(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.