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Author Topic: When a cleric retires...  (Read 610 times) Average Rating: 0
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minasoliman
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« on: May 01, 2013, 04:37:40 PM »

Coming from a background where retirements from clerical service is usually seen as unacceptable unless forcefully deposed, and even then, replacements are temporary until post-mortem for an official replacement, it's very hard to think that someone who is retired would be addressed as anyone would a layman.  Consider the retirement of bishops and patriarchs.  They're still addressed in the same way.  In the Coptic Church, we take seriously the words "you are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek".

In the Coptic Church, when HH Pope Yousab was forcefully abdicated from his throne in 1956, his episcopal title wasn't necessarily removed, and it seemed that neither of the bishops of the Synod were ready to replace him with a new patriarch until he passed away.  In essence, there's this psychological impetus in me therefore that anyone who does retire, I still might be inclined to call them father.

Would love to hear input or historical precedence from other churches.  And this is regarding a voluntary retirement, not a forceful deposition due to corruption or heresy.
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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2013, 05:04:01 PM »

Happens all the time. On the other hand in most cases here "retirement" means "you are leaving by yourself or we make you leave for what you've done". Very few priests who retire actually do it because of the age or health problems.

Aren't you confusing retirement with laitisation?
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2013, 05:13:25 PM »

Coming from a background where retirements from clerical service is usually seen as unacceptable unless forcefully deposed, and even then, replacements are temporary until post-mortem for an official replacement, it's very hard to think that someone who is retired would be addressed as anyone would a layman.  Consider the retirement of bishops and patriarchs.  They're still addressed in the same way.  In the Coptic Church, we take seriously the words "you are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek".

In the Coptic Church, when HH Pope Yousab was forcefully abdicated from his throne in 1956, his episcopal title wasn't necessarily removed, and it seemed that neither of the bishops of the Synod were ready to replace him with a new patriarch until he passed away.  In essence, there's this psychological impetus in me therefore that anyone who does retire, I still might be inclined to call them father.

Would love to hear input or historical precedence from other churches.  And this is regarding a voluntary retirement, not a forceful deposition due to corruption or heresy.

I know a priest in Arizona who is retired.  He currently serves liturgy by himself on Fridays at the parish in his town (which is the only one for many, many miles around), and con-celebrates at the liturgy on Sundays, there.  As well, he serves when asked as a supply priest when a parish's priest is going to be on vacation or something of that sort.

So, at least judging by the one retired priest I know, I'd say they continue to serve as a priest for as long as possible, they just are no longer charged with the full-time care of a parish, due to age.
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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2013, 05:16:40 PM »

Happens all the time. On the other hand in most cases here "retirement" means "you are leaving by yourself or we make you leave for what you've done". Very few priests who retire actually do it because of the age or health problems.

Aren't you confusing retirement with laitisation?
What about "resignation"?  Is there a difference?
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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2013, 05:46:21 PM »

As I understand:

"retirement" - cleric remains a cleric but he no longer carries any functions in a parish / monastery / theology school whatever, neither he receive money from the diocese anylonger. He usually is unofficially tied with a parish when he serves from time to time.

"suspension" - cleric remains a cleric but he is no longer allowed to serve

"laitisation" - cleric stops being a cleric and becomes a layman

"resignation" - you can either resign from orders what will result in latitisation or you can resign from all (or some functions) you carry (and that may result in retirement).

And what are you asking about?
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2013, 06:05:23 PM »

I don't personally know any, but I know of several priests who have retired.  One lady in our parish had her father retire, move from his state to theirs and now does volunteer work in addition to filling in when the need arrises when another priest is sick, etc.

In these instances, it does not mean no longer a priest, only no longer an active priest guiding a parish.
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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2013, 06:07:58 PM »

Coming from a background where retirements from clerical service is usually seen as unacceptable unless forcefully deposed, and even then, replacements are temporary until post-mortem for an official replacement, it's very hard to think that someone who is retired would be addressed as anyone would a layman.  Consider the retirement of bishops and patriarchs.  They're still addressed in the same way.  In the Coptic Church, we take seriously the words "you are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek".

