Monday, June 17, 2013

The priesthood in a jurisdictional world

The Orthodox Leader has a new post entitled "The Orthodox Priesthood: Every Man for Himself?". After reading it I thought what the current jurisdictional construction affords priests in bad situations and what a post-jurisdictional/Chamb├ęsy America would mean to these men. Right now a priest who is being treated poorly can jump ship and serve another jurisdiction. Where will a priest in the new, unified episcopal assembly configuration go if things aren't fixed before the merger?

This return to blogging after hiatus is occasioned by a simple recollection of experiences as an Orthodox priest. The following are stories from friends and acquaintances. Not a one of these is fictitious.

I am familiar with one priest whose parish leadership has repeatedly refused to pay for him to attend diocesan assemblies and pastoral gatherings. The same parish has previously objected to paying housing costs for the priest who is otherwise meagerly compensated.

I am familiar with a second priest in another jurisdiction and diocese whose leadership has done likewise. This parish has also been resistant to structuring parish finances to allow for a gradual shift to full compensation for this priest.

Other priests have taken on bullies in their parishes, only to receive disciplinary letters for telling the bullies to apologize.

Another brother was routinely berated and slandered by his own dean, shattering every attempt to build up a new parish as rumors took hold, such that he finally departed the diocese.

Yet another brother was the victim of an ugly alliance between a controlling layman and the rector of the parish, resulting in the priest’s “termination” (!) without any compensation or any means to provide for his family. He, too, left his diocese.

I know of three priests, all acquaintances, who were removed from their parishes by their bishops for the sole reason that they were not of a particular ethnic heritage. The parishes were healthy and growing at the time of their removal. Instead, the priests had to relocate (at considerable cost), to say nothing of coping with the upheaval of family life...

Complete post here.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know that things will be fixed this side of heaven, anyway. Guaranteed recourse, due process, etc. are not guaranteed in a unified church whether old or new, if this article is to be believed. My brother posted the Romanian version today on Facebook. The google-translated page is rather rough (as it attempts to translate names and has other difficulties), but you can get the gist: