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Priestly celibacy/continence for married clergy in the early church

Daniel2:47

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After reading a traditionalist Catholic article, I am left feeling confused. They have produced a long list of quotations from various church fathers, councils and canons from 2nd through 7th centuries the that appear to show that whilst there were married clergy in the early church, they were expected to abstain from sexual intercourse with their wives once they became presbyters.

For instance (please visit the link for a full list):

"It has seemed good to absolutely forbid the bishops, the priests, and the deacons, i.e., all the clerics in the service of the sacred ministry, to have relations with their wives and procreate children; should anyone do so, let him be excluded from the honor of the clergy." Canon 33 of Council of Elvira, 305AD
"It is fitting, according to the Scripture, that a bishop be the husband of an only wife. But this being understood, it behooves consecrated men, and those who are at the service of God's cult, to abstain thereafter from conjugal intercourse with their wives. As to those who were not judged worthy of such a holy ministry, Scripture grants them [conjugal intercourse] while saying quite clearly to all that marriage is honorable and the nuptial bed is without stain, and that God judges profligates and adulterers." - Eusebius of Caesarea, 320AD
"The great Council has absolutely forbidden bishops, priests, and deacons - in other words, all members of the clergy - to have with them a sister-companion with the exception of a mother, a sister, an aunt, or, lastly, only those persons who are beyond any suspicion." - Canon 3 of Council of Nicaea, 325AD
"But ye know that the ministerial office must be kept pure and unspotted, and must not be defiled by conjugal intercourse; ye know this, I say, who have received the gifts of the sacred ministry, with pure bodies, and unspoilt modesty, and without ever having enjoyed conjugal intercourse. - Ambrose of Milan, 385AD
The bishops declared unanimously: It pleases us all that bishop, priest and deacon, guardians of purity, abstain from conjugal intercourse with their wives, so that those who serve the altar may keep a perfect chastity." - Canon 3 of Council of Carthage, 390
What are your thoughts on these quotations? I am a Protestant, so even the idea of a priesthood is still something I am beginning to come to terms with, but I am finding much in the Orthodox tradition that is attractive. However, how does the Eastern church defend married clergy in light of the various quotes listed?
 

Asteriktos

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Fwiw here are some thoughts about a few of them:

Daniel2:47 said:
They have produced a long list of quotations from various church fathers, councils and canons from 2nd through 7th centuries the that appear to show that whilst there were married clergy in the early church, they were expected to abstain from sexual intercourse with their wives once they became presbyters.
It is true that some areas held to this. The discipline of whether priests could have wives at all changed over time in the west, and also whether bishops could in both east and west, showing examples of how disciplinary practices changed. This is not especially important in itself for refuting the claims being made, but it's just a reminder that assembling a collection of quotes or historical examples does not necessarily explain properly the situation church-wide at that time. 

"It has seemed good to absolutely forbid the bishops, the priests, and the deacons, i.e., all the clerics in the service of the sacred ministry, to have relations with their wives and procreate children; should anyone do so, let him be excluded from the honor of the clergy." Canon 33 of Council of Elvira, 305AD
Since Catholic deacons are allowed to have wives, then seems like a questionable quote to use for the point being made. Essentially, when the Orthodox respond that 'this didn't apply to everyone then, and it doesn't apply to us now,' the Catholic response would have to be something like: 'Well, some of it applies to us, some doesn't, but you should be held to abide by the part we still abide by." All this quote does is strengthen the opposite of what Catholics are saying--it shows how the Church can modify disciplinary things over time as it sees fit and thinks best, when it seems 'good to them and the Holy Spirit.'

I don't think many would argue that some areas in the west, including in Spain, were more rigorous or restricted when it comes to this sort of thing. This goes for contraception, what guilt/impropriety (if any) should be attached to things like attraction and pleasurable intercourse, and so on. I think Orthodox sometimes overly exaggerate the differences between the Latin-speaking parts of Christianity and the Greek-speaking ones (I don't know about Syriac- and others); nonetheless, the most restrictive theologians were all brought up/taught/Christianized in the Latin-speaking parts early in life (Sts. Augustine, Gregory the Great, Caesarius of Arles, Jerome, etc.)  This is not to say they were lesser or wrong, just to point out that there were differences, and what might seem like a fairly unified witness to Catholics (since this seems like a concept adopted early and nearly-univesally held through time) it won't necessarily be the case to others.

