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BOR – Divorced and/or Remarried Priests

Author: Patriarch (Patriarhul) Daniel
March 15, 2010
Decision # 1092 - Feb. 24, 2010.

Unofficial translation of excerpts from BOR’s Holy Synod Decision #1092 issued Feb. 24, 2010.

Your Eminence,

With brotherly love, we announce that the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church [BOR], in its Feb. 11, 2010 working session, examined … the status of divorced priests and/or divorced and remarried priests, and this in the context of developing a unified and obligatory set of measures to be adopted in these situations across all eparchies of the Romanian Patriarchate …

…The Chancery of the Holy Synod has determined that as of 2009, there are 570 priests that are divorced priests and/or divorced and remarried priests, and only 39 have received any kind of penalty for what had transpired, which is over 3.5% of all BOR priests who are not monks; a serious situation in terms of the level of morality of priests …

… As a consequence of the discussions and suggestions regarding this issue and at the given the recommendations of the Commission regarding canonical and juridical discipline, the Holy Synod has decided:

1) Their Eminences and local Bishops are obliged to strictly respect the Canons, constitutional and in the form of church rules, which do not admit the remarriage of clergy, and this in all cases.

2) No local Bishop is permitted to apply any form of dispensation, and this as of the date of adoption and communication of this Holy Synod decision, in regards clergy that are divorced or divorced and remarried, inasmuch as these are to be sanctioned by lowering their rank, or even by defrocking.  The same measure will apply to widowed priests who are remarried.

3) In an attempt to strengthen the stability of the Christian family, and to further develop discipline and morality in clergy ranks, as well as diminishing the cases that negatively impact church life and activity, the following measures are approved which focus on canonical regulations, constitutional and in the form of church rules, that apply to divorced clerics, divorced and remarried clerics, as well as widowed priests having remarried:

a) Divorced clerics, divorced and remarried clerics, as well as those widowed and having remarried, are not permitted to occupy leadership positions in church administration, either at the Deanery, Eparchial or Patriarchal level;

b) Divorced clerics, divorced and remarried clerics, as well as those widowed and having remarried, are not permitted to occupy the position of Parish Priest, which is a position of leadership, in parishes where there are multiple priests.  In rural parishes, in this very special case, this type of priest is kept on as Parish Priest, however he will not be promoted to superior category parishes;

c) Divorced clerics, divorced and remarried clerics, as well as those widowed and having remarried, cannot ask to be promoted to other parishes, cannot be proposed to receive, nor are they allowed to receive higher church titles/levels;

d) Divorced clerics, divorced and remarried clerics, as well as those widowed and having remarried, cannot be accepted and cannot function in pre-university or university theological teaching places;

e) Divorced clerics, divorced and remarried clerics, as well as those widowed and having remarried, cannot ask to be moved from one eparchy to another without at least being under special observation regarding their canonical situation and the mentioning of this in their personal file;

f) Divorced clerics, divorced and remarried clerics, as well as those widowed and having remarried, cannot perform the Sacrament of Marriage alone, but only participate with other priests in the service, the exception being those priests functioning alone in rural parishes, and where it would be difficult to have a group of priests together.

4) Their Eminences and local Bishops will take measures to evaluate the situation of divorced priests, divorced and remarried priests, as well as widowed priests having remarried, taking the following into account: if it was an unsuccessful marriage with the wife having left her husband; or what are the results of the pastoral work undertaken; or if there is proof of pastoral- missionary qualities, or churchly behavior and good relations with the parish faithful; or if there exists a particularly outstanding theological background; or if there are children to be taken care of.

5) The results of this case by case evaluation, and in keeping with the Canons, and in order to impart pastoral and Christian pedagogy, their Eminences and local Bishops will find proper modalities for use of some of these priests, in church administration, in philanthropic activities, in cultural-educational activities, in state teaching positions, or in non-clergy positions like church singers.

6) Their Eminences and local Bishops have the canonical duty, both constitutional and following church rules, to apply this Holy Synod decision and to inform the Chancery of the Holy Synod before the next Synod meeting about the method of fulfilling the requirements of this Holy Synod decision, as well as formulating proposals to further complete/ complement this Holy Synod decision.

