato and all that.

Would any kind of intercourse prior to baptism be an impediment to ordination? Does the Church recognize any difference between fornication and a civilly contracted marriage outside the Church? I imagine they could be treated differently on pastoral grounds, but not as a canonical distinction.
Of course she does.  If a catechumen is shacking up, he is told to stop.  If he is civilly married (or even more so, married in his prior church), he is required to carry on.

Btw, there is more to marriage than just intercourse.

St. Ambrose had authority in the Church (hence "St."), but that is irrelevant as his position here is quite correct: marriage isn't a sin remitted in baptism.
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« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2012, 11:47:14 AM »

This was the position of St. Ambrose of Milan, who saw in marriage a status or state which is not in or of itself sinful, and therefore not undone by baptism.

If the sacrament of marriage is conferred by the priest and not by the couple how there can be marriages outside of the Church?

Please note that I'm not trying to claim or argue for anything but to understand the Church's logic on this.
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« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2012, 12:22:34 PM »

This was the position of St. Ambrose of Milan, who saw in marriage a status or state which is not in or of itself sinful, and therefore not undone by baptism.

If the sacrament of marriage is conferred by the priest and not by the couple how there can be marriages outside of the Church?

Please note that I'm not trying to claim or argue for anything but to understand the Church's logic on this.
The Creator conferred marriage before He founded the Church.  Marriage in the full sense is only available in the Church, but even the shadow has its effect.
Idi Amin and Mahatma Gandhi were both outside the Church. Can't the Church distinguish between the two?
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« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2012, 01:40:28 PM »


It is definitely not absolute, as I think Patriarch Alexei of blessed memory was divorced before he was ordained a priest.  

I thought he has divorced when he was alread priest, because he wanted (or he was supposed) to be a monk. I know that it was quite common situation during communism in Russia, that priests were divorcing becasue of the lack of monks (that was meaning no candidates for bishops), so they and their wife were going to monastery. It was also the case of late Polish Metropolitan Bazyli

Patriarch Alexei was married as a young man.  Ordained & then divorced after a very brief marriage and then he became a monk.  He did not marry for a second time.  Also his wife went on to marry another man and had a normal married life with children and so on.

I am surprised to read that metr. Wasyly's wife became a nun.  Wasn't there another Polish Orthodox bishop who was also a divorced man?
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« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2012, 02:16:46 PM »

I am surprised to read that metr. Wasyly's wife became a nun.  Wasn't there another Polish Orthodox bishop who was also a divorced man?

AFAIR Archbishop Jeremiah (Anchimiuk) had a wife too but I'm not sure.
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« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2012, 02:22:14 PM »

To the OP: your friend should count himself lucky as the bishop would be showing oiconomea to even allow him an opportunity for ordination to the diaconate. God is good and His ways are sufficient.
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« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2012, 02:31:52 PM »

To the OP: your friend should count himself lucky as the bishop would be showing oiconomea to even allow him an opportunity for ordination to the diaconate.

Reminds me of a joke:

Lenin's widow, Krupskaya was telling a class of Soviet schoolchildren what a kind man Lenin had been.
"One day ", she said, "he was standing outside his dacha shaving himself with a bowl of water and an open razor. A little boy came to watch him and asked him what he was doing. "I'm, shaving little boy", Lenin said.
"Why did that make Lenin a kind man?" asked one of the class.
"Don't you see", said Krupskaya, "he could have cut the little boy's throat but he didn't".
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« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2012, 02:42:12 PM »

To the OP: your friend should count himself lucky as the bishop would be showing oiconomea to even allow him an opportunity for ordination to the diaconate.

Reminds me of a joke

Lenin's widow, Krupskaya was telling a class of Soviet schoolchildren what a kind man Lenin had been.
"One day ", she said, "he was standing outside his dacha shaving himself with a bowl of water and an open razor. A little boy came to watch him and asked him what he was doing. "I'm, shaving little boy", Lenin said.
"Why did that make Lenin a kind man?" asked one of the class.
"Don't you see", said Krupskaya, "he could have cut the little boy's throat but he didn't".

To be clear, my intention is neither to villianize the bishop nor to spare charity to His friend, but to put a clear perspective on the situation. The life of a full time deacon would be an honor and a privelege that some will never know. In other words, "count your blessings!"
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« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2012, 03:57:49 PM »

This was the position of St. Ambrose of Milan, who saw in marriage a status or state which is not in or of itself sinful, and therefore not undone by baptism.

If the sacrament of marriage is conferred by the priest and not by the couple how there can be marriages outside of the Church?

