Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Barriers to the priesthood?


  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
20 replies to this topic

#1 Andrew James

Andrew James

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 34 posts

Posted 14 November 2007 - 05:03 AM

What generally prevents a man from being ordained to the priesthood? For example if a man is divorced I understand that he is almost never allowed to be ordained. If a man has had sex or committed sexual acts with a woman before marriage, does this disqualify him generally, or is there others aspects that get taken into account?

Thanks!

In Christ,
Andrew

#2 Paul Cowan

Paul Cowan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,051 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 14 November 2007 - 05:09 AM

Dear Andrew,

As way of an FYI, there has already been a thread or two on this question. Have you checked the search feature? I beleive it was within the past year.

Paul

#3 Andrew James

Andrew James

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 34 posts

Posted 14 November 2007 - 05:19 AM

My apologies! I actually made the thread on the issue. I completely forgot about it.

However, if this thread was more focused around the idea of sexual acts before marriage than the others are, I would be very happy to see it continue. However, I guess it's up to the mods.

#4 Herman Blaydoe

Herman Blaydoe

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,117 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 14 November 2007 - 01:09 PM

It is up to the discernment of the bishop, more than anything. There are certainly canons on the subject which provide the bishop with guidance, but since the priest is the extension of the Bishop, it is really his call. If these sins occured before someone became Orthodox that is one thing. If it happened for an Orthodox Christian, that is something else, I think. In my diocese, a divorce in itself is not necessarily a "barrier", but remarriage generally is. Other jurisdictions are different. In certain Old Calendar Greek churches, there are a multitude of things that disqualify men from the priesthood, and they end up getting many of their priests from other (New Calendar) churches who are not so strict, otherwise they wouldn't have any priests at all. Go figure.

At any rate, in as much as the guidelines provided in Holy Scripture for the selection of bishops and deacons, by and large, can be adhered to, we do well.

#5 Kris

Kris

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 383 posts

Posted 14 November 2007 - 05:17 PM

Canon 59 of the Holy Apostles states:
"If a charge of fornication, or of adultery, or of any other forbidden act be brought against a faithful one, and be proved, let him not be promoted to the clergy."

"Any other forbidden act" seems slightly obscure, so I had a look in the Exomologetarion of St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain. In it is quoted Canon 10 of St. John the Faster: "If anyone among the clergy, before being ordained, fell into the passion of masturbation without thinking perhaps that on this account alone he would be dismissed from the priesthood, let him first be sufficiently penanced, and then let him enter the priesthood..."

The footnote to the Interpretation of this canon reads "Note that even masturbation alone is an impediment to the priesthood."

Canon 11 of St. John continues "But also as for women, if a woman has allowed herself to be kissed and felt by a man, without, however, being violated by him, let her receive the penance of masturbation."

So I suppose one could extend this to mean that even kissing and touching a woman, without "violating" her, can be an impediment to the priesthood based on Canon 10, given its equation with self-abuse.


But, as Herman accurately pointed out, canons are guidelines not laws. What will and won't impede you from becoming a priest is a matter left up to the Bishop.

#6 Olympiada

Olympiada

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 367 posts

Posted 15 November 2007 - 07:22 AM

All this seems rather unfair, especially for converts. Take for example the difference between America and Egypt. Orthodox Egyptians are shocked by American culture, American culture that we American Orthodox are steeped in on a daily basis. Is there any kind of cultural relativity for the canons?

#7 Kris

Kris

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 383 posts

Posted 16 November 2007 - 01:12 AM

All this seems rather unfair, especially for converts. Take for example the difference between America and Egypt. Orthodox Egyptians are shocked by American culture, American culture that we American Orthodox are steeped in on a daily basis. Is there any kind of cultural relativity for the canons?


Well, in the case of converts, I'm sure that sins committed prior to their reception into the Church would be considered on a different basis than those comitted by someone already inside the Church.

Other than this, however, I'm not really sure what you mean by unfair. These are Christian moral principles which transcend culture. Pre-marital relations, or any other kinds of immoral acts, do not become justifiable just because one happens to live in a culture where such behaviour is rampant.

