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Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy

Posted By: DTBrown

Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 11/20/11 04:24 AM

Just came across this interesting article on the Vatican website:

The Orthodox Churches and Priestly Celibacy by Damaskinos Papandreou, Orthodox Metropolitan of Switzerland.

A snippet:

Quote
Putting the personal charism of celibacy into practice, the apostolic and patristic tradition regard as a personal gift from God. Those, therefore, who have chosen the celibate life have no right to pride themselves over the superiority of their spiritual combat: «If anyone can persevere in chastity in honour of the Lord’s flesh, let him do so without boasting about it. If he prides himself in this, he is lost; and if he tells anyone else about it except his own bishop, he is corrupt.» This personal charism is freely received and this spiritual combat is freely chosen. It cannot be imposed. It is not demanded by the nature of priesthood. The Church may require it for certain ministries. The Western Church requires it for those who are called to be priests and bishops. The Orthodox Church requires it, for pastoral reasons, for those who are called to be bishops.

Thus Orthodox tradition and practice honour and respect the celibacy of priests and praise their service in the body of the Church; at the same time, they honour and respect the married clergy since, they too, serve the same sacrament of the Church and salvation. The Orthodox Church thus accepts these two forms of service equally and leaves the choice of which it is to be to the individual member, in accordance with his own vocation and particular charisms. For pastoral reasons however, the Church has favoured the institution of celibacy for the order of bishops, and these are chosen exclusively from the celibate priesthood.


Posted By: danman916

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 11/22/11 04:57 PM

Thanks for the article!
Posted By: sielos ilgesys

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 11/22/11 05:32 PM

Makes sense to me.
Posted By: Logos - Alexis

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 11/29/11 02:14 AM

What are the pastoral reasons for which Orthodoxy has "favored" (rather a weak word) celibacy for bishops, and how do these pastoral reasons not apply to priests?

Alexis
Posted By: Slavipodvizhnik

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 11/29/11 02:22 AM

Because all bishops are monastics, and monastics, by virtue of their very nature, are celibate.

Alexandr
Posted By: JDC

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 11/29/11 04:16 AM

That's inaccurate. Some bishops are widowers. Because most celibates are monastics, most bishops are monastics, but the existence of widowed bishops demonstrates that the qualifying fact is celibacy, not monasticism.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 11/29/11 04:18 AM

The first pastoral reason was the power and wealth entrusted to the bishop, which, it was felt, would pose an "organizational conflict of interest"--can the bishop be trusted not to put family interests ahead of the interests of the Church? The consensus was, better not put him in the way of temptation. As it turns out, not even celibacy could prevent nepotism--look at the Renaissance Popes.

The second pastoral reason had to do with monasticism as the ideal Christian vocation, which applies to everyone according to his status and gifts. The status of monastics rose very high in the 7th-8th centuries, and it was felt that this ideally suited them for the highest pastoral office.

As it turns out, this was an ideal seldom met in real life, and in any case, many bishops were only nominally "monastics", having either been widowed, or having (by mutual agreement) taken monastic orders along with his wife. But many took the tonsure and donned the schema only when it was apparent they would be elected bishop. They had never, before that time, lived as true monastics.

In the West, of course, the insistence on monastic orders was considered redundant--it was the celibacy they wanted, not the monasticism.
Posted By: Slavipodvizhnik

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 11/29/11 01:03 PM

A clarification to the precise relationship to the monastic life that is required of bishops: it is not precisely correct to say that all bishops are tonsured monastics. Tonsure corresponds to a certain degree of entry into the monastic life (generally at the giving of the schema); but non-monastics who become bishops are made rassophore monks - a stage which does not necessarily involve tonsure (only 'clothing' in the rasson). This is, for example, particularly common in Russia.

In such cases, the bishop in question is not a tonsured monk, but is still a monastic: a rassophore.

(As an aside, the rules on rassophores not living in a monastery are often quite less strict than for tonsured monastics; namely, one can often eat meat, etc.)

