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Priest having a lay profession.... Hmmm

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by Philothei, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. smithakd

    smithakd Andrew Smith, Orthodox Christian and Author

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    I've had the experience of full-time priests and of second-job priests (if I may call them that), and I have to say that the life of a second-job priest is amazingly difficult. To me, it seems like a failure in stewardship for a parish to not support its priest at all.

    A parish has to have a certain amount of people in order to be a parish (rather than a mission). Theoretically, if there are 20 wage-earners in the parish, and each of these give a standard tithe...well, that should support a priest and a parish building, should it not?

    It's very easy to abuse a priest who is giving of his time when there's no concept of how much his service is actually worth - even if it was just matched with a high school teacher's salary, for instance...
     
    Philothei likes this.
  2. choirfiend

    choirfiend Senior Veteran Supporter

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    I've heard someone explain that for older people and new immigrants, the idea of having to "pay" the priest is foreign, due to the priest being an employee of the state in the "old country." They believed this habit trickles down to younger cradle generations from the older. It makes some sense to me, and understanding that could help overcome peoples' reluctance to give.
     
  3. Michael G

    Michael G Abe Frohmann

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    A friend of mine is a newly ordained priest who was naturalized as an American citizen in spring 2010. Both this priest and his wife came to the USA from Bulgaria about 8 years ago. He said the Bulgarian people have that exact attitude and he and his wife are having a hard time explaining to the Bulgarians in the USA that priests need to be supported by their parishes.
     
  4. Philothei

    Philothei Love never fails

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    Yeah that is one of the problems we are faced with here in the USA. It does take a while to make them and convince them why they have to upkeep their churches..:angel:

    Plust the suspicious nature of many Europeans about finances makes it diffucult to persuade them to realize that the priests are indeed in need :(
     
  5. Michael G

    Michael G Abe Frohmann

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    The young priest I am referring to is a model of a good priest and a good friend. Mrs. G and I have been so blessed by their friendship!
     
  6. 88Devin07

    88Devin07 Orthodox Catholic Church

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    I think it's okay for a Priest to hold a job, but the thing is, I think they are definitely restricted (on some levels) in what jobs they can hold... (by canons)
     
  7. Michael G

    Michael G Abe Frohmann

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    Cite the canons.
     
  8. JohntheTheologian

    JohntheTheologian Newbie

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    If a priest can show Christian charity working, then that's a good thing. It's especially good if it enables him to act as an herald of the Gospel in schools, the civil service, hospitals etc. where Christian voices might really make a difference in people's secular lives.
     
  9. Khaleas

    Khaleas Also known as Jenn the Finn :)

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    It is a huge problem, that is definitely true! And it doesn't matter how it's explained or written or anything, it's almost always still assumed that someone with deep pockets will come forth with money.
    Our Baltimore parish came up with a rather clever way of making people notice. Our parish hall is in the basement of the church and in the winter they kept it quite cold. People complained and Father could just say, well, the tithes aren't enough to keep the hall warmer at this point. There was a good increase in tithes this year (and already last winter time when this issue came out). He's said it over and over about keeping the church going but apparently sometimes a reminder of cold winters of Russia is what was needed...
     
  10. 88Devin07

    88Devin07 Orthodox Catholic Church

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    I don't know the exact ones, but for examples, Priests/Clergy cannot/should not serve in public offices. (I believe a Priest was recently deposed in Europe for violation of this)

    There is also the canon that states that a Priest cannot participate in usury, or charging an interest on loans. This would mean that a Priest could not hold a job that would require him to do that.

    There aren't really (that I'm aware of) canons that restrict specific jobs (other than the public office restriction), but there are canons that prohibit Priests from doing certain things (like usury/interest on loans) and those canons would thus prevent that Priest from holding a job that would involved the breaking of that canon.

    Of course, our canons aren't laws that must always be followed to the T, we have economia, but I think it would be important for a Priest to consider his options carefully.

    I think as a general rule, Priests (and other clergy members) cannot be involved in financial dealings within the Church. (that is, they cannot be involved directly with money handling, etc...) I don't know if this restriction is extended to everything else (surely not) but that could be a factor as well.
     
  11. Philothei

    Philothei Love never fails

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    I agree with Devin there are canons that would not allow the priest to have a lay profession but they can still work with their Bishop's approval and blessing... And I know that Bishops nowadays are not too 'stubborn' and allow their priests to have a lay profession. In the old days it was not very well recieved with the Bishops... We have a say for this in Greece that we use it for priests also for people who have two professions:
    " a farmer or a priest" I think that saying came after the priests became civil servants.... For they were also farmers in the old days when there was not a salary attached to the priesthood.
     
  12. 88Devin07

    88Devin07 Orthodox Catholic Church

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    Yes, well and here in Greece (I'm studying here for a few months), the Priests are paid their salary by the government, which is roughly equivalent to that of a teacher.
    In non-Orthodox countries, this isn't so, and the Priest must (usually) be paid by the Parish. So at times, the Priest may not be able to earn enough of a salary in order to properly care for his family.

    But as mentioned, there are certain guidelines I think that Priests are having to follow (due to various canons), but none of them say they cannot work period.
     
  13. Michael G

    Michael G Abe Frohmann

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    I know a deacon in Ohio who is vice-president of a bank. Banks charge interest on loans.
     
  14. Michael G

    Michael G Abe Frohmann

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    The thing I dislike MOST about canons is people cite them all of the time, but they are never able to cite the council/bishop/etc that wrote the canon.
     
  15. 88Devin07

    88Devin07 Orthodox Catholic Church

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    The canon about usury is pretty well known (I thought), and can be found in the First Council of Nicaea in Canon 17...
     
  16. Michael G

    Michael G Abe Frohmann

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    I guess the canon on usury does not apply to deacons, or the OCA is pretty lax on that one.
     
  17. Khaleas

    Khaleas Also known as Jenn the Finn :)

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    A lot of canon stuff is also given economia because of the lack of priests... (or the unwillingness of priests to move)
     
  18. Antony in Tx

    Antony in Tx a sinner

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    You know it's hard out here for a priest
    When he tryin' to get the money for the lease
    For the minivan and gas money spent
    Because a whole lot of people breakin' Lent


    :cool:
     
  19. Macarius

    Macarius Progressive Orthodox Christian Supporter

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    tell me there is more of that.

    there needs to be more of that.
     
  20. Antony in Tx

    Antony in Tx a sinner

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    Nope...started thinkin' of Three 6 (who could NOT be Priests), and made up this version of the chorus while reading this thread.

    :cool:
     
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