In the Coptic Church, when HH Pope Yousab was forcefully abdicated from his throne in 1956, his episcopal title wasn't necessarily removed, and it seemed that neither of the bishops of the Synod were ready to replace him with a new patriarch until he passed away.  In essence, there's this psychological impetus in me therefore that anyone who does retire, I still might be inclined to call them father.

Would love to hear input or historical precedence from other churches.  And this is regarding a voluntary retirement, not a forceful deposition due to corruption or heresy.
My old parish priest, Fr. Garklavs, just retired: he had been the guardian of the Tikhvin Mother of God for decades after WWII, and it went back to Russia a number of years ago.  His beloved wife fell asleep a couple of years ago (on the forefeast of the Tikhvin MoG), and he has retired now to the monastery where it was returned in Russia.

We have a parish member who was laicized at his request.  A classmate of his at the seminary, a priest at my first parish, was defrocked (adultery).

Archbishop Job of blessed memory was counting the days to his retirement when the Lord called him.  The OCA hasn't had a Metropolitan die in office since the first one, Met. Ireney, and he was in semi-retirement (and, I just found out, from the Polish Orthodox Church).  In fact, all the Metropolitans between him and His Beatitude Tikhon are all in retirement.
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« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2013, 06:12:54 PM »

Ok so I was confusing resignation with retirement earlier.  I'm asking about resignation.

I'm not sure of any example in my church when anyone would ask to be laisized.  It's just unheard of. A voluntary resignation in the Coptic psyche would be equivalent to retirement.  An as I explained before, even a deposition wouldn't take away the title of priesthood, it seems, as such cases are rare.  Cases of laisation are very rare.
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2013, 08:17:00 PM »

Ok so I was confusing resignation with retirement earlier.  I'm asking about resignation.

I'm not sure of any example in my church when anyone would ask to be laisized.  It's just unheard of. A voluntary resignation in the Coptic psyche would be equivalent to retirement.  An as I explained before, even a deposition wouldn't take away the title of priesthood, it seems, as such cases are rare.  Cases of laisation are very rare.

It happens. Coptic priests in North America have quit and gone back to secular jobs. Obviously it's not like quitting a secular job, which is just a decision... leaving the priesthood means breaking vows and either denying a calling or admitting it was a self calling...

I don't think the fact that it's rarer in the Coptic Church than among EOs is necessarily a good thing either. When we have a very bad priest, instead of asking them to step down or restricting his servcie, we tend to just transfer them somewhere else and let them wreck another parish until the people there complain enough to get him moved again... Proper discipline seems to be seriously lacking.

About your comment about taking "you are a priest forever" very seriously... I respectfully disagree with this sentiment. This verse does not apply to the elder/presbyter/abouna... it applies to Christ, who is our High Priest. The bishop or priest, in the Liturgy, stand as an icon of Christ, who is actually the one offering the Sacrifice of His Body and Blood, i.e. who is the priest. In Orthodoxy, a presbyter has a role in a community. They are ordained to serve as a priest there, under the authority of their bishop. It isn't a magic power given them, it is a role of service. If a priest leaves that community or breaks from their bishop, they have left their role, and have left behind their priestly authority. They can be restored again by being reconciled with their community and bishop, without the needs to be ordained (set aside) again, since they were already set aside for that service, and are just returning to it.

Our current attitudes seem to be shaped by Roman Catholic influence, the idea that the priesthood is an indelible mark on the soul of the priest, rather than the Orthodox concept of a consecration to a role of service in a community. This is why we casually transfer priests from one parish to another, and contemplate things like private masses... Really, a priest is only a priest in his community, and can only serve as a priest in another community with the blessing of his bishop and the bishop of the church he is visiting...

One thing I do very much like better about the Coptic approach vs the EO approach is retirement: when a Coptic priest retires they are still the priest of their church, and they are still provided before by the church. They just stop actively leading the church and allow that responsibility to pass to a junior priest who goes from assisting them to being the one running the church... The retired priest still prays and serves as they are able, but the burden of being the pastor of the parish is passed on. The idea of just casting aside used up priests and leaving them to the food banks is appalling (not that this is how all EO operate, but the story seems too common...)
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« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2013, 09:02:52 PM »

I admit, I've only recently started to see the episcopacy in a new light, and now the presbyterate is also something of my previous presuppositions of it based on certain Coptic teachings.

