Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The Church and IVF

As I have said in the past, murkiness on this topic leads to real world "shopping" for the answer couples want. I know people who have gone from priest to priest looking for a clergyman who will give them the "go" for what they want to do. Our technological abilities continue to outstrip our ability to articulate moral guidelines and boundaries on bio-ethical topics. It is issues such as this that the Church should come together on and find some agreement because, in the absence of a clear decisions, we no longer provide a compass or map to our people. Instead, we give unclear hand gesture-level directions more akin to how to get to the local Target than real guidance anyone can rely on.


(ROC) - Pastoral necessity has forced a conversation within the Church on the permissibility of modern biotechnology and practices, as well as the examination of other issues on bioethics, believes the metropolitan of Volokolamsk Hilarion.

In speaking on the Church and the World TV programme about the draft document entitled ‘The Ethical Dilemmas of Intro Viral Fertilization’, which is to be presented at the Church’s Inter-conciliar Presence, His Eminence noted: “This is a document for discussion, and it states that within the Russian Orthodox Church there exist differing viewpoints on this issue. There are those who believe that IVF is wrong under any circumstances. There is the point of view (which the document reflects) that under certain circumstances intro viral fertilization is quite possible.”

Among those conditions are, so His Eminence stated, the ban on the killing of ‘excess’ embryos or their cryopreservation to be used as donor gametes. I might also add the indeterminate "cold storage"of embryos so that they rest in limbo for years or even decades.

“The document came into being within the Inter-conciliar Presence at the commission for theology and theological education, which I head. The subject of bioethics runs like a thread through the commission: we take one bioethical issue after another, discuss it and then prepare draft documents,” said metropolitan Hilarion.

He said that it was a very sensitive and complex question as to where to establish the boundaries in the sphere of biotechnology.

Describing how this issue is discussed at the Inter-conciliar Presence of the Russian Orthodox Church, His Eminence noted: “I have to admit that for us this is a very difficult issue because, for example, how can I – a church minister and a monk – have anything realistically to say on giving birth to children, on donor cells and so on? Of course, one may learn a thing or two from the literature on the topic, but in order to give competent answers we have to turn to experts in the field. We have invited such experts and they participate in the discussions at the preparatory stages. Moreover, we invite our own priests and lay people who are specialists in this area.”

At the same time the bishop emphasized that the discussion of these topics “is in no way caused by the desire to create a theoretical basis for a definite practice, but by a lively and relevant pastoral necessity.”

Reminding viewers that even among the members of the commission there was no unanimous viewpoint on the issue of IVF, the bishop noted: “We prepared this document and expounded within it the existing viewpoints, and now the Church is faced with the task of determining whether IVF is permissible under certain conditions or whether it is impermissible no matter what the circumstances.”

Assyrian Church to elect new Patriarch


 

No Other Foundation: The Armenian Church's Early Centuries

(YouTube) - This 8-week course is team-taught by Dr. Roberta Ervine and Sdn. Andrew Kayaian.  Participants explore issues that faced Armenia's nascent Christianity, the situations and people that drove those issues, and the solutions attempted by the Church's first hierarchs.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Thou shalt have no other gods before me...

... or, if in a photograph, behind thee either.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Important words from Bp. Mark of Philadelphia

I was appalled to read a recent editorial insisting that all people wanting to return to mass (it was an at least ostensibly Catholic publication) must first be vaccinated with these new treatments. A surprising pronouncement considering that even our military personnel aren't being compelled to do so. And yet even some of our Orthodox camps are discussing "requirements" for counselor and staff positions this summer. I pray the Episcopal Assembly takes up the below wording as a pan-Orthodox level.


(OCA-DEPA) TO BE READ FROM THE PULPIT, PUBLISHED IN THE BULLETIN AND POSTED ON PARISH WEBSITES

Dear to God,

Christ is in our midst! Greetings as we begin the third week of Great Lent. I pray your

Lenten Journey is proving fruitful.

The past year has truly been a rollercoaster ride for all of us and we need to be mindful and

considerate of those suffering from isolation, fear, anxiety, depression, substance abuse and loneliness, as well as those who have lost loved ones. Additionally, divisions occurred as people lost the ability to discuss differing opinions on a variety of matters. Hopefully, we are encouraged by the drastic decrease in the number of hospitalizations and deaths attributed to COVID 19 since mid-January, even before significant numbers were administered the experimental COVID 19.