The main point here is that there might be some confusion as to certain traditions vis-a-vis the monastic stature of their bishops. It is simply not the practice for bishops not to be monastics, at least 'technically' vis-a-vis having been clothed in the rasson prior to (or, in some cases, as part of) their episcopal consecration. Is the thought that some traditions have non-monastic bishops a confusion over the stature of the rassophore vis-a-vis full tonsure?
Posted By: danman916

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 11/29/11 06:46 PM

Here's a dumb question:

Why did Christians come to believe that monasticism was the ideal Christian vocation?

Is this the reason why sexual activity (at least in the west) even between married couples was always tinged with sin.

There was an old picture in the Baltimore Cathechism – a picture of a married couple is labelled as “good” a picture of a priest is labelled as “better.”

Where do they think the priests came from, the stork???

I don't understand the thinking here.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 11/29/11 09:19 PM

The earliest Christians believed that the martyrs were the ideal Christians, bearing witness with their blood and their lives to the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord. After Constantine legitimized Christianity, that sort of martyrdom became more rare, and some men, like Abba Antony the Great, wishing to witness to Christ in a similar fashion, decided the best way to do so was through renunciation of the world, so that they could fulfill the commandment to "pray constantly" and without distraction.

Celibacy was part of the package not because sex was sinful or defiling, but because marriage was not consistent with the nature of monasticism--that is, to be monas, or alone. Through the solitary life, they attempted to transcend the passions and become "still", in order better to hear the inner voice of the Holy Spirit.

Marriage was not seen as better or worse, as the words of the Fathers indicate. Rather, marriage was one gift or vocation; and monasticism was another. As Saint Paul said, there are many gifts of the Spirit. Where monasticism stands as an ideal is in its single-minded focus upon God, and it is that which all Christians are called to emulate, even those who are married.
Posted By: JDC

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 11/30/11 05:28 AM

May I say with all respect that I see a massive over-compensation from Eastern Christians on the topic of celibacy?

As long as you've got both Jesus and Saint Paul on record saying that whoever can accept celibacy ought to, it's a bit of a losing battle to say celibacy isn't better, or not particularly valuable, or to dismiss it as a practice that arose late out of practical concerns about property, or from an improper Western fear of sex.

To whatever extent these things are true, they are also irrelevant. Jesus says it's better; so it's better.

Lucky for you, that's not the question that needs settling around the matter of married or celibate clergy, so don't argue as if it is.
Posted By: Slavipodvizhnik

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 11/30/11 06:06 AM

Celibacy outside of the context of a supportive monastic community is dangerous. This is why Orthodox monks are not often given the role of parish priest, unless they are attached to a local monastery. The pedophilia and homosexual scandals, as well as the many problems associated within celibate priesthood like depression and alcoholism all relate to this. This in of itself would not necessarily call for the elimination of the celibate priesthood, but it would behoove the Latin Church to make it's celibates live a communal lifestyle with other celibates. In Orthodoxy, there are only 2 choices, marriage or monasticism.There is no "single" life without the protection of monastic vows and the support of the monastic brotherhood.

Alexandr
Posted By: Nelson Chase

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 11/30/11 06:50 AM

I think when reading St. Paul on celibacy and marriage it is also important to remember that Christians of that time believed the Lord's parousia was going to happen in their lifetimes. This is important to consider before we label "celibacy is better than marriage."

All Christian vocations are a calling and gift from God. To say one is better or more exalted can lead us into the sin of pride. The Fathers of the Church speak of the beauty and holiness of marriage as does St. Paul.
Posted By: JDC

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 11/30/11 01:16 PM

Because that whole "scripture is divinely inspired" doesn't really mean *divinely* divinely?

Just one more on the long list of things rationalised away under the heading of "St Paul was a product of his culture so that bit doesn't really apply to us".

And what of Jesus' musings on the topic? Or was he just confused about his itinerary too?
Posted By: Nelson Chase

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 11/30/11 05:31 PM

I have said nothing of the sort. I am pointing out that it is important when looking at Sacred Scripture to remember that it was indeed written for a specific community of believers.


