Letter to the Editor: Widowed Priests Should Not Marry Again

Photo: Eurokinissi/Thanassis Kaliaras. File

In the editorial criticizing the ecclesiastical rule that a widowed priest should not remarry in the Greek Orthodox Church, the writer stated that it is an “illogical rule.” There are logical reasons why a Priest should not marry again. First, marriage in the current world involves dating; this would place many female parishioners in the uncomfortable position of having to turn down a Priest asking them out or refusing his advances. Second, couples go to the priest for counseling before and during marriage, a priest who winds up dating or marrying a woman he gave advice to will drive many away from the Church instead of into the Church. Also, in the Bible it states that “Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well” (1 Timothy 3:12). There are also quotes of other levels of clergy to also be “the husband of one wife” (Titus 1:6).

John Papas

Dumont, NJ

4 Comments

  1. I’m glad John took time to respond, albeit indirectly, to my personal issue about remarrying after a painful widowhood. I comment him for his knowledge of the Bible, unless his biblical references reflect the views of someone he consulted or discussed the subject with (priest, bishop, etc.). I say this because very few, if any, Orthodox parishioners are familiar with details like he is displaying.
    His arguments about consequences of my action on the Parish level are laughable, to say the least! My own parishioners were extremely happy to see me again optimistic and normal in every respect. I would like to remind John and everyone else that one thing that drives people away from the church is the scandalous and immoral way of some celibate (and some even married) priests. Would you, John, prefer that I remain a widowed priest and seek the companionship of women in secret, as some people, including some priests, do? I don’t know how old you are, if married or single, but I would recommend that you study more about human nature, about Religion and Sexuality. Through the centuries, our Orthodox Church has not faced these issue in a realistic way; instead, it is governed by a Canon Law system, which in many ways was composed a long time ago by narrow minded and myopic people. Do you know that during the first centuries of our Christian era bishops were married? Do you know that celibate clergy (bishops, archmandrites, etc) take the vow of of chastity and poverty and they belong to a monastery and not living the kind of life that our present day lead? What our Church has done to me is an outrageously criminal act by deciding my fate as a priest in Istanbul, without a shred of compassion, understanding, “agape!”

    1. Father, I am Accountant by trade. I have been married for more than 20 years. In the Greek Orthodox Church we have free will. The decision you choose to make, is your own, but there are choices in our Faith. Some Priests in a similar situation have voluntarily chosen to be returned to the status of Layman in order to remarry. I know people in a marriage who have had their own dilemma, if one spouse is unable or unwilling to be intimate with the other spouse. Do they divorce? Do they commit adultery? Do they live with the situation? I am not driven away by someone who sins, because I am certainly a sinner. The last thing I want to do is judge anyone. The writer of the editorial said that it is an “illogical rule”. I believe I have listed some logic in my editorial, if you do not agree; I am quite alright with that. In America we have free speech. I am familiar with the fact we had married bishops and it was changed. I wish you well.

  2. @ John Papas – Our free will is not a bi-product of the Greek Orthodox Church. Some would argue that under the present circumstances we have no free will in the Orthodox church. Just look at how empty our churches have become.

    Our free will is from the abundance of love that Almighty God has for His loving creation…
    The Greek Orthodox Church only exists because of the passion, crucifixion, and resurrection of Gods only begotten Son – Jesus Christ. Who, buy the way, forgave and embraced the biggest sinners of His day. Many of them became great Saints.

    Let Father Basil Serve…
    With love in Christ

  3. Before this “comment” section closes, I would like to thank again the publisher of the National Herald, as well as those who paid attention to my predicament and expressed their opinions.
    The basic issue remains: our Church leaders have no time for “little” things like my case; I will bother them no more! Peace, Grace, Love to all!

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