I've been wondering where the whole idea of "dues" - or to call them by a friendlier sounding term - assessments, originated.
When was the idea that that one had to pay a specific amount to the Church in order to be considered a "member" and to vote for parish elections, etc., started?
What is their purpose and why are they necessary?
In my jurisdiction, OCA, one is "assessed" a specific amount, per year that has to be paid or else you are not considered a member. I have heard
that if they are not kept up to date upon your repose, that you could be denied a full Orthodox funeral service. I put "heard" in italics because it could be hearsay and I don't want to be spreading rumours.
I have also been told that my "dues" are not to come out of my tithe, but are to be paid over and above the 10% of my income (the amount which my protestant upbringing has branded into my mind, which has subsequently carried over into Orthodoxy) which I donate to the church.
Why can't "dues" be taken out of my tithe? Any particular reason for this?
Also - is this idea of a "head tax" prevalent throughout all of Eastern Orthodoxy - Serbian, Greek, Antiochian, Ukrainian, ACROD, etc.?
Finally, to any of our Oriental Orthodox brethren, is the practice of charging people assessments also in your respective Churches?
Please share your thoughts on this and wisen me up!