Tuesday, February 16. 2010
Your comments are welcome. If you have people you think would make a wonderful Bishop, send their names to the Committee: it won't do any good to post them here. The process is open, so anyone can nominate anyone - you don't have to be member of the Diocese to do so. But this is not the forum to do so, nor to debate anyone's qualities - or lack of same.
Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.
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I notice that the requirements are such that St Ambrose or St Photios need not apply. (All candidates must have a minimum of 10 years of actual pastoral experience in North America. )
#1 Yanni on 2010-02-16 19:30
The guidelines for choosing candidates should be changed to align with actual Orthodox Tradition. First, a married person cannot be omitted from the episcopacy on ANY theological basis. Marriage does not eliminate any qualified male from becoming a bishop - celibacy was only an issue for expediency. Furthermore, many bishops were NEVER monastics. This also is not of Orthodox Tradition.
If the OCA truly wishes to follow the dictates of the ancient church then it should learn what was practiced and taught in the Orthodox Church.
#2 Anonymous on 2010-02-17 07:17
Married Bishops in the Orthodox Church
If a man desire the office of a Bishop, he desires a good work. A Bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, ...ruling well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity. [1 Timothy 3:1-4] For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city as I had appointed you; If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly.
[Titus 1:5,6] Now when Jesus had come into Peter's house, He saw his wife's mother lying sick with a fever.
[Matthew 8:14] But Simon's wife's mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once.
[Mark 1:30] Now He arose from the Synagogue and entered Simon's house. But Simon's wife's mother was sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him concerning her.
First, we must establish the Biblical and thus traditional position of the Orthodox Church regarding the issue of married clergy. Secondly, we must be against the allegations made by (some) Orthodox that the consecration of married men to the office of bishop is supposedly "uncanonical", somehow "unorthodox", or even worse, "heretical".
St Peter the Apostle:
Undoubtedly, St. Peter and virtually all Apostles were married. Their marriage clearly did not nullify being chosen as Apostles by Christ. There is no reference to any children of the marriage, before or after the call as an Apostle. There is a clear Orthodox tradition that St Peter dedicated himself completely (lived celibate from that time on) to Christ from the time of his call. This can be seen in the following words of St Clement of Alexandria: They say, accordingly, that the blessed Peter, on seeing his wife led to death, rejoiced on account of her call and conveyance home, and called very encouragingly and comfortingly, addressing her by name, 'Remember the Lord'. Such was the marriage of the blessed, and their perfect disposition towards those dearest to them. Thus also the Apostle says, 'That he who marries should be as though he married not', and deem his marriage free of inordinate affection, and inseparable from love to the Lord; to which the true husband exhorted his wife to cling on her departure out of this life to the Lord. [p.541, Book 7, The Stromata, Clement of Alexandria, Ante Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2]
Evidence of Married Bishops in the early Church:
The father of the Cappodacian Saints was a Married Bishop. The elder Gregory was converted by the influence of his wife, Nonna; and soon after his conversion was consecrated to the bishopric of Nazianzus [p.187, Prolegomena, Sect. 1, Nicene & Post Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7] (Note: This is Gregory the elder, not his son St Gregory Nazianzus). Note that, There are two lines in his poem of St Gregory Nazienzan on his own life which seem to indicate clearly that his birth took place after his father's elevation to the Episcopate... [p.188, Prolegomena, Sect. 1, Vol 7].
Basil left before him and returned to Cappadocia; and as soon as he could follow he went to Constantinople, where he met his brother, who had just come there to practice and return with his brother to Nazianzus. They found their parents still living and their father occupying the Episcopal Throne. From this time onward Gregory divided his time between his parents and his friend; living partly at Arianzus, and partly with Basil in Pontus, in monastic seclusion. [p.191, Prolegomena, Sect. 1, Vol. 7].
Gregory,...felt very strongly drawn to the monastic life; but as retirement from the world did not seem to him to be his vocation, he resolved to continue to live in the world, and to be a help and support to his now aged parents, and especially to his father in the duties of his Episcopate, but at the same time to live under the strictest ascetic rule. [ibid.]
In 374, Gregory the elder died, and his wife also, and thus our saint was set free from the charge of the diocese. [p.195, ibid.]
Early Tradition on the marriage of St Gregory of Nyssa:
Here it is usual to place the marriage of Gregory with Theosebeia, said to have been a sister of Gregory Nazianzus. Certainly the tradition of Gregory's (Nyssa) marriage received such credit as to be made in after times a proof of the non-celibacy of the Bishops of his age. [p.3, A Sketch of the Life of St Gregory of Nyssa, Second Series, Vol. 5]
St John Chrysostom on married Hierarchs:
'A Bishop then,' he says, 'must be blameless the husband of one wife.' This he does not lay down as a rule, as if he must not be without one, but as prohibiting his having more than one. [p.438, First Series, Vol. 13, St John Chrysostom, Homily X, Homilies on Timothy]
If then 'he who is married cares for the things of the world' (1 Cor. 7:33), and a bishop ought not to care for the things of the world, why does he say 'the husband of one wife'? Some indeed think that he says this with reference to one who remains free from a wife. But if otherwise, he that has a wife may be as though he had none (1 Cor. 7:29). For that liberty was then properly granted, as suited to the nature of the circumstances then existing. And it is very possible, if a man will, to regulate his conduct. [p. 438, ibid.] 'Having his children in subjection with all gravity.' This is necessary, that an example might be exhibited in his own house. [p.439. ibid.]
Verse 6: 'If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly.' Why does he bring forward such a one? To stop the mouths of those heretics who condemned marriage, showing that it is not an unholy thing in itself, but so far honorable, that a married man might ascend the holy throne; and at the same reproving the wanton, and not permitting their admission into this high office who contracted a second marriage. For he who retains no kind regard for her who is departed, how shall he be a good presider? [p.524, Works of St John Chrysostomos, Homily on Titus, Homily 2, First Series, Vol. 13].
'Having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly.' We should observe what care he bestows upon children. For he who cannot be the instructor of his own children, how should he be the Teacher of others?...But, if occupied in the pursuit of wealth, he has made his children a secondary concern, and not bestowed much care upon them, even so he is unworthy. For if when nature prompted, he was so void of affection or so senseless, that he thought more of his wealth than of his children, how should he be raised to the episcopal throne, and so great a rule? [pp. 524/5, ibid.]
St Athanasius the Apostolic:
But I have also thought it necessary to inform you of the fact, that Bishops have succeeded those who have fallen asleep. In Tanis, in the stead of Elias, is Theodorus. In Arsenoitis, Silvanus instead of Nonnus. In Bucolia is Heraclius. In Tentyra, Andronicus is instead of Saprion, his father. In Thebes, Philon instead of Philon, etc. [pp.538/9, Letter 12, Sect. 2, Letters of St Athanasius, Second Series, Vol. IV, Athanasius].
For we know both bishops who fast, and monks who eat. We know bishops that drink no wine, as well as monks who do. We know bishops who work wonders, as well as monks who do not. Many also of the bishops have not even married, while monks have been fathers of children; just as conversely we know bishops who are fathers of children and monks 'of the completest kind'. [p.560, Letter 49, Sect. 9, ibid.]