Please note that I'm not trying to claim or argue for anything but to understand the Church's logic on this.
The Creator conferred marriage before He founded the Church.  Marriage in the full sense is only available in the Church, but even the shadow has its effect.
Idi Amin and Mahatma Gandhi were both outside the Church. Can't the Church distinguish between the two?

You're probably familiar with idea of the Church being born before the first Pentecost. Anyway, good point. I didn't thought it that way.
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« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2013, 10:39:22 PM »

I have a question, I was married previously to conversion was baptized and chrismated. My former spouse had several affairs and ran off with her last one. I was a minister in a protestant church, and have come to terms of possibly never holding a clergy office again. If the divorce was not my doing, is there a reason that it would be held against me?
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« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2013, 10:48:21 PM »

I have a question, I was married previously to conversion was baptized and chrismated. My former spouse had several affairs and ran off with her last one. I was a minister in a protestant church, and have come to terms of possibly never holding a clergy office again. If the divorce was not my doing, is there a reason that it would be held against me?

I have known several priests who suffered a divorce after they were ordained. They were allowed to remain in the priesthood. One even became a bishop.

In the OCA some previously divorced men who remarried before their chrismation or married a previously divorced woman before their chrismation were allowed to be tonsured as a reader by AB Benjamin, but he told them that they could not advance any further. That is strange because during the tonsuring service, a newly tonsured reader is instructed to be devout and read the scriptures so that he may be considered for further orders.
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« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2013, 10:50:33 PM »

Have him write an updated biography of Mt. Philip.  Who knows what doors will open for him.

That would make five biogarphies and, what, three museums?
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« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2013, 11:00:20 PM »

These things depend on the bishop. However, Fr. John Krestiankin notes in his letters, even if a dispensation is granted, violating the canons often has spiritual consequences--mostly in the forms of a cross or temptations.
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« Reply #25 on: May 18, 2013, 11:20:11 PM »

When ACROD was electing a Bishop last year,the clergy were advised by our chancery per Dr. Patsavos that divorced clergy were not eligible for nomination at the priests' council. Since that came from the Greek Archdiocese, is there a difference between Russian and Greek practice in this regard?
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« Reply #26 on: May 18, 2013, 11:20:58 PM »

I have been married to my current spouse for almost 10 years now and we, including my children, were all chrismated.
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« Reply #27 on: May 18, 2013, 11:24:38 PM »

When ACROD was electing a Bishop last year,the clergy were advised by our chancery per Dr. Patsavos that divorced clergy were not eligible for nomination at the priests' council. Since that came from the Greek Archdiocese, is there a difference between Russian and Greek practice in this regard?
In Romania until a few years ago (maybe 4 or s) there were , IIRC, about 400 priests divorced and remarried. The new patriarch gave them some sort of an ultimatum to choose between their spouses and priesthood. I  have no idea what happened after.
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« Reply #28 on: May 19, 2013, 09:37:47 AM »

If the marriage was without children, then it might be possible.  It does depend on other factors, like the length of the marriage and the circumstances surrounding the divorce.

I do know that in my old Antiochian parish, this was not a problem in one instance.  It might even be possible if there was kids in the marriage, who knows?
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« Reply #29 on: May 19, 2013, 09:53:16 AM »

In Romania until a few years ago (maybe 4 or s) there were , IIRC, about 400 priests divorced and remarried. The new patriarch gave them some sort of an ultimatum to choose between their spouses and priesthood. I  have no idea what happened after.

Interesting. I wonder what was the reason for tightened policy?
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« Reply #30 on: May 19, 2013, 10:10:31 AM »

There are many impediments to ordination. The bar is very high, according to the canonical tradition and the Fathers. As always, in reality there are many exceptions to the rule -- exceptions on everything from staying a priest after divorce to even getting married after ordination. However, in the official texts it is required to have exhibited life-time obedience to the divine order of sexuality and marriage (which is an institution rooted in the divinely created order itself, only treated as a distinct sacrament quite late in Christian history, after this was settled in canon law).

So, the official canonical sources from all Churches except modern-day Antioch are very clear on the question. And, yes, merely having sex before or outside of marriage is listed as an impediment, as are other things.

