Archpriest Theodore Borodin made a report at a closed pastoral seminar “Peculiarities and problems of the family life of clergy.” Video of speech of the rector of the Church of the Holy unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian on Maroseyka leaked and caused a lot of questions. The editors publish the text, adapted for printing.
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- “The family crazy not together but one at a time”
– Your Eminence, dear fathers, brothers and sisters, unexpectedly to me, now deceased, our Dean, father Dionisy proposed Shishigin and blessed to report that I made it. This report, apparently, was on the point of pain, because more than 25 priests during the past month, thanked me in writing, by telephone, at the meeting for this report. I absolutely did not expect. Today I asked him to repeat it. I, being here, had to read the comments of mothers to him, for which very grateful. That’s why a little change the text, something to add. He is emotional.
When I wrote it, I was very nervous. The subject is painful. And now I’m worried, the second time in my life when are the bishops.
Not only not condemned, and praised for honesty
I think everyone will agree with me that never in the history of the Church is not faced with such a crisis in families of clergy. We all know, although there are no statistics available how many of our fellow students at theological schools parted with their wives. Among my classmates for twenty – five years divorced and have been deprived Sana about ten people.
In our dahlina the temple of the statistics is this: in 24 years, three priests destroyed his family and lost his position. Several priests are younger than me by ordination, created my family in my eyes, came to a complete standstill family, although not yet divorced.
Of course, the main reason is sin, the terrible fall of the priest, or his wife, or both. Blame me mother in the comments that I am confusing cause and effect that I don’t specify. I just don’t talk about it. It goes without saying. Source divorce is a sin, and everything else is just an excuse.
If still to speak about the reasons, the main of them is the General crisis of the family, as in the previous report said Bishop Anthony. Many of us were raised in single-parent families have divorced parents, no experience, no behavioural scenarios service spouse to resolve family conflicts, child-rearing.
We, our wives and children, like everyone else, have enormous family pressure: heroes news and movies, articles and social networks fornication, cheating, divorce and abandon children. We even have the head of state divorces live – more severe blow to the institution of the family is hard to imagine. All this constant background of life tempts man. Our children spend in this involume, where divorce and immorality have become a normal variant, much more time than communicating with parents. This forms the tolerance of sin, unfortunately, as something that’s already so many that it is pointless to fight.
Any person, a former priest who had left the family, through the Internet will easily find a community of others like it. In this community it is not only not condemned, and praised for the honesty. Thus broke down the barrier of public censure, which used to be able to hold together a family of clergy in times of crisis. These external causes. They are impossible to eliminate. They can resist only constant work, prayer and deepening in their spiritual lives. The building of his home Church, heart communication, pronunciation of all problems and disagreements.
Children of the priest grow up without a father, and the wife turned to the wall and roars
But there is this crisis of families of clergy in our Church, internal, reasons that can and should be overcome. First, is the lack of free time from the clergy, above all, the absence of at least two normal weekends.
Working day the priest is not normalized. He often leaves home early in the morning while wife and kids are still asleep; returned in the evening after the service, confessions, and conversations with people when his children are asleep. Working day, including a tour of duty in the temple, turns into 12-hour.
Mandatory duty, which in itself combined with a series of worship services is very difficult to combine with the output (it is enough just to sit and view the schedule for the week of the cleric). It often leaves no possibility to visit patients at home these days and committing other vagramovich services and obediences. They have to endure on a day off.
All clerics are vahromova obedience. Often the rector is serving in prison or the meeting responsible, teaching in religious educational institutions and so on – are irritant, which he simply ignores.
The cleric has to change from the serving brethren and to compensate for replacement again due to the holidays.
There are priests who are the administrative Ministry in the structures of Patriarchy and of the vicariates, answer emails, work in the publishing Council of censors. After five days on the weekdays, they start to Saturdays and Sundays, which for any priest are the days of joy, but the maximum load. The output of such clergymen, no never.
I can give an example training courses. I have the blessing of the hierarchy went on the first call, which was held in the Novospassky monastery. The schedule was five days a week from 9 am to 6 PM, six days to Saturday – up to three days. Obviously, the schedule was some sort of monk, to whom the Archbishop, the superior of the monastery gave such obedience: “Make a schedule”. By the end of two months my wife was in a terrible state!
This exhausting schedule is catastrophically dangerous for anyone, but if monastics only risk their health, the family priest is risking his family.
