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Author Topic: What do I do, My priest doesn't do premarital counseling!?  (Read 4815 times) Average Rating: 0
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Incognito777
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« Reply #45 on: March 17, 2014, 07:26:26 PM »

Priests shouldn't do marital counseling unless they are credentialed in psychology.
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« Reply #46 on: March 17, 2014, 07:44:54 PM »

Priests shouldn't do marital counseling unless they are credentialed in psychology.

Priests have been doing counselling of all sorts for centuries before psychology existed. Dealing with people's psyches is part of the job description.

That said, not every priest gets to do marital counselling, just like not every priest gets to hear confession. Those who do either are worth listening to, and taking notes.
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« Reply #47 on: March 18, 2014, 08:33:16 AM »

Priests shouldn't do marital counseling unless they are credentialed in psychology.

Getting married is crazy, but it rarely is a psychological disorder.
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« Reply #48 on: March 18, 2014, 08:50:17 AM »

Priests shouldn't do marital counseling unless they are credentialed in psychology.

We were trained in counseling in seminary. The Antiochian clergy also were trained to administer and counsel on the basis of a test that surveys the attitude of the man and woman on various issues to provide a basis for discussions.

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« Reply #49 on: March 18, 2014, 11:00:25 AM »

Isn't it true that marriage is a work in progress and that the persons who are most responsible for making it work are the husband and wife? Isn't it also true that, by virtue of their baptism and continued participation in the Body, they are both part of the Royal Priesthood and thus are endowed with some charisma that allows them to work out their salvation individually and as a couple?

That said, it is crucial that we avail ourselves of spiritual counsel from our spiritual fathers, confess and be reconciled to the Body, and remain in His Grace. However, I think that most spiritual fathers would tell us at some point own up to our responsibilities and charisma, and to be responsible for our and our families' spiritual journeys.

I guess what I am driving at is my unease with what appears to be the OP's reluctance to take action, to figure things out with his fiancee. BTW, I have a nagging doubt that my advice is right in this instance and that ia may be talking to myself?
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« Reply #50 on: March 18, 2014, 11:25:41 AM »

Isn't it true that marriage is a work in progress and that the persons who are most responsible for making it work are the husband and wife? Isn't it also true that, by virtue of their baptism and continued participation in the Body, they are both part of the Royal Priesthood and thus are endowed with some charisma that allows them to work out their salvation individually and as a couple?

That said, it is crucial that we avail ourselves of spiritual counsel from our spiritual fathers, confess and be reconciled to the Body, and remain in His Grace. However, I think that most spiritual fathers would tell us at some point own up to our responsibilities and charisma, and to be responsible for our and our families' spiritual journeys.

I guess what I am driving at is my unease with what appears to be the OP's reluctance to take action, to figure things out with his fiancee. BTW, I have a nagging doubt that my advice is right in this instance and that ia may be talking to myself?

What action do we need to take? Our counseling is supposed to help us not do the thinking for us. It is to help us realize the things we need to talk about that we may not think of otherwise. We've never been married before, the priest that is doing the counseling has been married longer than her and I have been alive. He will know things we need to talk about that we wouldn't think to. He has already done that in fact and it is working well i think.   
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« Reply #51 on: March 18, 2014, 11:41:41 AM »

Priests will do any extra services if the price is right.
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« Reply #52 on: March 18, 2014, 12:47:23 PM »

Priests shouldn't do marital counseling unless they are credentialed in psychology.

Lol funny.
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« Reply #53 on: March 18, 2014, 01:30:20 PM »

Priests will do any extra services if the price is right.

As a Priest, I find that comment very offensive. No Priest charges a fee for pre-marital or any other kind of counseling.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #54 on: March 18, 2014, 01:53:24 PM »

Priests will do any extra services if the price is right.

The priest doing our premarital counseling isn't asking for any money, also we are already arguing with the priest that is doing the wedding about paying for his plain ticket. I know he will refuse any money for actually celebrating the marriage, we can't even pay for his trip. The real question is why do you have such a low opinion of priests? How can you confess and commune when you think so little of your spiritual fathers. I would imagine that you need to spend some time in prayer and fasting, and realign your heart with God and his church.
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« Reply #55 on: March 18, 2014, 03:26:31 PM »

Priests will do any extra services if the price is right.
As a Priest, I find that comment very offensive. No Priest charges a fee for pre-marital or any other kind of counseling.

Many priests have price lists for sacraments posted in plain sight in their parishes. Baptisms are $100, weddings $500, etc. which is far worse than counseling fees. I'm beginning to think that you might well be the most literal person I have encounted on this forum. No sense of irony as constructive critique. I doubt you're going to understand any of the things I post on here, so may I suggest you start ignoring my posts?