The standards have less to do with personal holiness and more to do with standing within the community. Ordination is not conferred on someone as a private benefit but rather as an initiation to public leadership within a specific community. It's about the Body of Christ, not the individual. It's about public ministry, not private growth. So, the canonical tradition and Fathers are very concerned about public perception and preventing any cause for public scandal. A deviant private past has the potential to threathen one's public future. We see it happen to politicians and other community leaders all the time. The canons seek to avoid this kind of scandal, as it hurts the Church's witness and even in some cases her unity. So, again, the bar is high for the sake of Christ's Body, not as punishment to the individual. But specific Bishops can always make an exception, as they guard the Church's purity and unity.
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« Reply #31 on: May 19, 2013, 01:40:49 PM »

There are many impediments to ordination. The bar is very high, according to the canonical tradition and the Fathers. As always, in reality there are many exceptions to the rule -- exceptions on everything from staying a priest after divorce to even getting married after ordination. However, in the official texts it is required to have exhibited life-time obedience to the divine order of sexuality and marriage (which is an institution rooted in the divinely created order itself, only treated as a distinct sacrament quite late in Christian history, after this was settled in canon law).

So, the official canonical sources from all Churches except modern-day Antioch are very clear on the question. And, yes, merely having sex before or outside of marriage is listed as an impediment, as are other things.

The standards have less to do with personal holiness and more to do with standing within the community. Ordination is not conferred on someone as a private benefit but rather as an initiation to public leadership within a specific community. It's about the Body of Christ, not the individual. It's about public ministry, not private growth. So, the canonical tradition and Fathers are very concerned about public perception and preventing any cause for public scandal. A deviant private past has the potential to threathen one's public future. We see it happen to politicians and other community leaders all the time. The canons seek to avoid this kind of scandal, as it hurts the Church's witness and even in some cases her unity. So, again, the bar is high for the sake of Christ's Body, not as punishment to the individual. But specific Bishops can always make an exception, as they guard the Church's purity and unity.

The topic that has been discussed here is divorce and ordination.  What if the scenario had to do with a seminarian who wishes to marry an unwed mother?  He marries the mother and adopts the child/children.  Is that an impediment?
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« Reply #32 on: May 19, 2013, 07:27:50 PM »

There are many impediments to ordination. The bar is very high, according to the canonical tradition and the Fathers. As always, in reality there are many exceptions to the rule -- exceptions on everything from staying a priest after divorce to even getting married after ordination. However, in the official texts it is required to have exhibited life-time obedience to the divine order of sexuality and marriage (which is an institution rooted in the divinely created order itself, only treated as a distinct sacrament quite late in Christian history, after this was settled in canon law).

So, the official canonical sources from all Churches except modern-day Antioch are very clear on the question. And, yes, merely having sex before or outside of marriage is listed as an impediment, as are other things.

The standards have less to do with personal holiness and more to do with standing within the community. Ordination is not conferred on someone as a private benefit but rather as an initiation to public leadership within a specific community. It's about the Body of Christ, not the individual. It's about public ministry, not private growth. So, the canonical tradition and Fathers are very concerned about public perception and preventing any cause for public scandal. A deviant private past has the potential to threathen one's public future. We see it happen to politicians and other community leaders all the time. The canons seek to avoid this kind of scandal, as it hurts the Church's witness and even in some cases her unity. So, again, the bar is high for the sake of Christ's Body, not as punishment to the individual. But specific Bishops can always make an exception, as they guard the Church's purity and unity.

The topic that has been discussed here is divorce and ordination.  What if the scenario had to do with a seminarian who wishes to marry an unwed mother?  He marries the mother and adopts the child/children.  Is that an impediment?


In the canonical literature, the standards for the wife of an ordinand are the same as the standards for the ordinand himself. So, yes, that would be an impediment in theory. In practice, I don't know of any church that investigates the wives of ordinands beyond asking for certificates of baptism and ecclesiastical marriage.

EDIT: Oh, and asking for official, written consent from the wife. But things like "life confessions" leading to a signed certificate of "no impediments" from a spiritual father are only required of the ordinand, as far as I have seen.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2013, 07:29:32 PM by pensateomnia » Logged

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« Reply #33 on: May 20, 2013, 12:04:56 PM »

In Romania until a few years ago (maybe 4 or s) there were , IIRC, about 400 priests divorced and remarried. The new patriarch gave them some sort of an ultimatum to choose between their spouses and priesthood. I  have no idea what happened after.

Interesting. I wonder what was the reason for tightened policy?

IIRC, the GOA Holy Synod recently reconsidered and clarified the policies on divorced clergy.
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« Reply #34 on: May 20, 2013, 01:04:11 PM »

What if the divorce is over marital unfaithfulness as stated by our savior as a reason?