"It is fitting, according to the Scripture, that a bishop be the husband of an only wife. But this being understood, it behooves consecrated men, and those who are at the service of God's cult, to abstain thereafter from conjugal intercourse with their wives. As to those who were not judged worthy of such a holy ministry, Scripture grants them [conjugal intercourse] while saying quite clearly to all that marriage is honorable and the nuptial bed is without stain, and that God judges profligates and adulterers." - Eusebius of Caesarea, 320AD
As far as I know, Eusebius did indeed believe something along those lines, though I think he preferred no wives at all (not just no sex), and virginity if possible. I'm not sure (or I don't remember) where he drew this concept from, nor why he held to it as strongly as he did.

"The great Council has absolutely forbidden bishops, priests, and deacons - in other words, all members of the clergy - to have with them a sister-companion with the exception of a mother, a sister, an aunt, or, lastly, only those persons who are beyond any suspicion." - Canon 3 of Council of Nicaea, 325AD
This speaks of the phenomenon of clergy taking in mistresses or 'friends with benefits' or people supposedly homeless or otherwise in trouble; it was very easy from there, either by enemies of the person or Christianity in general, or just people who like to gossip, to start speculating about it not being so innocent as the priest claimed. The canon at first can seem to exclude the possibility of wives--after all, why does it say that real family can be companions, but not wives? The answer it would seem is that wives are not living companions, they are wives. To be sure they probably offer companionship, but that is not what they'd be called, nor how they would be thought of. On the other hand, a 45 year old clergyman living with his sister or aunt or whoever? This is not unusual per se, and there could be many reasons for it, but the point is that, in the cases of living with such non-spousal women, the clergyman would not (ordinarily) be justly suspected of hanky panky.  Failure to mention the wife as an acceptable person to live with (argument from silence) wouldn't have a place if it was assumed that it's fine to live with a wife and the point was to discuss other types/roles of women. There are also canons in the ancient Church--and some like St. John Chrysostom wrote about this--that speak against males and females living together in community or monasticism, yet not being married to each other.

Also, fwiw, there is a story in one of the 5th century Church historians--Socrates Scholasticus or Sozomen--which speaks of an attempt by westerners (from Spain, I believe) to get clerical celibacy adopted at the First Ecumenical Council. Some say this is an apocryphal tale, and I have no idea if it is or not. At the very least it points out that such a thing was not present everywhere, and continued to be only partially adopted in Christianity.

"But ye know that the ministerial office must be kept pure and unspotted, and must not be defiled by conjugal intercourse; ye know this, I say, who have received the gifts of the sacred ministry, with pure bodies, and unspoilt modesty, and without ever having enjoyed conjugal intercourse. - Ambrose of Milan, 385AD
The next two lines after this quote are:

"I am mentioning this, because in some out-of-the-way places, when they enter on the ministry, or even when they become priests, they have begotten children. They defend this on the ground of old custom, when, as it happened, the sacrifice was offered up at long intervals." (St. Ambrose of Milan, On the Duties of the Clergy, 1.50)

I have no idea what 'out-of-the-way places' is about, whether he was unaware of how widespread the practice different from his own was, or what. Perhaps by the late 4th century, when he was writing, it had indeed become very widespread in the west, I'm not sure, such that the statement was certainly true for those he knew of or had jurisdiction over. (St. Ambrose goes on after that to give his reasoning for the practice, which seem like good points--though not necessarily to the point of forcing everyone to comply with the practice). Another point to be noticed here though is that part of the issue is daily or very frequent liturgies, which often comes up in these discussions.

The bishops declared unanimously: It pleases us all thDat bishop, priest and deacon, guardians of purity, abstain from conjugal intercourse with their wives, so that those who serve the altar may keep a perfect chastity." - Canon 3 of Council of Carthage, 390
I think this is covering the same territory now (I'll stop at just the quotes you provided, perhaps others can tackle any at the link if needed), regarding what was said above especially about the Council of Elvira. The argument is not too different from one St. Ambrose, and most other supporters of the practice, make--which i think is a fine one to make. I would point out that this is very different from what St. Paul said in 1 Cor. 7:1-7:

- St. Paul speaks of a way that he thinks is better, but says this is not a command (ie. not obligatory), unlike later clerical celibacy in the west which was required, but it seems to me that it is marriage that is the concession, and the sexual element and his ideas about it are not the 'opinion' part

- St. Paul recognizes that it is human to be attracted to people, and says it's better to be married and have a proper way to express that, than to not be married and have it cause you harm

- St. Paul says that spouses should do their 'marital duty,' and that staying apart should only be done 'by mutual consent and for a time'--marriage without sex would seem like the hardest road, and it'd be sinful to try it unless both people were completely on board with it

- Following up on the idea in the last point: a man (priest) can decide to be chaste all he wants, but it's really not up to him alone, for "the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife... Defraud ye not one the other"

- St. Paul says that: "each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that"; out of curiosity, are all Catholic priests said (in Catholic thought) to have such a gift (or perhaps granted it upon ordination)?