It was only later that the Church through the guidance of the Holy Spirit decided what letters and Gospels were Scripture and which were not. It is for the Church to decide how best to interpret Scripture and the Eastern and Western Churches have different views (go figure) on celibacy, priesthood, and the like. Both are Apostolic, both are Biblical, and both are equal in dignity.

I place my trust in the Eastern (and Western) Fathers of the Church and I will not presume to know more than they do on Sacred Scripture, marriage, priesthood, celibacy, and monasticism.


Posted By: ajk

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 11/30/11 05:46 PM

Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
...In Orthodoxy, there are only 2 choices, marriage or monasticism.There is no "single" life without the protection of monastic vows and the support of the monastic brotherhood.
Alas then for Orthodoxy. We are all born into the single state and it is our natural state in that sense. I know a number of perfectly normal people, male and female, who remain in that state as the one proper to them before God. It is too often neglected and seemingly diminished in theology relative to consecrated virginity, (formal) celibacy, consecrated chastity and marriage. It is within the context of that common state that all of us have experienced that we should reflect on what it means to be a eunuch for the kingdom. (Also in that context consider Celibacy for the Kingdom & the Fulfillment of Human Sexuality)
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 11/30/11 11:49 PM

You're mistaking continence with celibacy. The former is a condition of the latter, but the latter is a vocation in its own right, a gift not given to all, and not something easy to live even with the support of a community of faith. To live as a true celibate alone is extraordinarily hard, which is why the eremitic life is the rarest and most difficult form of monasticism.
Posted By: ajk

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/01/11 12:41 PM

Originally Posted by StuartK
You're mistaking continence with celibacy. The former is a condition of the latter...
Not so, and quite to the contrary:

cel·i·ba·cy celibacy
noun
1. abstention from sexual relations.
2. abstention by vow from marriage: the celibacy of priests.
3. the state of being unmarried.

con·ti·nence continence
noun
1. self-restraint or abstinence, especially in regard to sexual activity; temperance; moderation.

In particular, I disagree with the concluding statement:
Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
There is no "single" life without the protection of monastic vows and the support of the monastic brotherhood.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/01/11 01:48 PM

Well, you're just wrong. You're using a dictionary definition to provide cover for what I consider to be a faulty theological understanding of celibacy, and especially of monasticism.
Posted By: ajk

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/01/11 02:15 PM

Originally Posted by StuartK
Well, you're just wrong. You're using a dictionary definition to provide cover for what I consider to be a faulty theological understanding of celibacy, and especially of monasticism.
OK then, you have your dictionary and the rest of the world has theirs.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/01/11 07:46 PM

You know perfectly well that words can have one meaning in a general context, and a different one in a specialized or technical context.
Posted By: jjp

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/02/11 07:07 PM

To wit:

crown·ing
   [krou-ning] Show IPA
adjective
1.
representing a level of surpassing achievement, attainment, etc.; supreme: crowning accomplishment.
2.
forming or providing a crown, top, or summit: a crowning star on a Christmas tree.

I'm pretty sure that's not what happened on my wedding day.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/02/11 07:32 PM

3. (Slang): To deliver a stunning blow to the head.

I suspect that may have happened on your wedding day.
Posted By: ajk

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/02/11 07:41 PM

Originally Posted by jjp
To wit:

crown·ing
   [krou-ning] Show IPA
adjective
1.
representing a level of surpassing achievement, attainment, etc.; supreme: crowning accomplishment.
2.
forming or providing a crown, top, or summit: a crowning star on a Christmas tree.

I'm pretty sure that's not what happened on my wedding day.



v. crowned, crown·ing, crowns link
v.tr.
1. To put a crown or garland on the head of.
...
3. To confer honor, dignity, or reward upon.
...

cf. at Prokimenon

And blessing the couple, the priest says:

O Lord, our God, + crown them with glory and honor.

Prokimenon : You have placed crowns of precious stones upon their heads; they have asked life of You, and You have given it to them.

