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« on: January 23, 2013, 08:34:34 AM »

1.How can a Christian become bishop in Orthodox Church?Is there any criteria or qualification?


2. Do the bishops come from the elections ? Or from the appointment of former bishops?
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2013, 01:19:45 PM »

A bishop is chosen from celibate, widowed, or divorced (with mutual agreement, wife also enters a monastery) clergy (presbyters). All jurisdictions but one require bishops to have monastic tonsure prior to consecration to the bishopric. Canonical age limit is 50 however this rule is sometimes bent.

The way of choosing a bishop varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some, candidates are chosen by diocesan assemblies, in some - by fellow bishops of the church. It depends.
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2013, 01:25:40 PM »

All jurisdictions but one require bishops to have monastic tonsure prior to consecration to the bishopric.

Which would that be?
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2013, 01:30:21 PM »

All jurisdictions but one require bishops to have monastic tonsure prior to consecration to the bishopric.

Which would that be?

AFAIK, Antiochians.

require candidates for bishops to have monastic tonsure prior to consecration to the bishopric
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 08:23:47 PM »

Monastic tonsure, AFAIK, was never a universal canonical requirement, unlike being widowered or unmarried.
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2013, 09:51:47 PM »

Monastic tonsure, AFAIK, was never a universal canonical requirement, unlike being widowered or unmarried.

Not never, but in the last 100 years this has been the case.  There were definitely periods in history where monastic tonsure was required.  I can't think of a specific period right now, but I know that it has happened.

FYI the GOAA does not require monastic tonsure, just that you are celibate, in order to be a hierarch. 
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2013, 09:54:04 PM »

Monastic tonsure, AFAIK, was never a universal canonical requirement, unlike being widowered or unmarried.

Not never, but in the last 100 years this has been the case.  There were definitely periods in history where monastic tonsure was required.  I can't think of a specific period right now, but I know that it has happened.

FYI the GOAA does not require monastic tonsure, just that you are celibate, in order to be a hierarch. 

But Father, is there not a rule that says that one must either have recieved tonsure or be married to become a priest(or lower orders of clergy)?
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2013, 09:54:53 PM »

Monastic tonsure, AFAIK, was never a universal canonical requirement, unlike being widowered or unmarried.

Not never, but in the last 100 years this has been the case.  There were definitely periods in history where monastic tonsure was required.  I can't think of a specific period right now, but I know that it has happened.

FYI the GOAA does not require monastic tonsure, just that you are celibate, in order to be a hierarch. 

Was it required by an ecumenical canon? Or was it just convention, local canons?
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2013, 10:05:17 PM »

Not directly relevant, but fwiw...

"The wife of him who is advanced to the Episcopal dignity, shall be separated from her husband by their mutual consent, and after his ordination and consecration to the episcopate she shall enter a monastery situated at a distance from the abode of the bishop, and there let her enjoy the bishop's provision. And if she is deemed worthy she may be advanced to the dignity of a deaconess." - 6th Ecumenical Council (Trullo), Canon 48
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« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2013, 12:04:34 PM »

Monastic tonsure, AFAIK, was never a universal canonical requirement, unlike being widowered or unmarried.

Not never, but in the last 100 years this has been the case.  There were definitely periods in history where monastic tonsure was required.  I can't think of a specific period right now, but I know that it has happened.

FYI the GOAA does not require monastic tonsure, just that you are celibate, in order to be a hierarch. 

But Father, is there not a rule that says that one must either have recieved tonsure or be married to become a priest(or lower orders of clergy)?

I think the rule does not EXACTLY say monastic tonsure, but rather it says vow of celibacy.

Even if I'm wrong on that count, it's how the GOA has done things in Greece & here for the last 150 years.
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« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2013, 12:05:13 PM »

Monastic tonsure, AFAIK, was never a universal canonical requirement, unlike being widowered or unmarried.

Not never, but in the last 100 years this has been the case.  There were definitely periods in history where monastic tonsure was required.  I can't think of a specific period right now, but I know that it has happened.

FYI the GOAA does not require monastic tonsure, just that you are celibate, in order to be a hierarch. 

Was it required by an ecumenical canon? Or was it just convention, local canons?