I do know one Coptic priest who was unable of serving a parish that liked him.  He eventually lived out his days as a priest who is assigned to a parish that may provide for him, but as a "retired" priest, even in his young age.  It's interesting that it's very difficult for people to consider a priest to become laicized in the Coptic community.

But I have another question.  Wasn't there a canon somewhere where a bishop may be ordained by twelve presbyters?  Doesn't that carry some weight on the job of the presbyter?

Mind you, I also thought the same of the orders of the deaconate, i.e. there's an indelible mark there as well once consecrated into a certain order.
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« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2013, 10:14:08 PM »

It is said that the ancient custom in Alexandria was for the 12 presbyters to select one of their own to become the bishop, and would then lay hands on them.

This reflects the earlier mindset. A local church, that is the gathering of the Orthodox Church in a city, had a council of elders, and that council had a president. In the NT the term elder and overseer was confused. Over time, it came to be convention that elder (presbyter) was applied to the members of the council of elders besides the president, and overseer (episcopos, bishop) was applied to the president. They were all elders, but the overseer was the one of the elders who was the pastor of the congregation, represented them in meetings with neighbouring local churches, and had the authority to ordain more elders.

Also, these clergymen were not considered distinct from the laity, the people. They are people. They are members of the church. They are just the members of the church set aside to a role of service in that community.

In this situation, perhaps it is the case that in earlier times when the bishop reposed, the presbyters laid hands on one of their own and set them aside to serve as the president of the elders, the overseers. Or maybe this is just a fable and never happened, and it was always neighbouring overseers who laid hands on the choice of the presbyters. It's certainly hard to know what happened at this point.

In any case, it seems irrelevant to the question of whether this practice places weight on the position of presbyter... everything said about the presbyter can be said about the bishop. A father is only a father if they have children. A bishop is the member of a community set aside to shepherd that community. The canons absolutely forbid them from going and serving in another church (diocese) besides the one they were ordained for. If the bishop fell away from their community, they would no longer be a bishop in any real sense: what is an overseer without people to oversee? They can't just got set up another church in schism. This whole idea of ordaining other bishops and setting up a rival church is silly. A bishop was ordained by bishops in communion, to serve a community. If they leave that community they're gone. A schism really happens when a bishop leaves the communion with their people... Again, if a bishop who has fallen away from their community is restored, they can be accepted back without being reordained, since they have already been set aside... Still, it is Christ who is the priest, and the bishop who images Him to the people. The original symbolism seems to be not the bishop as the successor (often today taken to mean equivalent) of the apostle: but the bishop images Christ in the Liturgy, and the presbyters standing around him image the Apostles surrounding Christ. (this is why I don't like the innovation in St. Gregory's Liturgy of addressing the Son rather than the Father... The bishop [or in his absence, the presbyter acting in his stead] images Christ, addressing the Father... having the priest address the Son destroys the imagery [though perhaps this is why St. Gregory's Liturgy ends as it does, strongly emphasizing that it is Christ who breaks, blesses, etc...])

Later presbyters became heads in their own right of eucharistic communities (parishes), and this symbolism became blurred. Instead of standing around the bishop, the presbyter takes the place of the bishop in his stead. Perfectly proper, the main point is that the priest, whether a bishop or a presbyter in his stead, stands in the place of Christ, who is the true priest who is actually offering the Sacrifice.

It isn't an ontological change to the person ordained (an indelible mark): it is that they are set aside to serve in a capacity and receive grace from God to perform that service. They are changed, certainly, in that they are overcome with God's grace to enable them to serve, but that grace is not captive, that they can take it with them outside the Catholic priest and still be able to say certain words and perform the voodoo to transubstantiate... A presbyter outside the church is no presbyter...
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« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2013, 03:27:52 AM »

I'm asking about resignation.

Resignation from what?
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« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2013, 04:29:30 PM »

I'm asking about resignation.