Consider also:

con·text context
noun
1. the parts of a written or spoken statement that precede or follow a specific word or passage, usually influencing its meaning or effect: You have misinterpreted my remark because you took it out of context. [emphasis added]




Posted By: ajk

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/02/11 07:43 PM

Originally Posted by StuartK
3. (Slang): To deliver a stunning blow to the head.

I suspect that may have happened on your wedding day.
Speaking from experience?
Posted By: Administrator

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/02/11 07:47 PM

Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by StuartK
3. (Slang): To deliver a stunning blow to the head.

I suspect that may have happened on your wedding day.
Speaking from experience?

LOL. I've heard of shotgun weddings, and I've seen a book or pamphlet entitled "Crowned with Glory". Now I think I know that there's a deeper meaning. biggrin
Posted By: jjp

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/02/11 08:12 PM

It would explain a lot.
Posted By: jjp

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/02/11 08:14 PM

Back to the topic, I think it's clear that an arbitrary dictionary reference doesn't mean much, and certainly doesn't refute the usage that Stuart was talking about.

"You're mistaking continence with celibacy. The former is a condition of the latter, but the latter is a vocation in its own right, a gift not given to all, and not something easy to live even with the support of a community of faith. To live as a true celibate alone is extraordinarily hard, which is why the eremitic life is the rarest and most difficult form of monasticism."
Posted By: ajk

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/02/11 09:11 PM

Originally Posted by jjp
Back to the topic, I think it's clear that an arbitrary dictionary reference doesn't mean much, and certainly doesn't refute the usage that Stuart was talking about.

"You're mistaking continence with celibacy. The former is a condition of the latter, but the latter is a vocation in its own right, a gift not given to all, and not something easy to live even with the support of a community of faith. To live as a true celibate alone is extraordinarily hard, which is why the eremitic life is the rarest and most difficult form of monasticism."
Fair enough. What then is the source/reference for "the usage that Stuart was talking about"?

Also, what accepted (i.e. not just making up meanings) usage supports:
Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
Celibacy outside of the context of a supportive monastic community is dangerous...In Orthodoxy, there are only 2 choices, marriage or monasticism. There is no "single" life without the protection of monastic vows and the support of the monastic brotherhood.

Some context; my objection was:

Originally Posted by ajk
Alas then for Orthodoxy. We are all born into the single state and it is our natural state in that sense. I know a number of perfectly normal people, male and female, who remain in that state as the one proper to them before God. It is too often neglected and seemingly diminished in theology relative to consecrated virginity, (formal) celibacy, consecrated chastity and marriage. It is within the context of that common state that all of us have experienced that we should reflect on what it means to be a eunuch for the kingdom. (Also in that context consider Celibacy for the Kingdom & the Fulfillment of Human Sexuality)

And the response and contrary usage (which to me is at best a non sequitur):

Originally Posted by StuartK
You're mistaking continence with celibacy. The former is a condition of the latter, but the latter is a vocation in its own right, a gift not given to all, and not something easy to live even with the support of a community of faith. To live as a true celibate alone is extraordinarily hard, which is why the eremitic life is the rarest and most difficult form of monasticism.




Posted By: Administrator

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/02/11 09:32 PM

I'm wondering if Slavipodvizhnik's post was speaking only to monastics? That a monastic living a celibate life outside the support of the monastic community is a dangerous thing? That the context of the words simply did not include laymen?
Posted By: JBenedict

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/02/11 09:56 PM

I think he meant that non-consecrated single life is not a vocation per se. This was the traditional Roman Catholic teaching as well. One could be accidentally single, but one couldn't be intentionally single as a vocation without being in some form of (public or at least private) consecrated life.

See for instance this blog post and the article it links to. Not a great or authoritative resource, but just a quick spotlight shined on the debate.
Posted By: ajk

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/02/11 10:34 PM

Originally Posted by JBenedict
I think he meant that non-consecrated single life is not a vocation per se. This was the traditional Roman Catholic teaching as well. One could be accidentally single, but one couldn't be intentionally single as a vocation without being in some form of (public or at least private) consecrated life.