"And cease being fashioned according to this age, but be transfigured by the renewing of your mind, in order for you to put to the test what is the good and well-pleasing and perfect will of God" - Romans 12:2

And again, how strictly a canon is applied is a matter up to the ruling bishop, who would undoubtedly take things such as cultural context into account in any case.

#8 Paul Cowan

Paul Cowan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,051 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 23 January 2008 - 01:04 AM

My priest was in the military before becoming a ordained. He said the church accepts that men must go to war and that there will be killing. However if you do kill someone even in war, you may not be a priest. I assume this also translates to the killing of animals if one were fond of deer hunting? It's a shame as I like venison. I suppose it is also just as wrong to have some killed as it is to hire someone to shoot a deer so I could eat venison. Taking it beyond this puts it into threads that have already been much discussed on the killing and consumption of meat products.

Paul

#9 Nina

Nina

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,149 posts

Posted 23 January 2008 - 01:23 AM

I assume this also translates to the killing of animals if one were fond of deer hunting? It's a shame as I like venison.
Paul


I love venison too! My grandfather (paternal) went hunting a lot. And he said that when he would kill deer, he would cry because the wounded deer looked at him straight in the eye and shed a tear before dying, and it looked exactly like a human being to him. He hated that moment, but loved to eat venison so much (all of us do in the family) and had no other choice. He hunted many animals. But he was a wonderful person. Are we as a family guilty of the sin (since the family liked game meat) of killing all those animals?

#10 Nicolaj

Nicolaj

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 371 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 23 January 2008 - 09:43 PM

However if you do kill someone even in war, you may not be a priest.

Paul


But you can be a monk. Like Alexander Nevsky!

Nicolaj

#11 Eric Peterson

Eric Peterson

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 397 posts

Posted 24 January 2008 - 09:37 PM

I assume this also translates to the killing of animals if one were fond of deer hunting? It's a shame as I like venison.
Paul


Dear Mr. Cowan,

Killing animals, especially for food, is quite another thing from killing a human being, whether out of passion or in self-defense. Animals and people are completely different things.

When one considers that the priests of the Old Covenant were the ones doing the killing of animals, it would seem strange that hunting would be a canonical impediment. I'm ready to be surprised, but I have yet to find a canon against hunting.

Now, it's a totally different matter for monastics, as they generally do not eat meat, but I'm not qualified to talk about that.

Eric

#12 Nina

Nina

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,149 posts

Posted 25 January 2008 - 01:50 AM

When one considers that the priests of the Old Covenant were the ones doing the killing of animals, it would seem strange that hunting would be a canonical impediment. I'm ready to be surprised, but I have yet to find a canon against hunting.

Eric


Ok. This makes very much sense to me. Thank you.

#13 Father David Moser

Father David Moser

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 3,453 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Cleric

Posted 25 January 2008 - 05:18 AM

One should not place humans and animals in the same class. If a person has taken another human life, then this is an impediment to ordination, however, if a person has killed animals (hunted) then this is not an impediment to ordination. In most cases a priest - after he has been ordained - is not permitted to hunt or carry a weapon, but even that is not universal and "set in stone".

Fr David Moser

#14 Tessa Miljanic

Tessa Miljanic

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 20 posts

Posted 08 February 2008 - 02:59 AM

I always hate when people equate hunting with cruelty. I don't think anyone should feel bad about killing an animal for food, provided the animal is killed in a humane manner and it's body utilized to the fullest extent. If anything, we should feel bad about the inhumane treatment of animals that are factory farmed. Us Westerners have been so detached from the slaughter process that we just expect meat comes from a styrofoam package neatly wrapped in celophane.

#15 Kypreos

Kypreos

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 36 posts

Posted 08 February 2008 - 03:27 AM

I always hate when people equate hunting with cruelty. I don't think anyone should feel bad about killing an animal for food, provided the animal is killed in a humane manner and it's body utilized to the fullest extent.