Yeah, we’ve all sworn that we will do everything that we bless, of course. We, if need be, get sick and die on these tasks, we are ready, of course. But divine grace, which is always “the infirm, and curing is lacking, complementary”, not accepted by the wives and children of our consecration. They can not withstand.
On your one day off a priest just sleeping it off and recovering, in fact the day he too is missing in the family. So my friend the priest has six children and one output. His wife, our former parishioner, with tears tells me: “Children grow up without a father like he was in prison or at war. We do not see in the output he’s asleep.” Repeat a key phrase: “Children are growing up without a father.” This is about children, not about the father, about their fate, not the fate of the priest.
And the wife at home, she’s tired from the kids and household chores, many of which needed to be resolved for a long time. Most modern girls are not ready even to three children either physically or mentally. What about families where five, six and eight kids?
Husband comes home and falls on the bed, exhausted. Helpers in the household, grandparents in most modern families, either. To solve the issue with doctors and educators, to take to school, pick up from it, three parent meetings during the week to do their homework and prepare meals for a large family. This to the dentist, a podiatrist, a speech therapist, and all this with a baby on hands or pregnant – and all without the help of my husband. Here’s the reality of a large city a priestly family. Accumulated fatigue, irritation, resentment, disappointment.
Know a priest whose wife one day just lay down and ceased to do anything, she couldn’t get up – turned to the wall and roars, no strength. Was having a mental breakdown. Children run around, the father have to go to the temple Affairs has not been canceled. Already calling the exasperated Abbot, he wants nothing to hear, because he had only one child, he doesn’t understand.
And the father leaves the family in a successful project
What implications does this have for the family of the cleric? Catastrophic. Stop common prayer, that is, disappears the only thing implemented home Church, no wife, no children do not pray together with the father almost never. Again, if he lives far from the temple, he leaves when the kids are asleep, and come when they are sleeping. Priest’s family most days of the week does not have the core that is in a normal Church family: pray.
The worst consequence of such a work schedule is the lack of communication with his wife and children, which nothing can replace. Year after year, moving away from the couple, the priest may come to destruction to heart connection with his wife, whom primarily rests the whole family. Often the situation is deepened by the fact that the parish priest surrounded by the veneration and obedience, but at home it is not so, and no longer listen. We can say that parish life is a successful project where it all happened, and the family is unfortunate, because he can’t solve it. And the father leaves the family further and further into a successful project, where he was on the podium in a blaze of glory, and all he had done.
But his future wife not father John, and for Vanya, she fell in love with a man. It is changing, it is changing. Family is two people in constant development and change, and not only the priestly family, either. In order to cope with it, you have a lot to talk and to communicate, spend time together, to do together some things, and this does not occur, and the relations begin to break down, which a vast number of examples. The hardest suffering relationships with children, they could not be built in time together with the father, without a common games and joyful children to do interesting things – impossible, it is the law.
Remember the prophet Samuel, the Lord revealed to him his will of the whole people, and the children grew up utterly worthless. The reason, in addition to their free will, there can be only one – the lack of time together. Even for the family of the great prophet this law is valid, what about us sinners.
We all know that the heart, let me emphasize, that heart-connection with the child constructed through physical contact. If dad daily takes the child in his arms, not squeezes and kisses him, this close relationship will not. The part which lay in infancy, it is born through affection. If the father cannot do for his congestion, this connection will not continue to build it will be even harder.
“Dad don’t pray together. Breakfast, lunch and almost always eat dinner separately. Lessons and the school without him. On Sunday the Pope is not at all”. Mother with children near to the house a temple, nor to speak to my father nor to listen to a story or a book, it happens very rarely. Even if a cleric of two full weekends, they never coincide with the weekend school children, as have on a weekday (it does not solve the problem, I understand, but it is also necessary to take into account).
To go somewhere with children to relax priest almost can’t. Vacation in many dioceses is never given for a month. In Moscow given, thank God! In many dioceses for two weeks and then another week or two weeks. Even if you have a benefactor who will pay you for the trip to the sea, for you to rest, and your wife rested, you will not have time for this time to relax.
And he hears: “Divorce, sacrifice family”
A priest from a fairly large, middle of the metropolis tells me: “not that I give only two weeks, I still have to justify it as a crime that I’m going away for two weeks somewhere. I can at any time to call”. Moreover, in this diocese, when a priest comes to the Bishop and says: “I Have problems with my wife.” He can hear one standard answer, the meaning of which is divorce. This as a result. Why? Because the answer is: sacrifice family, most importantly – serving. You have to sacrifice them, it’s bad, but it’s true.