Probably local like Gangara or Laodicea.  Those dealt a lot with clergy issues
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« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2013, 01:43:03 PM »

Monastic tonsure, AFAIK, was never a universal canonical requirement, unlike being widowered or unmarried.

Not never, but in the last 100 years this has been the case.  There were definitely periods in history where monastic tonsure was required.  I can't think of a specific period right now, but I know that it has happened.

FYI the GOAA does not require monastic tonsure, just that you are celibate, in order to be a hierarch. 

Was it required by an ecumenical canon? Or was it just convention, local canons?

Probably local like Gangara or Laodicea.  Those dealt a lot with clergy issues

But those canons would be accepted as ecumenical correct, Father?
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« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2013, 03:56:03 PM »

If we define ecumenical pedigree properly, we would have to exclude all after our seven ecumenical councils. Indeed, a perfectionist could argue that the Council at Trullo could not be considered an ecumenical one.

However, I think that the issue of married bishops (or not) is a matter of discipline and practice and not of dogma. How could it be different as the Council of Trullo Canons 12 and 48 were departures from the Apostolic Canons and from Holy Scripture? They finessed it by merely requiring married bishops of that time not to live with their wives any longer (Canon 12) and requiring bishop candidates of the future to separate from their wives before consecration (Canon 48).  

"And we say this, not to abolish and overthrow what things were established of old by Apostolic authority, but as caring for the health of the people and their advance to better things, and lest the ecclesiastical state should suffer any reproach." This excerpt from Canon 12 is referring to

a. Apostolic Canon 5--Let not a bishop, a priest, or a deacon cast off his own wife under pretence of piety; but if he does cast her off, let him be suspended. If he go on in it, let him be deprived," and perhaps to

b. St. Paul giving the qualifications of a bishop to St. Timothy in 1 Timothy 3:1-7--This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

c. The Lord speaking in Matthew 19:6--Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Now, it is clear that there is no canonical or biblical hindrance for married men to become bishops--they just cannot live with their wives. In practice, however, that only happens in the case of married priests, whose wives have separated from their husbands by passing on. Another custom that has arisen is for bishops to be monastics. I would appreciate for somebody to point out the reasons for this development beside speculation.
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« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2013, 04:09:51 PM »

A bishop is chosen from celibate, widowed, or divorced (with mutual agreement, wife also enters a monastery) clergy (presbyters). All jurisdictions but one require bishops to have monastic tonsure prior to consecration to the bishopric. Canonical age limit is 50 however this rule is sometimes bent.
"Canonical age limit" can be deceiving, because in English this implies a maximum age. Seeing that so many more bishops are older than 50 than are younger than 50, I believe you mean "canonical minimum age" of 50 (or "canonical age requirement" of 50+).
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« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2013, 04:18:06 PM »

A bishop is chosen from celibate, widowed, or divorced (with mutual agreement, wife also enters a monastery) clergy (presbyters). All jurisdictions but one require bishops to have monastic tonsure prior to consecration to the bishopric. Canonical age limit is 50 however this rule is sometimes bent.
"Canonical age limit" can be deceiving, because in English this implies a maximum age. Seeing that so many more bishops are older than 50 than are younger than 50, I believe you mean "canonical minimum age" of 50 (or "canonical age requirement" of 50+).

Yeah.
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« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2013, 04:47:07 PM »

If we define ecumenical pedigree properly, we would have to exclude all after our seven ecumenical councils. Indeed, a perfectionist could argue that the Council at Trullo could not be considered an ecumenical one.

But, when ecumenical councils ratify (or whatever the word is) the canons of local councils and bishops, do those canons not, in effect, become ecumenical?
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« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2013, 04:52:15 PM »

If we define ecumenical pedigree properly, we would have to exclude all after our seven ecumenical councils. Indeed, a perfectionist could argue that the Council at Trullo could not be considered an ecumenical one.

But, when ecumenical councils ratify (or whatever the word is) the canons of local councils and bishops, do those canons not, in effect, become ecumenical?
Yes. They do, as these were.
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« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2013, 07:46:12 PM »

Monastic tonsure, AFAIK, was never a universal canonical requirement, unlike being widowered or unmarried.