St Ambrose of Milan:
And so the Apostle have given a pattern, saying that a bishop 'must be blameless', and in another place: 'A bishop must be without offence, as a steward of God, not proud, not soon angry, not given to wine, not a striker, not greedy of filthy lucre.' For how can the compassion of a dispenser of alms and the avarice of a covetous man agree together? I have set down these things which I have been told are to be avoided, but the apostle is the master of virtues, and he teaches that gainsayers are to be convicted with patience, who lays down that one should be the husband of a single wife, not in order to exclude him from the right of marriage (for this is beyond the force of the precept), but that by conjugal chastity he may preserve the grace of his baptismal washing; nor again that he may be induced by the Apostle's authority to beget children in the priesthood; for he speaks of having children, not of begetting them, or marrying again. [p.465, Chapters 61 & 62, Letter 63, St Ambrose, Second Series,Vol. 10]
The Marriage of Church Dignitaries:
But, while dealing with the passage, I would say that we will be able perhaps now to understand and clearly set forth a question which is hard to grasp and see into, with regard to the legislation of the Apostle concerning ecclesiastical matters; for Paul wishes no one of those of the church, who has attained to any eminence beyond the many, as is attained in the administration of the sacraments, to make trial of a second marriage. For laying down the law in regard to bishops in the first Epistle to Timothy, he says, 'If a man seeketh the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. The bishop, therefore, must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded,' etc.; and, in regard to deacons, 'Let the deacons,' he says, 'be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well,' etc. ... And, in the Epistle to Titus, 'For this cause,' he says, 'I left thee in Crete that thou shouldest set in order the things that were wanting, and appoint elders in every city as I gave thee charge. If any one is blameless, the husband of one wife, having children, that believe'. Now, when we saw that some who have been married twice may be much better than those who have been married once, we were perplexed why Paul does not at all permit those who have been twice married to be appointed to ecclesiastical dignities; for also it seemed to me that such a thing was worthy of examination, as it was possible that a man, who had been unfortunate in two marriages, and had lost his second wife while he was yet young, might have lived for the rest of his years up to old age in the greatest self-control and chastity. Who, then, would not naturally be perplexed why at all, when a ruler of the church is being sought for, we do not appoint such a man, though he has been twice married, because of the expressions about marriage, but lay hold of the man who has been once married as our ruler, even if he chance to have lived to old age with his wife, and sometimes may not have been disciplined in chastity and temperance? But, from what is said in the law about the bill of divorcement, I reflect whether, seeing that the bishop and the presbyter and the deacon are a symbol of things that truly exist in accordance with these names, he wished to appoint those who were figuratively once married. [pp.509/10, Book XIV, Origen's Commentary on Matthew, Vol. X, Ante Nicene Fathers]
Councils of the Church:
Canon V of the Canons of the Twelve Apostles (Apostolic Canons): Let not a bishop, presbyter, or deacon, put away his wife under pretence of religion; but if he put her away, let him be excommunicated; and if he persists, let him be deposed.
Canon LI of the Apostolic Canons: If any bishop, presbyter, or deacon, or any one of the sacerdotal list, abstains from marriage, or flesh, or wine, not by way of religious restraint, but as abhorring them, forgetting that God made all things very good, and that he made man male and female, and blaspheming the work of creation, let him be corrected, or else be deposed, and cast out of the Church. In like manner a layman.
In conclusion, the Apostolic Canons represent the very early Canon Law of the Church, that the Canons which make up the collection are of various dates, but that most of them are earlier than the year 300, and that while it is not possible to say exactly when the collection, as we now have it, was made, there is good reason for assigning it a date not later than the middle of the fourth century.... There can be no question that in the East the Apostolic Canons were very generally looked upon as a genuine work prepared by the Holy Apostles. [p. 592, Vol.XIV, The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church
Quinisext Council (Fifth-Sixth)[sometimes called the "Trullon Synod":]
Canon XII:Moreover, this also has come to our knowledge, that in Africa and Libya, and in other places the most God-beloved bishops in those parts do not refuse to live with their wives, even after consecration, thereby giving scandal and offence to the people. Since, therefore, it is our particular care that all things tend to the good of the flock placed in our hands and committed to us - it has seemed good that henceforth nothing of the kind shall in any way occur. And we say this, not to abolish and overthrow what things were established of old by Apostolic authority, but as caring for the health of the people and their advance to better things, and lest the ecclesiastical state should suffer any reproach...But if any shall have been observed to do such a thing, let him be deposed.
Commentary by Aristenus: The fifth Apostolic canon allows neither bishop, presbyter, nor deacons to cast forth his wife under pretext of piety; and assigns penalties for any that shall do so, and if he will not amend he is to be deposed. But this canon on the other hand does not permit a bishop even to live with his wife after his consecration. But by this change no contempt is meant to be poured out upon what had been established by Apostolic authority, but it was made through care for the people's health and for leading on to better things, and for fear that the sacerdotal estate might suffer some wrong.
Van Espen: In the time of this Canon (of the Apostles) not only presbyters and deacons, but bishops also, it is clear, were allowed by Eastern custom to have their wives; and Zonaras and Balsamon note that even until the Sixth Council, commonly called in Trullo, bishops were allowed to have their wives.
Canon XLVII: The wife of him who is advanced to hierarchical dignity, shall be separated from her husband by their mutual consent, and after his ordination and consecration to the episcopate she shall enter a monastery situated at a distance from the abode of the bishop, and there let her enjoy the bishop's provision. And if she is deemed worthy she may be advanced to the dignity of a deaconess.
On the Marriage of the Clergy:
The doctrine and practice of the ancient Church in the East can be fittingly quoted in the words of the Rev. John Fulton in the introduction to the Third Edition of his Index Canonum [p.29, NY, 1892]. He says, Marriage was no impediment to ordination even as a Bishop; and bishops, Priests and Deacons, equally with other men, were forbidden to put away their wives under pretext of religion. The case was different when a man was unmarried at the time of his ordination. Then he was held to have given himself wholly to God in the office of the Holy Ministry, and he was forbidden to take back from his offering that measure of his cares and his affections which must necessarily be given to the maintenance and nurture of his family. [p.365, Vol. XIV, The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church.
St. Demetrius the Vine Dresser (Egyptian Patriarch):
The Coptic Orthodox Synaxarian records one of the early Patriarchs of the Church of Alexandria as being a married man. The record states he had lived a celibate life since the beginning of marriage and it is not known whether this is a later redaction to cover the obvious conflict that would ensue otherwise. In any case, the fact of his enthronement again confirms that the tradition of the Church at that time did not consider marriage to be a bar to even hold the highest office of the Orthodox Church.
The Byzantine Church:
In 1990, an article from The Orthodox Observer, a Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America publication, states, At the 1992 meeting of the clergy-laity conference of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America (Archbishop Iacovos), held in New Orleans, a formal resolution was sent to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople 'to consider returning to the practice of ordaining married priests as bishops as was done in the early church.' ... Earlier in December 1991, the Greek Archdiocese stated that it was the original practice of the Church for a married Episcopate. Please also note that Archbishop Iakovos promoted the return of married bishops to worldwide Orthodoxy and agreed that individual jurisdictions could retain the Apostolic tradition of the Early Church.
Various Practices Regarding the Episcopacy:
 Celibate/Monastics Only: The majority position amongst the Eastern Orthodox which has a large well of monastics to draw from. Also the position amongst the Oriental Orthodox, who, like their Eastern brethren, have a vibrant monastic community. Many of these Churches, having had married bishops in the early Church, did however draw from their monastics for over one thousand years (Armenians seemingly being the exception).
However, it is noted that even amongst the Eastern Orthodox it is not unusual to elect a Priest to the Episcopacy whose wife has reposed first. Evidence is overwhelming that in the Orthodox Tradition marriage is not a bar to consecration. Economia and the will of the Orthodox Christians in the traditional homelands do not lend themselves to changing this current practice, which has served their churches very well for centuries.
 Married but dedicated Celibacy: The traditional position regarding the Apostles (St Peter, for example) and many of the married men that have been elevated in times past (St Demetrius the Vinedresser amongst the Coptic Orthodox, for instance) is supported by the Canonical authority of the Fifth-Sixth Council (Canons 12 and 47-see above). However, if the dedicated celibacy was due to the heretical view that marital relations were not honorable (sinful) then a clear rejection of the fifth and fifty-first canons of the Apostolic Canons would apply placing the rejector under anathema. This is an acceptable position when the Church is in a missionary situation as it was in the days of the Apostles and early centuries (and currently amongst the Western hemispherre), but is not as needed when a large pool of spiritual monastics is granted to the Church by God. The practice is that the married couple live celibate from the time of dedication or consecration, usually with the wife also entering into monastic lifestyle or a community and frequently being received as a dedicated Deaconness.
 Married but not dedicated Celibacy: Perhaps the least controversial position due to the fact that the Bishop has not lived or promised to live a celibate life from consecration. Those who reject this position outright often bring the following verse to bear: "He who is married is concerned for his wife and the affairs of the world", alongside St Paul's words that it is 'better' to remain as he was, i.e. celibate. There are also references (see above) of married bishopes that bore children in lawful Christian marriage after their consecration (although far less frequently and often alongside later attempts by writers to re-write the facts of the matter). The Biblical references relating to the bishop being married and having in submission his children does not imply that the children came after the elevation to the Episcopate. However, the lawful Christian state of marriage itself determines that the married but not celibate Episcopate has not committed any sin that would prevent him from consecration. Of course not all things that are 'lawful are also expedient' and thus, this third position causes much confusion and consternation amongst some Orthodox. The Canons of the Fifth-Sixth Council direct all married bishopes to seperate from their wives and live a dedicated life and these are often quoted by those who deny the correctness of this position. However, the earlier Apostolic Canons direct the exact opposite that one was not allowed to put away ones wife. Obviously this matter falls well within the oiconomia of the bishops in a particular Synod to determine the married epicopate for their jurisdiction.