On January 22, 2021 the Assembly of Bishops issued a Statement Regarding Developments in Medicine: COVID-19 Vaccines & Immunizations. The fourth paragraph explicitly states, “We therefore encourage all of you – the clergy and the lay faithful of our Church – to consult your physicians in order to determine the appropriate course of action for you, just as you do for surgeries, medications, and vaccinations, in cancer treatments and other ailments.”

Each person must prayerfully consider what the correct course of action is. As your Bishop, I insist each of you respect the conscience and privacy of your brothers and sisters in Christ. No one is to be asked if he or she has or has not received the injections. No one is to be denied full participation in the Divine Services or parish life regardless of his or her decision. No one should be judged or criticized one way or the other.

Let us continue the Fast focusing on drawing nearer to Christ the Source of Life and to one another.

Your unworthy father in Christ,

+ MARK, Archbishop of Philadelphia and the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania

Episcopal Assembly expresses concern over "Equality Act"

(EA) - We, the Executive Committee of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the United States of America, affirm that all human beings should be treated with dignity and respect, as all are made in the image of God. Indeed, the principle of human equality has its origins in Christianity and is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States, which rightly prescribes that every person must receive equal treatment under the law.

Consequently, we are deeply concerned about the proposed federal “Equality Act,” which would erode religious liberty for both individuals and organizations, including Orthodox Christian jurisdictions, parishes, and faithful. The supporters of this Act, in their desire to promote equality, ultimately infringe upon the religious liberty of Americans to live according to their faith – a right protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Throughout the United States, Orthodox jurisdictions and parishes have ministries, organizations, and facilities through which they provide many beneficial services to the public. All of these ministries, organizations, and facilities would be directly and negatively affected by the “Equality Act” as written.  Furthermore, the expansive nature of the Act would affect the lives and careers of many thousands of religious people in America, including Orthodox faithful. All of this is in addition to the broader impact that the Act would have on American society, moving it further away from the traditional and normative moral and ethical foundations, as well as deepening painful divisions that already exist in the country.

As Orthodox Christian bishops, charged by our Savior Jesus Christ to shepherd His flock, we will continue to uphold and proclaim the moral teachings of the Church. We call upon all Orthodox Christians to remain firm in the Orthodox Faith. We also call upon our nation’s civic leaders to uphold, and not infringe upon, the religious freedom guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and to continue to extend the protections afforded by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Serbian Church sends clear message on same-sex unions legislation

(SOC) - The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church submitted objections and opinions on the draft law on same-sex unions to the Government of the Republic of Serbia in a timely manner and within the period prescribed by law.

The mentioned bill for the Serbian Orthodox Church is unacceptable, because the vast majority of the proposed provisions are in contradiction with the Gospel of Christ and the overall experience and practice of the Church on which our Serbian people, as well as the entire European civilization, are spiritually and morally based.

It is inadmissible to legally equate same-sex unions with marriage and the family, as stated in the text of the Draft Law, because marital union is discriminated in this way, as a Christian and legally protected value. The Church respects the freedom that God has given us and understands the human aspiration to express its freedom in different ways.

The Holy Synod of Bishops agrees that there is a need to exercise certain personal, property and other rights of those treated by the draft law, but pointed out the possibility that they are exercised in the legal order of the Republic of Serbia entirely administratively, without interfering with marital and family legislation.

The Holy Synod of Bishops emphasizes that it accepts and promotes dialogue, as the only and necessary way to find a solution regarding all issues of general social importance, as well as on this issue that has caused great concern.

The Holy Synod of Bishops expressed the expectation that the arguments of the Serbian Orthodox Church on this issue will be respected.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Ann Arbor Orthodox Classical Academy

The mission of Ann Arbor Orthodox Classical Academy is to provide a classical education in an Orthodox Christian environment, allowing our students to grow to their full human and spiritual potential, with the ability to engage society as mature followers of Jesus Christ. Find out more here.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Every quotable Proverbs

Many years ago I had If—by Rudyard Kipling written up with illustrations from a friend of mine in Dallas. The large framed work sits in our boys' room and brings a smile to my face when I read a bit of it in passing. In a similar vein, my godfather often speaks about the need to read Proverbs daily. In much the same way waves will make their impressions felt on the shore, quotidian Proverbs reading does much good for the soul of man.


I ordered this bit of calligraphy from EleniSigns on Etsy (I even ordered a few extras for upcoming Baptismal gifts). She allows for quite a bit of customization and it got to me quite speedily. So, if you'd like to support an Orthodox woman bringing a bit of beautifully appointed wisdom to the world, give her a try.


