There are two aspects to this; (1) how much should our priests be compensated and (2) how should we support the church, regardless of the clergy support issue. The first one can be discussed with some degree of competence and will result in a budget, which may or may not drive how much parishioners give to the Church. While this approach makes sense economically, it cannot be the Christian approach to the question of how much we give to the our Lord and His Church.
If we are to give of our time, talents and riches (and we are called to do just that as disciples of the Lord), then we need to consider what the Holy Scriptures and the Church Fathers say about it. I do not intend to quote chapter and verse unless I am challenged, but I was involved in a discussion on another blog and the following points came out.
- The Lord calls us to give everything--that is 100%..
- The Scriptures talk about tithing as a minimum level of giving--that is 10%.
- The Early Church Fathers, to include Saints Gregory the Theologian, Basil the Great and John Chrysostom all support tithing.
It is quite unfortunate that the Orthodox jurisdictions on this continent are not on a tithing system. Actually, even in my own jurisdiction, tithing is the norm in only two dioceses. I do not think that we are going to be taken seriously by seriously minded Christians if we overlook, disregard and even condemn tithing as a Protestant practice. I will break my promise not to quote and verse to illustrate this point by quoting Saint John Chrysostom:
"For what did not they of old do? They gave tithes, and tithes again upon tithes for orphans, widows,and strangers; whereas some one was saying to me in astonishment of another person, `Why, such an one gives tithes?’ What a load of disgrace does this imply, since what was not a matter of wonder with the Jews has come to be so in the case of the Christians? If there was danger then in omitting tithes, think how great it must be now!” (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, volume XIII, First Series, page 69).