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Vacations for clergy


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#1 Paul Cowan

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 03:34 AM

I get 22 days per year vacation. I rarely get to take them all. Heck, I rarely get to take any of them. Our clergy also take vacations, but I am curious if they really get vacation time. I am under the impression clergy must be in church (serving?) when they go on vacation. Do our clergy get to take off any days that fall on service days? I am sure there can be services every day of the year, but I am asking specifically about Saturday night and Sunday morning.

I know our associate priest is called to go to other parishes around the city to serve when the single priest parishes are not there. I guess I am asking do our priests really get "time off" or more like me, they have to skip scheduled time off due to work?

Paul

#2 Dcn Alexander Haig

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 08:22 AM

Going to Church is not part of anyone's job, clergy included: priests who receive a salary do not get it for serving the Liturgy but to free them from other calls on their time so they can dedicate themselves to their pastoral work. If a priest takes a holiday it is from his "other" work (visiting the faithful, Church administration, catechism, etc.) but attending the Sunday Liturgy is not optional (nor is it optional for any of the faithful).

If away from his parish, he might attend a local Church (in the same way that anyone might) and he might be asked to serve with the local clergy but this does not constitute "work" - this is simply attending the Liturgy and taking his proper place with the other clergy.

In Xp
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#3 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 12:29 PM

I am not aware of any jurisdiction with a requirement for priests to "serve" when on vacation, but why would they want to miss the Divine Liturgy? Why would anybody? The Divine Liturgy IS a vacation. We leave Earth and visit Heaven where we "lay aside all earthly cares". We spend time with the One who loves us. Isn't that what vacations are for?

#4 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 02:32 PM

Every parish, and even monastery, is different. Some schedule 'time away' for the priest in a regular way. But in others, the priest just works things out with the parish in an informal way before he wants to be away.

Whatever system he follows though, most times he plans things out so as to be serving at some other parish as a guest, while he is away. In other words, for most priests, 'time away' is usually a combination vacation/pilgrimage/visit with another priest, and not just sitting for two weeks on some beach somewhere.

In Christ
-Fr Raphael

#5 Lakis Papas

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 05:09 PM

To perform the duties of a priest is a very tiring thing. It is a service that lasts almost twenty four hours per day. And it is a service that carries a great responsibility. I do not know how one can rest from such a responsibility.

I have a personal story: In my father's village there are two churches, a little old one and a new bigger one that is build near to the old one. Regular services take place in the new church. The parish priest is an old priest. One Sunday, last summer, I visited the village and the Sunday service was performed in the new church by a replacement priest, because the regular priest was on summer "time off". During the service I had to get something from a nearby parish building and and come back soon. As Ι walked out from the main entrance of the old church I heard chanting. Initially I was surprised because the liturgy took place in the new church. I peeked and saw the old priest (the one that was on summer time off) to perform the liturgy with the parish elder chanter. Only these two men were inside the old church building. I followed my path to the nearby parish building and then returned to the new church building. I remember that fleeting moment when I saw the two men secretly praying in the old church and I wonder how many secret prayers are made for our sake by simple and good priests that are on summer "time off".

Edited by Lakis Papas, 31 December 2012 - 05:41 PM.


#6 Richard A. Downing

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 05:39 PM

I think you have to differentiate between the liturgical function of a priest, indeed any ordained person, and the pastoral duties of bishops, priests and deacons. It's not impossible for a man to lay aside his pastoral duties for a period, and recharge - pastoral work is very harrasing at times. But it's not proper for anyone to miss the services prescibed by the Church - to do so is tantamount to turning away from God. Higher clergy also need their bishop's permission to travel further than X miles (I think it used to be 30, don't have the Canons handy) from their parish, it's hardly ever refused though and the distance may vary in modern usage.

One of our priests and I were discussing trying to get our rector to take a rest, it's hard because he thinks of going to church as taking a rest! So the best we have managed is to get him to let the other priest be proestaminos (?) and preach for a few weeks.

