Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Man wants to remarry, gets govt. involved

(YLE) - A former Orthodox minister has lodged a complaint with the Parliamentary Ombudsman, challenging the Orthodox church’s laws of celibacy. Kuisma Suopela filed the complaint after he was defrocked as deacon of the Oulu diocese when he married for a second time.

At the end of 2012 a bishop’s conference removed Suopela’s minister’s rights and demoted him to the level of a layman. The caucus deemed that according to the church’s celibacy laws, the widower priest should have lived a life of celibacy, rather than remarry.

While the Orthodox religion may ordain married men as priests, it bans ministers who become widowers from tying the knot a second time once they have been ordained.

“The bishops took the view than canonical law takes precedence over secular laws. On that basis they can bypass secular laws, violate workers rights and even basic human rights. We have to consider this. According to Orthodox canonical law – or rather the bishops interpret the canonical law such that – a widower priest should be celibate, nor can he remarry,” Suopela told Yle’s A-studio programme.

“The bishops interpret the canonical law on a case by case basis and I might even say they do so arbitrarily,” Suopela added.


  1. Please, where is YLE? I cannot discern the country from which this story originates. As a religious freedom junky, it matters to me.

  2. YLE appears to be a news outlet in Finland.
    The link attached to the Byztex story takes you to their page, which is in English.

    Here is the full address:

  3. If you google the former-priest's name you can find a number of news articles in Finnish in their regular newspapers about this. It is true.

  4. Nobody is forcing the man to remain Orthodox. If remarriage matters more to him than accepting Church teachings, he is free to change to another religion. I hope the courts would deem his a "frivolous lawsuit."

  5. To put it bluntly - and outside of the spiritual context: It's a stipulation of the job and he knew it when he signed up. If he didn't, he needed to read the fine print, i.e., the Holy Canons. Is he going to sue next because he isn't allowed to be a married bishop?
    God preserve us!

  6. We know that in the Romanian Orthodox church some divorced and widowed priests ahve been allowed to re-marry and continue as priests in rural areas. In other words under the radar. What about in Russia where the divorce rate is 70%? I only know about the Romanian Orthodox Church. But even in Romania, the church is trying to put a stop to this and sees it as an abuse to be corrected.