Such as if the candidate's wife had an affair (physical & emotional).
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« Reply #35 on: May 20, 2013, 02:57:00 PM »

What if the divorce is over marital unfaithfulness as stated by our savior as a reason?

Such as if the candidate's wife had an affair (physical & emotional).

That's the chief acceptable reason to get a divorce. I would have to re-read things to be 100 percent sure, but it shouldn't affect the candidate's ordination, provided an ecclesiastical court found him to be the aggrieved party and he has not remarried. The basic principle is: Potential clergy must have been married only once, and, if still married, that wife must be Orthodox in good standing, approve of the plans to pursue ordination, and also be the only person with whom the potential clergyman has had sex, and only within the bonds of their matrimony. Make sense? Basically, clergy are held to the ideal -- at least in theory.
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« Reply #36 on: May 20, 2013, 06:07:49 PM »

What if the divorce is over marital unfaithfulness as stated by our savior as a reason?

Such as if the candidate's wife had an affair (physical & emotional).

If the candidate has had sex with his wife AFTER she started having an affair, that is also an impediment to Holy Orders (and if the man is already a priest, he is not allowed to serve the Divine Liturgy anymore either and can only perform the other sacraments with his bishop's blessing. My understanding is that he must also either divorce her or resign from the priesthood.)

The canons technically prevent anyone with an impediment from even being tonsured a reader.  However, baptism wipes away all past sins and impediments (at least this is the rule on Mt Athos). St Moses is an example of someone who murdered and fornicated before his baptism but was ordained a priest because during baptism those sins were washed away.
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« Reply #37 on: May 20, 2013, 06:19:22 PM »

What if the divorce is over marital unfaithfulness as stated by our savior as a reason?

Such as if the candidate's wife had an affair (physical & emotional).
What if it was merely physical, no emotions involved, would that still be  an impediment?
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« Reply #38 on: May 20, 2013, 06:25:02 PM »

I was married, my ex-wife had seven affairs while we were married. I wanted to stay and work things out but she ran off with the last man that she was with and they went and started their own church, I was protestant. I married my current wife about 9 years ago and it was not in the church. I was recently baptized and my family was chrismed at the same time. I was a seminary student at a protestant college but I dropped out after really discovering Orthodox because I felt that it would be a waste of time to study that theology any more. I was ordained in my previous church and served as an associate pastor.
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« Reply #39 on: May 20, 2013, 06:30:04 PM »

^sorry, don't mean to be rude, don't know your wife but if you know about 7 affairs for sure it's safe t bet there were others you don't know about. speaking from experience. not gonna say what par I played though.
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« Reply #40 on: May 20, 2013, 06:32:55 PM »

I am confident that she had more but without proof or witnesses I cannot accuse. So that is all I will claim.
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metron ariston


« Reply #41 on: May 20, 2013, 06:43:18 PM »

I was married, my ex-wife had seven affairs while we were married. I wanted to stay and work things out but she ran off with the last man that she was with and they went and started their own church, I was protestant. I married my current wife about 9 years ago and it was not in the church. I was recently baptized and my family was chrismed at the same time. I was a seminary student at a protestant college but I dropped out after really discovering Orthodox because I felt that it would be a waste of time to study that theology any more. I was ordained in my previous church and served as an associate pastor.

I doubt it will prevent you from pursuing ordination, if that is your intent, but ask your bishop.
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« Reply #42 on: May 20, 2013, 06:52:41 PM »

If the candidate has had sex with his wife AFTER she started having an affair, that is also an impediment to Holy Orders (and if the man is already a priest, he is not allowed to serve the Divine Liturgy anymore either and can only perform the other sacraments with his bishop's blessing.

What?
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« Reply #43 on: May 20, 2013, 07:09:23 PM »

If the candidate has had sex with his wife AFTER she started having an affair, that is also an impediment to Holy Orders (and if the man is already a priest, he is not allowed to serve the Divine Liturgy anymore either and can only perform the other sacraments with his bishop's blessing.

What?

Might have something to do with the scripture passage about uniting oneself with a harlot?
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« Reply #44 on: May 20, 2013, 08:52:15 PM »

If the candidate has had sex with his wife AFTER she started having an affair, that is also an impediment to Holy Orders (and if the man is already a priest, he is not allowed to serve the Divine Liturgy anymore either and can only perform the other sacraments with his bishop's blessing.

What?

Might have something to do with the scripture passage about uniting oneself with a harlot?
But since harlots will enter the kingdom way ahead of the clergy as the Gospel says, wouldn't a clergyman rather benefit from such a union?
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