The second marriage of the clergy in Orthodox perspective (1)

As a God-man organism, the Church of Christ evolved according to the historical epoch of codification of individual rules, which right has always belonged to the conciliar conscience of the episcopal college on dogmatic or administrative problems and the adoption of new models in canonical practice.

This does not invalidate or limit the decisions and formulations already taken in the Rules of the Holy Orthodox Church, but requires a precise interpretation of their application by the administrative, criminal, disciplinary or other authorities of the Church (cf. Prof. Vl. Fidas, Canon Law. An Orthodox Perspective, Chambézy, 1998, 145 p.). A necessary feature of the concept of church rules (canons) includes the convening by the emperor of a council, which establishes these canons, created in advance by someone or made during the council sessions, as well as approval by the emperor of these rules adopted by the church council. Thus the imp. Justinian finally attached to the canons of the four ecumenical councils held before his reign the importance of a universally binding ecclesiastical norm, prescribing the veneration of the dogmas established by the universal conciliar conscience as sacred scripture and their rules on an equal footing with imperial laws (Nov. CXXXI c. 1: “sancimus, ut legume vicem obtineant sacri ecclesiastici canones, qui a sanctis quatuor synodis expositi vel confirmati sunt, hoc est a Nicaena trecentorum decem et octo, et Constantinopolitana centum quinquaginta sanctorum partum,et Ephesina prima, in qua Nestorius condemnatus est, et Chalcedonensi, in qua Eutyches cum Nestorio anathemate percussus est. Predicatarum enim sacrarum synodorum et dogmata ut divinas scripturas suscupimus, et canones tanquam leges custodimus.”)

Apostolic Rule 17 is mainly supported in support of the prohibition of second marriage: “Whoever, after holy baptism, was bound in two marriages or had concubines, cannot be a bishop, a presbyter, a deacon, or count at all. in the holy clergy “and rule 12 of St. Basil the Great:” The rulers are completely forbidden to be servants of the church. ” In the first centuries of Christianity, the ecclesiastical practice of divorce was determined by the sublime teaching of the gospel about the indissolubility of marriage. Only St. Ev. Matthew mentions an exception leading to the dissolution of marriage, namely, because of adultery (cf. Matt. 5: 31-32; 19: 3-12), while in other evangelists the commandment of indivisibility is presented as unconditional 10: 2-12 and Luke 16:18). In cases where divorce was morally permissible (ie in the presence of guilt for adultery), a second marriage was morally permissible for the divorced spouse. The form of divorce for early Christians, as well as for Roman citizens, was determined by the law of the imp. August (lex Julia de adulteriis), according to which the declaration of divorce could have legal value only if it was made in the presence of seven adult Roman citizens. Divorce Roman law knew both divorces based on sufficient grounds (divortium ex rationabili causa) and without any grounds, simply by mutual consent (divortium ex consensu) – the latter are strictly prohibited by the XXVII novella of Justinian. Having in mind the tradition of marriage at all levels of the sacred hierarchy in the first centuries of the Church of Christ, we must also consider later additions and interpretations, such as the 4th rule of St. Theophilus of Alexandria (+412): “In the clergy can be accept … and enter into an illegal marriage until baptism, if they are freed from their wives after death or divorce “, i.e. a sharp line is drawn between man’s life before and after his baptism. Similar is the later distinction in the life of a man in peace now and after his incorporation into the monastic army, the most striking example being the instruction of Apostolic canon 52: “Let no man turn away from sin.” Supported by 43 BC at the Sixth Ecumenical Council in the sense that no earlier life prevented a Christian from entering a monastery: to enter a convent and receive a monastic vow, even though he has committed some sin, because our Savior said: He who comes to Me, I will not drive out (John 6:37), and since monastic life represents our life in repentance, therefore, we approve of the one who sincerely chooses him, and no way of living will prevent him from fulfilling his intention. ” This last canon updates an earlier one, such as that of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, 4: “A slave without the will of his master not to be admitted to monasticism” – due to a change in social-class social relations, and in particular, slavery. Rule 5 of the Double Council also stipulates that the three-year probation period may be shortened in the event of a serious illness and when the layman has spent his monastic life in secular attire. In the Eastern and Western ecclesiastical-legal classifications, the grounds for non-admission to the priesthood are set out in two groups: 1. Failure to commit a crime, irregularitates ex delicto, such as premeditated murder, repetition of baptism, schism, heresy, apostasy of faith or monastic vow, simony.2. Grounds for defect, irregularitates ex defectu, among which the ninth, penultimate place, states ‘lack of sacrament’, irregularitates ex defectu sacramenti, bigamia veras successivа or bigamia interpretativа.

