Clerics: Gender, Age, Marital Status, Salary, Retirement

Most of the Spiritual Communities in the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Assembly of Jeruaslem accept as candidates for the Sacrament of Holy Orders, both men and women for such stations of responsibility as archdeacons, archdeaconesses, bishops, priests and deacons.

The Pillars of the Holy Faith stipulate that in the absence of a qualified male cleric, a qualified female cleric is responsible for the leadership of the congregation, but that once an approved and competent male member becomes a cleric, he is to serve as the head of the congregation. This does not indicate that the female cleric is to step down. They are to serve side by side, serving the congregation in their care with their God-given talents. Divine Revelation has also indicated on numerous occasions that only men may be appointed to the Holy Synod, however, women may serve in other capacities that are greatly appreciated and valued by the Synod.

Individuals seeking Holy Orders must be at least twenty-five (25) years of age, and should have been a member of their local congregation for at least one (1) year. It is required that a bishop be at least 30 years of age. Individuals who have been disciplined within the last three (3) years can not serve a congregation as a cleric. After three years have passed, the individual may seek Holy Orders after thorough review. Some Spiritual Communities may have additional regulations.

The Assembly permits bishops, priests and deacons of the various Spiritual Communities to be married to one spouse and have children. However, they are not permitted to remarry if they divorce or one of the spouses dies. If a bishop is divorced from his/her spouse, the bishop may required to step down from their official responsibilities and re-assigned to other duties. The Catholicos is not permitted to marry.

None of the clerics of the Assembly or its Spiritual Communities receive a salary or stipend for their services. Additionally, the Assembly and Spiritual Communities do not offer insurance or other benefits. Each cleric is responsible for his/her own income and expenses. There are times when the Assembly may be able to assist in offsetting the costs incurred for travel associated with a special assignment, but this depends on the current budget. A cleric may receive gifts such as food, or small amounts of money to purchase food from his/her local congregation or members abroad. A local congregation may wish to provide a home or room for the cleric if they wish. However, the cleric may not ask or demand the faithful for anything in return for the religious services they offer.

Clerics who retire may be provided, by their congregation(s), a gift upon retiring. This gift can be small and simple, or as elaborate as a home or cash to survive during his/her old age. The congregation(s) may also wish to provide on a regular basis, food and other gifts that can assist with his/her expenses as the congregation is able. However, this is not a requirement for retired clerics. A retired cleric may serve in the capacity of a priest or deacon if he/she is competent and physically able, but in a limited manner. He/she may still perform baptisms, marriages and funerals, and to a limited extent an occasional Qurbana Qadisha. The retired cleric should not be burdened with congregation business or council meetings or other duties that assist in the organization of the congregation or dioceses. With the exception of confession and emergency baptism, the retired cleric is not bound to any particular duties unless it is stipulated by the Holy Synod as a whole. If he/she remains in good standing, the retired cleric is still accorded the same respect and holds the same religious title (usually appended with the term “emeritus”) as they originally held before retiring.

Comments are closed.