I cant help but feel that hunting as a form of entertainment, or pastime, is cruel.


we should feel bad about the inhumane treatment of animals that are factory farmed. Us Westerners have been so detached from the slaughter process that we just expect meat comes from a styrofoam package neatly wrapped in celophane.


I agree.

#16 Guest_ok0510

Guest_ok0510
  • Guests

Posted 06 March 2008 - 02:08 PM

It is up to the discernment of the bishop, more than anything. There are certainly canons on the subject which provide the bishop with guidance, but since the priest is the extension of the Bishop, it is really his call. If these sins occured before someone became Orthodox that is one thing. If it happened for an Orthodox Christian, that is something else, I think. In my diocese, a divorce in itself is not necessarily a "barrier", but remarriage generally is. Other jurisdictions are different. In certain Old Calendar Greek churches, there are a multitude of things that disqualify men from the priesthood, and they end up getting many of their priests from other (New Calendar) churches who are not so strict, otherwise they wouldn't have any priests at all. Go figure.

#17 Victor Mihailoff

Victor Mihailoff

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 81 posts

Posted 07 March 2008 - 05:54 AM

[quote][quote name='Paul Cowan']My priest was in the military before becoming a ordained. He said the church accepts that men must go to war and that there will be killing. However if you do kill someone even in war, you may not be a priest.[/quote]

The way I understand it, and I may be wrong, if a soldier obeys orders to kill in defence of his country or Church or some other just cause without malice, it is not considered murder. If later he feels a calling to the priesthood, he can be ordained, an many in the past were. But after becoming a priest, bishop or deacon, he cannot cause death to a human being, even in a car accident, and remain as a priest, bishop or deacon. This is because he handles the Holy gifts, the flesh and blood of Christ, which he is not permitted to defile with his hands once he has spilled blood lethally after ordination. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. I accumulated spoken information over the years and never recall reading what I just typed.

In Christ, Victor

#18 Max Percy

Max Percy

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 133 posts

Posted 08 March 2008 - 04:32 PM

But you can be a monk. Like Alexander Nevsky!

Nicolaj


And St. Silouan

#19 Paul Cowan

Paul Cowan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,051 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 08 March 2008 - 08:13 PM

It is up to the discernment of the bishop, more than anything. There are certainly canons on the subject which provide the bishop with guidance, but since the priest is the extension of the Bishop, it is really his call. If these sins occured before someone became Orthodox that is one thing. If it happened for an Orthodox Christian, that is something else, I think. In my diocese, a divorce in itself is not necessarily a "barrier", but remarriage generally is. Other jurisdictions are different. In certain Old Calendar Greek churches, there are a multitude of things that disqualify men from the priesthood, and they end up getting many of their priests from other (New Calendar) churches who are not so strict, otherwise they wouldn't have any priests at all. Go figure.


Dear ok0510,

I am not a moderator but would like to know who I am talking to. (or rather reading from). Can you share with us who you are so you can be a "real" person at least in my mind? Rules for names on Monachos.

Thank you
Paul

#20 Subdeacon Joseph Gingrich

Subdeacon Joseph Gingrich

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • 8 posts

Posted 21 April 2010 - 04:36 PM

What generally prevents a man from being ordained to the priesthood? For example if a man is divorced I understand that he is almost never allowed to be ordained. If a man has had sex or committed sexual acts with a woman before marriage, does this disqualify him generally, or is there others aspects that get taken into account?

Thanks!

In Christ,
Andrew


Dear Andrew,

What does matters is whether the marriage occurred before your baptism. Canon 17 of the Apostles states: "Whoever has entered into two marriages after baptism, or has possessed himself of a concubine, cannot be a Bishop, or a Presbyter, or a Deacon, or anything else in the Sacerdotal List." Interpretation: "No matter how many sins a man has committed before baptism they cannot prevent him from taking holy orders and joining the clergy, since, and so we believe, Holy Baptism washes them all away."

Canon 17 of the Apostles allows for any man to be ordained




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users