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Author Topic: Becoming a priest  (Read 5213 times) Average Rating: 0
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regan928
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« on: April 08, 2005, 02:04:21 PM »

Good Day,

I was hoping that I can get some information about the requirements to becoming an Orthodox priest. I am a baptised catholic that married a orthodox and converted,and my children are all orthodox. I have searched all the seminaries but my problem is I still have to work to support my family. I am hoping that there is a way that I can seek ordination instruction either online or by distence learning or at least partially. I have seached with no luck so I am hoping someone can give me some ideas.
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Bogoliubtsy
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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2005, 02:18:55 PM »

Regan928,

I know there is something like a "distance learning" program for the diaconate through the Antiochian Church. Still, these potential deacons have to meet on occasion for actual hands on learning. As I don't believe a priestly training program like this exists, your best bet might be part time seminary study if you live , or are willing to live, close enough to a seminary to do this. Holy Cross and St. Vladimir's also offer married student housing, which seems to work out fine for people. Maybe Anastasios or one of the new Greek seminarians here can speak on that.

Personally, I think this matter should be discussed with your priest and hatched out in the context of your home parish. Being formed by parish life  is probably the most important thing a potential priest can do, in my opinion.

May His will be done...
« Last Edit: April 08, 2005, 03:08:51 PM by Bogoliubtsy » Logged

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regan928
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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2005, 02:35:11 PM »

Thank you for the information. I have sent for information from the Antiochian chuch. They do have a distance learning program where you only have to attend one or two weeks a year. Forgive my ignorance but I attend a greek orthodox parish and don't fully understand the difference between greek and antiochian orthodoxy and services. If someone could give me some insight it would be appeciated.
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Fr. George
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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2005, 05:54:52 PM »

Give me a couple of days - I do have well-formulated thoughts on becoming a priest, which have been moulded by my experience here at Holy Cross and vicariously through my family and friends who are priests.  But at the moment, I am pressed for time.

Please forgive me.

Oh, and the whole differences between the Antiochians and the Greeks, that's a many-layered question; on one level, there isn't much different, and on another, we're far apart.  Again, this needs more time (and probably another thread).
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2005, 08:59:21 PM »

I don't know about the Greeks, but it is my understanding that in ROCOR you could eventually become a priest via instruction from someone already a priest within your jurisdiction (though you'd have to have to clear it with the bishop and see how things went). As Bogo said, you might want to start with your own priest and see what he says. Until then, here is some reading on the priesthood if you are interested:

St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 2
St. Ambrose of Milan, Three Books on the Duties of the Clergy
St. John Chrysostom, Treatise on the Priesthood
St. John Chrysostom, Homily 34 on Hebrews
St. John Chrysostom, Homily 30 on First Corinthians
St. Gregory the Great, Book of the Pastoral Rule
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Thomas
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2005, 11:58:19 PM »

The Antiochian House of Studies program known as the St. Stephen's Course is a diplomate program in Orthodox Theology, it does not guarantee ordination.  One must have a referral from their priest if they are laity and their Bishop if they are already clergy.  Once the Three year program is complete a diploma is provided and one becomes a diplomate of Orthodox Theology.  A Masters Degree in Orthodox Theology is available through the House of Studies  through the University of Balamand in  Lebanon with the additional styudies of one year and a written and approved Master's Thesis.  I am uncertain if the Greek Orthodox Church will accept this as enough preparation for the Holy Orders ---you would best directly ask your Bishop. If you attend Holy Cross (GOA seminary) there may be scholarships avaialble but there is the added requirement to serve in a GOAS parish, you must be able to speak and read Greek.

In Christ,
Thomas
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regan928
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« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2005, 08:59:56 AM »

Thank you all for your insight. I know that seminary would be the best but I am unable to attend due to my family obligations. Hence the reason that I need some sort of distance learning program. I love the greek church but would find it extremely difficult to learn all that is required at seminary AND try to learn greek. Any insight or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2005, 09:28:11 AM »

Thank you all for your insight. I know that seminary would be the best but I am unable to attend due to my family obligations. Hence the reason that I need some sort of distance learning program. I love the greek church but would find it extremely difficult to learn all that is required at seminary AND try to learn greek. Any insight or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

I know how difficult it must be with a family to contemplate a life-change like entering the priesthood, and how difficult it can be to achieve that goal - I am surrounded by men and women (i.e. their wives) who are making that commitment.

It is true that if you chose to attend our GO seminary (Holy Cross), that part of the program will be learning Greek - which is why our program is 4 years unlike St. Vladimir's which is only 3 (I think).  It can be a big challenge to those who are not of Greek descent, but our bishops view it for the time being as a pastoral tool.  (And I can't help but mention that priests trained overseas often learn multiple languages, like Greek and Arabic and Hebrew, for example - all three of which you can study at Holy Cross).

I would also agree with Bogoliubtsy when he says that it is a matter to be discussed with your priest and your bishop - not only for pragmatic reasons (the priest and bishop need to approve your going to a seminary) but also for spiritual ones; the journey to the priesthood is filled with trials and tribulations, and can be a spiritual test unlike any you have experienced.  I believe very strongly that satan wishes to tempt the shephards of the future in order to scatter the sheep more effectively.  And it can often be very subtle.

Also, Bogoliubtsy is dead-on when he talks about being hatched from the parish.  I have seen men come here who have not lived a full Orthodox life within the parish, and thus are lost once they come to seminary - they are stuck having to learn the normal stuff all of us have to learn, but are also forced to learn the basics of Orthodox worship and ethos at the same time, which is difficult (if not impossible) to do - I have seen those men struggle mightily; some leave the faith, others trudge through and become bitter and disillusioned, etc.  The life that you live at the parish will help give you the spiritual fortitude to handle many of the challenges that will come up studying for the priesthood.

While there is finanicial assistance available, and on-campus housing for married students with their families, I know just the move from your home and the task of working and studying and raising a family can be a bit much.  There are a few GOA metropolitans who use the St. Stephen's program to train parish deacons with lay ministries - those who are ordained deacons and assist at the parishes part-time, but who also keep their secular professions (and this is done with caution - most of the time these men have lay professions that are seen as healing and helping ministries, like medicine, psychology/psychiatry, etc.) - it is an excellent program, one that will allow you to learn much of what we study here at the seminary while having the convenience of staying home.  All you would need to do in addition to that is then study the Teleturgics (how to physically do the services) within the parish context, and the bishop will consider ordaining you to the deaconate.  The priesthood, though, may require time at a seminary.  Again, this is all up to you and your priest and bishop - and I'd be interested to hear in which diocese you are in - that can have an effect on whether you can do the St. Stephen's program, etc.

I hope and pray that God enlightens you and helps you to whatever end He wants!
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lpap
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« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2005, 09:44:44 AM »

Hello regan928,

I just want to help you by telling you that you not HAVE to become a priest and that priesthood is not a job.

You say that "my problem is I still have to work to support my family". Is this the reason that you feel that you need to become a priest ?

There is only one, and only one, way to become a priest: the Lord must call upon you and order you to receive this mission.

Have you received this call brother ?

Follow the call of God. It may be your mission to stay with your family and to work to support them. Believe me this is just as great cause as serving as a priest. You do not have to attend all seminars to be an Orthodox. Live a simple life, love your family and serve everyone like a brother and the Truth will never leave you. Try to overcome catholic teaching that forced you to earn the Reign of God. The Reign of God is a gift that you get and a way of living that exists in church.

Pray for the world brother.

 
« Last Edit: April 09, 2005, 09:47:44 AM by lpap » Logged

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