#7 Jeremy Troy

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 11:37 PM

According to the 2007 Uniform Parish Regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, Art. 17 Sect. 8A:

After the review and approval of the respective Hierarch, each Parish shall be obliged:

...

8. To provide for an annual vacation period of fifteen (15) calendar days, plus an additional week for each five (5) years of ordained service (up to a maximum of five (5) weeks), regardless of the amount of time served in his current Parish. Prior to absenting himself from his Parish, a Priest shall obtain written permission from the respective Hierarch.


The Regulations make no reference to when vacation days may be taken, except that any use of vacation days must be approved in writing from the Bishop. No idea if the Regulations are similar in other Archdioceses.

#8 Paul Cowan

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 04:53 AM

Thank you Fr. Raphael. I think the term vacation is probably too secularized in my question. Time off would fit better. I know it wrong for any clergy to miss services without cause, but I also know it is "down time" when the protos does not have to be protos every week. So I guess be a visiting clergy would constitute "down time".

Paul

#9 Dcn Alexander Haig

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 10:08 AM

Paul: it wrong for anyone to miss services without cause.

In Xp
A

#10 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 01:57 PM

Thank you Fr. Raphael. I think the term vacation is probably too secularized in my question. Time off would fit better. I know it wrong for any clergy to miss services without cause, but I also know it is "down time" when the protos does not have to be protos every week. So I guess be a visiting clergy would constitute "down time".

Paul


Yes- this is what I had in mind, that it is very rare to encounter clergy who really want a vacation, in the sense of time away from the Church. I mean if this is the motivation then more than likely the issue is much deeper than the desire just for a vacation. In any case to say it positively what most clergy do is to take some time traveling to be with other priests or parishes (or monasteries) for awhile, and meanwhile to take some time airing out a bit.

In Christ
-Fr Raphael

#11 Father David Moser

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 04:20 PM

One of the primary characteristics of nearly all the clergy that I know is a deep love and appreciation for the services of the Church. To be in the liturgy, to pray in the altar, to sing and chant on the kliros is the most deeply relaxing and restorative activities that there is. I know that there are times when I just wish I could go directly home from the Church and not have to stop and chat with parishioners or go to the trapeza and share a meal - but that is part of being the rector of a parish and so I do it. Twice a year in our diocese we have clergy conferences. During these conferences we serve vespers, matins, hours and liturgy daily - and we do all the "work" ourselves. Then we get together and speak of spiritual topics, pastoral issues and eat together. For most of us, this is a vacation - and it truly is restful and restorative.

But being a married priest, I also have a wife and a family and they need a vacation too (if you think being a priest is hard - well being a "priest's family" is just as hard, but without all the perks) And so there are times that we go on a "vacation" away from the parish (whether to visit family or to go on some kind of a trip or a "getaway" or visit friends or whatever). But still the Church is the center of our lives - when we are trying to rest and restore ourselves, why would we abandon the source of our strength and life? Therefore vacations always include attendance at divine services when possible. Its nice to go to a parish and serve (even as first priest) where all I have to do is pray and then when I'm done just walk away without having to focus on the myriad of pastoral issues that inevitably come with a parish.

Fr David

#12 Richard A. Downing

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 08:23 PM

I think it's also worth saying that vacations can be more stressful than regular life. I'm quite envious of Fr David being able to spend his with other priests and monastics saying the services in peace together.

After all (or in the end, or once we're dead..) that's what we all hope to be doing anyway, for all eternity.

Love, Richard.

#13 Dusja

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:48 AM

You lucky ones with vacations! Better read how archimandrite Nafanail (Nathanael) reacted in Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery about vacations - Everyday Saints is a book I can recommend to anyone! And Father Nafanail is one of the best!

#14 Yolanda

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 12:08 PM

I wish I could marry a priest(sure before ordination), it's important for a family to have vacations.




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