Resignation from what?
The title of the thread should have been "when a cleric resigns..." rather than "retires..."
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« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2013, 04:33:15 PM »

I'm asking about resignation.

Resignation from what?
The title of the thread should have been "when a cleric resigns..." rather than "retires..."

But resigns from what? Clergyhood? Extra cheese in Subway?
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« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2013, 05:02:42 PM »

Dear Jonathan,

I don't disagree with a lot of what you say.  After I've been introduced to Fr. Laurent Cleenewerk's writings on ecclesiology, I understand all of that. Nevertheless, a few things I'd like to make mention.

1. You mentioned: "Again, if a bishop who has fallen away from their community is restored, they can be accepted back without being reordained, since they have already been set aside... Still, it is Christ who is the priest, and the bishop who images Him to the people". I think this is what I mean (I don't know what others think) by "indelible mark".  Not an ontological change, but certainly a grace that never truly leaves such a person, even when fallen away, because the grace from which they impart does not depend upon the state of the spirituality of the person, but the grace they are given.  The canons upon which declare their falling away are necessary for the people to understand not to accept the sacraments from the person.  Nevertheless it is quite telling that the person need not be reordained when brought back to the assembly.  Hence why it's difficult to truly swallow the idea that a cleric is "laisized" upon mere voluntary resignation. If this person is willing to come back to serve the assembly as a presbyter, and the assembly is willing to accept, and he does not need to be reordained, then how can I not call this person "Father"?

2. We have an example in the Synexarium of a saint who technically a [Chalcedonian] assembly deposed him from his throne and banished to the deserts of Egypt, who nevertheless, due to his presence in a church, was asked to celebrate the Eucharist, due to his higher clerical rank in order to bring back the disappeared elements of the Eucharist.  We obviously know this to be none other than St. Severus.  He continues to be bishop of Antioch despite having celebrated the Eucharist according to divine decree "so to speak" according the story of this miracle, and this the grace in him was recognized as strong irrevocable power despite the different diocese, not so much as a magical power, but a power of divine grace that decides not to leave the one who is "set aside".  And I treat the same not only for the presbyteriate, but even the deaconate.

Granted, I don't know where this story comes from, or when it was written, but it does give an insight to an ancient understanding of the episcopate so to speak.

3. We even have a culture on "indelible" marks of lay church servants. A church servant once told me the story of how in East Brunswick, NJ when Abouna St Pishoy Kamel was building the church there, met this lady and asked her: "Do you teach Sunday school?" to which she replied, "Abouna, I used to, but I got really busy with work and family." to which Abouna replied, "Once a church servant always a church servant." And this prompted her to return to service.

So I'm not saying there's an ontological change that goes on. But there is this psyche, once a cleric always a cleric, even if "laisized", and it seems somewhat true in the case when they don't need to be reordained when restored. Just as an apostate never really lost the grace of baptism so long as he/she repents and returns.
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« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2013, 05:06:41 PM »

When you're the first one to answer my question on resignation and cleared the air of differentiating it from retirement, then forgive me for being a little perplexed at your question "resign from what?" what in the world do you think I was talking about the whole time?

As I understand:

"retirement" - cleric remains a cleric but he no longer carries any functions in a parish / monastery / theology school whatever, neither he receive money from the diocese anylonger. He usually is unofficially tied with a parish when he serves from time to time.

"suspension" - cleric remains a cleric but he is no longer allowed to serve

"laitisation" - cleric stops being a cleric and becomes a layman

"resignation" - you can either resign from orders what will result in latitisation or you can resign from all (or some functions) you carry (and that may result in retirement).

And what are you asking about?

Ya, I'm talking about resigning from extra cheese in a sandwich.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2013, 06:37:21 PM »

Dear Jonathan,

I don't disagree with a lot of what you say.  After I've been introduced to Fr. Laurent Cleenewerk's writings on ecclesiology, I understand all of that. Nevertheless, a few things I'd like to make mention.

