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Clergy and work on canons


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#1 Daniel FS

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 12:36 PM

Canons Of The Holy Apostles, Canon VI said:

"Let not a bishop, presbyter, or deacon, undertake worldly business; otherwise let him be deposed."

It is right if any clergy is forbid to work? Even that is just part time work or work for his life (even if that only have few, 4-5 flock in parish?)?

What about if that Church is still a mission church? Any other Canon which manage this situation?

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#2 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 01:48 PM

Clergy- especially deacons and priests, sometimes have to seek secular employment. This isn't their preferred choice, since they would rather be able to devote all of their time to their parish. But sometimes clergy have to take up this kind of work in order to survive financially (especially when they have families).

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#3 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 03:06 PM

I think it is right to say that the cannon is a measure (I think it comes from the say root as the Greek for ruler), they have to be used by the bishops to guide the Church, sometimes there are situations which need to be worked out which are not the ideal and the solutions required measure not up to the cannon. In many countries clergy are not paid and missionary parishes have small congregations, so the Church adapts to this.

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#4 Cyprian (Humphrey)

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 03:06 PM

This is another instance of context being supremely important with regard to the canons. I'm pretty sure the canon is more correctly referring to clergy who abandon their clerical duties to undertake worldly business. Essentially, this would be about a Bishop, Priest or Deacon who took a secular job when they didn't have to. All the clergy I know that have secular jobs really need it, just to scrape by.

That being said, all the clergy I know that don't have secular jobs wouldn't dream of it, because they're too busy as it is... :)

#5 Thomas Carroll

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 02:04 AM

Canons Of The Holy Apostles, Canon VI said:

"Let not a bishop, presbyter, or deacon, undertake worldly business; otherwise let him be deposed."


This canon underscores how important it is that we support our priests. That so many priests are forced in lands of great plenty to undertake secular employment is a great mark of shame upon the Christians of our age.

Thomas Carroll

#6 Reader Paul A. Barrera

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 12:35 AM

Are there any jobs which are "off-limits" to clergy who need to work? Does a deacon have more leverage than a priest in doing different secular work? Such as attorney, banker, sales man, politician or any other "competitive" position.

#7 Father David Moser

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 01:57 AM

A clergyman cannot carry a weapon so the precludes police/guard work. I don't know if there is a specific canon, but almost universally a clergyman cannot wield secular power and therefore cannot hold governmental office. A clergyman cannot be in a position where he is responsible for taking a life, even by accident and that puts restrictions on such careers as healthcare etc.

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#8 Olga

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 02:06 AM

and that puts restrictions on such careers as healthcare etc.


With the greatest respect, Fr David: great numbers of Orthodox saints were physicians, nurses, and in related health professions. St Luke of Simferopol' is a recent and sterling example. New-martyr Elizabeth the Grand Duchess, and her sister Tsaritsa Alexandra the Passion-bearer, as well as the latter's daughters, served as nurses during the First World War period.

#9 Father David Moser

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 04:12 AM

Which is why I said that it "puts restrictions on" such careers, not that they are prohibited.

St Luke of Simferopol' is a recent and sterling example.

St Luke was in a very unique situation in that he served the Church during the early Soviet years - the worst of the persecutions when Stalin nearly succeeded in stamping out the Church. Also he was a surgeon BEFORE he became a priest and bishop - although he did not of necessity cease from functioning as a physician, that order makes all the difference here. Had he been a monk and priest first, he most likely would not have pursued training or a career as a physician.

New-martyr Elizabeth the Grand Duchess, and her sister Tsaritsa Alexandra the Passion-bearer, as well as the latter's daughters, served as nurses during the First World War period.


Yes, but they were not members of the clergy either.

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#10 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 08:57 AM

An academic post is ideal for a clergyman (even if one is only a Reader)!

#11 Fr George A.

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 05:14 PM

This canon is not uniformally interpreted this way, and there are bishops who permit clergy to work in law enforcement, even armed.

A clergyman cannot carry a weapon so the precludes police/guard work. I don't know if there is a specific canon, but almost universally a clergyman cannot wield secular power and therefore cannot hold governmental office. A clergyman cannot be in a position where he is responsible for taking a life, even by accident and that puts restrictions on such careers as healthcare etc.

Fr David Moser



#12 Reader Paul A. Barrera

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 07:02 AM

What canons specifically address this issue? I'm not sure how to look that up.

#13 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 09:02 PM

Question: what do we call clergy who are a hindrance to the working out of the canons?

Answer: canon fodder.

#14 Fr George A.

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 03:40 PM

I don't know about any canons forbidding clergy from practicing medicine, but the most commonly referenced canon comes from the Apostolic Canons (66):

"If any Clergyman strikes anyone in a fight, and kills by a single blow, let him be deposed for his insolence. But if he is a layman, let him be excommunicated."

Then St. Basil the Great:
"CANON LV - As for those who resist robbers, if they themselves are outside of the Church, they are to be excluded from communion with the good boon; but if they are Clerics, they are to be deposed of their rank. For every man, it says, who takes to the sword shall die by the sword (Matthew 26:52)."

See also Canon XCI of the 6th Ecumenical Synod; Canons XXI, XXII, XXIII of Ancyra; Athanasios in his Epistles; Canons II, VIII, XI, XIII, XXXIII, XLIII, LII, LIV, LVI, LVII of Basil; Canon V Gregory of Nyssa (list from the Pedalion).

However, you must remember when 'looking up canons' that how they are interpreted falls to the bishops rather than to us. If you expect to see the canons rigorously enforced to the letter, you will always be disappointed. Bishops decide how they will use the canons to decide their decisions rather than simply reading the Rudder like a chemistry book.

What canons specifically address this issue? I'm not sure how to look that up.



#15 Peter Simko

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 04:32 PM

A clergyman cannot be in a position where he is responsible for taking a life


We have this story of Saint Leo, Bishop of Catania, and his dealings with the magician, Heliodorus:

"At one time during the Divine Services, Heliodorus entered the church of God and began his obscenities. St. Leo approached him, tied him to one end of his pallium and led him to the market place of the city. Here, Leo ordered that a large fire be built and when the fire was burning, he stood in the middle of the fire and pulled Heliodorus into the fire. Heliodorus was completely consumed and Leo remained alive and unscathed."

...Although, I guess that you could make the argument that it was not the weapon of fire that killed the magician, but rather his impure work.




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