“Her husband “disappointed” in me. The situation was warmed up by close members who whispered that mother decided on the feat, becoming the wife of a priest, it is nothing to be sorry for, it should match its status. A considerable role was played by the preaching of the senior priest of our Church. Started the physical violence. …Why am I writing about this? Because I know that my case is not the only one.”
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This is not the only letter to the editor from former spouses who were able to leave on time from their husbands-the priests, before tragedy struck. Although what they describe, otherwise also can not be called a terrible tragedy. Just two weeks before the incident, “Pravmir” raised the issue of specific problems in the families of priests. Of course, we did not expect that now have to deal with these issues at the last example. The letter we quote in full. Name and surname of the author changed.
A shocking incident has opened my old wounds. I wanted to tell my story. Because I divorced with my husband because to avoid something like that. However, the Orthodox community of our not so big city, I became a pariah.
We had been married for more than 10 years. We have small children. As is usual in the families of priests, a lot of them. Husband has always been in good standing with the Church authorities and parishioners, a lot of time and effort was given to the Church. I initially was ready, so tried as she could to pull your all, providing my husband “back”, as he liked to say, and helping at services.
But over time, the husband began to show a growing dissatisfaction with the way I handle their duties. I must admit that I do not have time, for example, to play with children of Board games. I just haven’t had a minute to sit down during the day. And children grow up not perfect – might quarrel, capricious, greedy. But I saw that they are kind, sympathetic, love each other, I saw that love and respect us, so was calm and believed that the roughness of a natural phenomenon of childhood.
Husband began to call me indifferent. At some point the charges against me began to grow like a snowball, covered our family with the head and first spouse. It is completely “disappointed” in me.
The situation was warmed up by close members who constantly whispered to her husband that the mother initially decided on the feat, becoming the wife of a priest, so it is nothing to be sorry for, it should match its status. Played a significant role, and many sermons of the senior priest of our Church, where he vehemently denounced women, “from which all troubles” taught to be helpers to their husbands and other ideas of a Patriarchal society. All is good, but the sermons were listened to and men, and the situation in many families escalated.
Initially we with the husband were good friendships, but gradually, under the idea of his headship, he more and more took my life under control. I wasn’t allowed to communicate with parents, it was impossible to have friends and helpers, it was impossible to go anywhere without consulting him.
For a long time I was willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of marriage. But then my strength has ended. Latest heavy pregnancy and obstructed labor finally undermined my health. I was constantly crying, very painful to respond to insults in his address, to break, to scream. Husband to “take me back to the Land,” sending in the big guns. He started to say that if I didn’t stop acting like this, he’ll throw me out and take my kids from me. Then the youngest was a month old, and these words brought me unbearable mental suffering.
Despite the negative attitude of our Confessor to psychologists, I still decided anonymously to seek help. Then I learned that my family is not that other, as psychological violence, and my condition is a consequence of the complete suppression of the individual. We began to work on my problems, I stopped crying and hysterical.
And then there was the paradox. Instead of happy, her husband worsened even more in relation to me, started the physical violence. It was a shock. In my parental family nor the father, nor grandfather, nor great-grandfather never laid a hand on a woman. For some time I tolerated and tried to solve the issue. But all was in vain. “You’re a stranger to me” – I hear in response again and again. Offered to go to the elder, the experienced Confessor, to pass courses of psychological support, but spouse did not agree.
After another injury, I turned to the ruling Bishop. He reacted sympathetically, her husband was punished, but this only worsened our situation, as to all other claims were added, and resentment, that I “washed dirty linen in public”. Episodes of violence were repeated. I was in despair.
Almost all of my friends were from Church, so one way or another held the side of her husband, the priest and was reminded that I should patiently bear the cross. It is even more claimed her husband in their own right and had closed the way to sincere repentance. It was me literally to hate.
One day, after a quarrel, ended by a brutal act of violence, when my life was in the balance, I knew it was time to leave, otherwise there will be hell to pay. I turned for advice to an experienced Confessor, and they supported my decision.
So began a long and painful path of divorce with her husband-a priest. I struck all the rage brothers and sisters in Christ, including legally savvy. The courts, the courts, the courts… and the fear that using “Orthodox” fans of kids I have, indeed, taken away.
Now this path is passed. The kids, after two years of wandering, have their housing, where they can be in moral and physical safety. I gave the youngest to daycare and went to work that allows me to have some financial independence. Thanks to the help of a lawyer, her ex-husband, the court appointed alimony on the maintenance of minor children.
We can be difficult, and it is natural when raising so many children by one man. Sometimes it becomes very difficult, and the eldest says to me, “Mom, the important thing is that we went out, and the rest survive.” Children love dad, but they saw so many fears, that separation has become their deliverance. Their behavior and health has improved significantly when we began to live separately and to meet with the Pope they were out of the house.
Why I left my husband-priest? Lest something worse than divorce, and my children are not orphans. If I destroyed a family? No. Our relationship was irrevocably shattered, but parents we need to be is not longer. Family the children were, but in a different, unfamiliar to many.
Why am I writing about this? Because I know that my case is not unique. I’m very hurt that mother remain in her grief without support. What a tragic development of events often leads, paradoxically, a Patriarchal worldview, which is not passed through the prism of the gospel truth about love and mutual help, gradually turning into a machine for the suppression. That people are so scared to be disappointed in the belief that they will justify the father, tell his wife, destroying what was built, especially if the priest has the temerity to complain.
There are a lot of single women in parishes who find the priest men’s comfort, so starting unconsciously, but first, very quickly, to compete with them, thereby inserting wedges between spouses. And then these same Orthodox aunt, blaming the mother for all the troubles, making her an outcast if she still decided to leave, fuelling the already strong sense of guilt that gnaws at her.
You know, despite all the imperfection of our earth system, God does not cease to participate in our lives if we ask. I consider it a miracle that I managed to leave, and it was definitely not without His help. I pity those people who judge me. Life is a complicated thing, and we must live with open eyes, accepting her evidence as there is to be religious people and not religious fanatics.