1. You mentioned: "Again, if a bishop who has fallen away from their community is restored, they can be accepted back without being reordained, since they have already been set aside... Still, it is Christ who is the priest, and the bishop who images Him to the people". I think this is what I mean (I don't know what others think) by "indelible mark".  Not an ontological change, but certainly a grace that never truly leaves such a person, even when fallen away, because the grace from which they impart does not depend upon the state of the spirituality of the person, but the grace they are given.  The canons upon which declare their falling away are necessary for the people to understand not to accept the sacraments from the person.  Nevertheless it is quite telling that the person need not be reordained when brought back to the assembly.  Hence why it's difficult to truly swallow the idea that a cleric is "laisized" upon mere voluntary resignation. If this person is willing to come back to serve the assembly as a presbyter, and the assembly is willing to accept, and he does not need to be reordained, then how can I not call this person "Father"?

Very good question. I am deeply saddened when a priest has resigned and has been returned to the lay state, and I pray that he may be able to come back, but not knowing the circumstances, all I can do is to pray and hope.

Quote
2. We have an example in the Synexarium of a saint who technically a [Chalcedonian] assembly deposed him from his throne and banished to the deserts of Egypt, who nevertheless, due to his presence in a church, was asked to celebrate the Eucharist, due to his higher clerical rank in order to bring back the disappeared elements of the Eucharist.  We obviously know this to be none other than St. Severus.  He continues to be bishop of Antioch despite having celebrated the Eucharist according to divine decree "so to speak" according the story of this miracle, and this the grace in him was recognized as strong irrevocable power despite the different diocese, not so much as a magical power, but a power of divine grace that decides not to leave the one who is "set aside".  And I treat the same not only for the presbyteriate, but even the deaconate.

Granted, I don't know where this story comes from, or when it was written, but it does give an insight to an ancient understanding of the episcopate so to speak.

3. We even have a culture on "indelible" marks of lay church servants. A church servant once told me the story of how in East Brunswick, NJ when Abouna St Pishoy Kamel was building the church there, met this lady and asked her: "Do you teach Sunday school?" to which she replied, "Abouna, I used to, but I got really busy with work and family." to which Abouna replied, "Once a church servant always a church servant." And this prompted her to return to service.

So I'm not saying there's an ontological change that goes on. But there is this psyche, once a cleric always a cleric, even if "laisized", and it seems somewhat true in the case when they don't need to be reordained when restored. Just as an apostate never really lost the grace of baptism so long as he/she repents and returns.

There is an old expression: You can take a nun out of a convent, but you cannot remove the convent from her.

Let us pray for all priests, deacons, and monastics who have left the service of the Holy Church.
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« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2013, 06:57:17 PM »

Dear Jonathan,

I don't disagree with a lot of what you say.  After I've been introduced to Fr. Laurent Cleenewerk's writings on ecclesiology, I understand all of that. Nevertheless, a few things I'd like to make mention.

1. You mentioned: "Again, if a bishop who has fallen away from their community is restored, they can be accepted back without being reordained, since they have already been set aside... Still, it is Christ who is the priest, and the bishop who images Him to the people". I think this is what I mean (I don't know what others think) by "indelible mark".  Not an ontological change, but certainly a grace that never truly leaves such a person, even when fallen away, because the grace from which they impart does not depend upon the state of the spirituality of the person, but the grace they are given.  The canons upon which declare their falling away are necessary for the people to understand not to accept the sacraments from the person.  Nevertheless it is quite telling that the person need not be reordained when brought back to the assembly.  Hence why it's difficult to truly swallow the idea that a cleric is "laisized" upon mere voluntary resignation. If this person is willing to come back to serve the assembly as a presbyter, and the assembly is willing to accept, and he does not need to be reordained, then how can I not call this person "Father"?

2. We have an example in the Synexarium of a saint who technically a [Chalcedonian] assembly deposed him from his throne and banished to the deserts of Egypt, who nevertheless, due to his presence in a church, was asked to celebrate the Eucharist, due to his higher clerical rank in order to bring back the disappeared elements of the Eucharist.  We obviously know this to be none other than St. Severus.  He continues to be bishop of Antioch despite having celebrated the Eucharist according to divine decree "so to speak" according the story of this miracle, and this the grace in him was recognized as strong irrevocable power despite the different diocese, not so much as a magical power, but a power of divine grace that decides not to leave the one who is "set aside".  And I treat the same not only for the presbyteriate, but even the deaconate.