Various Objections Raised Regarding a Married Episcopacy
The Church decided in later centuries to change to monastic bishops only.
At a number of question forums where the laity have a chance to ask various Bishops for their response to why the Church no longer has married Bishops (as Holy Scriptures allow and the Church Fathers attest to) we found that the common answer is often:The whole church decided to change the practice in the third century. The response from the blessed bishops is somewhat ill-informed and assumed to be the case, rather than defacto is the case:
[a] The Universal Church made no such declaration in the 3rd century nor the centuries immediately following that time.
[b] The exact opposite actually occurred. At the 1st Ecumenical Council of Nicea in 325 AD, the Western (Roman) legates attempted force Canons requiring celibacy of all clergy. These attempted amendments however failed, and a large part of their failure were the words of St Paphnutius of the Church of Alexandria, a Saint and miracle worker who was famed and respected across the empire, even receiving admiration from the Emperor himself. What made St Paphnutius' words even more immpressive is that he himself had been a celibate monastic since entering the life as a teenager. Here a strictly ascetic monastic argued against the enforced celibacy of any rank of the Church's offices (cf. Nicene & Post Nicene Fathers, Volume 14, The Seven Ecumenical Councils:"Proposed Action on Celibacy": that too heavy a yoke ought not to be laid upon the clergy; that marriage and married intercourse are of themselves honorable and undefiled; that the Church ought not to be injured by an extreme severity, for all could not live in absolute continency. In this way (by not prohibiting marrital relations) the virtue of the wife would be much more certainly preserved (viz. the wife of a clergyman, because she might find injury elsewhere, if her husband withdrew from the marriage). The intercourse of a man with his lawful wife may also be a chaste intercourse. It would therefore be sufficient, according to the ancient tradition of the Church, if those who had taken holy orders without being married were prohibited from marrying afterwards; but those clergymen who had been married only once as laymen, were not to be separated from their wives.
This discourse of St. Paphnutius made so much more of an impression, since he had never lived in matrimony himself, and had had no conjugal intercourse. St. Paphnutius had been brought up in a monastery, and his great purity of manners had rendered him especially celebrated. Therefore the Council took the serious words of the Egyptian bishop into consideration, stopped all discussion upon the law, and left to each cleric the responsibility of deciding the point as he would. We must conclude that a law was proposed at the Council of Nicaea in the same way as the one which had been carried twenty years previously at Elvira, Spain. This coincidence would lead us to believe that it was the Spaniard Hosius who proposed the law respecting celibacy at Nicaea. The discourse ascribed to St. Paphnutius, and the consequent decision of the Synod, agree very well with the text of the Apostolic Constitutions, and with the whole practice of the Greek Church in respect to celibacy. Both, the Greek Church as well as the Latin one accepted this principle, that whoever had taken holy orders before marriage, ought not to be married afterwards. In the Latin Church, bishops, priests, deacons. and even subdeacons, were considered to be subject to this law, because the latter were at a very early period reckoned among the higher servants of the Church, which was not the case in the Greek Church. The Greek Church went so far as to allow deacons to marry after their ordination, if they had obtained permission from their bishop to do so. The Council of Ancyra affirms this (Canon 10). We see that the Greek Church wishes to leave the bishop free to decide the matter; but, in reference to priests, it also prohibited them from marrying after their ordination. While the Latin Church exacted of those presenting themselves for ordination, even as subdeacons, that they should not continue to live with their wives (if they were married), the Greek Church gave no such prohibition; but if the wife of an ordained clergyman died, the Greek Church allowed no second marriage. The Apostolic Constitutions decided this point in the same way. To leave their wives from a pretext of piety was also forbidden to Greek priests; and the Synod of Gangra (Canon 4) took up the defence of married priests against the Eustathians. Eustathius, however, was not alone among the Greeks opposing the marriage of all clerics, and in desiring to introduce into the Greek Church the Latin discipline regarding this matter. St. Epiphanius also inclined towards this side. The Greek Church did not, however, adopt this rigour in reference to priests, deacons, and subdeacons, but by degrees it came to be required of bishops and of the higher order of clergy in general, that they should live in celibacy. Yet this was not until after the compilation of the Apostolic Canons (Canon 5) and of the Constitutions; for in those documents mention is made of bishops living in wedlock, and Church history shows that there were married bishops (for instance, Bishop Synesius in the fifth century). But it is fair to remark, even as to Synesius, that he made it an express condition of his election to the episcopate, that he might continue to live the married life. Thomassin believes that Synesius did not seriously require this condition, and only spoke thus for the sake of escaping the episcopal office; which would seem to imply that in his time Greek bishops had already begun to live in celibacy. At the Trullan Synod (Canon 13) the Greek Church finally settled the question of the marriage of priests (First Ecumenical Council of Nicea, Proposed Action on Clerical Celibacy, Second Series, Vol. XIV, pp. 51/2)
 The Church enforced celibate Bishops to stop Nepotism: This explanation perhaps gives us the clearest reason why the Church moved away from married bishops. Nepotism is where the ecclesiastical dignity is passed down from father to son and becomes a sort of family empire, something that the Church can never be. This phenomen can be seen today, for instance in the Billy Graham and Pat Robertson enterprises and other ministries where the sons are effectively taking over as the inheritors to their fathers. While this may not always be a bad thing or necessarily against the will of God, it does lead to the confusion of the laity who would begin to see an element of family empire building in the making. In order to end the passing of ecclesiastical properties as inheritance to sons, the Church began to choose men who were never married, and thus no claims for inheritance could be levelled. This perhaps was valid during the days when the bishops held all property and legal deeds, and incorpartions did not exist. Nowadays, at an age of public disclosure of banking and financial accounts, with lay treasurers and financial committees etc, there is little to no chance of such to occur.
 The need of an Ecumenical Council to change back: This is seemingly a valid statement made by those who reject the married Episcopate. They assert that since an Ecumenical council declared the matter closed, then it requires another Ecumenical Council to change that. This argument is flawed in a number of points: First, an ecumenical council did NOT declare the matter closed. On the contrary, The Council of Nicea refused to implement this discipline. Secondly, the Fifth-sixth Council did NOT ban married bishops, but implemented a set discipline upon them. Thirdly, there has not been an Ecumenical Council since the schism of the Church and there is not likely to be one in any foreseeable future. We no longer have Christian Emperors who can call an Ecumenical Council, let alone the fact that the whole Roman Church would obviously fail to attend any Council called by the East. Amusingly, the answer (of needing another Ecumenical Council to settle the matter) really does not deal with the issue but 'passes the buck' to some indefinite, improbable future event. Such would not be acceptable from a theological or cannonically viewpoint, since oiconomia has always allowed the bishops to determine how to enforce or interpret the Canons in their particular circumstances. Recently allowances in matters of ecclesiastical discipline have been observed in a number of jurisdictions, including priest's being able to remarry, bishops being transferred to other dioceses, "Coadjutor" type bishops in dioceses that are not under their authority, monks leaving their vows being allowed to marry, more than one bishop in one city, etc. - Yet none of these recent matters were left to a futuristic Ecumenical Council.
We believe the above information and the facts of history stand for themselves and do not need a defense. It is rather the other side in need of defense, from a Scriptural, Patristic and canonical point of view. Additionally, the western hemisphere is not like the homelands of Eastern or Oriental Orthodoxy which had two thousand years of resources to draw from suitable monastics available for consecration. Though the earlier Canons are believed by Orthodox tradition to come directly via Apostolic authority, the later ones by an assumed one-size-fits-all decision by the Fifth-sixth Council. Canonical commentators have not been able to resolve the obvious differences other than simply to note them. Oiconomia is the only way this issue should be resolved in the Orthodox faith, as it always has. For one jurisdiction to use one set of Canons against another jurisdiction's interpretation or oikonomia is neither appropriate nor Orthodox!