What are your thoughts on these quotations? I am a Protestant, so even the idea of a priesthood is still something I am beginning to come to terms with, but I am finding much in the Orthodox tradition that is attractive. However, how does the Eastern church defend married clergy in light of the various quotes listed?
Fwiw one last comment, as people read more and more Church history, especially in certain geographical and cultural areas, they'll come across examples of priests, and even bishops, having children. For example: St. Gregory the Elder and St. Nonna were the parents of St. Gregory the Theologian and St. Gorgonia, but they also had a third child, St. Caesarius, 3 years after St. Gregory the Elder had been made a bishop. All five are considered saints in both Catholic and Orthodox churches--the sex after joining the clergy apparently didn't negatively affect them, and in fact was responsible for producing at least one saint.
 

Rohzek

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It is true that in the Latin West, there were countless efforts to enforce a celibate priesthood to one degree or another. However, a vast number of priests defied these canons for centuries, often without repercussions. Only during the Carolingian period and to a much greater extend the Gregorian Reform Movement is this sort of defiance clamped down on.
 

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Daniel2:47 what is confusing ? Your quotes are correct, clergy are meant to be Christ-like. Married man are allowed to become Clergy but when they do there are certain rules.

Your quotes demonstrate how it is supposed to be.
 

Daniel2:47

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Thank you for your responses. I suppose this is one of those areas where the dividing lines between East and West appeared fairly early and became more and more entrenched as time went on, until all clergy in the West were forbidden from marriage.

Vanhyo said:
Daniel2:47 what is confusing ? Your quotes are correct, clergy are meant to be Christ-like. Married man are allowed to become Clergy but when they do there are certain rules.

Your quotes demonstrate how it is supposed to be.
Are you saying that priests cannot have sex with their wives? That was the point of my question. If so, it would seem to put you against the teaching of your church?
 

Daniel2:47

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Mor Ephrem said:
Priests can have sexual relations with their wives.  Many enjoy doing so.
Not all?! :)
 

LenInSebastopol

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Mor Ephrem said:
Daniel2:47 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Priests can have sexual relations with their wives.  Many enjoy doing so.
Not all?! :)
I'm leaving some wiggle room, there are quite a few odd clerics out there.
Odd? You mean they can enjoy not having relations with their wives? Howzat? Is it like enjoying not having a toothache or an itch?
Or that they can simply enjoy their wives specifically without having relations?
Or that they can simply enjoy their wives, period?
::)


St. Ephram, please help me stop this idle speculation and get to doing what is before me & necessary.
 

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Daniel2:47 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Priests can have sexual relations with their wives.  Many enjoy doing so.
Not all?! :)
Don't listen to mor, he is not member of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

A man can be married, have children and then be ordained as priest, and commit to the priesthood.

Lust however can be an obstacle for that office, even the very thought of it can be problematic if the person will not outright reject it.

I am not a priest, and i know from personal experience before going to prayer, if i had one of these thoughts that i did not outright reject then my prayer feels wrong. How much more problematic can this be for a priest ? I assume very much.
 

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Vanhyo said:
Daniel2:47 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Priests can have sexual relations with their wives.  Many enjoy doing so.
Not all?! :)
Don't listen to mor, he is not member of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

A man can be married, have children and then be ordained as priest, and commit to the priesthood.

Lust however can be an obstacle for that office, even the very thought of it can be problematic if the person will not outright reject it.

I am not a priest, and i know from personal experience before going to prayer, if i had one of these thoughts that i did not outright reject then my prayer feels wrong. How much more problematic can this be for a priest ? I assume very much.
Since you are not a priest, I'm not sure why you are speaking for them. There are plenty who have had children after their ordination.
 

Vanhyo

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There are plenty who have had children after their ordination.
Because you know plenty clergy's personal live ? Even if that is the case, The Church's law is dictated by her canons and councils not by what "plenty" are practicing.

