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Author Topic: If Peter Married Why Can't Bishops  (Read 2037 times) Average Rating: 0
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Irenaeus07
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« on: February 17, 2008, 08:15:22 AM »

I was reading this book on Orthodox Christianity and in it, it was saying the Peter was Married, therefore this is a proof that priest can marry, if Bishop succeeded Peter in leadership, why can't they marry???
« Last Edit: February 17, 2008, 04:26:22 PM by Irenaeus07 » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2008, 08:20:26 AM »

There is no theological impediment to having a married bishop; the prohibition is practical and was instituted to prevent bishops from appropriating Church property for their heirs.
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2008, 09:11:22 AM »

There is no theological impediment to having a married bishop; the prohibition is practical and was instituted to prevent bishops from appropriating Church property for their heirs.

Interesting. I haven't heard that explanation before. Do you have a source?
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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2008, 07:44:15 PM »

Interesting. I haven't heard that explanation before. Do you have a source?

I've read it a couple of different places that I don't remember in particular, but I do recall my previous priest specifically saying that in response to a question in catechism (regarding why we have married priests but not married bishops).  It makes sense on its face, however, as it was the same reason why Rome mandated celibacy for bishops and priests alike.
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« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2008, 07:49:48 PM »

Interesting. I haven't heard that explanation before. Do you have a source?

I don't have the time now, but there is quite a bit on this (the law codes deal with it for instance). I believe Trullo makes some reference to what was going on in Armenia, where large estates were being handed down.  And on the opposite end, in the Celtic Church there were rules about monestaries etc. passing down through heirs, and if a worthy heir wasn't available, it passed in another family as a trust until an able heir was produced.

Of course, they got around it, and produced nepotism.
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« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2008, 08:15:02 PM »

I believe Trullo makes some reference to what was going on in Armenia, where large estates were being handed down. 

I thought it was Nicea that condemned the hereditary priesthood which existed among the Armenians.  But I could be wrong.

With regard to the Armenians, after King Drtad converted to Christianity and declared his kingdom to be Christian, St. Gregory found he had great opposition from the pagan priests ("moks.")  The moks had a hereditary priesthood and they didn't want to lose that, for the sake of their sons.  So St. Gregory made the Christian priesthood in Armenia hereditary.  In fact, the seminary he established was for the sons of the moks.  With this move, he succeeded in converting most, if not all, of the moks.  With the conversion of the moks, the conversion of the rest of the country was much easier.

The establishment of a hereditary priesthood in Armenia, however, scandalized Church leaders in other parts of the world, and I think it was condemned at Nicea.  Of course what they didn't realize was that this was done to facilitate the conversion of Armenia, and it worked. 

I'm not sure exactly how long this lasted, but I think St. Sahag (early 400's) was the last Catholicos to be descended from St. Gregory.  The concept of a hereditary priesthood probably fell out of use soon after that.

I was told by my priest, in fact, that the reason celibacy for bishops was eventually adopted by the Armenians was to put an end to the hereditary passing down of the office.  So that would support what was said above.
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2008, 01:45:22 AM »

I don't have the time now, but there is quite a bit on this (the law codes deal with it for instance). I believe Trullo makes some reference to what was going on in Armenia, where large estates were being handed down.  And on the opposite end, in the Celtic Church there were rules about monestaries etc. passing down through heirs, and if a worthy heir wasn't available, it passed in another family as a trust until an able heir was produced.

Of course, they got around it, and produced nepotism.

In Trullo, I read something perplexing.  I don't think it had anything to do with Armenia, but it was a very strange canon.  It was regarding those priests who had wives and was being considered for the episcopacy.  If a married priest was to be ordained a bishop, he has to be separated from his wife and his wife must enter a convent for the rest of their lives.  I thought to myself, "My God, that sounds harsh."

But ya, in my search for canons.  I found this to be the closest reason to probably an eventually evolved celibacy in episcopacy.  Now this gives reasons for EO's, but I can't find anything on OO's (with obviously the limited resources I have).