There have been numerous testimonies on this forum of priests who wouldn't even perform funerals if the families didn't have the money for the fees, so they had to turn to the Baptists or whoever would do it. My point was that if a priest will not offer these kinds of services, they are usually the type of priest which can be persuaded by money. But it's tiresome spelling out every single comment I make on here, never mind it disrupting any sense of derived humor. Nobody likes a joke which has to be explained.
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« Reply #56 on: March 18, 2014, 08:57:43 PM »

Priests will do any extra services if the price is right.

This is what I'm talking about.
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« Reply #57 on: March 19, 2014, 09:25:39 AM »

"Some"priests will. Many (most?) don't. If we're counting anecdotal evidence, let me add one about a priest who did just that - appropriate "contributions" were "suggested" for baptisms, weddings etc. Then his Bishop heard about it and read him the riot act. That priest is no longer in that diocese, btw.
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« Reply #58 on: March 19, 2014, 09:57:40 AM »

Given the above, do you really think you need counseling?  What is it about marriage that you do not understand?  My wife and I have been married 33 years and did not have counseling.  And the only advice that I got (not to marry her) I ignored and am happy that I did. So, unless you are one of these Moronodox that cannot go potty without asking a Priest, consider your story as a sign and get married.  If you just HAVE to talk to someone, find an older couple that have been married a very long time and ask them some questions.  You will learn more from them than an unmarried Priest anyway.

Had to lol at this.  Not related to the OP, but I have always wondered why there are so many Orthodox who feel they need so much priestly counseling.   OCD?
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« Reply #59 on: March 19, 2014, 10:05:29 AM »

Priests will do any extra services if the price is right.
As a Priest, I find that comment very offensive. No Priest charges a fee for pre-marital or any other kind of counseling.

Many priests have price lists for sacraments posted in plain sight in their parishes. Baptisms are $100, weddings $500, etc. which is far worse than counseling fees. I'm beginning to think that you might well be the most literal person I have encounted on this forum. No sense of irony as constructive critique. I doubt you're going to understand any of the things I post on here, so may I suggest you start ignoring my posts?

There have been numerous testimonies on this forum of priests who wouldn't even perform funerals if the families didn't have the money for the fees, so they had to turn to the Baptists or whoever would do it. My point was that if a priest will not offer these kinds of services, they are usually the type of priest which can be persuaded by money. But it's tiresome spelling out every single comment I make on here, never mind it disrupting any sense of derived humor. Nobody likes a joke which has to be explained.

That would never be allowed in the Antiochian Archdiocese. It is a serious sin to charge for Sacraments.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #60 on: March 19, 2014, 10:44:20 AM »

Priests will do any extra services if the price is right.
As a Priest, I find that comment very offensive. No Priest charges a fee for pre-marital or any other kind of counseling.

Many priests have price lists for sacraments posted in plain sight in their parishes. Baptisms are $100, weddings $500, etc. which is far worse than counseling fees. I'm beginning to think that you might well be the most literal person I have encounted on this forum. No sense of irony as constructive critique. I doubt you're going to understand any of the things I post on here, so may I suggest you start ignoring my posts?

There have been numerous testimonies on this forum of priests who wouldn't even perform funerals if the families didn't have the money for the fees, so they had to turn to the Baptists or whoever would do it. My point was that if a priest will not offer these kinds of services, they are usually the type of priest which can be persuaded by money. But it's tiresome spelling out every single comment I make on here, never mind it disrupting any sense of derived humor. Nobody likes a joke which has to be explained.

That would never be allowed in the Antiochian Archdiocese. It is a serious sin to charge for Sacraments.

Fr. John W. Morris

Father Bless.

I would be very careful calling it am outright sin.   That method of parish support is not ideal, obviously.  But it is very commonly the model in MANY countries, with long standing Orthodox populations.  They in general do not charge yearly dues like many churches here do (and how is making it a club membership any less -sinful-?).   Their priests often do not get any money whatsoever from any diocese to support themselves and families...etc. and so the method of 'breaking even and thus not literally starving' had to be worked out.

It is merely an entirely different paradigm, for a different place than either you or I exist in. 
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« Reply #61 on: March 19, 2014, 11:07:04 AM »

Priests will do any extra services if the price is right.
As a Priest, I find that comment very offensive. No Priest charges a fee for pre-marital or any other kind of counseling.