7) Also, before the next Holy Synod meeting, the eparchies are to complete a list, and forward it to the Holy Synod Chancery, of all divorced clergy, divorced and remarried clergy, as well as widowed clergy, underlining the following: family name and Christian name, date and place of birth, the year and motive for the divorce, the penalty attributed by the eparchy, the date of remarriage as recorded in the civil registry, the current situation given the application of the current Holy Synod decision.

8) The eparchies will table separately, also before the next Holy Synod meeting, the disciplinary measures that were applied to divorced priests, divorced and remarried priests, as well as widowed priests having remarried, explaining the rationale behind the respective measure, e.g. laying of blame or dispensation, and this for every case in question.

Bringing you up to date with this Holy Synod decision, we ask that you take the necessary measures to apply this decision in your eparchy, as well as communicating to the Holy Synod Chancery the situations requested at points 6-8 above.

With an in Christ brotherly embrace,

President of the Holy Synod


Patriarch of BOR

Secretary of the Holy Synod

+Ciprian Campineanu

Hierarchal Vicar of the Patriarchate

10 Comments to “BOR – Divorced and/or Remarried Priests”

  1. Peter Says:

    What an incredible display of dictatorial power; a strike against many honorable men; a swift turnaround going against decades of Episcopal kindness and understanding of priests’ human frailties; and why the rush now? BOR claims that there are about 570 such cases among their almost 17,000 priests, about 3.5%. Why such dramatic measures for such a relatively minor problem? Would it not have been a lot more equitable if these new rules would apply from now on? Why is the Patriarch intent on overturning Episcopal decisions and punishing those priests who have already been granted a formal, canonical and legal dispensation by their respective Diocesan Bishops? Why is the Patriarch so intent on overturning formal, canonical and legal dispensations granted by brother Bishops? As long as these cases are the exception, why focus on the remarriage of priests when the real problem lies elsewhere?

    If the Patriarch’s problem is, as claimed, a degradation of clergy morality, why does he focus only on divorced and re-married priests, and do so in such a vindictive way? What about clergy (Bishops, Priests and Deacons) homosexuality, clergy lawbreakers, clergy drunkenness or drug abuse, and clergy promiscuity of all types? There is an inconsistency in the Patriarchal message that is inexplicable.

  2. Viorel Says:

    “Clericii divortati sau divortati si recasatoriti, precum si cei vaduvi si recasatoriti nu pot ocupa postul de preot paroh”? Clerici care traiesc in adevarata imoralitate nici nu sunt mentionati aici! De ce oare?

    Si mai indraznim sa declaram ca “in scopul intaririi stabilitatii familiei crestine, a sporirii disciplinei si moralitatii in randul clerului, precum si a diminuarii cazurilor care influenteaza in mod negativ viata si activitatea bisericeasca, [se] aproba urmatoarele …” Chiar vrea Patriarhul sa dea impresia ca “clericii divortati sau divortati si recasatoriti, precum si cei vaduvi si recasatoriti” sunt cei care creaza aceasta mare problema in BOR? Sau cum spune un alt comentator aici, de ce nu se pomeneste de clerici care sunt homosexuali, clericii care traiesc in promiscuitate, hoti, cei care incalca legea, clerici care sunt betivani sau cei care abuzeaza de droguri? Nu, Patriarhul da impresia ca mai mare pacat este sa fie preotul recasatorit! Hai sa fim mai consecventi!

  3. Toma Says:

    Ma Viorele, trebuia sa fii tu episcop, sau preot, ca vad ca esti tare destept, si vad ca de criticat esti tare bun. Insa, din pacate, iti lipseste un ceva:
    educatia teologica si experienta pastorala!