#3 Anonymous on 2010-02-17 07:20
e. Candidates must possess a graduate degree from an accredited Orthodox theological institution.
This would seem to preclude any graduates of St. Tikhon's prior to its accreditation in June 2004 from the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Is this the sense the Diocesan Council intended?
It would also seem to preclude candidates such as the Bishop-elect of New York. Fr. Michael Dahulich does not hold "a graduate degree from an accredited Orthodox theological institution". He earned a B.Th. in Theology from Christ the Saviour Seminary in Johnstown, PA (undergraduate and non-accredited); a B.A. in Philosophy from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania; and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Theology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
(Editor's note: No one intended to eliminate STS graduates, which is clearly not in the same league ( undergrad and non-accredited) as Christ the Saviour. But you are correct, Fr. Dahulich would probably be questioned as to whether he fulfilled these criteria. I imagine, given that he was the Dean of an acdcredited Orthodox Seminary for the last decade or so, no one would find a problem that he himself failed to graduate from one. My guess is that only a total literalist would find a problem there.)
Perhaps a link would be more appropriate than posting the whole novel?
#5 Gabriel Stewart on 2010-02-17 18:32
The "Ancient Church" is here and now and nowhere has married bishops. Unlike Protestants, we don't need to try to "re-create" something, because we've never lost it in the first place.
#6 Alexis on 2010-02-17 19:44
The free men and women in the Diocese of the Midwest are to be commended for upping the bar in their search to find the best possible individual to succeed their late, beloved Archbishop JOB.
It is obvious that the Diocese of the Midwest is choosing a course which is transparent and conciliar. This is the Archbishop's ultimate legacy and testament
It is self-evident that the Midwest understands the Church to be the Bishop surrounded by his presbyters, his deacons, AND his laity in Eucharistic assembly, as opposed to bishops in synod alone, ensconced in episcopal privilege.
Why is the culture of the OCA so afraid of quality and rectitude in its leaders? A cringing, mediocre OCA will never truly be the Orthodox Church in America, only an Orthodox crutch in America.
Fr John Reeves
#7 Fr John M. Reeves on 2010-02-18 09:16
#8 Anonymous on 2010-02-18 10:18
It seems to me, dear and gentle readers, that the Archdiocese of the Midwest has effectively put a chokehold on the work of the Holy Spirit! Too many "required qualifications"; far too many words!!! This reads more like a search for the CEO of a Fortune 500 company than a call for a father of an orphaned diocese.
(Editor's note: You would prefer no qualifications? Allow me to disagree. If "too many words" puts a chokehold on the work of the Holy Spirit, we could dispense with 2,000 years of Patristic literature because there's a whole lot of words there. I am confident the Holy Spirit can see, understand and fulfill our intentions despite the failings of our writings, real or imagined.
#9 Wife of a priest in the Midwest on 2010-02-18 11:51
Amen! A summary perhaps, with a link. As much as I agree with and find the material interesting, I fear its length on this site will cause most people to skip over it.
#10 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2010-02-18 14:50
This is brilliant! What a pity you feel you cannot sign it. Contrary to Gabriel Stewart who sneers at this as a "novel," I suspect it is essentially a Master's Thesis. Please reconsider, come out of your closet, identify yourself. and receive the applause you deserve.
#11 hierodeacon Amvrosi on 2010-02-18 17:34
The first M.Div degrees were granted by St. Tikhon's Seminary in May of 1989, after permission to grant such degrees was given by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I do not remember exactly when they were first accredited by another degree granting agency (Mid-States, I believe), but it was within 5 years of those initial degrees.
#12 +Melchisedek Pittsburgh on 2010-02-18 22:11
I believe I know who the best person for the Bishop of the Midwest is, unfortunately, he has a youthful looking wife (but good for him!) I don't care to enter into the debate, but I think we probably lose a few good candidates to this rule. It'd be interesting to allow married candidates and give them deductions for being married like an Olympic scoring system, but we know it doesn't work that way. Some people would say they should get more points!
I'd like to take a minute on Fr. Oliver's reflection. The idea of reducing the AAC to something attended by fewer people is pretty simple from my perspective. There are two significant problems with large bodies of people in meetings.
Large groups have a very difficult time advancing forward on difficult discussions that lend themselves to dialogue or worse; debate. In a corporate setting, meetings with 18 people in the room were difficult meetings for decision making. A dominant speaker has more power and even good ideas are lost if [he] doesn't agree. I think the AAC by its very nature led to the 'Kondratick styled' event and while Bob K probably doesn't deserve a lot of credit, I think they did what the nature of the event required (he just used it to his advantage).
For our church, cost is the second one. Let's just say the cost is 150 grand every 3 years. This is 50 grand a year and if we cut it even in half, it'd be enough to feed a lot of people.
However, that said, recognizing these two issues I consider to be the biggest doesn't mean the solution presented will change or improve on either.
Determining the goals of the AAC and gatherings of groups of people in our church is a key to deciding the best solutions. Making sure people that aren't perhaps just dominant speakers get heard is wise.
If it is all just a big show, or just a vote, there are sound arguments for reducing it, but perhaps there will be times when a mass gathering is needed. I think there was a need for a gathering of the people far ahead of the last AAC. Just about a year after this website went up, for example...
#13 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-02-19 09:10
The Church of today is not the 'ancient' church. If you want to go back to the 'ancient' church, then go to Jerusalem, rebuild the temple and attend the prayers of the hours. Oh, yes, you can meet in nearby homes, and make sure that you give away all of your possessions or sell them and give the proceeds to the Church.
You could also go into nearby synagogues and argue with the Jews about Jesus Christ and the gospel.
The Church is dynamic as it is led by the Holy Spirit. Changes have occurred throughout the ages and the church changed from married bishops to unmarried bishops for reasons known only to the Holy Trinity.
The lack of 'good' candidates for bishoprics is because of the lack of the historical locations for those candidates, monasteries. The Church needs monasteries here in America and the world to produce bishops.
#14 Yanni on 2010-02-19 10:48
Your Grace, bless. The language of the press release would seem to point to accreditation by an agency other than one of the States, but your question raises another issue regarding what both the spirit and letter of this requirement means for nomination.
Seminary accreditation, I'm afraid, is part of the problem.
I have served on the faculties of two (Anglican) seminaries accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, the most common agency of seminary accreditation in this country.
In my experience, the ATS is a liberal and secularized agency, mainly interested in funding, faculty tenure, equal opportunity hiring, "gender neutral" language in the curriculum, and things like that.
The Diocese of Chicago should forget about accredited seminary degrees and just make sure its next bishop knows as much theology as Archbishop Job.
(Editor's note: A classic example of "do as I say, not as I have done." Fr. Reardon thought it important enough to get a degree to become a priest; his own Archdiocese, for example, thinks it important enough to require all their candidates to attend accredited theological school - and pays for most to do so. So does the OCA, and the Greek Archdiocese. Should we settle for a lesser standards for our bishop? A graduate degree is no guarantee - but it does presuppose knowledge of basics, at the very least.)
#16 Father Patrick Reardon on 2010-02-19 12:21
"Why is the culture of the OCA so afraid of quality and rectitude in its leaders? A cringing, mediocre OCA will never truly be the Orthodox Church in America, only an Orthodox crutch in America."
What planet are you from? Pay attention during the next ordination or consecration you attend: "May the Holy Spirit fulfill that which is lacking..." We actually believe this - they aren't just words!
(editor's note: It is not magic, sir. "May", not will, must or necessarily does.... We have all experienced priests, who, being human, still "lack". That is not a criticism of the Holy Spirit, but of magical thinking .)
#17 Anonymous on 2010-02-19 12:36
Ummm...it seems the Holy Spirit chose many, many words of many, many different styles and genres which make up the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit, if our experience and tradition is to be trusted, seems to work mainly through human instruments (God is glorified in His saints; we God through His Son made man), and not mainly by accidental happenings. Those, too, but our fathers and saints and bishops work and think and plan and talk. And, somehow, in all these "many words" and deeds, over generations, the work of the Holy Spirit gets done.
I agree -- the qualifications seem rather specific in places, almost requring a pastor to shepherd in a certain way rather than the flock being shepherded according to the pastor's wisdom.