I am by no means trying to condemn these priest NO! But just because some people are practicing something it doesn't mean it is the norm.
 

Cavaradossi

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Vanhyo said:
There are plenty who have had children after their ordination.
Because you know plenty clergy's personal live ? Even if that is the case, The Church's law is dictated by her canons and councils not by what "plenty" are practicing.

I am by no means trying to condemn these priest NO! But just because some people are practicing something it doesn't mean it is the norm.
Priests and their families are indeed real people, so if one talks to them like real people, one can easily figure out how old their children are and when they were ordained. One doesn't need to be a genius or a sleuth to figure out that Father so-and-so must have had children after his ordination since he was ordained sixteen years ago, but his youngest child is not yet a teenager.

The norm by the way, is that a priest is not obligated to cease having conjugal relations with his wife, in accordance with canon 13 of Trullo.
 

Second Chance

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Vanhyo said:
Daniel2:47 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Priests can have sexual relations with their wives.  Many enjoy doing so.
Not all?! :)
Don't listen to mor, he is not member of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

A man can be married, have children and then be ordained as priest, and commit to the priesthood.

Lust however can be an obstacle for that office, even the very thought of it can be problematic if the person will not outright reject it.

I am not a priest, and i know from personal experience before going to prayer, if i had one of these thoughts that i did not outright reject then my prayer feels wrong. How much more problematic can this be for a priest ? I assume very much.
Mor is a graduate of an Eastern Orthodox seminary and is correct. You, on the other hand, seem to be ignorant of the canons that are applicable, such as:

Apostolic Canon 6 (compiled in the Fourth Century): "Let not a bishop, presbyter, or deacon, put away his wife under pretense of religion; but if he put her away, let him be excommunicated; and if he persists, let him be deposed."

Regarding bishops, this canon was observed until AD 692 as shown in the Canon  of the Council at Trullo: "Moreover this also has come to our knowledge, that in Africa and Libya and in other places the most God-beloved bishops in those parts do not refuse to live with their wives, even after consecration, thereby giving scandal and offense to the people. Since, therefore, it is our particular care that all things tend to the good of the flock placed in our hands and committed to us—it has seemed good that henceforth nothing of the kind shall in any way occur. And we say this, not to abolish and overthrow what things were established of old by Apostolic authority, but as caring for the health of the people and their advance to better things, and lest the ecclesiastical state should suffer any reproach. For the divine Apostle says: "Do all to the glory of God, give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Greeks, nor to the Church of God, even as I please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me even as I also am of Christ." But if any shall have been observed to do such a thing, let him be deposed." (my emphasis).
 

Daniel2:47

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Vanhyo said:
There are plenty who have had children after their ordination.
Because you know plenty clergy's personal live ? Even if that is the case, The Church's law is dictated by her canons and councils not by what "plenty" are practicing.

I am by no means trying to condemn these priest NO! But just because some people are practicing something it doesn't mean it is the norm.
The above-mentioned council of 692AD also states:

Since we know it to be handed down as a rule of the Roman Church that those who are deemed worthy to be advanced to the diaconate or presbyterate should promise no longer to cohabit with their wives, we, preserving the ancient rule and apostolic perfection and order, will that the lawful marriages of men who are in holy orders be from this time forward firm, by no means dissolving their union with their wives nor depriving them of their mutual intercourse at a convenient time. Wherefore, if anyone shall have been found worthy to be ordained subdeacon, or deacon, or presbyter, he is by no means to be prohibited from admittance to such a rank, even if he shall live with a lawful wife. Nor shall it be demanded of him at the time of his ordination that he promise to abstain from lawful intercourse with his wife: lest we should affect injuriously marriage constituted by God and blessed by his presence.
Seems clear enough to me.

How does this fit into the idea that the Church prior to 1054 (or whichever date given) was united? Is this a matter of dogma that one must hold to (and therefore those in the West were outside this), or is it a non-dogmatic issue, or how else would you understand it? It is frequently said (in apologetics at least) that the Church for the first 1000 years was a united and undivided, yet clearly there was a strong division on this issue even from the first few centuries forwards. I suppose there was still communion between churches despite the difference on several such issues
 

mike

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Celibacy of priests and bishops is not a dogmatic issue. In Catholic Church you still have married priests (even in Latin rite).
 