Not never, but in the last 100 years this has been the case.  There were definitely periods in history where monastic tonsure was required.  I can't think of a specific period right now, but I know that it has happened.

FYI the GOAA does not require monastic tonsure, just that you are celibate, in order to be a hierarch. 

Was it required by an ecumenical canon? Or was it just convention, local canons?

Probably local like Gangara or Laodicea.  Those dealt a lot with clergy issues

But those canons would be accepted as ecumenical correct, Father?

I can't remember right now which canon did this, but one of the canons declared that ALL canons both in that body of canons and all the ones before it, were considered "ecumenical" in their application & the way with which they were to be dealt. 

So technically...yes. 

However anyone who deals with the canons MUST understand the historical context & the FACT that when those canons were first promulgated they were done so for a particular place, in a particular time.  (and for particular reasons!)
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« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2013, 08:09:04 PM »

Canon 2 of Penthekte is the canon which affirms all other canons as ecumenical. 
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« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2013, 08:35:30 PM »

Canon 12 of the 6th ecumenical council is the the one that prohibits bishops from being married

in the notes of that canon it goes into the celibacy issue & the way it phrases it is:  "celibacy, or in other words monastic vows, ..." etc. 

So for them they are one and the same.

Something to keep in mind, which I didn't realize until recently:

The whole idea of celibate clergy without monastic tonsure only exists in very few areas.  I know of only the US, but perhaps it exists somewhere else.  Interesting to think about that.  It's also only been in existence as an idea in the last 50-60 years. 

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« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2013, 08:44:47 PM »

If we define ecumenical pedigree properly, we would have to exclude all after our seven ecumenical councils. Indeed, a perfectionist could argue that the Council at Trullo could not be considered an ecumenical one.

However, I think that the issue of married bishops (or not) is a matter of discipline and practice and not of dogma. How could it be different as the Council of Trullo Canons 12 and 48 were departures from the Apostolic Canons and from Holy Scripture? They finessed it by merely requiring married bishops of that time not to live with their wives any longer (Canon 12) and requiring bishop candidates of the future to separate from their wives before consecration (Canon 48).  

"And we say this, not to abolish and overthrow what things were established of old by Apostolic authority, but as caring for the health of the people and their advance to better things, and lest the ecclesiastical state should suffer any reproach." This excerpt from Canon 12 is referring to

a. Apostolic Canon 5--Let not a bishop, a priest, or a deacon cast off his own wife under pretence of piety; but if he does cast her off, let him be suspended. If he go on in it, let him be deprived," and perhaps to

b. St. Paul giving the qualifications of a bishop to St. Timothy in 1 Timothy 3:1-7--This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

c. The Lord speaking in Matthew 19:6--Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Now, it is clear that there is no canonical or biblical hindrance for married men to become bishops--they just cannot live with their wives. In practice, however, that only happens in the case of married priests, whose wives have separated from their husbands by passing on. Another custom that has arisen is for bishops to be monastics. I would appreciate for somebody to point out the reasons for this development beside speculation.
What else? Litigation.

The properties and assets of the diocese are in the bishop's name, and there were cases of inheritance where the bishop's heirs claimed certain diocesan properties as his personal property and thereby theirs, etc.  Sometime it didn't wait till them: a recall a case of the bishop of Ephesus IIRC being judged by Abp. St. John Chrysostom for using Church property for the support of his family and his own enrichment etc.

Neoptism was a way around it, and was used in the East as well as in the West: the Kingdom of Montenegro grew out of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro, ruled by the dyansty of uncle-nephew autocephalous Metropolitans.

The other obvious reason was the rise of the monastic class and their domination of the Church.  There are several cases of monks acting as if they were not under the bishops authority, and the monastics constituting a clerical class.  We just had a thread over the fact that monks are not members of the clergy, but of the laity.  Monasteries securing the episcopate for their candidates led to the requirement of tonsure before consideration for the episcopacy.

A little speculation: the Emperors, who wanted their hand in the selection of bishops preferred it that way, given the influence the bishops had independent of the imperium.  This is speculation because all the pronouncements on such things are couched in the most pious of terms, that just reek of disingenuity.