Many priests have price lists for sacraments posted in plain sight in their parishes. Baptisms are $100, weddings $500, etc. which is far worse than counseling fees. I'm beginning to think that you might well be the most literal person I have encounted on this forum. No sense of irony as constructive critique. I doubt you're going to understand any of the things I post on here, so may I suggest you start ignoring my posts?

There have been numerous testimonies on this forum of priests who wouldn't even perform funerals if the families didn't have the money for the fees, so they had to turn to the Baptists or whoever would do it. My point was that if a priest will not offer these kinds of services, they are usually the type of priest which can be persuaded by money. But it's tiresome spelling out every single comment I make on here, never mind it disrupting any sense of derived humor. Nobody likes a joke which has to be explained.

That would never be allowed in the Antiochian Archdiocese. It is a serious sin to charge for Sacraments.

Fr. John W. Morris

Father Bless.

I would be very careful calling it am outright sin.   That method of parish support is not ideal, obviously.  But it is very commonly the model in MANY countries, with long standing Orthodox populations.  They in general do not charge yearly dues like many churches here do (and how is making it a club membership any less -sinful-?).   Their priests often do not get any money whatsoever from any diocese to support themselves and families...etc. and so the method of 'breaking even and thus not literally starving' had to be worked out.

It is merely an entirely different paradigm, for a different place than either you or I exist in. 


Well, in the incident that I related, the Bishop called it "simony." Which is pretty much a sin, IIRC.

More anecdotal evidence, most Orthodox Churches are moving or have moved away from "dues" to stewardship.
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« Reply #62 on: March 19, 2014, 11:12:14 AM »

Priests will do any extra services if the price is right.
As a Priest, I find that comment very offensive. No Priest charges a fee for pre-marital or any other kind of counseling.

Many priests have price lists for sacraments posted in plain sight in their parishes. Baptisms are $100, weddings $500, etc. which is far worse than counseling fees. I'm beginning to think that you might well be the most literal person I have encounted on this forum. No sense of irony as constructive critique. I doubt you're going to understand any of the things I post on here, so may I suggest you start ignoring my posts?

There have been numerous testimonies on this forum of priests who wouldn't even perform funerals if the families didn't have the money for the fees, so they had to turn to the Baptists or whoever would do it. My point was that if a priest will not offer these kinds of services, they are usually the type of priest which can be persuaded by money. But it's tiresome spelling out every single comment I make on here, never mind it disrupting any sense of derived humor. Nobody likes a joke which has to be explained.

That would never be allowed in the Antiochian Archdiocese. It is a serious sin to charge for Sacraments.

Fr. John W. Morris

Father Bless.

I would be very careful calling it am outright sin.   That method of parish support is not ideal, obviously.  But it is very commonly the model in MANY countries, with long standing Orthodox populations.  They in general do not charge yearly dues like many churches here do (and how is making it a club membership any less -sinful-?).   Their priests often do not get any money whatsoever from any diocese to support themselves and families...etc. and so the method of 'breaking even and thus not literally starving' had to be worked out.

It is merely an entirely different paradigm, for a different place than either you or I exist in. 


Well, in the incident that I related, the Bishop called it "simony." Which is pretty much a sin, IIRC.

More anecdotal evidence, most Orthodox Churches are moving or have moved away from "dues" to stewardship.

I am not disagreeing....just saying that applying a -broad sweep- of calling it that...may or may not be appropriate in all the situations...

sure, its abused and some of the fees listed might be crazy....

in another place....a priest has 5 dollars for everything.....just so he can eat...I wouldnt call that a  sin if that 5 dollars for doing one baptism is -all- he gets for that week, despite serving a Liturgy, Vespers, etc.....

I think its very easy to apply the American thought of 'priests get a salary' to this...and in oh so many places, they do not.

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« Reply #63 on: March 19, 2014, 11:21:53 AM »

Priests will do any extra services if the price is right.
As a Priest, I find that comment very offensive. No Priest charges a fee for pre-marital or any other kind of counseling.

Many priests have price lists for sacraments posted in plain sight in their parishes. Baptisms are $100, weddings $500, etc. which is far worse than counseling fees. I'm beginning to think that you might well be the most literal person I have encounted on this forum. No sense of irony as constructive critique. I doubt you're going to understand any of the things I post on here, so may I suggest you start ignoring my posts?

There have been numerous testimonies on this forum of priests who wouldn't even perform funerals if the families didn't have the money for the fees, so they had to turn to the Baptists or whoever would do it. My point was that if a priest will not offer these kinds of services, they are usually the type of priest which can be persuaded by money. But it's tiresome spelling out every single comment I make on here, never mind it disrupting any sense of derived humor. Nobody likes a joke which has to be explained.

That would never be allowed in the Antiochian Archdiocese. It is a serious sin to charge for Sacraments.