Second Chance

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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) said:
Vanhyo said:
Daniel2:47 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Priests can have sexual relations with their wives.  Many enjoy doing so.
Not all?! :)
Don't listen to mor, he is not member of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

A man can be married, have children and then be ordained as priest, and commit to the priesthood.

Lust however can be an obstacle for that office, even the very thought of it can be problematic if the person will not outright reject it.

I am not a priest, and i know from personal experience before going to prayer, if i had one of these thoughts that i did not outright reject then my prayer feels wrong. How much more problematic can this be for a priest ? I assume very much.
Mor is a graduate of an Eastern Orthodox seminary and is correct. You, on the other hand, seem to be ignorant of the canons that are applicable, such as:

Apostolic Canon 6 (compiled in the Fourth Century): "Let not a bishop, presbyter, or deacon, put away his wife under pretense of religion; but if he put her away, let him be excommunicated; and if he persists, let him be deposed."

Regarding bishops, this canon was observed until AD 692 as shown in the Canon  of the Council at Trullo: "Moreover this also has come to our knowledge, that in Africa and Libya and in other places the most God-beloved bishops in those parts do not refuse to live with their wives, even after consecration, thereby giving scandal and offense to the people. Since, therefore, it is our particular care that all things tend to the good of the flock placed in our hands and committed to us—it has seemed good that henceforth nothing of the kind shall in any way occur. And we say this, not to abolish and overthrow what things were established of old by Apostolic authority, but as caring for the health of the people and their advance to better things, and lest the ecclesiastical state should suffer any reproach. For the divine Apostle says: "Do all to the glory of God, give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Greeks, nor to the Church of God, even as I please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me even as I also am of Christ." But if any shall have been observed to do such a thing, let him be deposed." (my emphasis).
Added to above:

1. Council at Trullo canon is number 12.

2. Interestingly, Trullan Canon 12 does not call for married bishops to divorce their wives, nor does the complementary Canon 48 mandate such a thing to bishop candidates. Both of these canons merely ask for married bishops not to live with their wives and to be celibate. Incidentally, since marriage is ideally for ever (not "until death do us part"), there have numerous "married" bishops after Trullo; they have been and are widowers, and some are even saints of the church, such as St. Innocent of Alaska, Equal-to-the-Apostles and Enlightener of North America.
 

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Daniel2:47 said:
"The great Council has absolutely forbidden bishops, priests, and deacons - in other words, all members of the clergy - to have with them a sister-companion with the exception of a mother, a sister, an aunt, or, lastly, only those persons who are beyond any suspicion." - Canon 3 of Council of Nicaea, 325AD
A wife is above suspicion because it is expected that a husband sleeps with his wife.
Daniel2:47 said:
What are your thoughts on these quotations? I am a Protestant, so even the idea of a priesthood is still something I am beginning to come to terms with, but I am finding much in the Orthodox tradition that is attractive. However, how does the Eastern church defend married clergy in light of the various quotes listed?
For one, the example of St. Basil the Elder, father of St. Bail the Great, who fathered a whole family of saints AFTER his consecration.
 

primuspilus

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how does the Eastern church defend married clergy in light of the various quotes listed?
I'd start here:

Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them
and end here

Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas?
Also, His Grace Bishop John Abdalah (who is a WONDERFUL man, by the way) is a widower, if I remember correctly.

PP
 

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Daniel2:47 said:
It is frequently said (in apologetics at least) that the Church for the first 1000 years was a united and undivided
Another reason not to listen to apologetics!

For further reading:

Mark 8:27-28
Nestorian Schism
Chalcedonian Schism
Photian Schism

Daniel2:47 said:
yet clearly there was a strong division on this issue even from the first few centuries forwards. I suppose there was still communion between churches despite the difference on several such issues
Yep.
 

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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) said:
Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) said:
Vanhyo said:
Daniel2:47 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Priests can have sexual relations with their wives.  Many enjoy doing so.
Not all?! :)
Don't listen to mor, he is not member of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

A man can be married, have children and then be ordained as priest, and commit to the priesthood.

Lust however can be an obstacle for that office, even the very thought of it can be problematic if the person will not outright reject it.

I am not a priest, and i know from personal experience before going to prayer, if i had one of these thoughts that i did not outright reject then my prayer feels wrong. How much more problematic can this be for a priest ? I assume very much.
Mor is a graduate of an Eastern Orthodox seminary and is correct. You, on the other hand, seem to be ignorant of the canons that are applicable, such as:

Apostolic Canon 6 (compiled in the Fourth Century): "Let not a bishop, presbyter, or deacon, put away his wife under pretense of religion; but if he put her away, let him be excommunicated; and if he persists, let him be deposed."

