Author Topic: Elder Ephraim monasteries  (Read 4514 times)

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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Elder Ephraim monasteries
« Reply #45 on: October 16, 2015, 03:47:34 PM »
Nobody can force the laity into greater piety, that is true. I am not criticizing the laity for their indifference. Rather, I am simply bemused that some priests do not provide the laity with the tools to further pursue their edification (or to be whipped into shape) and then get upset when their laymen begin using the monasteries like parishes. It seems to me that the "problem" is of their own making.
It seems rather shocking to me that a large parish with 900 people and a number of priests is unable to include the additional services when they are standard at many of the smaller parishes of other jurisdictions.
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Offline Cavaradossi

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Re: Elder Ephraim monasteries
« Reply #46 on: October 16, 2015, 04:17:45 PM »
Time to whip these parishes into shape. Put them under ROCOR. They will be straightened out in no time. Maybe with 1/3 of the members, but they'll get there.

The GOA doesn't need ROCOR or to start following the St. Sabbas Typikon strictly, but from my experience, what the GOA needs as an institution is repentance. If a parish has 900 families (and can afford to pay its priest close to six figures) and yet it doesn't serve at least vespers, matins, and liturgy on all of the great feasts and Sundays of the year, then something has gone terribly wrong. Make snide remarks as you will, but I hardly see how at least making the effort to do that (in other words, to have some semblance of spiritual health) would drive 2/3 of the parishioners away.

There is research that I cannot put my finger on now, but it says that the maximum number of souls that a priest can serve effectively is 150. The big problem here seems to be trying to serve a much larger number instead of simply splitting and setting up more parishes. It shows couple of things: no evangelical zeal and the alienation of many folks who get lost in the crowd. So, even if such a church had a full cycle of services, folks would still be alienated and depart for other pastures.

I absolutely agree. That same statistic was brought up at this parish during a parish assembly. The parish council members proceeded to lecture the parishioners on how a mission church wouldn't work because of this or that excuse. Were it not so perverse, it would be funny, but this sort of thinking seems very common within the GOA. Is it any wonder that those who thirst for Christ would rather drive twice the distance to go to a monastery some weekends?
« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 04:21:25 PM by Cavaradossi »
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Offline Cavaradossi

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Re: Elder Ephraim monasteries
« Reply #47 on: October 16, 2015, 04:23:56 PM »
Nobody can force the laity into greater piety, that is true. I am not criticizing the laity for their indifference. Rather, I am simply bemused that some priests do not provide the laity with the tools to further pursue their edification (or to be whipped into shape) and then get upset when their laymen begin using the monasteries like parishes. It seems to me that the "problem" is of their own making.
It seems rather shocking to me that a large parish with 900 people and a number of priests is unable to include the additional services when they are standard at many of the smaller parishes of other jurisdictions.

Not 900 people mind you, but 900 families. It really is absurd, but sadly not entirely uncommon within the GOA to see things like that. 
« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 04:24:50 PM by Cavaradossi »
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Offline Iconodule

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Re: Elder Ephraim monasteries
« Reply #48 on: October 16, 2015, 04:45:07 PM »
My question is, knowing how much some of these priests are paid- what are they doing the rest of the week?
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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Elder Ephraim monasteries
« Reply #49 on: October 16, 2015, 04:46:27 PM »
I am in the wrong business.
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Offline Elisha

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Re: Elder Ephraim monasteries
« Reply #50 on: October 16, 2015, 06:05:31 PM »
Time to whip these parishes into shape. Put them under ROCOR. They will be straightened out in no time. Maybe with 1/3 of the members, but they'll get there.

The GOA doesn't need ROCOR or to start following the St. Sabbas Typikon strictly, but from my experience, what the GOA needs as an institution is repentance. If a parish has 900 families (and can afford to pay its priest close to six figures) and yet it doesn't serve at least vespers, matins, and liturgy on all of the great feasts and Sundays of the year, then something has gone terribly wrong. Make snide remarks as you will, but I hardly see how at least making the effort to do that (in other words, to have some semblance of spiritual health) would drive 2/3 of the parishioners away.

There is research that I cannot put my finger on now, but it says that the maximum number of souls that a priest can serve effectively is 150. The big problem here seems to be trying to serve a much larger number instead of simply splitting and setting up more parishes. It shows couple of things: no evangelical zeal and the alienation of many folks who get lost in the crowd. So, even if such a church had a full cycle of services, folks would still be alienated and depart for other pastures.

I think the "research" likely assumes a full cycle of services and VERY active participation by the laity....but you definitely have a point.

Yes, I like Mor's post...I was kinda playing devil's advocate here.

Cavaradossi, I think there are many highly acclaimed byz psalti's that would disagree with you on doing away with Desby/Zes music....(and organs).  I hear Vicky Pappas would shoot you down too.  Not my thing, but they like them, heck, I could live with it.  I actually enjoyed that new CR album on the DL of Zes's music better than the Steinberg (sounded kinda bland to me).  The Zes was...different, but worked...in an odd sorta way.  Admittedly, I've only sung through a couple Desby pieces and it's been years.  I think I remember singing an Anaphora that I liked.