Fr. John W. Morris

Father Bless.

I would be very careful calling it am outright sin.   That method of parish support is not ideal, obviously.  But it is very commonly the model in MANY countries, with long standing Orthodox populations.  They in general do not charge yearly dues like many churches here do (and how is making it a club membership any less -sinful-?).   Their priests often do not get any money whatsoever from any diocese to support themselves and families...etc. and so the method of 'breaking even and thus not literally starving' had to be worked out.

It is merely an entirely different paradigm, for a different place than either you or I exist in. 

Regardless of how widespread it is in other countries, it is not a good practice to charge for Sacraments. The People should contribute to the maintenance of their parish and pay the Priest a decent salary so that he can take care of his family. Frankly, the way that some of the laity look upon the Priest in Orthodoxy is a scandal. We are nor hired hands, nor are we monastics who are supposed to live in poverty. The poor and frequently un-Christian way that our Priests are treated  is the greatest shock that I received after I converted to Orthodoxy. We have the true faith, but at times do not live by that faith. Indeed, heretics like Episcopalians and other Protestants treat their clergy in a much more Christian manner than some Orthodox parishes treat their priests. Some people seen to resent paying a Priest and constantly try to balance the budget of the parish on the back of their priest and his family. That is one of the problems with having celibate Bishops. They do not understand what it takes to raise a family and do not look out enough for the welfare of their clergy.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #64 on: March 19, 2014, 12:32:18 PM »

Priests will do any extra services if the price is right.
As a Priest, I find that comment very offensive. No Priest charges a fee for pre-marital or any other kind of counseling.

Many priests have price lists for sacraments posted in plain sight in their parishes. Baptisms are $100, weddings $500, etc. which is far worse than counseling fees. I'm beginning to think that you might well be the most literal person I have encounted on this forum. No sense of irony as constructive critique. I doubt you're going to understand any of the things I post on here, so may I suggest you start ignoring my posts?

There have been numerous testimonies on this forum of priests who wouldn't even perform funerals if the families didn't have the money for the fees, so they had to turn to the Baptists or whoever would do it. My point was that if a priest will not offer these kinds of services, they are usually the type of priest which can be persuaded by money. But it's tiresome spelling out every single comment I make on here, never mind it disrupting any sense of derived humor. Nobody likes a joke which has to be explained.

That would never be allowed in the Antiochian Archdiocese. It is a serious sin to charge for Sacraments.

Fr. John W. Morris

Father Bless.

I would be very careful calling it am outright sin.   That method of parish support is not ideal, obviously.  But it is very commonly the model in MANY countries, with long standing Orthodox populations.  They in general do not charge yearly dues like many churches here do (and how is making it a club membership any less -sinful-?).   Their priests often do not get any money whatsoever from any diocese to support themselves and families...etc. and so the method of 'breaking even and thus not literally starving' had to be worked out.

It is merely an entirely different paradigm, for a different place than either you or I exist in. 

Regardless of how widespread it is in other countries, it is not a good practice to charge for Sacraments. The People should contribute to the maintenance of their parish and pay the Priest a decent salary so that he can take care of his family. Frankly, the way that some of the laity look upon the Priest in Orthodoxy is a scandal. We are nor hired hands, nor are we monastics who are supposed to live in poverty. The poor and frequently un-Christian way that our Priests are treated  is the greatest shock that I received after I converted to Orthodoxy. We have the true faith, but at times do not live by that faith. Indeed, heretics like Episcopalians and other Protestants treat their clergy in a much more Christian manner than some Orthodox parishes treat their priests. Some people seen to resent paying a Priest and constantly try to balance the budget of the parish on the back of their priest and his family. That is one of the problems with having celibate Bishops. They do not understand what it takes to raise a family and do not look out enough for the welfare of their clergy.

Fr. John W. Morris

I too was offended by the comment in question.

I daresay that the Slavs - Ukrainians and Rusyns  at least (found in ACROD and the OCA) whose grandparents  and great grandparents supposedly converted to preserve a married priesthood (among other issues) are among the most penurious when it comes to valuing the services provided by their pastors and in terms of supporting their families. The Antiochian and Greek jurisdictions seem to be light years ahead of us when it comes to such matters. Yet, in spite of that - we Slavs continue to have an adequate supply of energized and competent young men with vocations.

No clergy = no Orthodox faith. Disrespect for the Clergy is the beginning of the path to perdition.