The prominent Russian canonist Prof. N. Suvorov interpreted it as follows: a Christian who lives in the insufficiency of his sacrament of marriage could not perform the exact same sacrament himself. These canons meet varying requirements in different epochs, such as the definition of another shortcoming – the so-called “lack of knowledge” necessary for the full performance of spiritual service.

On the principle of economy, “by great mercy”, as the church’s wording states, there are many cases when priests who have had one or even two civil marriages dissolved are ordained as priests, and in some cases the sacrament of Holy Wedding (and sometimes the sacrament of Holy Communion). baptism) takes place before the beginning of the process of drawing up the file of the candidate for priest. In other cases, the wives (candidate presbyters) are in this position and even bring them children from their previous families and marriages, although also a rule of the holy apostles provides for restrictions on entering the priesthood due to a defect in the deacon or presbyter. The 18th Apostolic Rule states: “Whoever marries a widow, or a forsaken, or a prostitute, or a slave, or a disgraceful (actress), can be neither a bishop, nor a presbyter, nor a deacon, nor at all in the list of the clergy.” Marriage to a widow was considered equivalent to bigamy.

The church sees a lack of abstinence in remarriage. This defect also affects the person with whom you marry. That is why this rule protects the shepherd from such a reflection and does not allow those who are married to a widow or abandoned (divorced) to be accepted in the sacred hierarchy. There was a similar law in the Old Testament church – Judith 16: 22-23: “Many wanted her, but a man did not know her until the end of her days, from the day her husband Manasseh died. She gained great fame and grew old in the house of your husband. ” (cf. Luke 2: 36-38). Priests in the Old Testament era, with the exception of the high priest, were allowed to remarry only with a widow of a priest or a virgin from the house of Israel (cf. Ezek. 44:22). The high priest himself could not marry a widow (Lev. 21:14), and there is information that he was a widow, he had no right to remarry at all. Justinian’s Novella 22, chapter 42, warns of the priest’s wife with the same requirement of the 18th Apostolic Rule:

“If any of the clergy already appointed over a reader and a singer enters into any form of marriage, we enact our constitution and wish one to be deprived of the priesthood … And if a layman wishes to be ordained a subdeacon or deacon, or a presbyter, and then it turns out that there is a woman who is not married to a virgin or divorced from her husband, or living with him illegally, or he himself is married a second time, then such a person does not receive the priesthood, got to him, to be completely deprived of him. “

Restricting marriage to a slave is not relevant today, nor is the prohibition of the bishop’s wife’s remarriage, because the episcopal rank is assigned to unmarried clergy. Theater in Greco-Roman antiquity (in apostolic times) had a definite religious function and therefore it is forbidden to marry an actress who performed a kind of idolatry of the polytheistic pagan pantheon with her participation in theatrical performances. The Old Testament priests are forbidden in the Book of Leviticus (21: 7-8) to marry a harlot, a woman defiled or rejected by her husband, because they are holy to the Lord. Otherwise, second marriage was known among the Jews, for example, the historian Josephus testified for himself that he had entered into a second and third marriage (cf. H. Sachsse, Die Lehre vom Defectus sacramenti, Berlin-Leipzig, 1881, p. 17). ).