See for instance this blog post and the article it links to. Not a great or authoritative resource, but just a quick spotlight shined on the debate.
In pre-VCII Baltimore Catechism days, I'm pretty sure single was one of the states of life. Current Catholic teaching as in the CCC says:

The vocation of lay people

898 "By reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God's will.... It pertains to them in a special way so to illuminate and order all temporal things with which they are closely associated that these may always be effected and grow according to Christ and maybe to the glory of the Creator and Redeemer."431

Laicorum vocatio

898 « Laicorum est, ex vocatione propria, res temporales gerendo et secundum Deum ordinando, Regnum Dei quaerere. [...] Ad illos ergo peculiari modo spectat res temporales omnes, quibus arcte coniunguntur, ita illuminare et ordinare, ut secundum Christum iugiter fiant et crescant et sint in laudem Creatoris et Redemptoris ». 438
Posted By: JBenedict

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/02/11 11:04 PM

Single is definitely a state, but that doesn't make it a vocation. The laity referred to in that CCC passage are married and single laity and "vocation" here is being used in a different sense.
Posted By: ajk

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/02/11 11:26 PM

Originally Posted by JBenedict
Single is definitely a state, but that doesn't make it a vocation. The laity referred to in that CCC passage are married and single laity and "vocation" here is being used in a different sense.
How is that distinction supported by the words? Consider also:

POST-SYNODAL
APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION
CHRISTIFIDELES LAICI
OF
HIS HOLINESS
JOHN PAUL II
ON THE VOCATION AND THE MISSION
OF THE LAY FAITHFUL
IN THE CHURCH AND IN THE WORLD

To Bishops
To Priests and Deacons
To Women and Men Religious
and to All the Lay Faithful

INTRODUCTION

1. THE LAY MEMBERS of Christ's Faithful People (Christifideles Laici), whose "Vocation and Mission in the Church and in the World Twenty Years after the Second Vatican Council" was the topic of the 1987 Synod of Bishops, are those who form that part of the People of God which might be likened to the labourers in the vineyard mentioned in Matthew's Gospel: "For the Kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the labourers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard" (Mt 20:1-2).[emphasis added]
Posted By: JBenedict

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/03/11 01:50 PM

If the question is, "Is the non-consecrated single life a vocation in the Church in the same sense as married life and consecrated single life?" pointing to documents about the "vocation of the laity" doesn't answer that question, because married people are also laity.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/03/11 04:40 PM

Technically speaking, even the clergy are the laity.
Posted By: GMmcnabb

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/04/11 05:23 PM

Could you explain what you mean when you say

"Technically speaking even the clergy are laity?"
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/04/11 09:41 PM

Laity is an English word derived from the Greek term Laos tou Theou, or People of God. All those who are baptized belong to the Laos tou Theou, or the laity. When a man is ordained, he does not lose that status, but has clerical status added on. Clericalism in the Church from the Middle Ages onward is responsible for the tendency to see ordained ministers as outside of and apart from the laity, the culmination of which can be seen in the once-common expression, "So-and-so joined the Church", in reference to a man's ordination. Which always led me to wonder, what are the rest of us? Chopped liver?
Posted By: Slavipodvizhnik

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/07/11 11:13 PM

Originally Posted by Administrator
I'm wondering if Slavipodvizhnik's post was speaking only to monastics? That a monastic living a celibate life outside the support of the monastic community is a dangerous thing? That the context of the words simply did not include laymen?