Make things better in your own community, don't gripe about it on line and cast aspersions.
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« Reply #65 on: March 19, 2014, 12:45:42 PM »

I wish I could shut down this thread. The purpose was premarital counseling, not should we pay priests, and not is it ok to pay for mysteries.
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« Reply #66 on: March 19, 2014, 12:47:48 PM »

I wish I could shut down this thread.

Stuff happens.
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« Reply #67 on: March 20, 2014, 12:18:54 AM »

a friend gave me a book by Fr. Josiah Trenham. the book is called marriage and virginity according to St.John Chrysostom. After reading this book and talking to my priest, I feel that this may not be an accurate...book
I think you're on the right track here.
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« Reply #68 on: March 20, 2014, 02:39:24 AM »

I think you're on the right track here.
[/quote]

So you think he may be a bit crazy too? I had never heard of him until my friend got me the book, He just doesn't sound like he's echoing the church but only spouting, his own opinion. While if he wants to live by this code he has set I think it's fine but I feel it may be wrong to try to coerce other Christians into this using his position as priest. but hey maybe I'm the crazy one.
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« Reply #69 on: March 21, 2014, 08:17:19 AM »

So you think he may be a bit crazy too? I had never heard of him until my friend got me the book, He just doesn't sound like he's echoing the church but only spouting, his own opinion. While if he wants to live by this code he has set I think it's fine but I feel it may be wrong to try to coerce other Christians into this using his position as priest. but hey maybe I'm the crazy one.

I have also recently come across Fr Josiah Trenham when he was a guest on Ancient Faith Today.  I've also been listening to some of his sermons (The Arena on AFR).  

I wouldn't be surprised if his teachings on sex and marriage are treated with caution by some priests.  I'm still trying to figure out if he is one of those Orthodox who believes that the Fathers have laid down a law for us regarding sex.  Among other things, he believes marital sex should only be done in a very specific way, i.e. one position, always maintaining eye contact, etc.  Seems to go against the concept in the NT of the marriage bed being undefiled.

Still I wouldn't say he's crazy at all.  Nor can I say he's only spouting his opinion, since he supports his views using some quotes from the Fathers.  Not that simply quoting any of the Fathers makes the Fathers or the person quoting them correct on a particular issue.
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« Reply #70 on: March 21, 2014, 08:53:43 AM »

Seems to go against the concept in the NT of the marriage bed being undefiled.

One of the most misunderstood passages in the New Testament thanks to Dr. Ruth Christianity. Most Evangelicals I know take this verse to mean 'anything goes in the marriage bed'.

Hebews 3:4 actually says: Let marriage be kept honorable in every way, and the marriage bed undefiled. For God will judge those who commit sexual sins, especially those who commit adultery.

The verse is actually telling couples to keep the marriage bed pure and chaste, and to have honorable conduct in the bedroom. Marriage is to be a way to holiness, not a license to lust.

I fully support Fr. Josiah in many of his teachings regarding contraception, chastity, what it really means to be pro-life, etc. He is a man of great discipline and sacrifice and is to be admired, not maginalized and mocked.
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« Reply #71 on: March 21, 2014, 09:24:59 AM »

I brought up what I had read by Fr. Josiah in counseling, apparently Fr. Josiah doesn't stand alone on this however, the priest doing our counseling said that he is still wrong. Fr. Josiah and his like are not teaching the Orthodox view on marital sexuality. While Obviously procreation is a big part of it it is not the only thing it is designed for. It is also to help the couple express there love and to grow closer as well as preventing sexual sin, mainly adultery. I'm sure Fr. Josiah has many merits I just don't think he is right on the topic of sexuality and it seems to me that the majority of the church is in agreement.   
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« Reply #72 on: March 21, 2014, 10:53:26 AM »

Before me and my soon to be wife started counseling a friend gave me a book by Fr. Josiah Trenham. the book is called marriage and virginity according to St.John Chrysostom.

A terrible book, from both a scholarly and pastoral point of view. Truly terrible.
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« Reply #73 on: March 21, 2014, 01:27:44 PM »

A terrible book, from both a scholarly and pastoral point of view. Truly terrible.

Tell us how you really feel.  Tongue
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« Reply #74 on: March 21, 2014, 01:40:43 PM »

Before me and my soon to be wife started counseling a friend gave me a book by Fr. Josiah Trenham. the book is called marriage and virginity according to St.John Chrysostom.

A terrible book, from both a scholarly and pastoral point of view. Truly terrible.

I don't care for it either, but is it causing marriages to fall apart?  Is his Bishop troubled with his writing?
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« Reply #75 on: March 21, 2014, 03:44:18 PM »

One of the most misunderstood passages in the New Testament thanks to Dr. Ruth Christianity. Most Evangelicals I know take this verse to mean 'anything goes in the marriage bed'.