Offline Elisha

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Re: Elder Ephraim monasteries
« Reply #51 on: October 16, 2015, 06:10:19 PM »
Nobody can force the laity into greater piety, that is true. I am not criticizing the laity for their indifference. Rather, I am simply bemused that some priests do not provide the laity with the tools to further pursue their edification (or to be whipped into shape) and then get upset when their laymen begin using the monasteries like parishes. It seems to me that the "problem" is of their own making.
It seems rather shocking to me that a large parish with 900 people and a number of priests is unable to include the additional services when they are standard at many of the smaller parishes of other jurisdictions.

Not 900 people mind you, but 900 families. It really is absurd, but sadly not entirely uncommon within the GOA to see things like that.

I really hate this "families" method of counting (not pointing the finger at you) - just so misleading.  If one thinks of a family, they usually have in mind 4-5....when I'm sure many of them are "1" and the average around 2 1/2.  Just use # of attendees per average Sunday for your membership.  If you have to have an official number for head tax purposes (deliberately being non-jurisdiction specific), then yes, have a number of official adult members.

Offline Elisha

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Re: Elder Ephraim monasteries
« Reply #52 on: October 16, 2015, 06:11:34 PM »
My question is, knowing how much some of these priests are paid- what are they doing the rest of the week?

They're probably still busy doing pastoral and parish business work - just COULD be busier doing the services.

Offline Velsigne

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Re: Elder Ephraim monasteries
« Reply #53 on: October 17, 2015, 10:56:31 AM »
Time to whip these parishes into shape. Put them under ROCOR. They will be straightened out in no time. Maybe with 1/3 of the members, but they'll get there.

The GOA doesn't need ROCOR or to start following the St. Sabbas Typikon strictly, but from my experience, what the GOA needs as an institution is repentance. If a parish has 900 families (and can afford to pay its priest close to six figures) and yet it doesn't serve at least vespers, matins, and liturgy on all of the great feasts and Sundays of the year, then something has gone terribly wrong. Make snide remarks as you will, but I hardly see how at least making the effort to do that (in other words, to have some semblance of spiritual health) would drive 2/3 of the parishioners away.

There is research that I cannot put my finger on now, but it says that the maximum number of souls that a priest can serve effectively is 150. The big problem here seems to be trying to serve a much larger number instead of simply splitting and setting up more parishes. It shows couple of things: no evangelical zeal and the alienation of many folks who get lost in the crowd. So, even if such a church had a full cycle of services, folks would still be alienated and depart for other pastures.

I absolutely agree. That same statistic was brought up at this parish during a parish assembly. The parish council members proceeded to lecture the parishioners on how a mission church wouldn't work because of this or that excuse. Were it not so perverse, it would be funny, but this sort of thinking seems very common within the GOA. Is it any wonder that those who thirst for Christ would rather drive twice the distance to go to a monastery some weekends?

Some GOA parishes are planting missions when they hit critical mass. 

Please see: http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/aftoday/three_successful_parishes

That interview addresses the issues that have been raised here.

Sometimes there is not much a priest can do when he is sent into a situation where a parish is not, well, very vibrant, or it may take many years to have any sort of effect on entrenched attitudes. 

I hope you speak up in those meetings and arm yourself with information about missions and evangelism to better educate your parish council. 

God wants all to come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved.   
A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground.

Then it is done, no matter how brave its warriors nor how strong their weapons -- Cheyenne proverb

Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: Elder Ephraim monasteries
« Reply #54 on: October 17, 2015, 11:06:01 AM »
My question is, knowing how much some of these priests are paid- what are they doing the rest of the week?

I don't know any of these 'well-paid' priests who aren't 2-3x busier than their less-well-paid counterparts.  They also tend to get more 'resistance' from parishioners who figure that if they are paid that well, they ought to be able to take a blow or two without flinching.

I know one of those high-paid priests who was warned by his metropolitan to make sure he had dinner with his family once a week, because otherwise they would never see him.  It was good advice for a man with >500 families on the rolls.

Nevertheless, a large number of parishioners on our rolls almost never attend with any regularity.  Membership is kind of like insurance so the family can ask for counseling assistance with a drug-addled teen, access to the hall, and those all important 'cultural sacraments' like Baptisms followed by huge parties.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Elder Ephraim monasteries
« Reply #55 on: October 17, 2015, 11:53:13 AM »
Nevertheless, a large number of parishioners on our rolls almost never attend with any regularity.  Membership is kind of like insurance so the family can ask for counseling assistance with a drug-addled teen, access to the hall, and those all important 'cultural sacraments' like Baptisms followed by huge parties.

Undoubtedly a pre-Chalcedonian tradition handed down from the saints and preserved on either side of the divide by us, the weak and sinful. 
I think you can say ~ In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and post with charitable and prayerful intentions.