Regarding bishops, this canon was observed until AD 692 as shown in the Canon  of the Council at Trullo: "Moreover this also has come to our knowledge, that in Africa and Libya and in other places the most God-beloved bishops in those parts do not refuse to live with their wives, even after consecration, thereby giving scandal and offense to the people. Since, therefore, it is our particular care that all things tend to the good of the flock placed in our hands and committed to us—it has seemed good that henceforth nothing of the kind shall in any way occur. And we say this, not to abolish and overthrow what things were established of old by Apostolic authority, but as caring for the health of the people and their advance to better things, and lest the ecclesiastical state should suffer any reproach. For the divine Apostle says: "Do all to the glory of God, give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Greeks, nor to the Church of God, even as I please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me even as I also am of Christ." But if any shall have been observed to do such a thing, let him be deposed." (my emphasis).
Added to above:

1. Council at Trullo canon is number 12.

2. Interestingly, Trullan Canon 12 does not call for married bishops to divorce their wives, nor does the complementary Canon 48 mandate such a thing to bishop candidates. Both of these canons merely ask for married bishops not to live with their wives and to be celibate. Incidentally, since marriage is ideally for ever (not "until death do us part"), there have numerous "married" bishops after Trullo; they have been and are widowers, and some are even saints of the church, such as St. Innocent of Alaska, Equal-to-the-Apostles and Enlightener of North America.
As was Metropolitan Orestes of the Carpatho-Russian diocese (1938-1977), current Archbishop Nikon of the OCA, retired Bishop Mathias of the OCA, current Archbishop Michael of the OCA (I was a groomsman in his wedding so I personally can attest to that one) and many others.
 

podkarpatska

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Mor Ephrem said:
Priests can have sexual relations with their wives.  Many enjoy doing so.
Well, since neither me nor my brother are adopted, and both born well after our father's ordination to the priesthood and I could bore you with references to hundreds of other PK's both in the states and Europe from all canonical Orthodox jurisdictions personally known to me - Slavic or Byzantine, I would assert..."res ipsa loquitur"...as we attorneys like to say when we want to sound educated....  ;)
 

Mor Ephrem

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Vanhyo said:
Daniel2:47 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Priests can have sexual relations with their wives.  Many enjoy doing so.
Not all?! :)
Don't listen to mor, he is not member of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

A man can be married, have children and then be ordained as priest, and commit to the priesthood.

Lust however can be an obstacle for that office, even the very thought of it can be problematic if the person will not outright reject it.

I am not a priest, and i know from personal experience before going to prayer, if i had one of these thoughts that i did not outright reject then my prayer feels wrong. How much more problematic can this be for a priest ? I assume very much.
Yes, you assume very much.  You're better off learning than teaching. 
 

Mor Ephrem

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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) said:
Mor is a graduate of an Eastern Orthodox seminary and is correct.
Thanks.  I, for one, am interested in Vanhyo's relevant education and experience.
 

Mor Ephrem

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podkarpatska said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Daniel2:47 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Priests can have sexual relations with their wives.  Many enjoy doing so.
Not all?! :)
I'm leaving some wiggle room, there are quite a few odd clerics out there.
Really?
If you want names, specify the jurisdiction you're interested in.  ;)
 

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You're better off learning than teaching. 
I am not teaching, just chatting in a forum.

Out of this chat, there was something useful for me to learn today.
 

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Vanhyo said:
You're better off learning than teaching. 
I am not teaching, just chatting in a forum.
Vanhyo said:
Don't listen to mor, he is not member of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

A man can be married, have children and then be ordained as priest, and commit to the priesthood.

Lust however can be an obstacle for that office, even the very thought of it can be problematic if the person will not outright reject it.

I am not a priest, and i know from personal experience before going to prayer, if i had one of these thoughts that i did not outright reject then my prayer feels wrong. How much more problematic can this be for a priest ? I assume very much.
Sounds like teaching to (more than just) me.
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
podkarpatska said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Daniel2:47 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Priests can have sexual relations with their wives.  Many enjoy doing so.
Not all?! :)
I'm leaving some wiggle room, there are quite a few odd clerics out there.
Really?
If you want names, specify the jurisdiction you're interested in.  ;)
If you think I'm doing that in public - think again - but I think if you and I shared private lists there would be a lot of convergence... lol ... but don't stay up waiting for that list.  ;) ;)
 

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Mor, can married priests who love their wives lust for them also?  Or are they mutually exclusive?  In ofher words, does "lust" refer to all sexual attraction, or just the inappropriate form?
 