The Synodikon of the 7th Ecumenical Council

(SOC) - The text of the Synodikon of Orthodoxy has been much altered over the centuries, chiefly by the addition of material and names that postdate the Restoration of the Icons in 843. This is the case with the text that is printed in the current Triodia. Some of the more zealous contemporary Orthodox even include condemnations of such things as the ‘pan-heresy of Ecumenism‘. It is probably impossible to reconstruct the original text exactly. However the British Library possesses a manuscript, (BL. Additional 28816) written in 1110 or 1111 by a monk Andrew of the monastery of Oleni in Moraea, which may give some idea of the scope and contents of the original. In the opinion of Jean Gouillard, the editor of the critical edition of the Synodikon, ‘the London manuscript is certainly one of the best witnesses to the primitive and purely Constantinopolitan form of the Synodikon’. The manuscript was unknown to him when he prepared his edition and has in consequence been generally neglected.

This text of the Synodikon is written at the end of a manuscript of the Acts, Epistles and Apocalypse, with the somewhat misleading title ‘Definition [Horos] of the 7th Holy Synod’. The text of the Synodikon is finely written in red and black and is provided throughout with ekphonetic notation. The text was, therefore, intended to be solemnly chanted, like the Apostle or Gospel, and not simply read. A number of names, in particular those of Symeon Stylites and Theodore the Studite, are given special prominence. The words ’God will give their kingdom peace. Heavenly King, protect those on earth!’ are, it seems, peculiar to this manuscript. The seven numbered paragraphs are so numbered in the margin of the manuscript.

What is normally prayed on the Sunday of Orthodoxy is the following paragraph:

As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers express in dogma, as the inhabited world understands together with them, as grace illumines, as the truth makes clear, as error has been banished, as wisdom makes bold to declare, as Christ has assured, so we think, so we speak, so we preach, honouring Christ our true God, and his Saints, in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in icons, worshipping and revering the One as God and Lord, and honouring them because of their common Lord as those who are close to him and serve him, and making to them relative veneration.

This is the faith of the Apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the Orthodox; this faith makes fast the inhabited world.

But, revealing my perversity, the fun stuff is in the anathemas!

So, below the jump are selections of the anathemas.

On everything that has been written or spoken against the holy Patriarchs Germanus, Tarasius, Nicephorus and Methodius, Ignatius, Photius, Nicephorus, Antony and Nicolas:

Anathema!

On every innovation and action contrary to the tradition of the Church, and the teaching and pattern of the holy and celebrated Fathers, or anything that shall be done after this:

Anathema! . . .

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

World’s oldest known monastery discovered in Egypt


(Basilica) - A Franco-Norwegian team led by Romanian archaeologist Victor Ghica discovered in Egypt the oldest archaeologically attested monastic site in the world. The site is 370 kilometers sud-west of Cairo and it dates back to the 4th century.

The discovery made at Tall Ğanūb Qaṣr al-‘Ağūz, in the al-Bahariya oasis, certifies that Christian monasticism was born in the Egyptian Desert, as the Tradition of the Church has always taught.

The archaeologists discovered “six sectors constructed predominantly of basalt blocks and mud” and “a number of buildings which are dug partially, or completely, in the bed-rock,” including “clusters of living spaces for monks.”

Four of the six buildings complexes that compose the site were found in an exceptional state of preservation, with all the walls intact.

The walls of four of the rooms, including the walls of one of the churches, are completely covered with religious texts written in Greek, including a passage from Evagrius and another one from Ephrem the Syrian’s Sermo asceticus.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Some context for Cheesefare

(OMSGSA) - On the same day, we commemorate the banishment of Adam, the First-formed man, from the Paradise of delight.

Let the world lament bitterly with our first ancestors,

for it fell together with those who fell by a sweet repast.

Our Holy Fathers appointed this commemoration before the Holy Fast, as if to show in actual fact how beneficial the medicine of fasting is to human nature, and also how great is the shame of gluttony and disobedience. Passing over all the individual sins committed in the world on account of him, as being without number, the Fathers set forth how much evil Adam, the first-formed man, suffered from not fasting even for a brief time, and how much evil he thereby brought upon our race, clearly pointing out also that the virtue of fasting was the first commandment that God gave to mankind. Not keeping this commandment, but yielding to his belly, or rather, through Eve, to the deceitful serpent, Adam not only did not become God, but also incurred death and transmitted corruption to the whole human race.