God bless.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2008, 01:46:13 AM by minasoliman » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2008, 01:21:37 PM »

About a year ago, this question was posed to our bishop when he visited our parish.  He replied that one reason why bishops aren't married anymore has to do with the iconoclastic controversy. If an iconoclasitic leader wanted to impose his will on the people, he went after the bishops, because whatever the bishop says, the people are going to be influenced to listen to him.  For example, the iconoclasts would tell the married bishop, "We've captured your wife and kids.  Unless you preach to your people that icons are bad, we're going to kill your family."  So because of this, bishops were chosen from the celibate ranks, to prevent them from being influenced to preach heresy when their families were threatened.  A celibate bishop seems to have less to be threatened with than one who has a family.

Granted, this answer was posed to a group of children, so it may be a bit simplistic in its rendering, and of course, there were other factors, such as the one about preventing bishops to passing on property/titles to their sons. 
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2008, 01:26:18 PM »

How very interesting!
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« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2008, 02:16:25 PM »

About a year ago, this question was posed to our bishop when he visited our parish.  He replied that one reason why bishops aren't married anymore has to do with the iconoclastic controversy. If an iconoclasitic leader wanted to impose his will on the people, he went after the bishops, because whatever the bishop says, the people are going to be influenced to listen to him.  For example, the iconoclasts would tell the married bishop, "We've captured your wife and kids.  Unless you preach to your people that icons are bad, we're going to kill your family."  So because of this, bishops were chosen from the celibate ranks, to prevent them from being influenced to preach heresy when their families were threatened.  A celibate bishop seems to have less to be threatened with than one who has a family.

Granted, this answer was posed to a group of children, so it may be a bit simplistic in its rendering, and of course, there were other factors, such as the one about preventing bishops to passing on property/titles to their sons. 

If this is true, it is very, very sad. From what I have read, it seems in many cases the essense of true Christianity was sadly lost. Why would a true Christian threaten to kill someone, merely because they didn't agree with him?  Shocked That seems the antithesis of the Gospel message.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2008, 02:17:45 PM by Rosehip » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2008, 04:59:37 PM »

Well, the sin of the iconoclasts who threatened these bishops stem from their heresy.  Heresy always brings division and sin, never union and righteousness.

May God have mercy on us through the prayers of those hierarchs who chose to give their lives for their flocks rather than have them consumed by wolves.
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« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2008, 11:00:53 PM »

About a year ago, this question was posed to our bishop when he visited our parish.  He replied that one reason why bishops aren't married anymore has to do with the iconoclastic controversy. If an iconoclasitic leader wanted to impose his will on the people, he went after the bishops, because whatever the bishop says, the people are going to be influenced to listen to him.  For example, the iconoclasts would tell the married bishop, "We've captured your wife and kids.  Unless you preach to your people that icons are bad, we're going to kill your family."  So because of this, bishops were chosen from the celibate ranks, to prevent them from being influenced to preach heresy when their families were threatened.  A celibate bishop seems to have less to be threatened with than one who has a family.

Granted, this answer was posed to a group of children, so it may be a bit simplistic in its rendering, and of course, there were other factors, such as the one about preventing bishops to passing on property/titles to their sons. 

Well, I think there's a more complicated answer.  It just seems to have evolved that way.  So I agree that the answer is a bit more simplistic, but then again I don't know.  The question of episcopal celibacy to me is most perplexing not just because of how hard it is to find an answer, but because it stretched out to those churches that were not in communion with one another.  EO's, OO's, and Assyrians don't have married bishops (I think Assyrians don't).  We can leave out the Latins since we can pinpoint an official canon for them that not only enforces episcopal celibacy, but also priestly celibacy.

Every answer I find doesn't seem to be satisfactory.  It seems to me episcopal celibacy was simply an "endangered species" for quite a while, and then became completely extinct.

God bless.
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« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2008, 12:30:25 PM »

Merged into existing thread - Cleveland, GM
Hello.names Jon, I have been asked to post is web site to you by a Good friend of mine, Have a nice day

http://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/orthodoxy/articles/2007-01-26-marriedbishops.php
 This is the same IP as Fr Alexander. Duplicate accounts are not allowed. If you are not the same person as Fr Alexander but are just using his computer, you will need to contact me privately by private message.
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« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2008, 04:44:40 PM »

Just out of curiosity, would this count as "trolling?"  Smiley
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