Separated in the question of who is more faithful and suitable for a priest – the one who has two duly concluded church marriages and has divorced according to the church canons or the one who has remained in fornication and has not even bothered to seek heavenly blessing over the created from his family. The absence of a legal ecclesiastical marriage in such cases is the formal reason for the diocesan metropolitans to introduce such candidates into the sacred rank, especially if they have considered them worthy according to the other conditions required for the candidate priests.

It is not right for this restriction on second-hand couples to apply to monks who have started a family in their worldly life. On the one hand, the prohibition is for the one who resides in the second marriage.

Haircuts in monasticism with the acceptance of vows and a sacred name are a turning point in the life path of the Christian who approaches them, who adopts an angel-like way of life, equivalent to even a martyr’s deed. There are many examples of men and women endowed with Christian holiness, endowed by God with one grace or another and blessings, regardless of their behavior in the previous worldly life. There are among them robbers, thieves, fornicators, murderers, who have not been forbidden by deeds in the world to serve God and to accept sacred dignity. And the Eucharistic-centric character of the ecclesiastical punishments expresses the spiritual and soteriological content of the ecclesiastical law, because it was for the restoration of the human person that Christ gave His life. Therefore, the goal of the church canons is not the punishment itself, but to cause a person to be cleansed from defilement through spiritual struggle in repentance, to become again a healthy member of the church body, in which to be satiated, mature and function through sacramental empathy. in the Holy Eucharist. But the canons of those who have already accepted a sacred rank are extremely harsh: “Priests and clergy for fornication are overthrown by a sacred rank” (Apostle 25; St. Basil. Rules 3, 7, 32, 51; Neoches. 1) IV Ecumenical Council deprivation of church communion for a monk or nun, if they marry, and the marriage of such to be considered null and void (cf. Vas. Vel. 6, 51). Of particular importance in this matter is Justinian’s short story CXXIII, called by Petrus de Marca compendium juris canonici (Petrus de Marksa, De Concordia sacerdoti et imperii, lib. IV, p. 1, pag. 339), which in 44 chapters is indeed a set of extensive ecclesiastical legislation on the order of replacement of the episcopal office and on monasticism and monastic life. Imperial ecclesiastical laws were issued without prior conciliar activity, but not without the participation of individual representatives of the ecclesiastical hierarchy.

It follows from the special position of the emperor in the church that he also had the legislative power over church affairs. It goes without saying that the emperor, as a church legislator, was obliged to legislate in the spirit of the church, according to its tradition and not in contradiction with church dogmas. The binding force of imperial laws was recognized unconditionally if the laws were in sync with the canons, or if the ecclesiastical rules did not specify anything about the subject, which was regulated by law. Thus, the legislation of Emperor Justinian the Great on the dissolution of marriage, set out in his novel XXV, became a guiding norm in the ecclesiastical practice in the East on the grounds for divorce, insofar as no deliberate rules were adopted by the ecumenical councils (cf. Mortreuil, Histoire du droit byzantine, Paris, vols. I-II, 1853; Azarevich, History of Byzantine Law, Yaroslavl, 1876-77). In addition to the Codex repetita praelectionis, published on November 16, 534, the laws on the marriage of clergy are found in three “novellas,” in the 6th of March 10, 535, in the 22nd of 536, and the 123rd. from March 18, 546. They are also mentioned in 137 short stories. Novella 6, Chapter 5: “One should not be ordained a deacon or presbyter who is in a second marriage or is in a marriage with a divorced and abandoned wife or having a concubine (concubine), but only the one whose wife is taken Thus one should not be admitted to the priesthood except one who lives in chastity, or does not communicate with women, or belongs (or belongs) to a woman and has chosen chastity, which, according to divine rules, is first and foremost the basis of all other virtues… “

The teachings of St. Scripture is expressed by St. Apostle. Paul in 1 Tim. 3: 2, which states that the bishop must be “the husband of a woman,” and in Titus. 1: 6 repeats the same prescription for elders, and again for those receiving the rank of deacon. The phrase “man of one woman” repeated each time (gr. “Mias gynekas andra”) acquires the character of a technical formulation, which according to its content can be called a sacred formula.