Because of the self-indulgence of the first Adam, the Lord fasted for forty days and was obedient. For this reason, the present Holy Fast was designed by the Holy Apostles, in order that we might enjoy incorruption, through fasting, by keeping the commandment which he did not keep, thereby suffering the loss of incorruption. Furthermore, as we said previously, the aim of the Saints is to encompass in brief the works wrought by God from the beginning to the end. Since Adam’s transgression and his expulsion from the Paradise of delight were the cause of all our woes, for this reason they now set this transgression before us, so that, remembering it, we might avoid it and not in any way emulate his incontinence.

Adam was fashioned by the hand of God on the sixth day, being honored with His image through the Divine breath and at once receiving the commandment, concerning which fruits he should eat and which he should not, and he spent up to six days in Paradise; then, when he transgressed this commandment, he was driven out thence. Philo the Hebrew says that Adam spent a hundred years in Paradise; others say that he was there for seven days or seven years, because the number seven is accorded special honor. But that Adam stretched out his hands and touched the fruit at the sixth hour is shown by Christ, the New Adam, Who stretched out His hands on the Cross at the sixth hour and on the sixth day, remedying Adam’s destructive action.

Adam was created in between corruption and incorruption in order that, in whichever direction he should incline by his choice, he might gain the object of his desire. Now, it was possible for God to make him sinless; but in order that he might achieve this by his own choice, God gave him a law that he could touch all of the plants except one. By this we may perhaps understand the knowledge of Divine power that derives from all created things, but in no way knowledge of God’s nature, as does Saint Gregory the Theologian, who reasons that the former are the Divine conceptions, while the latter is the vision of God. That is, God allowed Adam to meditate on all the other elements and the other qualities, to recall them to mind, and to glorify God thereby—for this is what constitutes delight—and perhaps also to meditate on his own nature, but in no way to inquire into God, Who He is by nature, where He is, and how He brought the universe into existence from non-being. But Adam, leaving all the rest aside, inquired rather into God and scrutinized precisely the Divine nature, though he was still imperfect and very simple, and an infant in such matters; he fell after Satan suggested to him, through Eve, fantasies of deification. The great and Divine Chrysostomos says that that tree had a twofold power and that Paradise was on earth; he reasons that it was both noetic and sensible, just as Adam was, midway between corruption and incorruption, at the same time preserving the meaning of Scripture and not adhering to the letter.

Some say that that tree of disobedience was a fig-tree, and that, immediately becoming aware of their nakedness, Adam and Eve used its leaves to cover themselves. For this reason, Christ cursed the fig-tree as being the cause of their transgression. For the fig bears some resemblance to sin: first, it is sweet; secondly, its leaves feel rough; and thirdly, it is viscous on account of its juice. There are others who have understood—though incorrectly—that that tree represents Adam’s intercourse with Eve. After transgressing, then, Adam clothed himself in mortal flesh and received the curse, and was cast out of Paradise, and the Cherubim were assigned to guard its gate with a fiery sword. Adam sat before Paradise and bewailed how many good things he had been deprived of because he had not fasted for a time, and the entire race that sprang from him was subject to the same misery, until He Who created us, taking pity on our nature which Satan had corrupted and being born of the Holy Virgin, by His excellent way of life showed us the true way, through virtues that are contrary to Satan, namely, fasting and humility, and, having artfully overcome the one who had deceived us, led us back to our ancient dignity.

Wishing to present all these things to us, therefore, the God-bearing Fathers, through the entire Triodion, set forth the events of the Old Testament. First of these is the creation, and Adam’s fall from Paradise, which we are now commemorating, and then they set forth the rest, through the books of Moses and the Prophets and the words of David, and then, in order, the events of the New Testament, that of Grace. First of these is the Annunciation, which took place by God’s ineffable OEconomy, and which almost always falls within the Holy Fast. They continue with Lazarus Saturday, Palm Sunday, and Holy and Great Week, when the Holy Gospels are read, and the Holy and saving Passion of Christ, which is the subject of exquisite hymns; and then, with the Resurrection and the other Feasts, until the descent of the Holy Spirit, concerning which the Book of Acts relates how the Gospel was proclaimed and how the Spirit gathered all the Saints together; for the Acts of the Apostles confirms the Resurrection through the miracles worked by the Apostles. Since we have suffered such misery on account of Adam’s failure to fast just once, his commemoration is assigned to the beginning of the Holy Fast, in order that, remembering how much evil was brought about by not fasting, we might be eager to welcome the Fast with exceeding joy and to keep it, so that we might thereby gain what Adam missed, that is, deification, by lamenting, fasting, and humbling ourselves until God visits us; for without these things, it is not easy for us to gain what we lost.