But certainly the Holy Spirit can be trusted to be working through the diocesan committee's discussions and considerations and drafts as much as -- if not more than -- a more open-ended approach.
#18 Rdr. (Tracey) John on 2010-02-19 12:54
I agree with you 100% Yanni. The requirement for bishops to be celebate is not part of the first few centuries of the Orthodox Church. Perhaps it is time to reconsider the ban against married clergy. Twenty years ago the Polish National Church was VERY close to joining the Orthodox Church, but the one huge stumbling block was they had married bishops and defended it with the Bible ("Bishops are to be the husband of one wife" I Tim 3:2 ... rather ironic that we apply this to divorced/remarried priests today, even though it was never meant to be applied to priests, and have lost some very capable clergy because of it, but we don't apply it to biships) while the Orthodox Church argued that this was simply not going to be tolerated. One could even get a bit more radical, if one wishes, as I heard from a rather astute historian recently, the Orthodox Church has even recognized a woman who was a bishop as a saint and you can find her icon in some rather Americanized Orthodox Churches (that's your trivia question for the day).
#19 Sean O'Clare on 2010-02-19 14:00
I don't think anyone is questioning the fact that an education from an accredited Orthodox graduate program would be 'nice to have' as we say in the recruiting business or even 'highly preferred'. The question is its presentation as a "requirement" for nomination.
By such a standard someone like Met. Kallistos Ware, too, would be precluded from even being considered as he was only educated at Magdalen College, Oxford - accredited, but not Orthodox. In addition, he does not meet the "must" requirement of "a minimum of 10 years of actual pastoral experience in North America", but I'm pretty sure most in the diocese would want his candidacy seriously considered should he express interest. However, based on this document, he would be precluded from nomination and consideration without a special 'dispensation'.
Again, the question is solely concerning the fact that these competencies and experiences are presented as "requirements" that "must" be met over and above the true requirements of canon law and the OCA Statute. Of course, this is likely - though not definitively - more about the language used in the press release and job description rather than the spirit in which it was written and the intent of the Diocesan Council. However, that intent and spirit was not clear (to me) in the letter of the document presented, so clarification was sought.
For what it is worth, it has been my professional experience recruiting for nonprofits that too detailed a list of "requirements" often leads interested constituencies to assume - rightly or wrongly - that a candidate or candidates has been 'pre-selected' by the hiring committee. I have no reason to believe that is the case here, of course, and offer this for whatever it is worth.
(editor's note: You failed to mention that even Jesus Christ wouldn't make the cut, let alone Kallistos Ware; which only points out how absurd the criticism truly is, not the requirement that a future bishop have at least the same basic training as most of his priests.... As for what your final speculation is worth - not much. The OCA requires the candidate fit the traditional canonical norms - and the diocese requires he be a graduate of an Orthodox theological school. The rest are all aspirations, not requirements, things we would like to see, but realize few, if any, candidates will possess all of them. How anybody could think that two basic requirements and a host of aspirations means someone has been " pre-selected" is beyond me. If someone can think of a more open, more transparent and more conciliar process that allowing anybody to be nominated, having a smaller elected representative council sift through the nominees to where a larger body can pick three finalists based on their interviews - and then letting all the clergy and lay delegates vote on them, after seeing their interviews and meeting them, let me know. In fact, this evening, I was approached by a parishoner who told me how excited they were that everybody was being made to feel as if they were participating in the selection of "their bishop". I pray the whole diocese feels like that - for if indeed the vast majority do feel like they helped choose " their bishop", that new pastor begins his ministry not having to build credibility, but with it. )
I appreciate your post, Sean, but I can't agree with you on having married bishops. See my post 2.1.2 below for my feelings on the subject. The Church should be doing everything possible to expand monasticism and preparing for the future need for hierarchs. I do agree with various posters concerning the extreme need at this point for the OCA to locate and install bishops. And, I don't see a whole lot of possibilities in the offing. So, I will just wait and watch, maybe married bishops will become the next move of the Holy Spirit. That would sure put the kibosh on ecumenism with the RC heretics; but, that is another problem.
#21 Yanni on 2010-02-19 21:57
My note was in specific response to the assertion that St. Tikhon's graduates prior to the 2004 accreditation could be excluded from the search process by the requirement of a graduate degree from an accredited Orthodox School. I merely noted that since St. Tikhon's has been granting accredited graduate degrees since 1989, this is not the case.
Concerning the requirement itself, accreditation means nothing more or less than the fact that the accredited academic institution at the very least meets certain minimum requirements of the accrediting agency. While the institution may exceed the requirements, it cannot fail to meet them.
At this point in time, and in this place, it is hardly too much to ask that a candidate for high ecclesiastical office at least meet the minimum academic requirements of a school which has at least met the minimum academic requirements of similar institutions of its kind -- a requirement already met by overwhelming majority of the clergy over whom he will serve.
#22 +Melchisedek Pittsburgh on 2010-02-20 00:07
Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann
Sunday of Orthodoxy
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Rejoicing today in the triumph of Orthodoxy on this first Sunday of Lent, we
joyfully commemorate three events: one event belonging to the past; one
event to the present; and one event which still belongs to the future.
Whenever we have any feast or joy in the Church, we Orthodox first of all
look back - for in our present life we depend on what happened in the past.
We depend first of all, of course, on the first and the ultimate triumph --
that of Christ Himself. Our faith is rooted in that strange defeat which
became the most glorious victory - the defeat of a man nailed to the cross,
who rose again from the dead, who is the Lord and the Master of the world.
This is the first triumph of Orthodoxy. This is the content of all our
commemorations and of all our joy. This man selected and chose twelve men,
gave them power to preach about that defeat and that victory, and sent them
to the whole world saying preach and baptize, build up the Church, announce
the Kingdom of God. And you know, my brothers and sisters, how those twelve
men - very simple men indeed, simple fishermen - went out and preached. The
world hated them, the Roman Empire persecuted them, and they were covered
with blood. But that blood was another victory. The Church grew, the Church
covered the universe with the true faith. After 300 years of the most
unequal conflict between the powerful Roman Empire and the powerless
Christian Church, the Roman Empire accepted Christ as Lord and Master. That
was the second triumph of Orthodoxy. The Roman Empire recognized the one
whom it crucified and those whom it persecuted as the bearers of truth, and
their teaching as the teaching of life eternal. The Church triumphed. But
then the second period of troubles began.
The following centuries saw many attempts to distort the faith, to adjust it
to human needs, to fill it with human content. In each generation there were
those who could not accept that message of the cross and resurrection and
life eternal. They tried to change it, and those changes we call heresies.
Again there were persecutions. Again, Orthodox bishops, monks and laymen
defended their faith and were condemned and went into exile and were covered
with blood. And after five centuries of those conflicts and persecutions and
discussions, the day came which we commemorate today, the day of the final
victory of Orthodoxy as the true faith over all the heresies. It happened on
the first Sunday of Lent in the year 843 in Constantinople. After almost 100
years of persecution directed against the worship of the holy icons, the
Church finally proclaimed that the truth had been defined, that the truth
was fully in the possession of the Church. And since then all Orthodox
people, wherever they live, have gathered on this Sunday to proclaim before
the world their faith in that truth, their belief that their Church is truly
apostolic, truly Orthodox, truly universal. This is the event of the past
that we commemorate today.
But let us ask ourselves one question: Do all the triumphs of Orthodoxy, all
the victories, belong to the past? Looking at the present today, we
sometimes feel that our only consolation is to remember the past. Then
Orthodoxy was glorious, then the Orthodox Church was powerful, then it
dominated. But what about the present? My dear friends, if the triumph of
Orthodoxy belongs to the past only, if there is nothing else for us to do
but commemorate, to repeat to ourselves how glorious was the past, then
Orthodoxy is dead. But we are here tonight to witness to the fact that
Orthodoxy not only is not dead but also that it is once more and forever
celebrating its own triumph - the triumph of Orthodoxy. We don't have to
fight heresies among ourselves, but we have other things that once more
challenge our Orthodox faith.