And of course ever since St. Paul there was a preference in Church for monastics, such that before the canons were put in place, a large number if not the majority of bishops were celibates.
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« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2013, 08:46:39 PM »

Canon 12 of the 6th ecumenical council is the the one that prohibits bishops from being married

in the notes of that canon it goes into the celibacy issue & the way it phrases it is:  "celibacy, or in other words monastic vows, ..." etc. 

So for them they are one and the same.

Something to keep in mind, which I didn't realize until recently:

The whole idea of celibate clergy without monastic tonsure only exists in very few areas.  I know of only the US, but perhaps it exists somewhere else.  Interesting to think about that.  It's also only been in existence as an idea in the last 50-60 years. 


I seem to recall an Antiochian bishop pointing out that he had never taken monastic vows or been tonsured a monk.
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« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2013, 11:09:12 PM »

A bishop is chosen from celibate, widowed, or divorced (with mutual agreement, wife also enters a monastery) clergy (presbyters). All jurisdictions but one require bishops to have monastic tonsure prior to consecration to the bishopric. Canonical age limit is 50 however this rule is sometimes bent.

The way of choosing a bishop varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some, candidates are chosen by diocesan assemblies, in some - by fellow bishops of the church. It depends.

But our scriptures say he can be the husband of one wife...

This has always bothered me.
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« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2013, 11:11:32 PM »

Canon 12 of the 6th ecumenical council is the the one that prohibits bishops from being married

in the notes of that canon it goes into the celibacy issue & the way it phrases it is:  "celibacy, or in other words monastic vows, ..." etc.  

So for them they are one and the same.

Something to keep in mind, which I didn't realize until recently:

The whole idea of celibate clergy without monastic tonsure only exists in very few areas.  I know of only the US, but perhaps it exists somewhere else.  Interesting to think about that.  It's also only been in existence as an idea in the last 50-60 years.  



Is there no historical precedent in Orthodox lands? Perhaps it's a Western import?
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« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2013, 11:19:12 PM »

A bishop is chosen from celibate, widowed, or divorced (with mutual agreement, wife also enters a monastery) clergy (presbyters). All jurisdictions but one require bishops to have monastic tonsure prior to consecration to the bishopric. Canonical age limit is 50 however this rule is sometimes bent.

The way of choosing a bishop varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some, candidates are chosen by diocesan assemblies, in some - by fellow bishops of the church. It depends.

But our scriptures say he can be the husband of one wife...

This has always bothered me.

This means as opposed to being a bigamist--either simultaneously or in succession.
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« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2013, 01:37:36 AM »

Canon 12 of the 6th ecumenical council is the the one that prohibits bishops from being married

in the notes of that canon it goes into the celibacy issue & the way it phrases it is:  "celibacy, or in other words monastic vows, ..." etc.  

So for them they are one and the same.

Something to keep in mind, which I didn't realize until recently:

The whole idea of celibate clergy without monastic tonsure only exists in very few areas.  I know of only the US, but perhaps it exists somewhere else.  Interesting to think about that.  It's also only been in existence as an idea in the last 50-60 years.  



Is there no historical precedent in Orthodox lands? Perhaps it's a Western import?

I think there might be some truth in that latter statement but I've never studied the issue in-depth.  It's just something I've noticed
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« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2013, 01:38:47 AM »

Canon 12 of the 6th ecumenical council is the the one that prohibits bishops from being married

in the notes of that canon it goes into the celibacy issue & the way it phrases it is:  "celibacy, or in other words monastic vows, ..." etc. 

So for them they are one and the same.

Something to keep in mind, which I didn't realize until recently:

The whole idea of celibate clergy without monastic tonsure only exists in very few areas.  I know of only the US, but perhaps it exists somewhere else.  Interesting to think about that.  It's also only been in existence as an idea in the last 50-60 years. 


I seem to recall an Antiochian bishop pointing out that he had never taken monastic vows or been tonsured a monk.

I know a bunch of celibates who have done neither.  I know bishops who did it just so they could become bishops but have no connection to that actual monastery.  Etc etc etc
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March 27th and May 30th 2010 were my Ordination dates, please forgive everything before that
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