It should be known that this Holy and Great Fast constitutes a tenth of the entire year; for since, out of slothfulness, we do not choose always to fast and to refrain from evildoing, the Apostles and the Divine Fathers handed down this Fast as a time of spiritual harvest, in order that, humbling ourselves now through contrition and fasting, we may blot out whatever wicked deeds we have committed during the course of the year, and we ought to keep this Fast more strictly than the others. But we should also keep the three other Fasts, those of the Apostles, the Theotokos, and the Nativity, which the Divine Fathers have bequeathed to us. We accord greater honor to this Fast on account of the Holy Passion, and because Christ fasted for forty days and, overcoming the Tempter, was glorified, and Moses, after fasting for forty days, received the Law, as did Elias and Daniel and all of the others who found favor with God. That fasting is a good practice is shown by the contrary example of Adam. For this reason, therefore, Adam’s banishment from Paradise was placed here by the Holy Fathers.

In Thine ineffable compassion, O Christ our God, vouchsafe us the delight of Paradise, and have mercy on us, O Thou Who alone lovest mankind. Amen.

Catechetical Homily at the Opening of Holy and Great Lent

I found this homily to be quite readable. I even sampled from it last Sunday. Often the Phanar puts out festal messages laced with words that exist in English, but only just. Not so here. This one is very approachable. Give it a read.


(GOARCH) - "By God’s mercy Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome And Ecumenical Patriarch to the plenitude of the Church, May the grace and peace of our Lord and savior jesus christ, together with our prayer, blessing and forgiveness be with you all"

Most honorable brothers and blessed children in the Lord,

With the good-will and grace of God, the giver of all good things, we are entering Holy and Great Lent, the arena of ascetic struggles. The Church knows the labyrinths of the human soul and the thread of Ariadne, the way out of all impasse – humility, repentance, the power of prayer and the sacred services of contrition, fasting that eliminates the passions, patience, obedience to the rule of piety. And so the Church invites us once again this year to a divinely inspired journey, whose measure is the Cross and whose horizon is the Resurrection of Christ.

The veneration of the Cross in the middle of Holy and Great Lent reveals the meaning of this whole period. The word of our Lord echoes strikingly: “Whoever desires to follow me … let them lift their cross each day and follow me” (Lk 9.23). We are called to lift our own cross, following the Lord and beholding His life-giving Cross, with the awareness that the Lord is the one that saves and not the lifting of our cross. The Cross of the Lord is “the judgment of our criteria,” “the judgment of the world,” and at the same time the promise that evil in all its forms does not have the final word in history. In looking to Christ and under His protection, as the One who permits our struggle, while blessing and strengthening our effort, we fight the good fight, “afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor 4.8–9). This is the experiential quintessence also during the present period of the Cross and the Resurrection. We are on a journey to the Resurrection through the Cross, through which “joy has come to the whole world.”

Some of you may wonder why the Church, in the midst of the current pandemic, would add to the already existing health restrictions yet another “quarantine,” namely Great Lent. Indeed, Great Lent is also a “quarantine,” a period that lasts forty days. Nevertheless, the Church does not aim to weaken us further with additional obligations and prohibitions. On the contrary, it calls us to give meaning to the quarantine that we are living as a result of the coronavirus, through Great Lent, as liberation from enslavement to “the things of our world.”

Today’s Gospel reading establishes the conditions of this liberation. The first condition is fasting, not in the sense of abstaining only from specific foods, but also from those habits that keep us attached to the world. Such abstinence does not comprise an expression of contempt of the world, but a necessary precondition for reorienting our relationship with the world and for experiencing the unique joy of discovering the world as the domain of Christian witness. This is why, even during this stage of fasting, the approach and experience of the life of the faithful have a paschal dimension, the taste of the Resurrection. The “Lenten atmosphere” is not depressing, but joyous. It is the “great joy” that was proclaimed as good news by the angel “to all people” at the birth of the Savior (Lk 2.10). This is the unwavering “fulness of joy” (1 Jn 1.4) of life in Christ. Christ is always present in our life – He is closer to us than we are to ourselves – all the days of our life, “unto the end of the ages” (Mt 28.20). The life of the Church is an unshakeable witness to the grace that has come and to the hope of the Kingdom, to the fullness of revelation of the mystery of the Divine Economy.