Hebews 3:4 actually says: Let marriage be kept honorable in every way, and the marriage bed undefiled. For God will judge those who commit sexual sins, especially those who commit adultery.

The verse is actually telling couples to keep the marriage bed pure and chaste, and to have honorable conduct in the bedroom.
Alveus,

One can agree with your points here, and still disagree with Fr. Josiah's opinions about what constitutes holy and pure sex, and the clergy's proper pastoral involvement in the sex lives of parishioners.

I agree that, unlike some pop-evangelical crap teaches, sex is not excluded from those things (i.e., everything) which must be done to the glory of God. But my agreement with Fr. Josiah probably stops there.
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« Reply #76 on: March 21, 2014, 05:35:18 PM »

One of the most misunderstood passages in the New Testament thanks to Dr. Ruth Christianity. Most Evangelicals I know take this verse to mean 'anything goes in the marriage bed'.

Hebews 3:4 actually says: Let marriage be kept honorable in every way, and the marriage bed undefiled. For God will judge those who commit sexual sins, especially those who commit adultery.

The verse is actually telling couples to keep the marriage bed pure and chaste, and to have honorable conduct in the bedroom.
Alveus,

One can agree with your points here, and still disagree with Fr. Josiah's opinions about what constitutes holy and pure sex, and the clergy's proper pastoral involvement in the sex lives of parishioners.

I agree that, unlike some pop-evangelical crap teaches, sex is not excluded from those things (i.e., everything) which must be done to the glory of God. But my agreement with Fr. Josiah probably stops there.

I have not read the book, but have ordered it, because I really want to see where he finds instructions from the Fathers on sexual positions. I gather that he has a negative attitude towards conception control. Since the Church has not spoken definitely on this matter, Fr. Josiah has a right to express his opinions on the subject.
I know that certain monastic circles are teaching that all forms of birth control are sinful, even if they do not cause an abortion. Why monastics are telling married couples about their sex life is another question. Obviously any medication that causes an abortion, would be considered sinful by Eastern Orthodox. However, one must be very careful when reading the Fathers on this matter. Science had not advanced to the point that we understood that the sperm does not contain a small person. Until the invention of the microscope, scientists thought that the sperm contains a small human. Thus the Fathers equated all forms of birth control with abortion. We now know about chromosomes and that all forms of birth control are not forms of abortion. As a result many Orthodox scholars have revisited this issue and have a more accepting view of conception control. The statement on contemporary moral issues approved by the Russian Church states that for a married couple to use non-abortive methods of birth control is not a sin. That is the position taken by Fr. Stanley Harakas, Fr. John Meyendorff and other experts on Orthodox moral teaching.
Historians have generally portrayed St. John Chrysostom as having a positive view of sex and marriage in contrast to Augustine who had a very negative view of sex. Professor Ford of St. Tikhon's wrote a book on this subject, in which he argues that St. John had a positive view of human sexuality.
Finally, the books and articles that I have read giving Orthodox Priests instructions on how to hear Confessions tell the Priest not to ask personal questions about the sexual relations between a husband and wife. We do not go into the bed room. I know for a fact that some monastics do ask too many questions about the intimate relations between a husband and his wife. To me it is rather perverse for a celibate to take such an interest in sexual matters. Some monastics seem to have a Western Augustinian view of sexuality.

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« Reply #77 on: March 21, 2014, 06:16:53 PM »

Ok he doesn't say anything about positions in the book I'm talking about, nor in any of the articles I have read from him, so I can't speak to the validity of that. He does seem to try to discourage marriage and purpose that monasticism is the only christian ideal and marriage is only a condescension by the church for human weakness. In other words, he implies an Augustinian view of marriage was also St.John Chrysostom's opinion. As far as monastics prying into the bed of married people, I would agree that this has a good chance of being of perverse motivation. My priest and confessor is an unmarried priest and I would be greatly offended if he pried to deep. Luckily I know that he takes a liberal stance on marital relations and so I can't see him ever asking anything about that part of my marriage once I am married.
    My problem with Fr.Josiah is that he blatantly says that engaging in sexual relations with your spouse in any manor than can not result in children, including couples who can't conceive, are engaging in sexual perversion and sin. This doesn't seem to be an idea that the church supports. In Father John Meyendorff's  book "Marriage: an Orthodox perspective" he says that contraception is ok to use for spacing children, and limiting the number of them. However Fr. John also says "a marriage where children are unwelcome is founded upon a defective, egotistic and fleshly form of love". and "For example, in an affluent American society, there is practically never a sufficient reason to avoid children in the first two years of marriage".
   