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wgw said:
Mor, can married priests who love their wives lust for them also? 
Sure they can. 

Or are they mutually exclusive?  In ofher words, does "lust" refer to all sexual attraction, or just the inappropriate form?
As I would use the term, "lust" does not refer to all sexual attraction. 
 

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@mor it was Cavaradossi who corrected me by reminding me cannon 13 of trullo, anything you say matters little to me (theological matters), due to you not being a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church, i know protestant woman who have eastern orthodox theological decree, shall i listen to her too ?

My general impression was that priests look upon their wives as saints and focus on their priestly business, it was an impression so i shared my opinion in light of the quotes Daniel2:47 provided.

Anyway, you have to agree that if i have to explicitly write that i am sharing my opinion every time i posts something it will look redundant and stupid, and though what i write might appear as "teaching" my willingness to accept correction should hint it is not.
 

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wgw said:
Mor, can married priests who love their wives lust for them also?  Or are they mutually exclusive?  In ofher words, does "lust" refer to all sexual attraction, or just the inappropriate form?
I think that can be expanded to any married people, not just priests. I would also agree with Mor, a man can certainly lust for his wife and such lust would be inappropriate. Anytime a man dehumanizes his wife and expects sexual favors just for his own gratification, that would be lust and it is a sin.
 

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TheTrisagion said:
wgw said:
Mor, can married priests who love their wives lust for them also?  Or are they mutually exclusive?  In ofher words, does "lust" refer to all sexual attraction, or just the inappropriate form?
I think that can be expanded to any married people, not just priests. I would also agree with Mor, a man can certainly lust for his wife and such lust would be inappropriate. Anytime a man dehumanizes his wife and expects sexual favors just for his own gratification, that would be lust and it is a sin.
You are 100% right.
One hopes to separate & discern lust from desire in the process.
 

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Vanhyo said:
@mor it was Cavaradossi who corrected me by reminding me cannon 13 of trullo, anything you say matters little to me (theological matters), due to you not being a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church, i know protestant woman who have eastern orthodox theological decree, shall i listen to her too ?
She probably knows more about your tradition than you do, even if she isn't a member of your Church.  And given that there are plenty of legitimately Eastern Orthodox Christians here who regularly say the most unorthodox things (you being no exception), merely being a member of that Church doesn't seem to mean much.  But whatever. 

BTW, I will be grateful if you would share your training as I have shared mine.
 

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I will be grateful if you would share your training as I have shared mine.
I do not have any degree (speaking of theological school) or special training, sorry to disappoint.
 

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Vanhyo said:
@mor it was Cavaradossi who corrected me by reminding me cannon 13 of trullo, anything you say matters little to me (theological matters), due to you not being a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church, i know protestant woman who have eastern orthodox theological decree, shall i listen to her too ?

My general impression was that priests look upon their wives as saints and focus on their priestly business, it was an impression so i shared my opinion in light of the quotes Daniel2:47 provided.

Anyway, you have to agree that if i have to explicitly write that i am sharing my opinion every time i posts something it will look redundant and stupid, and though what i write might appear as "teaching" my willingness to accept correction should hint it is not.
Am I correct in understanding that you believe that priests and their wives are celibate? Is your priest aware of this belief of yours?
 

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Vanhyo said:
My general impression was that priests look upon their wives as saints
Like St. Basil the Elder's wife, St. Emmelia, who bore him 10 children, also saints, including St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory of Nyssa?

Vanhyo said:
and focus on their priestly business,
which doesn't include abandoning his wife and children. See I Cor. 9:5, quoted above, and the martyrdom of St. Peter's wife. St. Peter even kept his mother in law around  :eek: St. Matthew 8:14-18; St. Mark 1:29-34; St. Luke 4:38-41
 

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Most Orthodox priests I know of have rather large families- many children conceived after their ordinations. There are however, rules governing when a priest may or may not have conjugal relations with his wife - relative to his serving the Eucharist. I know of one man who abandoned his seminary studies and hopes for the priesthood, because his wife would not agree to the idea that there would be days when they could not have sexual relations.
 
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