Faith is the response to God’s loving condescension to us; it is the “Yes” of our whole existence to Him, who “bowed the heavens and descended” in order to redeem the human race “from the slavery of the enemy” and in order to open for us the way toward deification through grace. The sacrificial love for the neighbor and the “care” for the whole creation spring from and are nurtured by this gift of grace. If this charitable love for others and the god-pleasing concern for creation are absent, then my neighbor becomes “my hell” and creation is abandoned to irrational forces, which transform it into an object of exploitation and into a hostile environment for humankind.

The second condition of the liberation promised by Great Lent is forgiveness. Oblivion of divine mercy and God’s ineffable beneficence, breach of the Lord’s commandment that we should become “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Mt 5.13-14), and a false transformation of the Christian way of life: to all of these attitudes leads a “closed spirituality” that thrives on the denial and rejection of the “other” and of the world, wipes out love, forgiveness and the acceptance of the different. Yet, this barren and arrogant attitude of life is denounced emphatically by the word of the Gospel on the first three Sundays of the Triodion.

It is known that such extremes are especially prevalent during periods when the Church invites its faithful to spiritual discipline and vigilance. However, the authentic spiritual life is a way of internal renewal, an exodus from our selves, a loving movement toward our neighbor. It is not based on syndromes of purity and exclusion, but on forgiveness and discernment, doxology and thanksgiving, according to the experiential wisdom of the ascetic tradition: “It is not food, but gluttony that is evil … not speaking, but idle speech … not the world, but the passions.”

With this attitude and these sentiments,  And we ask for your beseeching supplications, too, for the reopening of the Sacred Theological School of Halki, after a long period of fifty years that has passed since its silence was imposed externally and fully unjustly, as we welcome Holy and Great Lent in the Church, singing and chanting together “God is with us,” to Whom belongs the glory and might to the endless ages. Amen!

Holy and Great Lent 2021


✠ BARTHOLOMEW of Constantinople

Fervent supplicant for all before God

Thursday, March 11, 2021

The foundation, challenges, & future of the Diocese of Miami

Bless Thine Inheritance is a short film that captures stories of the foundation, challenges, and future of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast. By capturing these stories, we can both preserve and learn from our past, and set a vision for our future. For more information, visit DOMSE.org.

Again & Again: St. John of Shanghai and the ordinand

 From a favorite blog of mine Again & Again, a post entitled "Priest Vows."


Orthodox Tradition, a periodical of the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies in Etna, California (Vol. XXXIV, No. 3, p34-35) published the following “examination” which St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco would give to potential candidates for ordination. Besides the personal information required, the candidate was to affirm the following statements:

  1. I have no physical infirmities which would be an impediment to my sacred service, nor do I have any contagious illness or incurable disease. I am of the Orthodox faith and have no relationship with schismatic or heretical groups.
  2. I am in a first marriage with [name], daughter of [parent’s names], a virgin of Orthodox faith, blameless and of virtuous conduct.
  3. I accept ordination to [rank of Priesthood] only for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, of my own free will, and with the sincere intention to serve the holy Church, and not for any profit.
  4. I accept the obligation to perform all liturgical services or prayers according to the rules of the Church, piously, contenting myself with the salary assigned to me and the freewill gifts of my parishioners, never extorting payment for special services. I promise always to perform divine services on Sundays and Holy Days, not only the Divine Liturgy, but also the other services prescribed by the rubrics.
  5. I promise to wear the dress proper to the clergy, not to cut my hair or beard, to observe the Fasts of the Orthodox Church, not to smoke, not to indulge in drunkenness or gambling, and in general to conduct myself as befits a clergyman, taking care not to compromise my high position, and not to scandalize the faithful by unbecoming behavior.
  6. I will direct my home life and raise my children as befits a servant of the Altar, according to the Christian faith and in the fear of God.
  7. I will celebrate the services connected with the Sacraments always with the necessary preparation, piously and with the fear of God. In the holy Altar and in the Church generally, I will conduct myself in accordance with the holiness of the place, instructing others as well to be respectful of this holiness.
  8. In my service I will never forget that a clergyman may do nothing without the sanction of his Bishop. I promise to be obedient to the ecclesiastical authorities and act according to the Canons of the Holy Apostles, of the Ecumenical and Local Councils and the teachings of the Holy Fathers.
  9. As a constant reminder of the high office that I am accepting and to kindle in me the gift of the Grace of Holy Orders, I promise to fill the time that I am free from services by reading the Holy Scriptures, the works of the Holy Fathers, and studying the “Typicon”.