Today, gathered here together, Orthodox of various national backgrounds, we
proclaim and we glorify first of all our unity in Orthodoxy. This is the
triumph of Orthodoxy in the present. This is a most wonderful event: that
all of us, with all our differences, with all our limitations, with all our
weaknesses, can come together and say we belong to that Orthodox faith, that
we are one in Christ and in Orthodoxy. We are living very far from the
traditional centers of Orthodoxy. We call ourselves Eastern Orthodox, and
yet we are here in the West, so far from those glorious cities which were
centers of the Orthodox faith for centuries - Constantinople, Alexandria,
Antioch, Jerusalem, Moscow. How far are those cities. And yet, don't we have
the feeling that something of a miracle has happened, that God has sent us
here, far into the West, not just in order to settle here, to increase our
income, to build up a community. He also has sent us as apostles of
Orthodoxy, so that this faith, which historically was limited to the East,
now is becoming a faith which is truly and completely universal.
This is a thrilling moment in the history of Orthodoxy. That is why it is so
important for us to be here tonight and to understand, to realize, to have
that vision of what is going on. People were crossing the ocean, coming
here, not thinking so much about their faith as about themselves, about
their lives, about their future. They were usually poor people, they had a
difficult life, and they built those little Orthodox churches everywhere in
America not for other people but for themselves, just to remember their
homes, to perpetuate their tradition. They didn't think of the future. And
yet this is what happened: the Orthodox Church was sent here through and
with those poor men. The truth itself, the fullness of the apostolic
faith -- all this came here, and here we are now, filling this hall and
proclaiming this apostolic faith - the faith that has strengthened the
universe. And this leads us to the event which still belongs to the future.
If today we can only proclaim, if we can only pray for that coming triumph
of Orthodoxy in this country and in the world, our Orthodox faith forces us
to believe that it is not by accident but by divine providence that the
Orthodox faith today has reached all countries, all cities, all continents
of the universe. After that historic weakness of our religion, after the
persecutions by the Roman Empire, by the Turks, by the godless atheists,
after all the troubles that we had to go through, today a new day begins.
Something new is going to happen. And it is this future of Orthodoxy that we
have to rejoice about today.
We can already have a vision of that future when, in the West, a strong
American Orthodox Church comes into existence. We can see how this faith,
which for such a long time was an alien faith here, will become truly and
completely universal in the sense that we will answer the questions of all
men, and also all their questions. For if we believe in that word:
"Orthodoxy," "the true faith"; if for one moment we try to understand what
it means: the true, the full Christianity, as it has been proclaimed by
Christ and His disciples; if our Church has preserved for all ages the
message of the apostles and of the fathers and of the saints in its purest
form, then, my dear friends, here is the answer to the questions and to the
problems and to the sufferings of our world. You know that our world today
is so complex. It is changing all the time. And the more it changes, the
more people fear, the more they are frightened by the future, the morethey
are preoccupied by what will happen to them. And this is where Orthodoxy
must answer their problem; this is where Orthodoxy must accept the challenge
of modern civilization and reveal to men of all nations, to all men in the
whole world, that it has remained the force of God left in history for the
transformation, for the deification, for the transfiguration of human life.
The past, the present, the future: At the beginning, one lonely man on the
cross - the complete defeat. And if at that time we had been there with all
our human calculations, we probably would have said: "That's the end.
Nothing else will happen." The twelve left Him. There was no one, no one to
hope. The world was in darkness. Everything seemed finished. And you know
what happened three days later. Three days later He appeared. He appeared to
His disciples, and their hearts were burning within them because they knew
that He was the risen Lord. And since then, in every generation, there have
been people with burning hearts, people who have felt that this victory of
Christ had to be carried again and again into this world, to be proclaimed
in order to win new human souls and to be the transforming force in history.
Today this responsibility belongs to us. We feel that we are weak. We feel
that we are limited, we are divided, we are still separated in so many
groups, we have so many obstacles to overcome. But today, on the Sunday of
Orthodoxy, we close our eyes for a second and we rejoice in that unity which
is already here: priests of various national churches praying together,
people of all backgrounds uniting in prayer for the triumph of Orthodoxy. We
are already in a triumph, and may God help us keep that triumph in our
hearts, so that we never give up hope in that future event in the history of
orthodoxy when Orthodoxy will become the victory which eternally overcomes
all the obstacles, because that victory is the victory of Christ Himself.
As we approach the most important moment of the Eucharist, the priest says,
"Let us love one another, that with one mind we may confess...." What is the
condition of the real triumph of Orthodoxy? What is the way leading to the
real, the final, the ultimate victory of our faith? The answer comes from
the Gospel. The answer comes from Christ Himself and from the whole
tradition of Orthodoxy. It is love. Let us love one another, that with one
mind we may confess . . . confess our faith, our Orthodoxy. Let us, from now
on, feel responsible for each other. Let us understand that even if we are
divided in small parishes, in small dioceses, we first of all belong to one
another. We belong together, to Christ, to His Body, to the Church. Let us
feel responsible for each other, and let us love one another. Let us put
above everything else the interests of Orthodoxy in this country. Let us
understand that each one of us today has to be the apostle of Orthodoxy in a
country which is not yet Orthodox, in a society which is asking us: "What do
you believe?" "What is your faith?" And let us, above everything else, keep
the memory, keep the experience, keep the taste of that unity which we are
At the end of the first century - when the Church was still a very small
group, a very small minority, in a society which was definitely
anti-Christian when the persecution was beginning - St. John the Divine, the
beloved disciple of Christ, wrote these words: "And this is the victory, our
faith, this is the victory." There was no victory at that time, and yet he
knew that in his faith he had the victory that can be applied to us today.
We have the promise of Christ, that the gates of hell willnever prevail
against the Church. We have the promise of Christ that if we have faith, all
things are possible. We have the promise of the Holy Spirit, that He will
fill all that which is weak, that He will help us at the moment when we need
help. In other words, we have all the possibilities, we have everything that
we need, and therefore the victory is ours. It is not a human victory which
can be defined in terms of money, of human success, of human achievements.
What we are preaching tonight, what we are proclaiming tonight, what we are
praying for tonight, is the victory of Christ in me, in us, in all of you in
the Orthodox Church in America. And that victory of Christ in us, of the one
who for us was crucified and rose again from the dead, that victory will be
the victory of His Church.
Today is the triumph of Orthodoxy, and a hymn sung today states solemnly and
simply: "This is the Apostolic faith, this is the Orthodox faith, this is
the faith of the Fathers, this is the faith that is the foundation of the
world." My dear brothers and sisters, this is also our own faith. We are
chosen. We are elected. We are the happy few that can say of our faith,
"apostolic," "universal," "the faith of our fathers," "Orthodoxy," "the
truth." Having this wonderful treasure, let us preserve it, let us keep it,
and let us also use it in such a way that this treasure becomes the victory
of Christ in us and in His Church. Amen.
Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann
#23 Anonymous on 2010-02-20 07:40
So tell us all, Yanni, what is the theological reasoning of why bishops must be celibate and monastics? Please tell us all; we await! Tell us all of how the Holy Spirit will not act in a married bishop. Tell us all of how marriage is some how "dirty" and unacceptable for a bishop. Tell us!
#24 Anonymous on 2010-02-20 08:38
And your Grace, if you are not aware, the last 2 reviews of STOTS accreditation have been "probationary." This should seriously be reviewed by the bishops of the OCA.
#25 Anonymous on 2010-02-20 08:48
This same sort of thinking was the same adopted by the former OCA bishop of the West. In his opinion, no cleric needed to have graduated from a seminary. And, it is exactly this attitude that caused nothing but trouble for the OCA. Ordinations of anyone and sub-standard men. Thank God we have bishops now who understand and realize the importance of a complete Orthodox theological education from an accredited Orthodox school of theology.
#26 Anonymous on 2010-02-20 08:57
"The Grace Divine which always heals that which is infirm, and completes that which is lacking....." no translation has "may".
(Editor's note: Then how does one explain those clergy who are "lacking", and whose ministries may only be called "infirm" - often to the point they must be removed from them? A defect in the Spirit? One assumes not.
#27 From the Ordination of a Deacon/Priest on 2010-02-20 12:02
For all the discussion of the various pros and cons for married bishops, can we remember for a moment that NONE of it is relevant to the selection of a bishop for the Diocese of the Midwest? The current practice of the Orthodox Church does NOT include married bishops, and the chance that the DoM would select a married candidate and that the OCA Synod would elect and consecrate a married bishop is exactly NIL . Now can we please get back on topic?