LOL! I had forgotten about this thread. Allow me to rephrase myself. The Church sanctifies 2 lifestyles, either the Sacrament of Marriage or the Sacrament of Tonsure into Monasticism. There is no Sacrament of "singlehood".
Being single is looked upon as preparing either for marriage or monasticism. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out for some people, especially here in the West. Speaking from experience, you would be amazed how difficult it is to find a single Russian Orthodox girl who is fluent in Russian and Church Slavonic, can cook like my Grandmother, looks like Claudia Schiffer and has large......offshore bank accounts! whistle
Being alone in the world is wrought with dangers. In Russia, those men who found themselves without wives were encouraged to join brotherhoods, to help each other avoid sinning. In Jordanville, there still are lay brothers who take no vows, but live and work together. And every visitor to Eastern Europe is familiar with the Church Baba, all in black, with a gnarled cane, ready to wrap the shins of those inattentive to Services! It is only when one achieves a great age, and aged beyond sins of the flesh is the norm lessened.
And if you really look at it, marriage and monasticism are not too different. Single adults are like Poslushniki, novices who are exploring monasticism. Newlyweds are Rassophores. Established spouses are Monks and those rare couples that you read about in the paper, who have been married since the Truman Administration are the Skhimniki, the Great Schemas of the married life. Widows and widowers are the eremitics, steeped in wisdom, on the edge of society, to teach those that would learn.
So both monastics and married people have a Sacrament to protect them, while those of us who are neither, walk around open to attack from the left hand. A dangerous course. In monasticism only those deemed most spiritually mature are allowed to be hermits, and yet, spiritually, that is exactly the position single adults find themselves in, open prey for the fallen ones.

Alexandr
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/07/11 11:23 PM

Well put.
Posted By: Administrator

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/08/11 12:02 AM

Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
Being single is looked upon as preparing either for marriage or monasticism. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out for some people, especially here in the West. Speaking from experience, you would be amazed how difficult it is to find a single Russian Orthodox girl who is fluent in Russian and Church Slavonic, can cook like my Grandmother, looks like Claudia Schiffer and has large......offshore bank accounts! whistle

ROFL. I think I've only met a small number of women in my entire lifetime who could read Church Slavonic, let alone be fluent in it. I think I'll call Alexandr's mom and tell her to convince him to lower his demands a bit. Maybe look for a woman open to learning to sing in the choir, and not necessary one who conjugates Slavonic verbs as a romantic endeavor. Or we can call his bishop and ask him to assign a wife. laugh
Posted By: Slavipodvizhnik

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/08/11 12:16 AM

The funny thing is, I CAN find women who can conjugate Slavonic verbs. It's the cooking part that's difficult to find! It's the middle of Lent, so in maintaining that fine ByzCath Forum Tradition of talking of nothing but food during Lent, I will have to say that given my choice right now between Angeline Jolie going on about Az est chelovek i Ti est cheloveku, and golupki, I'd reach for the fork!

Alexandr
Posted By: Slavipodvizhnik

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/08/11 12:21 AM

I think I'm getting old......... frown
Posted By: Administrator

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/08/11 12:23 AM

Wal-Mart sells both Mrs. T's "Pieorgies" and Sam's "Cabbage Rolls". Heat and eat. And you can have IC-Lite as a beverage. So what's the difficulty? biggrin
Posted By: Slavipodvizhnik

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/08/11 12:32 AM

I would be willing to personally finance a graduate program for a degree in Advanced Babahood. Young women can be taught how to sing in the choir, pinch piroshki (pirohi, golupki or pelmeni), bake baklava and czheregi, clean wax stains from linen sleeves, clean beard hairs from the bathroom sink, prepare the order of Services from the typica, conjugate Slavonic verbs and learn how to be demure. I'm sure husbands and fathers would line up to enroll their wives and daughters!

Mrs T's? Bite your tongue! Mom will come down to Virginia, get you by the short hairs on the back of the neck and teach you to never mention Mrs T's in polite company! You and I are about the same age, so in Mom's eyes, we're both 4, so don't say I didn't warn you! grin

Alexandr
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/08/11 03:11 AM

My daughter can conjugate Slavonic verbs and decline Slavonic nouns, and can read and write Cyrillic. She's not that demure, though.
Posted By: ajk

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/08/11 04:55 PM

Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
Originally Posted by Administrator
I'm wondering if Slavipodvizhnik's post was speaking only to monastics? That a monastic living a celibate life outside the support of the monastic community is a dangerous thing? That the context of the words simply did not include laymen?


