Friday, July 1, 2022

Clergy compensation in ROCOR

One of the most common things you will hear when someone is dissatisfied with his clerical predicament (often as a result of some absurdity at the patriarchal or local episcopal or even parish level) are the words "I'd go to ROCOR and get out of all this silliness, if they just paid anything." ROCOR is well known for paying almost (and sometimes not almost) nothing to their clergy. If you're interested in a paper on the topic, give On the Question of Clergy Compensation in The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia: Canonical Considerations from a student at Jordanville a try.

(ROCOR Studies) - From Holy Scripture, the canons, as well as the practices of other local Churches, it appears that “full time” clergy is and has been the customary practice of the Orthodox Church. The ROCOR’s practice of not providing any guidelines for clergy compensation and presumption of secular employment is therefore an exception to the norm, as attested to by Apostolic Canon VI and its analogues. Moreover, this default position places clergy in precarious circumstances that are viewed unfavorably by the canons. From the evidence cited above, it is difficult to support the notion that the ROCOR’s practice constitutes an imposition of monasticism on marriage and clergy, in so far as it was done, not out of a sense of false asceticism, but for reasons of practicality. Whether this precedent does effectively constitute such an imposition is a separate question. Thus, canon XIV of Gangra does not apply in this scenario. Another question, however, would be if the ROCOR’s practice in the long term does give rise to problematic attitudes which validate the status quo. In any case, the present condition in the ROCOR with respect to clergy compensation clearly constitutes a divergence from normative Apostolic and canonical practice...

Complete article here.


  1. The solution is ditching the dues system and teaching tithing.

    1. That's an interesting take. How would that address the fact that deacons in the US are almost never compensated, unlike their brothers, the priests?