#28 Anonymous on 2010-02-20 12:47
Just a general comment. I've not noticed any new info abput the AOCA on this site during the past couple of months. Is there nothing new in Troy, Englewood and elsewhere in the AOCA, or is Walid now a co-editor of this site?
(Editor's note: Ouch, that hurt. You tell me, is there anything new in Troy, Englewood or in the AOCNA? It would seem to me that the all movement regarding the issues that riled the Archdiocese have reached an uneasy truce returning things to the status quo ante bellum, or are now being conducted behind close doors - when the Bishops are not in hospital, overseas, or in winter quarters in Florida. )
#29 Disgusted Life-long Antiochian Orthodox Christian on 2010-02-20 12:53
Given +Kallistos recent comments that seem to favor women's ordination, he should be questioned quite closely if he were a candidate.
(Editor's note: Nor is he alone. The late Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, who at the time was the senior hierarch of the Russian Church, second only to the Patriarch, considered the question to be an open one as well. When he said this at a Syndesmos meeting in 1986, I thought some of the Russians had swallowed their tongues, they turned so red. They kept insisting the Metropolitan's words (he was speaking in English) had been mistranslated into Russian. They created such a ruckus that the Metropolitan stopped, asked what the problem was, and when informed, repeated his comments, in Russian himself. It lead to a quite interesting discussion.
On a related note, I was in Rome later than year for SYNDESMOS, staying in the Vatican's hotel for visiting clergy ( I was put there by error - they assumed I had to be a cleric.) At breakfast one morning, surrounded by a cardinal, and six catholic bishops at the table, the wonderful and friendly conversation finally led me to impishly ask the dignitaries their opinion: given the decline in the number of priests, did they forsee ordaining married men, like we Orthodox, or ordaining women, like the Protestants, as the way forward in 50 years? They laughed - and then nodding to each other, the Cardinal spoke for them all: " It would be women priests before married ones." I about dropped by teacup in surprise.)
#30 Michael Bauman on 2010-02-20 18:29
"Editor's note: Then how does one explain those clergy who are "lacking", and whose ministries may only be called "infirm" - often to the point they must be removed from them? A defect in the Spirit? One assumes not."
No; these clerics were ordained by a bishop(s) using only one hand!
#31 Anonymous on 2010-02-21 13:20
Thanks for your response. No offense was intended. You perform a very valuable service to those of us who want to see our Archdiocese run in a legal, Christian manner.
#32 Anonymous on 2010-02-21 19:28
This comment is misleading and (I would guess) vindictive.
ATS has been impressed with the work done at St. Tikhon's and consider its self-study as a model for small graduate seminaries. The first accreditation ATS grants to a school is /always/ for five years--what you call "probationary." The more recent evaluation had to take into account the financial status of the school--which is always provisional, and probably always will be--and the question of whether or not the Metropolitan would forcibly close it in order to support St. Vladimir's.
#33 Alexis on 2010-02-21 21:32
You post seems to be somewhat nasty. Did you have a bad day or do you just lack manners?
Now regarding the subject at hand, can you imagine your bishop getting divorced? Or the bishops 'wife' as a member of a parish council? Or having her own blog? The possibilities are enormous.
Did I say that "the Holy Spirit will not act in a married bishop. Tell us all of how marriage is some how "dirty" and unacceptable for a bishop."
In my opinion, the main reason for celibate bishops is tradition. There had to be a reason or a slew of them that caused the church to abandon the concept somewhere back there in time. I wish that someone had left us a record for the reason/reasons. To be honest, looking at the Church as a whole, I suspect that it would be hard to find 'married' priests who could fill out the scriptural requirements for a bishop. It is hard to find 'unmarried' candidates for the job.
I don't believe that one of the requirements for a bishop is that he must be a monastic. Celibate, yes, monastic, not necessarily.
Why do you post as Anonymous, are you afraid to use your name or are you ashamed of it? Using your words, "Please tell us all; we await!" "Tell us!"
Editor's note: The primary reason was financial. Married bishops had a tendency to alienate Church property to their children. And yes, they are required to be monastics, or willing to become one before consecration, not just celibates. Check out the OCA statute again. )
#34 Yanni on 2010-02-21 21:39
Oh I agree that having married bishops is not the ultimate solution some make it out to be. There are plenty of local deans who, if raised to the position of bishop, wouldn't appeal to local clergy or parishes. I also agree that there needs to be a resurgence of monastic spirituality in this country (although perhaps "re" isn't the correct prefix, since there has never been a widespread monastic movement in this country). It is interesting to note, however, some of the steps that have brought us to this place, in this country. There was, years ago, a very influential seminary dean who made it a policy to virtually NEVER approve ANY celebates for ordination. His goal? To do away with celebate bishops by eliminating the pool of candidates. He did not succeed in his goal, but what he did was both decimate the ranks of celebate clergy to choose from and also to cause unfit men to marry, and end up in unhappy relationships and even divorce. The issues leadership within the church must be looked at holistically, not piece-meal. Too often we run into the roadblock: "You can't do A without also doing B." But I do think we, as a part of The Church, need to look at all of the historical, theological and Bibilical traditions and precedents and not just throw out perfectly valid practices because we don't see it today, or in the past century.
(editor's note: Whoever are you speaking about? It was certainly not the case at either SVS or STS, since I know many celibates who were ordained during their studies there. To whom are you referring? Because if you mean Holy Cross, that would be absurd, because any Greek wanting to be celibate if they found a roadblock in the US would simply go abroad and choose from several Greek patriarchates to fulfill their dream...)
#35 Sean O'Clare on 2010-02-22 13:41
It does seem that Mark is right and the Antiochian mess has reached some sort of stasis, which is really too bad. Unlike the OCA, with all its faults, a critical mass of the Antiochian laity and clergy has not risen up and effectuated change of any significant kind--at least not yet. The pathetic and stupid resort of appealing to the Antiochian Synod for relief was doomed to failure from the start, and has only underscored the non-independence of the Antiochian Church in this country, which I guess is just fine with many of the clergy and laity.
But it isn't fine with me or countless North American Orthodox Christians who yearn for an Orthodoxy freed from the stifling constraints and politics of the Old World. Unfortunately, just about every other Orthodox jurisdiction here, except the OCA, is in the same boat--a sinking boat by the way. Until we reject the notion of viewing Orthodoxy in primarily ethnic terms, a heresy, of course, we are doomed to an ineffectual witness that is offensive to the core message of Christianity which is the possibility universal salvation for all mankind--regardless of race, creed or nationality.
#36 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2010-02-22 14:50
Sounds like a good reason, Mark, but some bishops had previously been married with wife deceased and having children and some had other family members that they could give church property to. Looks to me by reading history that a lot of shenanigans went on in and out of the bishopric. A lot of saints among the hierarchs, but also a lot of scoundrels. Lots of problems with the civil authorities, i.e. the Emperor; I just read the life of a saint in the Great Synaxaristes where the Emperor exiled the Patriarch of Constantinople and placed his 16 year old brother (Stephen) in the office.
(Editor's note: In the emperor's defense, maybe the Patriarch deserved exile? Although a 16 year old is a scary thought....)
#37 Yanni on 2010-02-22 15:11
I think this is part of the problem: we want "celibate" bishops, and we make them semi-monastic in order to fulfill the letter of the law/canon. I think the reason we still don't consecrate married priests to be bishops is because the Church saw wisdom in electing /monastics/ as bishops, recognizing a certain discipline and depth of spiritual life as necessary to handling the office.
I do think there are qualified monastic candidates for the episcopacy; however, most of them, since they are humble monks, fly under the radar of the vast majority of parishioners. And they don't arrange to put themselves in the spotlight.
#38 Alexis on 2010-02-22 19:16
I had to go back into the Great Synaxaristes for this month to find where this happened; it turned out that the Patriarch was St Photios the Great. Emperor Leo VI deposed St Photios in 886, sending him into exile where he reposed in 891. Leo then elevated his younger brother, Stephen at age 16, to the patriarchal throne. Stephen wore himself out by his ascetic life and reposed seven years later at age 23. He might have made an excellent patriarch apart from his uncanonical elevation.
#39 Yanni on 2010-02-22 20:10
Does not telling the truth about having women students (claiming that STOTS does, when it truly does *NOT*) have anything to do with that probationary status??? Or is that info still not known to the accreditors?