Granted, I don't know where this story comes from, or when it was written, but it does give an insight to an ancient understanding of the episcopate so to speak.

3. We even have a culture on "indelible" marks of lay church servants. A church servant once told me the story of how in East Brunswick, NJ when Abouna St Pishoy Kamel was building the church there, met this lady and asked her: "Do you teach Sunday school?" to which she replied, "Abouna, I used to, but I got really busy with work and family." to which Abouna replied, "Once a church servant always a church servant." And this prompted her to return to service.

So I'm not saying there's an ontological change that goes on. But there is this psyche, once a cleric always a cleric, even if "laisized", and it seems somewhat true in the case when they don't need to be reordained when restored. Just as an apostate never really lost the grace of baptism so long as he/she repents and returns.

The righteous are always persecuted. St. Severus certainly continued to be the bishop of Antioch despite being wrongly driven out, just like St. Athanasius continued to be bishop of Alexandria during his many exiles, writing, and caring. These cases are quite different from someone like Arius who was excommunicated, or priests who molest children and are defrocked. Should we still call them father? Is there any trace of fatherhood left in them?

A priest can be asked not to serve, or not to preach, or any other discipline from their bishop without being removed from the community. They can't serve at all without the bishop's blessing. But when one rejects the grace they have received and uses their office for lust, greed, and the preaching of heresy, and are rightly removed, and completely cut off from the community, and is not longer in any way the father of children.

When one is ordained to serve, that is, consecrated, set aside, then any time they leave that service it is a failure (though in the cases of St. Severus and St. Athanasius, not a failure of their own, but of their peers). If one is restored, they need not be reconsecrated, just restored. Just like if I convert to another religion and go killing people or sleeping with temple priestesses and denying and blaspheming Christ, I cannot really be said in any sense said to be a Christian... yet if I were to repent I would not be rebaptsied. The grace of the priesthood is not for the individual, but for the community they serve. St. Athanasius and St. Severus remained the heads of their communities and united in love despite being separated in this sinful world. They never denied or rejected the grace they received, they served in it faithfully. But those who are wolves among sheep and are rightly cut off, who misused the grace to work sin, have been separated from their communities and are not priests in any meaningful way. Those of have committed grievous sins would never be received back as anything but repentent laymen. 

There are men who were called to the priesthood, but the worldly congregations rejected them. I have no doubt they will receive the full reward of a faithful priest in heaven despite never having been ordained. There are other who have been ordained and who have never really serve... everything hidden will be made known.

Once a chalice has been consecrated to God, it should not be used at a profane table, only the  Altar. Once a person has been consecrated to the service of God, they should never leave His service. If they do, they should repent and return. The Sacraments are not magic. They don't change us against our will. A person baptised as a baby who never again sets foot in church and lives life as a serial killer doesn't have any grace from his baptism. We receive and live in grace from the sacraments when we approach them in faith. We can receive nothing but bread at the Table if we don't approach with faith...
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« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2013, 07:19:55 PM »

No disagreement there.  I was just using the extreme example of St. Severus and comparing it to the voluntary resignation of clerics.  But let me take your arguments a bit further.  Contemplating on the verse about those who partake of the Eucharist worthily vs. unworthily.  The former, grace of immortal partaking, while the latter, partaking would result in condemnation.  Therefore, the grace is taken seriously.

So when you say that one who is consecrated in service and then leaves, it becomes a much more serious issue than to have been consecrated in the beginning.  So then the question is, what about those who "voluntarily resigns" from their position, but continues to serve in the church as a layperson.  Shall we pray for this person to hopefully go back to their clerical service?  How does one perceive this voluntary "laicization"?  Is it as bad as say a divorce from marriage?
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« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2013, 07:33:19 PM »

No disagreement there.  I was just using the extreme example of St. Severus and comparing it to the voluntary resignation of clerics.  But let me take your arguments a bit further.  Contemplating on the verse about those who partake of the Eucharist worthily vs. unworthily.  The former, grace of immortal partaking, while the latter, partaking would result in condemnation.  Therefore, the grace is taken seriously.

