May 21, 2024

True Orthodox Diocese of Western Europe

Russian True Orthodox Church (RTOC)

Bartholomew of Constantinople and His “Synod” Decides on Second Marriages for Priests!

2 min read

Will he leave anything the way it was?

Will he leave anything the way it was?

Guess what the “Holy Synod” of Constantinople decided again on its own?   To allow a second marriage to ordained priests!  This has always been prohibited in the Orthodox Church.  They have even gone so far as allowing divorced priests to remarry and continue to serve as priests as long as the case was that the priest’s wife was the one who abandoned him.

We read the article this morning on a Greek language religious site  This decision is called historic.  Yes, it is historic as it overturns the 2000 year history of the Orthodox Church.

The Canons of the Holy Apostles even prohibit “lighter” impediments to the priesthood.

Once someone is ordained he cannot marry.  This is clear from

Canon XXVI. (XXVII.) of the Holy Apostles which says, “Of those who have been admitted to the clergy unmarried, we ordain, that the readers and singers only may, if they will, marry.”

If only readers or singers can marry how much more so deacons and priests cannot.  And if they can’t perform a first marriage as clergymen already, how much more can’t they perform a second marriage?

Also the following Apostolic Canons speak about marriage and clergy.

Canon XVII.

He who has been twice married after baptism, or who has had a concubine, cannot become a bishop, presbyter, or deacon, or any other of the sacerdotal list.

Canon XVIII.

He who married a widow, or a divorced woman, or an harlot, or a servant-maid, or an actress, cannot be a bishop, presbyter, or deacon, or any other of the sacerdotal list.

Canon XIX.

He who has married two sisters, or a niece, cannot become a clergyman

The Tradition of our Church has always been absolute on this matter.

We advise people to accept the will of God.  What about the priest who either remains alone through becoming a widower or being deserted by his wife.  Shouldn’t he see this as God’s will and show patience or maybe God’s will for him to stop serving?

The “Holy Synod” of the Ecumenical Patriarchate went on to say that the wedding service of a priest ‘s second marriage will be different and like a simple prayer and refined to a family circle.

4 thoughts on “Bartholomew of Constantinople and His “Synod” Decides on Second Marriages for Priests!

  1. There are times when laws and rules have to be changed to be more in line with contemporary life. Divorce is part of todays life and is wide spread. Priests are not immune to the ways of todays world. I do not know much if anything of church cannon. Let’s leave that to the holy Synod. If this change becomes an avenue of priests to divorce for no other reason than divorce, let them control the situation. I believe that there are many more critical issues that have to be dealt with.

  2. Dear brother,
    What you said about “changing to be more in line with contemporary life” would be very true if you weren’t speaking about the Church. The role of the Church is to transform man and not to conform to the dictates of a fallen world. Divorce is a part of today’s sinful world but Christ says, ” I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:9). Please see today’s post-

  3. If the priest’s wife died or divorced him, I see no problem in allowing him to remarry. Once he marries is accepts he will never move much higher in the church. This is better than what happened years ago when a priest left his wife and married a young girl from our parish in a civil ceremony, later he divorced the second wife and went back to the first one. The church accepted him back, which upset many in our church’ This same priest had participated in an effort to oust our main priest. At the time I was active as a member of the church board and as president of our Senior GOYA group and was close to all involved. This hurt the church and all involved.

    1. Dear Thomas,
      You might not see any problem with it, but the Fathers of the Church, the Holy Canons of the Church and the more than 2000 year history of the Church did. It is not a case of “better”. It might seem better to die from sleeping pills than by having your throat cut, but neither one is a healthy situation. Your example of what happened at your Church is a horrible taste of the same thing. According to the Holy Canons (especially read St. Basil the Great on this), a priest who left his wife and joined himself to another woman (and actually dared to do so with a civil marriage!) can never serve as a priest again. “The ‘Church” that accepted him back had already begun to disrespect those established laws of God’s Church – a continuation of the same thing! When we believe we are wiser than 2000 years of Church councils and Holy Fathers we have certainly arrived at the end. The Holy Apostles were only 12 and they spread salvation throughout the world. The Church needs priests with the mindset of martyrs and that is what the Holy Canons seek.

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