#40 Another anon on 2010-02-23 06:15
Absolutely correct! The reason married bishops ceased was for expediency. One, offspring of the bishop inherited his property. The church lands and money were the property of the bishop in the Roman/Byzantine Empire. Children took the money, sold the land, etc. Second, monasteries grew because they were where the orphan boys went. They were raised in the monasteries and this is where the LIBRARIES were. Monks were generally educated and had one focus, the church. There were armies of monastics to choose from who had no shakey secular past. These reasons do not exist today! Libraries and theological schools are readily available; church property is not held in the hands of the bishop and there aren't a plethora of monasteries of orphan boy/monks to choose as bishops. In fact, in todays world, these people would make terrible leaders financially and regarding family life.
It is time to return to married bishops for "expediency." Even most psychologists agree that celibate/monastics are not well-adjusted personalities and are poor at understanding real family life. It's time to return to original teachings of the Orthodox Church with married bishops!
#41 Anonymous on 2010-02-23 06:25
LOL, but good point Mark! I imagine a sixteen year old, way back when, might have had the maturity of a 30 year old today--but it's still a scary thought.
I think most of this discussion is missing the real reason we aren't considering re-instituting a married hierarchy today. It boils down to the, in my mind heretical, notion that celibacy is a holier state of being and that sex is, at best, a tainted (with sin) lifestyle choice. Oh, the pious cry, let us have more monasteries and produce more "holy" monastics so we can have more and better bishops. Nonsense! And I say this fully recognizing that allowing married men to be bishops is no panacea either, but at least it allows a greater pool of candidates for the highest levels of Church leadership and gets us away from the silly notion that monastics are some kind of spiritual elite doing for us what we won't or can't do for ourselves. Such spiritual laziness and abdication of responsibility by those putting everything off on the monastic community is really disgusting and ridiculous.
I am most certainly not calling for some kind of "jihad" against those choosing celibacy or a monastic way of life. They should continue to supply worthy candidates for the life of the Church. But let's abandon this silly and self-defeating notion that they are " spiritual super heroes" who relieve the rest of us from our duty to till the Lord's vineyards as well.
#42 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2010-02-23 07:01
No; the practice in the Orthodox Churches of rejecting married candidates for the episcopacy is wrong! If we are the Orthodox Church, then we need to follow correct theology. The rejection of married candidates has NO theological basis NOR any relevant reason in the Orthodox Church today. Unless all the Orthodox Churches turn away from practices that are more Latin influenced than that of the "True Church," then we too are guilty of changing the Truth. There is no reason, either practical nor theological to reject married candidates for the episcopacy. The ONLY argument is a married man splitting his time between family and church, but don't pastors of large congregations do that now? And why should dioceses encompass ALL of the Midwest or ALL of California? Married bishops would mean more bishops and small diocese!
#43 Anonymous on 2010-02-23 08:08
Mark, There is but one explanation to this: a rejection of the Holy Spirit by the candidate himself.
#44 Anonymous on 2010-02-24 13:34
Perhaps it wasn't signed, because the individual who posted it didn't write it.
#45 Gail Sheppard on 2010-02-24 18:12
Of course my knowledge is very limited and I only know from those people I have met, pastors of churches, etc. and definitely not a large sampling, though larger than just one or two. Yet, none-the-less, the pastor of a church that I've long considered my friend told me that he was one of those (and yes, from one of the seminaries you mentioned) who was told by his dean that he would "never be ordained as long as he was celebate" (and he named several other individuals who were told the same thing, about the same time). He married shortly after his graduation and was ordained immediately. Unfortunately, his marriage did not turn out so well, although he continues to pastor a church and is quite respectable, in my eyes. Yes, I too know of celebate clergy from all of the seminaries, but I think it'd be interesting to track the number of celebate clergy from each of the seminaries and from what years. Although I'd find the task fascinating, I don't have access to that material or information, so I can't pursue it beyond just what some clergy have told me.
#46 Sean O'Clare on 2010-02-25 13:01
You've got quite an agenda for someone's who's afraid to be known.
Honestly, we've got enough problems in the Church without making more - I can only imagine the reaction of most Orthodox (you think the calendar was a big deal? lol).
#47 Jon Marc on 2010-02-25 17:17
Kenneth, cheer up, old Chap. Christ has overcome the world.
#48 Anonymous on 2010-02-28 21:23
I agree that ALL ORthodox Jurisdictios need to eb witness to Orthodoxy in America.
Just in the past 10 years I have seen a positive movement in the Western US - all 4 Orthodox Bishops (Greek, antiochian, OCA and serbian) meet on a regular basis and every year for Sunda of ORthodox they serve the Hierarchial divine Liturgy for ORthodox Sudnay togetehr. If someone said 10 years agol this would happen we would all laugh at that person.
That tells me we are moving forward.
The PRoblem with ORthodoxy is not "Mother Churches" in the Middle East or Europe, but rather the narrow minds of American Orthodox Christians, who think the ORthodox experinece in america MUST only be in America. Our Mother Churches do have a great deal to teach us in understanding ORthodox far beyond text book understanding but rather understand living an ORthodox Life in our hearts and minds. Growing up the one priest who ahd an inpact in my life was an Lavitan, Fr. John Reinhold, he did not just practice the Orthodox Faith but live it in his heart and mind as he taught us about the Church, his Orthodox Spirituality of accepting the faith in our hearts and minds was part of his weekly homilies.
Before we can callt o break away from our Mother Chruches we must first speak with one mind and heart. Once we our unified in Faith and minds we will ahve one Jurisdiction and the Mother Churches will move asside as a parrent allwo their Church to go out on their own and make their own mark in the world.
Wishing everyone a blessed LEnten Cycle
#49 Antiochian Orthodox Christian on 2010-02-28 22:04
I think they would have noticed that in their three-day visit to the seminary.
Then again, I don't want to keep you from writing without knowing what you're talking about, so, please, continue.
#50 Alexis on 2010-03-02 11:55
AOC ... I'm afraid if we wait for a unanimous agreement, speaking with "one voice and one mind", from the various Orthodox groups, we'll be waiting for a very very long time. Even Jesus himself could not get unanimous agreement from his disciples, and they were just twelve individuals. How do you expect a million or more Orthodox Christians in this country to speak with "one voice and one mind"? It will never happen.
By-the-way, I knew Fr. John, the priest of which you speak, and he was a remarkable and saintly man and priest. Yet, do not diminish Orthodox cooperation that occurred in the past. Decades ago bishops and priests from a variety of jurisdictions would gather together on a regular basis from clergy meetings, to the Sunday of Orthodoxy. I heard of them often, from my youth up.
A blessed Lenten journey to all and may we join together in welcoming the Paschal light.
#51 Sean O'Clare on 2010-03-03 13:58
May God grant us a bishop who is better than we deserve.
A couple Old World Orthodox traits actually would probably help:
1) An appreciation of monasticism
2) An expectation of suffering for the sake of the Cross
New World is too self-absorbed and "Enlightened" by self-serving darkness.
So let's not throw out Old World completely.
Our next bishop will suffer unexpected ways from unexpected sources. May he be well versed in prayer and selflessness.
#52 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2010-03-03 19:28
The American Church is the American Church. The Greek Church is the Greek Church. etc. Strange that all these old country bishops continually want a piece of N. Am. WHY? Because this is where the $$$ is.
Canonically, foreign bishops have no authority in N. Am. They can decide whatever they want in Chambesy, but Orthodox Canon Law is clear: Local bishops rule over local churches - WITHOUT REPORTING TO ANYONE OVERSEAS!
Chambesy is nothing more than a "Power Grab" and ALL Orthodox Christians in N. Am. should reject it!
#53 Anonymous on 2010-03-09 09:59
Any news or comments on this?
Heaven was not present on Wednesday; or, more Trojan aggression.
#54 Anonymous on 2010-03-10 11:40
Just think of the married clergy Metropolitan Philip would put in place! They already have their little kingdoms and behave as married bishops ( without the virtues enumerated by St Paul)!
Is it really practical to have a married man with children travelling every weekend. The episcopate is not for those accustomed to an easy life as they are truly fathers to every priest and deacon their families and ALL the faithful of their Diocese!
#55 Anonymous on 2010-03-11 06:10
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