No words! Instead of healing the situation is being pushed even further.
Household load separately, worship separately, raising children without a father – what will happen to this family? There is the most terrible – the family ceases to be a shared activity, just the fact ceases and, consequently, a source of joy together.
In the absence of regular joyful interesting communication, with the constant absence of the father at home with his frazzled and tired, when the intensity of his relationship with the mother that children can unmistakably feel in the depletion of love between them, the gap to heart connection with a child-a teenager is almost inevitable. As a consequence, the rejection of the father by the end of adolescence and often with the departure from the faith and the Church.
Razzenkovannye popovychi is a terrible temptation for our members. Same as mother, Lord, you are absolutely right. Questioned all that preaching father. If the father came to build a small Church, what he says from the pulpit, we will hear it. This temptation can so many young people to turn away from the Church, to nullify all our youth work just for quantity. If I’m Dating the son of a priest, who says: “You’re lying, I know your father”, – it is useless to continue to preach. We remember how Popovich became revolutionaries.
If the wife is 20 years old lives in poverty – she could lose faith in the Church
The second reason is our domestic Church, much less dangerous, but also very painful. All this is happening against the background of constant lack of money, which not allows to solve many questions. The car is not repaired, money to convenient doctors without the Tutors, clubs and sections are often not available. Without the Tutors at the Institute will not enter now. The larger the family the cleric, the question is sharper.
I recently talked to a large priest, nine children, I asked him about salary, he said: “Like everyone else. Did the Abbot, who has two kids, can’t just calculate the cost of your children and multiply by five? Add salary, what is he waiting for? When not stand the mother of a cleric and will start a mental disorder, or when she lost faith in the Church?”.
You know, if the wife of a priest 20 years in this exhausting and humiliating poverty, it can disbelieve in the Church, she says: “You preach to us that this is a community of love. Where?” He was recently the rector raised the salary from 30 to 50. What is Moscow family 11 people in 50 thousand is just ridiculous, you know? Funny. They have nowhere to get money now requirements do not give money.
We all go, prigashaem elderly people who once walked in our Church, there still would leave money because they do not what medicine to buy. If every three or four months of something you sanctify, something will give, that’s all. Gone are the 90s when gave money to religious rites, now practically it is not. Maybe someone has other statistics, I do.
What’s he waiting for? When you drink too much or close to full cynicism priest? And this very much. Why we have such a ruthless indifference to large? Humiliating, not even poverty, and poverty – that it is now home to many large clergy. You can tolerate a year, two, ten, but not a lifetime.
That is very important that the children of priests do not want to live. I heard so many times from the daughters of priests: “I’m not going to marry a seminarian, because, first, I don’t want my husband was transferred. Well back in Moscow, the other metro station, but if you serve in any big Russian city, which United with the diocese, and her husband picked up and moved 400 miles or 300. School here and husband there, no roads. I don’t want to I didn’t see you”.
Even the late Patriarch Alexy II repeatedly at diocesan meetings pointed out that the cleric should not be more than two days off, but that can be done to at least two output was not. Stricter follow in this issue of the family, especially the big clergy, to be released if the priest more than five children, from any additional vagramovich obedience, to follow the salary. You can pay from the arrival of the AU pair, a cook or a nanny in a family or to find voluntary assistants on a charity basis.
My friend the Abbot of one adult son, and his cleric of seven children. At some point the latter said, “to keep the family together, I need a two month vacation”. And the Abbot secretly lets him go, while remaining almost without rest. Honor and praise to such a person, it is mercy. Unfortunately, this phenomenon remains the exception.
Two hours comforting my mother, gave me money for ice cream – and that saved the family
What could be proposed? To work with the seminarians is necessary. When I graduated from Seminary in 1992, most of my classmates were chaste, they didn’t know what a woman is, and came up on a patristic basis for the construction of a family. Now it’s different.
About 7-8 years ago I was talking to a seminarian, then another, I was faced with the most discouraging information about the fact that so many seminarians (at the Moscow theological Seminary!) I think that mother must be a virgin before marriage, and the priest, the seminarian can afford connection. So, you know. Of course, this can not affect his future family life great sorrows. It is necessary to talk, it must be corrected.
What else can you offer? Lord, forgive me, you are blessed, I suggest. I think the Bishop must separately meet with the wives of priests, and without spouses, and to ask questions. In parts, not all at once, because if it is a hall in the temple of Christ the Savior, then no one will stand up and not say anything. We need to meet and ask what the problems are, to talk, to comfort, to strengthen.