LOL! I had forgotten about this thread. Allow me to rephrase myself. The Church sanctifies 2 lifestyles, either the Sacrament of Marriage or the Sacrament of Tonsure into Monasticism. There is no Sacrament of "singlehood".
Being single is looked upon as preparing either for marriage or monasticism. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out for some people, especially here in the West. ...
So both monastics and married people have a Sacrament to protect them, while those of us who are neither, walk around open to attack from the left hand. A dangerous course. In monasticism only those deemed most spiritually mature are allowed to be hermits, and yet, spiritually, that is exactly the position single adults find themselves in, open prey for the fallen ones.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Well put.
Not "speaking only to monastics" then? I hope you both (Slavipodvizhnik & StuartK) are joking but I fear you are not.

This ranks [including the parts omitted (...) in the first quote] as some of the most misguided theology as I've read on this forum.

Foremost is considering monastic tonsure to be a sacrament as is the (stated) case of marriage or in the (unstated) case of orders. I know monastic tonsure is often considered so but it is, I believe, very, very, very poor theology. The reason is that it would have created a different class of Christians within the baptized in whom there is no division: slave, free, male, female, etc., all being one in Christ Jesus. The monastic is one who seeks to live that common baptismal vocation to the fullest: much to be admired but not a special class of Christian. I dare say some think of the monk as more of a gnostic master than a fellow, especially dedicated, and hopefully exemplary Christian.

Consider, when did formal Christian monasticism develop? Was St. Paul a "monastic"? Was he referring to the yet-to-develop Christian monasticism when he recommended that rather than marry, one should remain as he is (1 Cor. 7:8 passim)?

Read the words of Scripture: the Lord assigns, God calls.

1 Corinthians 7:17 (ESV) [Live as You Are Called]

17Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/08/11 05:08 PM

I've always wondered why the Ruthenian Church should have such a strong anti-monastic sentiment. By which I mean an allergy to authentic Eastern monasticism, as opposed to westernized religious orders such as the Basilians, Carmelites and Franciscans.
Posted By: Three Cents

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy - 12/25/11 02:33 PM

Our Lord and Savior was neither monastic nor married. He was ... single!

Monastic tonsure is not universal among North American Orthodox bishops. In the Antiochian Archdiocese there is only one, and it is by his choice that he is.

Having said that, there are serious issues with bachelor celibate clergy. The Christian single life is by no means an easy one. However, St. Paul praises it because of the ability to totally devote one's life to the service of Christ and His Church. A married man has his God given and holy obligation of a family that he must attend to. But this also provides household support that a non-monastic single does not have against Satan and the world.

Father Alexander Elchaninov discusses ministering to singles in his "Diary of a Russian Priest" and is clear that he didn't like it. He thought there were only two real Christian ways of life, married and monastic. If singles were too needy and dangerous then at the beginning third of the twentieth century, how much more difficult is dealing with singleness in today's secular, electronic, materialistic and sexually hedonistic society? On page 45, Father Alexander explains,

"There is the monastic life and the state of marriage. The third condition, that of virginity in the world, is extremely dangerous, fraught with temptation, and beyond the strength of most people. Moreover, those who adhere to this condition are also a danger to the persons around them: the aura and beauty of virginity, which, when deprived of direct religious significance, are in sense 'nuptial feathers', exercise powerful attraction and awaken unedifying emotions."

This work is required reading for students in the AHOS (both in the St. Stephen's/Balamand Master's and PTS D.Min. levels) and is a wonderful collection of pastoral reflections complied by Matushka Elchaninov after Father's death in 1934. It is a wonderful work of pastoral theology.

The single state of Our Lord and Savior is the most difficult of the three possible Christian states of life, for all concerned. It is simply the most difficult to both live for the individual Christian, and to have the Christian community pastorally address.

Christ Is Born! Glorify Him!

Just my ... Three Cents!
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