  4. Viorel Says:

    Ma Toma, cel putin diploma mea nu vine din Constanta… Comentariul tau ce spune? Vrei neaparat sa-l aparam pe Patriarh chiar cand incearca sa ne puna pe pista gresita? Ma Toma, fii serios! Clerici homosexuali, clerici hoti, clerici condamnati de lege, clerici betivani, clerici care abuzeaza de droguri, clerici care molesteaza copii, clerici care traiesc in promiscuitate; oricare dintre ei fac pacate mult mai grave decat bietii preoti care au fost abandonati de preotese fara sa aiba nici o vina, sau care au ramas cu copii mici avand nevoie de o mama. Om fi noi creduli, dar nu toti suntem si prosti!

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Peter, I agree. Go after them ALL. Bishops need to follow and enforce the rules in Romania and here in USA too.

  6. Admininsrator Says:

    Yes, everyone needs policing, but the OCA seems to be the only church capable of cleaning house, at least in recent times, and this thanks to laity involvement, working together with clergy, in defense of the Church. All individual clergy, Bishops, Priests and Deacons, cannot be above the laws of the Church or indeed the laws of the land. Deacons and Priests are overseen by Bishops, and senior Bishops oversee lower-ranking Bishops, but who oversees the senior-most Bishops, if not Patriarchal or Metropolitan Councils made up of CLERGY AND LAITY. And when these Councils no longer have lay representation, what happens then? The eternal organizational problem remains: “WHO POLICES THE POLICE”? In our case, the only possible solution is the one that has historically worked throughout our 2,000 years of existence: COUNCILS made up of the children of God, clergy and laity together, they are ultimately called upon to oversee the main issues and the HOLY SPIRIT is called upon to help guide and lead the process. Anything else concentrates too much power in one earthly place and the ultimate result, because of human frailty, is often corruption. So, all of us, together, have a role to play in protecting our Church, clergy and laity alike.

  7. Toma Says:

    [Viorel], am impresia ca tu nu ai nici o diploma dragule, mai ales in Teologie. Vorbesti de zici ca tu ai pus coada la Prun. In primul rand, nu este locul tau sa judeci nici un cleric, ci datoria ierarhului. Ar fii bine sa nu te mai bagi unde nu iti fierbe tie oala. Ai venit in America si ti-ai luat-o in cap cu democratia atat de mult in cat crezi ca poti aplica ce vrei tu in Biserica. Ar trebuie sa te trezesti!

    Iar, in caz ca nu ai stiut, in Romania sunt si alte facultati de teologie, nu doar Constanta, cele dintre care sunt unele dintre cele mai bune din lume. Culmea culmelor ca oameni ca tine doar se folosesti de 99% dintre preotii care au fost formati in aceste facultati din Romania. Iar si daca aveai macar educatie teologica chiar si de la Constanta, nu ai scrie prostiile ce le scrii pe acest site. Se vede egoismul is Prostia.

  8. Viorel Says:

    Ma Toma, nu-mi spune ca tu ai vreo diploma in teologie, ca daca asa este, vreau sa stiu de unde o ai. Daca este din Constanta am inteles, dar daca este din alt loc, am sa fac reclamatie la Romania Libera sa vedem cat costa acea diploma din acea institutie! Sau, nu o fi din acele facultati de unde securistii in sutana erau fabricati?

    Ca exita facultati de teologie valabile in Romania, nici nu se discuta. Romania a produs preoti de calibru. Nu, aici este vorba de diploma ta, fiindca tu ai adus vorba de asa ceva! Totusi un lucru este clar. Se vede ca diploma mea este mai buna decat a ta! Nu-i asa?

  9. Toma Says:

    In primul rand [Viorel] pe tine nu te intereseaza de unde am eu diploma. Oricum, a mea exista, iar a ta, daca o ai, sunt sigur 100 % ca e cumparata. Probabil ca a ta este de la vreun institut protestant care te-a invatat numai prostii eretice, toate in condictie cu Ortodoxia. In acest caz, dragule, chiar si acea diploma de la Constanta, este mai valabila decat diploma ta de la protestanti.