So when you say that one who is consecrated in service and then leaves, it becomes a much more serious issue than to have been consecrated in the beginning.  So then the question is, what about those who "voluntarily resigns" from their position, but continues to serve in the church as a layperson.  Shall we pray for this person to hopefully go back to their clerical service?  How does one perceive this voluntary "laicization"?  Is it as bad as say a divorce from marriage?

If someone is divorced you no longer call them a husband...

We don't know the reasons why someone ceased to serve. Some of them may be saints who will be crowned with glory along with the confessors for the persecution they received from their own people and hierarchs.

I think it would be very unusual though for someone to leave the priesthood and continue to serve in a parish as layman. If they are still able to serve, normally they would be left a priest and just stripped of their faculties to hear confession, preach in public, etc., They would just wear a stole and help distribute at most. If it was a case where they left the priesthood to remarry after being widowed, for example, then normally one wouldn't expect them to still serve as a layman afterwards... to do so would be an offence to the people who would judge them. We have to serve as we're called, not as we like. If we chose to reject the service we are given to have an easier life, we shouldn't expect to be able to chose another service of our liking. Just like someone who divorces doesn't get to remarry (unless they are the innocent party who was left in adultery), someone who leaves the priesthood doesn't get to pick sunday school instead...

I left teaching Sunday School a year and a half ago. Most consider that I have stopped serving. I haven't. My God isn't Sunday School, but God. I serve Him. If He sends me to teach Sunday School and I don't go, then I'm not serving. If He sends me elsewhere and I insist on staying and teaching Sunday School because I want to be caused a servant, then in truth, I am not serving, or rather, I am serving only my own will and ego.

If I see a priest who has gotten fired, I wouldn't pray for him to get his job back, I would pray for him to be comforted in a difficult time and to be serving God however he is called at that time, whether through restoration to priestly service, or whatever is appropriate.

My priest was ready to go back to secular work when his first congregation fired him. It was only the intervention of God and His servants that allowed him to be given a way to continue serving, in a very successful way. Others were similarly persecuted for no fault of their own. Others are censured rightly. More still are left free to serve unworthily. We don't know the truth behind any individual case, so we can't judge, we can just say "Lord have mercy".
« Last Edit: May 02, 2013, 07:34:27 PM by Jonathan » Logged
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« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2013, 08:25:14 PM »

Lord have mercy indeed
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« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2013, 04:26:16 AM »

Shall we pray for this person to hopefully go back to their clerical service?  

I'm not sure it's possible.

Why won't send a PM to Anastasios? He's gone through it recently.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 04:29:35 AM by Michał Kalina » Logged

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« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2013, 04:18:57 AM »

Shall we pray for this person to hopefully go back to their clerical service?  

I'm not sure it's possible.

Why won't send a PM to Anastasios? He's gone through it recently.

It seems to be rather a private matter, so I don't think that would be appropriate.
Perhaps asking a bishop in a more general sense may be more appropriate.
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« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2013, 04:30:03 AM »

Shall we pray for this person to hopefully go back to their clerical service? 

I'm not sure it's possible.

Why won't send a PM to Anastasios? He's gone through it recently.

It seems to be rather a private matter, so I don't think that would be appropriate.
Perhaps asking a bishop in a more general sense may be more appropriate.

I do not mean to ask him about his reasons but about all those technical issues mina is interested in.
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minasoliman
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« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2013, 01:48:47 PM »

Shall we pray for this person to hopefully go back to their clerical service? 

I'm not sure it's possible.

Why won't send a PM to Anastasios? He's gone through it recently.

It seems to be rather a private matter, so I don't think that would be appropriate.
Perhaps asking a bishop in a more general sense may be more appropriate.

I do not mean to ask him about his reasons but about all those technical issues mina is interested in.
Even if technical questions, perhaps it's still inappropriate to ask him.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2013, 01:49:06 PM by minasoliman » Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
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