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« Reply #78 on: March 21, 2014, 07:21:45 PM »

Ok he doesn't say anything about positions in the book I'm talking about, nor in any of the articles I have read from him, so I can't speak to the validity of that. He does seem to try to discourage marriage and purpose that monasticism is the only christian ideal and marriage is only a condescension by the church for human weakness. In other words, he implies an Augustinian view of marriage was also St.John Chrysostom's opinion. As far as monastics prying into the bed of married people, I would agree that this has a good chance of being of perverse motivation. My priest and confessor is an unmarried priest and I would be greatly offended if he pried to deep. Luckily I know that he takes a liberal stance on marital relations and so I can't see him ever asking anything about that part of my marriage once I am married.
    My problem with Fr.Josiah is that he blatantly says that engaging in sexual relations with your spouse in any manor than can not result in children, including couples who can't conceive, are engaging in sexual perversion and sin. This doesn't seem to be an idea that the church supports. In Father John Meyendorff's  book "Marriage: an Orthodox perspective" he says that contraception is ok to use for spacing children, and limiting the number of them. However Fr. John also says "a marriage where children are unwelcome is founded upon a defective, egotistic and fleshly form of love". and "For example, in an affluent American society, there is practically never a sufficient reason to avoid children in the first two years of marriage".
   

He cannot be too anti sex he has at least 8 or 9 children. I have asked him if he believes that birth control is a sin and he denied having said or written that. I will read his book and see what he says. However, it is standard among scholarly literature to compare and contrast the negative attitude towards sex in the writings of Augustine with the more positive and healthy attitude of St. John Chrysosotm.
In my studies of church history, I have come to believe that the different attitudes towards sex was one of the major causes of the East West Schism. One of the  first times that the East officially criticized the West was at the Council in Trullo in 692 where they passed a canon condemning the Western requirement that married Priests cease having sex with their wives. That same council approved an canon from a local council that excommunicated anyone who became a monastic because they "abhored" marriage. Another canon excommunicated any person who would not receive Holy Communion from a married Priest. In 1054, Cardinal Humbert alienated the clergy and people of Constantinople when he told them that the wives of priests are no better than prostitutes and their children illegitimate. He demanded that the married Priests put their wives in monasteries for women. One of the major reasons given in Cardinal Humbert's decree excommunicating the Patriarch of Constantinople and his followers was that he allowed married clergy.

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« Reply #79 on: March 21, 2014, 07:31:58 PM »

Have you asked your priest for a recommendation to a marriage counselor?  There are counselors who are Orthodox but aren't priests.  Talk to your friends and see if they know anyone.  Or, send an email to the Bishops office and ask for a recommendation to a counselor.

I wouldn't be too hard on your priest.  He may just realize he isn't good at marriage counseling and doesn't feel comfortable doing it so he doesn't.
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« Reply #80 on: March 21, 2014, 07:34:17 PM »

Quote
He does seem to try to discourage marriage and purpose that monasticism is the only christian ideal and marriage is only a condescension by the church for human weakness.

I wonder what goes through Fr Josiah's mind when he conducts a marriage service? Does he simply read the words without believing them?  Tongue
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« Reply #81 on: March 21, 2014, 07:58:07 PM »

read this from Fr. Josiah. http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/frjosiah_sexualrelations.aspx
some quotes from it. "St. Paul teaches that married women find their salvation in and through childbearing". " consecrated virginity is the highest way of life". " The unnatural prolongation of sexual desire, through the use of drugs such as viagra, is forbidden. On the contrary, such decline in sexual desire is to warmly welcomed by aging Orthodox Christians as a divine help in one's life long preparation for departure from this life".

as for his opinion during the wedding service, I don't know but what really baffles me is that he is a married priest with 10 children.
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« Reply #82 on: March 21, 2014, 09:29:59 PM »

Having been honored in my life to meet and hear both Fr. Stanley Harakas and the late Fr. John Meyendorff lecture and preach - both learned and reasonable scholars and pastors, I would take their collective wisdom any day of the week over Fr. Josiah whose views on the matter are seemingly more influenced by western Augustinian thought on sexual matters and extremist monastics.
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« Reply #83 on: March 21, 2014, 09:57:36 PM »

