Voices from Russia

Friday, 4 February 2011

MP Archpastoral Council Tightens Restrictions on the Ordination of Non-Monastic Celibates to the Clergy

The MP Archpastoral Council, at its present session in Moscow, found it necessary to limit the practise of ordaining young celibate men to the clerical state. In a special resolution published on Thursday, the bishops resolved, “We regard the practise of ordaining celibate men not in monastic orders, especially those not previously married, as not being according to the usual norms”. Having considered the matter, and taking into account the decisions made by the all-Russian Council of 1918 and the MP Holy Synod in January 1931, the bishops decreed that the ordination of celibate men not in monastic orders shouldn’t occur before the candidate reaches the age of 30, and “only after the ordaining bishop conducts a thorough examination of him”. A celibate candidate for ordination not in the monastic state must first complete their seminary, academic, or other higher theological education. If he takes external courses not in residence, he must pass at least three years internship in a diocesan cathedral, a Patriarchal or diocesan metochion, or a large urban parish or monastery with the blessing of the ruling bishop and under the general supervision and guidance of an experienced priest.

3 February 2011



Editor’s Note:

Many people (especially uninformed konvertsy in the American diaspora) mistakenly think that the patriarch is the equivalent of the Pope of Rome, that is, he’s an absolute monarch. That isn’t so, the highest authority in the Church is the Archpastoral Council (Архиерейский Собор)… the ruling bishops of the Church sit en bloc as its highest authority. There’s no “single voice” at the head of Christ’s Church… there’s no “Vicar of Christ”. This is one of the most salient differences in ecclesiology between the Church and the papal confession.

In the OCA, a pernicious heresy is afoot. It’s called the Brum Doctrine, penned by one David Brum, an old friend and confidant of Paffhausen (both were students together at the heterodox Berkeley Theological Union). It says that the Metropolitan (First Hierarch) of the OCA is the ultimate authority and his decisions trump all conciliar decisions. Sounds papist, doesn’t it? Does it surprise you to learn that Mr Brum is a former papist priest (Latin rite) ordained to the Orthodox clergy without any preliminary formation or examination (he was ordained at Paffhausen’s monastery)? JP wants Brum in the OCA episcopate so badly that everyone knows it (he also wants to ordain his crank cronies Eliel and Christiansen, as well). This notion isn’t Orthodox in the least.

You can have the MP Archpastoral Council, which is Orthodox to the bone, or, you can have the Brum Doctrine, which is a total capitulation to papal ecclesiology (without the traditional checks and balances of the Vatican). Is that truly such a hard choice?



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