    Intr-adevar, facultatile de teologie din Romania au produs, si continua sa produca preoti buni de valoare; preoti de care tu si aceasta episcopie se foloseste in continuare. OCA nu produce nici un preot. Episcopia noastra contine 99% preoti Romani. Cati teologi Americani avem noi in Episcopia noastra? Iti spun eu…nici unul. Cele mai multe erezii, mai mult ca in orice tara, sau produs aici in America. De asta sunt peste 1500 de secte. Asta e rezultatul democratie in biserica.

    OCA este compus de 50 la suta de ierarhi convertiti, si incerci sa spui acesti ierarhi nu au idei/conceptii catolice/protestante? Fii serios. In Biserica nu exista Democratie dragul meu. In Biserica exista TEOCRATIE. Biserica nu este condusa de oameni, ci este condusa de cler la care capul este insusi Iisus Hristos. Asa ca toate acestea, toate aburerile pe care le vorbesti tu si altii pe acest site, nu au nici o valoare. Sunt doar dorinte, pe care oamenii vor sa implice ca sa conduca Biserica.

    Biserica este teritoriala, intr-adevar; nimeni contesta asta. Faptul ca am apartine de BOR, nu are nici o legatura cu asta. Dece crezi ca in organizarea bisericii exista mitropolii, si episcopi locali? Doar de dragul de a exista? Ele exista tocmai pentru pentru conceptia teritoriului. Mitropolia noastra in america, condusa ierarhii nostrii implineste toate aceste regului cumprinse in coanoane.

    OCA nu apartine de moscova? Ei, asa vom fi si noi, insa cu ierarhii nostrii aici, si mitropolia noastra pe teritoriul american. Daca nu vrei sa faci parte in continuare de OCA cu legaturi cu Moscova bun frate. Da nu trage pe toti romanii in prapastie cu tine! Numai cei cu mintea bolnava nu intelege acestea. Daca nu intelegi, se vede ca nu ai nici o diploma nici macar aia de la Constanta. Aia de la protestanti frate, din pacate, nu are nici o valoare.

  10. Viorel Says:

    Ma Toma, oricare diploma “adevarata” este mai valoroasa decat una cumparata. PUNCT.

    Ca Biserica din America inca aduce preoti din alte tari este semnul ca Ortodoxia creste aici si ca acei preoti doresc sa traiasca aici si nu in tara lor natala. Oare de ce? Din ani in ani sunt mai multi Americani care merg la seminarele ortodoxe de aici si devin preoti aici. Astfel, cultura ortodoxa creste aici si vor fi din ce in ce mai multi preoti formati aici. Nu uita ca ortodoxia exista numai de 100 de ani aici si nu pana la 2000 de ani ca in tarile ortodoxe din lumea veche. In schimb, ortodoxia poate creste aici dar desigur diminueaza in Europa de Est unde vedem infiltrari protestante. De fapt, pentru fiecare misiune ortodoxa care se deschide aici, cate misiuni protestante s-au deschis cu noii veniti di Europa de Est dupa 1990? Oare de ce?

    Ca majoritatea Episcopilor din OCA sunt convertiti la ortodoxie chiar aici, in tara lor, este semnul ca acea Biserica ortodoxa este locala si vie. Toma, sa stii ca o Teocratie inseamna un Stat unde clericii conduc guvernul national. Nu are nimic de a face cu Biserica! (Vezi ca diploma mea este mai buna!)

    Toma, BOR are teritoriul - Romania si OCA - America. Crezi ca daca ar fi destui Americani ortodocsi la Bucuresti, +Daniel ar fi de acord sa se deschida o Biserica Ortodoxa Americana acolo? Desigur - Nu. Atunci, Toma, nu te mai folosi de astfel de logica circulara.

    OCA-ul nu apartine de Moscova fiindca Moscova i-a acordat Autocefalia in 1970! Parca nu stiai… Mai mult, IPS Valerian Trifa a spus ca aceasta alipire din 1970 era ireversibila. Trebuia sa stii asta cand ai intrat in ROEA-OCA. Daca nu iti mai convine, IPS Nicolae de la ROAA-BOR te asteapta. Cine te opreste?

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