It would be dishonest not to admit that there is some disagreement within the Church over the issue of conception control. Some of those heavily influenced by monasticism tend towards a more negative almost Augustinian view of sexuality. Therefore, they tend to oppose all use of birth control. Others, have what I consider a proper Orthodox view that considers sex good because it is part of God's creation. However, like everything else created by God we can abuse God's creation. If sex becomes exploitative, or if a man treats his wife as a sex object, or a woman treats her husband as a sex object it is morally wrong even in marriage. Furthermore, every sexual relationship must be within marriage and most be open to the creation of new life. That does not mean that every sexual act between a married couple has to be open to the creation of new life, but the relationship must be open to the gift of children. Thus, a couple may use non-abortive methods of birth control to space the birth of their children, if the couple has had all the children they can care for, and if a further pregnancy would endanger the health of the woman. I also think that a newly married couple should use birth control for a few years so that they can get to know each other, finish their educations and be properly prepared to care for a child. 
I believe that there is no calling from God that is superior to any other calling. Some of us are called to monasticism, but most of us are not. A good pious and dedicated married layman who is serving God to the best of his ability is serving God in the highest calling possible for him and is not spiritually inferior to a monk or priest. For God's Church to function, we need monastics, clergy serving parishes in the world and laity. We are all essential to the life of the Church. If there were no married couples, there would be no monks or nuns.

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« Reply #84 on: March 21, 2014, 10:01:53 PM »

" The unnatural prolongation of sexual desire, through the use of drugs such as viagra, is forbidden. On the contrary, such decline in sexual desire is to warmly welcomed by aging Orthodox Christians as a divine help in one's life long preparation for departure from this life".

To be fair, Fr Josiah is not the only person out there teaching such things.  Before I ever knew of Fr Josiah, this very idea, complete with pharmaceutical reference, was taught to me by what most people would consider a "normal" priest.  

Quote
as for his opinion during the wedding service, I don't know but what really baffles me is that he is a married priest with 10 children.

So I guess he's not allowed to write about what he considers a theological ideal even while he admittedly does not live it.  Based on such logic, most of us (myself included) should crawl into a hole and shut up.    
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« Reply #85 on: March 21, 2014, 10:13:01 PM »

read this from Fr. Josiah. http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/frjosiah_sexualrelations.aspx
some quotes from it. "St. Paul teaches that married women find their salvation in and through childbearing". " consecrated virginity is the highest way of life". " The unnatural prolongation of sexual desire, through the use of drugs such as viagra, is forbidden. On the contrary, such decline in sexual desire is to warmly welcomed by aging Orthodox Christians as a divine help in one's life long preparation for departure from this life".

as for his opinion during the wedding service, I don't know but what really baffles me is that he is a married priest with 10 children.

I strongly disagree. If a person is following Christ according to their calling to the best of their ability, that is the highest way of life for them. There are no first and second class Orthodox Christians. No way of life is inferior if one puts Christ first in their life. For the Church to function, we need monastics, parish priests and married laypeople.
I do not know about viagra. I do not know of any Orthodox authority that has spoken to the issue. We undergo other medical procedures to treat the defects of aging. I have an artificial knee and wear glasses. If viagra treats a medical condition, is it wrong? I do not know.

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« Reply #86 on: March 21, 2014, 10:52:35 PM »

as for his opinion during the wedding service, I don't know but what really baffles me is that he is a married priest with 10 children.

Not sure why that baffles you. That's solid proof that he practices what he preaches: if one is married, have children and lots of them. That's the only way to redeem marital relations: have lots of kids, raise them in the faith, make sure at least one becomes a monk or nun, make sure all of them preserve their sexual purity, etc. It's all in the book.
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« Reply #87 on: March 21, 2014, 10:57:29 PM »

make sure at least one becomes a monk or nun
Really?
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« Reply #88 on: March 22, 2014, 01:14:24 AM »

Some of those heavily influenced by monasticism tend towards a more negative almost Augustinian view of sexuality. Therefore, they tend to oppose all use of birth control. Others, have what I consider a proper Orthodox view that considers sex good because it is part of God's creation. However, like everything else created by God we can abuse God's creation.

Can't you have a positive view of sexuality and oppose birth control?

I'm going to stick up for Fr. Josiah again and say that he was the first priest to show me what it really means to be pro-life. To understand the miracle of having children as to be cooperating with God in the creation of an eternal soul, giving it life and breath to praise and glorify God. Many people "have their two" kids and then it's back to pursuing other goals after you've met your quota for maintaining population.

But stopping having children can often be for very selfish reasons, though obviously not always. Many times we make excuses about what we can afford, and this at the time when we have more food and wealth and technology than at any other time in human history.

Some people, obviously not all, care more about storing up possessions and wealth than they do about creating eternal souls. But most parents would tell you that their kids are more important to them than any of their possessions. Then why the horror at more than 2 or 3 kids?

That's what baffles me, if we're going to get all baffled up in here.
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« Reply #89 on: March 22, 2014, 03:06:35 AM »

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

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