My friend the priest 15 years ago there was a huge number vagramovich obedience – the restoration of the three temples on it. He had a wife at some point said: “I can’t,” and went to Vladyka Arseny. I asked her then: “Well, how?” She happily says: “the Bishop pushed back his chair, leaned carefully looked at me, smiled and said: “come on, tell me”. Long, two hours, sitting there all those who recorded, and he talked with me, comforted me, strengthened, explained, then asked, “do You like ice cream?” “Yes.” And gave me money for ice cream”.
He led her out of the impasse in which she was. Took her husband’s part of obedience. In this family, the problem was not lack of money, and in the absence of joint time of the priest with his wife and children.
She came out absolutely elated. Here is a pastoral conversation with a woman, a mother, who was on the verge of breakup with her husband. If the time to catch up. This family still exists. This is a wonderful priest, rector of the great Moscow Church. Vladyka Arseny it just saved this conversation.
I’m not familiar with the practice in rural parishes, talking about the city – it is important to closely follow that of the clergy was the weekend. What can I do? You can just collect a list and to perform. And you need not have to ask the abbots, and the clergy themselves, because the priors can do a lot not to notice and not ignore.
See call the Dean and say, “please Tell me why You have this priest this week was no output, and last week he had only one day off. What are you waiting for?”. Moreover, it is necessary to convince and to force the abbots to consider vahromova obedience, for example, teaching at St. Tikhon’s University for the working day. We all know many cases when the Abbot doesn’t want to admit it, it is necessary that the priest served, he says: “It’s your problem. I want to teach? Come the weekend and all.”
To provide some privileges to the clergy, having five or more children. What can be the benefits? Exemption from duty in the temple. Believe me, if a priest, five or six children, he would not relax this time, it will spin like a squirrel in a wheel.
Exemption from some of the Liturgy of obedience. That was this weekend.
The organization tangible material aid and assistance to farm families on a regular basis.
Can offer the following criterion: if, after completing puberty all of your children go to Church, and are willing to confess even to you when there is no other possibility, and even the mother is ready to do it when there is no other possibility, as an exception, that is, continues to trust you as a priest, only then can exhale and begin to enjoy your grandchildren.
Until then exhale not, because those years that we spent without communication with children, they can shoot at 17 and 20 years. It seems to me that if you do not take any measures, we will have a few years not just a wave but a tsunami of divorces in families of clergymen, or of extinguished families, so to call it, when there is no joy, they just live together because otherwise he will lose place and not be able to support a family. What the priest can teach their parishioners? It is not clear.
Freed from obedience to family circumstances
I had such a case, sorry, tell us about yourself. When my wife gave birth to a seventh child (I have eight now), she had a blood clot in the leg, it was not necessary to operate, he did not threaten the heart, and it was not possible. Wife lies, grandparents no helpers no. I have, thank God, was left for two weeks vacation, which I so much under labor. On me dads a bit released. She couldn’t walk, she couldn’t get up was such a pain. Kitchen lessons – all on me. She is with the baby, everything else is on me. When I had this problem with my wife, I was carrying more obedience to the Patriarchate. Everything else I could endure, and this, I feel I can’t anymore.
I went to Vladyka Arseny. It was pretty funny, I’ll tell you about it. I show up with parish issues and say: “Is this a social call?” He says, “Yes.” Begin to tell you how you live: something, something, (despite the fact that my son was seriously ill and they all had to do separate adult all the time, but this is impossible). Bishop tenses, here looks at me, hands clenched, and said, “What do you want?”. I said, “excuse me, please, from obedience to the canonical Commission.” He: “Phew! Of course, go.”
Maybe he thought I asked for staff because of the situation that I described, he’s got eyes like that – he didn’t know how I live. You know, nobody knew, nobody needs to know. But he penetrated into the situation, said, “Please.”
The only time in 25 diocesan meetings that I attended as a priest, I heard the words “ so-and-so is ahead of schedule released from obedience to family circumstances”. And it was about me. Before the expiration of three years of obedience, I was released. I am eternally grateful to the Lord for it. I don’t know if I could withstand the load and not break. If you have serious problems, go to him, he listened, and, despite the fact that he had no family, he’ll understand.
But not everywhere it happens. If this problem is not to start to solve this wave of divorces and extinct families would be a terrible temptation for believers and for unbelievers.