United Roman-Ruthenian Church

Each autocephalous branch of the church may define their own clerical discipline regarding married bishops and other clergy. Both are historical. Both are canonical. St. Peter and most Apostles were married. That they were married did not prevent their being chosen as Apostles by Christ. That one jurisdiction does not allow married clergy does not not render the married clergy of another jurisdiction uncanonical or illicit or unorthodox. Likewise, that one jurisdiction permits married clergy does not render celibate clergy in other jurisdictions uncanonical or illicit or unorthodox. Such judgments, as well as those that consider either married or celibate clergy inherently to be superior to the other, are ignorant and bigoted, create division and pomposity, and work against the brotherhood between all Christians.

Now consider the Biblical evidence:

If a man desire the office of a Bishop, he desires a good work. A Bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, ...ruling well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity. 1 Timothy 3:1-4

For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city as I had appointed you; If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly. Titus 1:5,6

Now when Jesus had come into Peter's house, He saw his wife's mother lying sick with a fever. Matthew 8:14

But Simon's wife's mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once. Mark 1:30

Now He arose from the Synagogue and entered Simon's house. But Simon's wife's mother was sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him concerning her. Luke 4:38 
From the Bible alone, there is evidence of married clergy and indeed married bishops. Consider the words of the Church Fathers.

St John Chrysostom said that "A Bishop then must be blameless the husband of one wife." If then 'he who is married cares for the things of the world' (1 Cor. 7:33), and a bishop ought not to care for the things of the world, why does he say 'the husband of one wife'? Some indeed think that he says this with reference to one who remains free from a wife. But if otherwise, he that has a wife may be as though he had none (1 Cor. 7:29). For that liberty was then properly granted, as suited to the nature of the circumstances then existing. And it is very possible, if a man will, to regulate his conduct. 'Having his children in subjection with all gravity.' This is necessary, that an example might be exhibited in his own house. First Series, Vol. 13, Homily X, Homilies on Timothy.

"'If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly.' Why does he bring forward such a one? To stop the mouths of those heretics who condemned marriage, showing that it is not an unholy thing in itself, but so far honorable, that a married man might ascend the holy throne; and at the same reproving the wanton, and not permitting their admission into this high office who contracted a second marriage. For he who retains no kind regard for her who is departed, how shall he be a good presider?" First Series, Vol. 13, Homily X, Homilies on Titus.

"'Having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly.' We should observe what care he bestows upon children. For he who cannot be the instructor of his own children, how should he be the Teacher of others?...But, if occupied in the pursuit of wealth, he has made his children a secondary concern, and not bestowed much care upon them, even so he is unworthy. For if when nature prompted, he was so void of affection or so senseless, that he thought more of his wealth than of his children, how should he be raised to the episcopal throne, and so great a rule?" First Series, Vol. 13, Homily X, Homilies on Titus.

"But I have also thought it necessary to inform you of the fact, that Bishops have succeeded those who have fallen asleep. In Tanis, in the stead of Elias, is Theodorus. In Arsenoitis, Silvanus instead of Nonnus. In Bucolia is Heraclius. In Tentyra, Andronicus is instead of Saprion, his father. In Thebes, Philon instead of Philon, etc." Letter 12, Sect. 2, Letters of St Athanasius, Second Series, Vol. IV.

"For we know both bishops who fast, and monks who eat. We know bishops that drink no wine, as well as monks who do. We know bishops who work wonders, as well as monks who do not. Many also of the bishops have not even married, while monks have been fathers of children; just as conversely we know bishops who are fathers of children and monks 'of the completest kind'." Letter 49, Sect. 9, Letters of St Athanasius, Second Series, Vol. IV.

"And so the Apostle have given a pattern, saying that a bishop 'must be blameless', and in another place: 'A bishop must be without offence, as a steward of God, not proud, not soon angry, not given to wine, not a striker, not greedy of filthy lucre.' For how can the compassion of a dispenser of alms and the avarice of a covetous man agree together? I have set down these things which I have been told are to be avoided, but the apostle is the master of virtues, and he teaches that gainsayers are to be convicted with patience, who lays down that one should be the husband of a single wife, not in order to exclude him from the right of marriage (for this is beyond the force of the precept), but that by conjugal chastity he may preserve the grace of his baptismal washing; nor again that he may be induced by the Apostle's authority to beget children in the priesthood; for he speaks of having children, not of begetting them, or marrying again. St Ambrose of Milan, Chapters 61 & 62, Letter 63, Second Series,Vol. 10.

"On the Marriage of Church Dignitaries: But, while dealing with the passage, I would say that we will be able perhaps now to understand and clearly set forth a question which is hard to grasp and see into, with regard to the legislation of the Apostle concerning ecclesiastical matters; for Paul wishes no one of those of the church, who has attained to any eminence beyond the many, as is attained in the administration of the sacraments, to make trial of a second marriage. For laying down the law in regard to bishops in the first Epistle to Timothy, he says, 'If a man seeketh the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. The bishop, therefore, must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded,' etc.; and, in regard to deacons, 'Let the deacons,' he says, 'be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well,' etc. ... And, in the Epistle to Titus, 'For this cause,' he says, 'I left thee in Crete that thou shouldest set in order the things that were wanting, and appoint elders in every city as I gave thee charge. If any one is blameless, the husband of one wife, having children, that believe'. Now, when we saw that some who have been married twice may be much better than those who have been married once, we were perplexed why Paul does not at all permit those who have been twice married to be appointed to ecclesiastical dignities; for also it seemed to me that such a thing was worthy of examination, as it was possible that a man, who had been unfortunate in two marriages, and had lost his second wife while he was yet young, might have lived for the rest of his years up to old age in the greatest self-control and chastity. Who, then, would not naturally be perplexed why at all, when a ruler of the church is being sought for, we do not appoint such a man, though he has been twice married, because of the expressions about marriage, but lay hold of the man who has been once married as our ruler, even if he chance to have lived to old age with his wife, and sometimes may not have been disciplined in chastity and temperance? But, from what is said in the law about the bill of divorcement, I reflect whether, seeing that the bishop and the presbyter and the deacon are a symbol of things that truly exist in accordance with these names, he wished to appoint those who were figuratively once married. Origen, Book XIV, Commentary on Matthew, Vol. X, Ante Nicene Fathers.

And from the Church Councils:

"Let not a bishop, presbyter, or deacon, put away his wife under pretence of religion; but if he put her away, let him be excommunicated; and if he persists, let him be deposed." Canon V of the Canons of the Twelve Apostles.

"If any bishop, presbyter, or deacon, or any one of the sacerdotal list, abstains from marriage, or flesh, or wine, not by way of religious restraint, but as abhorring them, forgetting that God made all things very good, and that he made man male and female, and blaspheming the work of creation, let him be corrected, or else be deposed, and cast out of the Church. In like manner a layman." Canon LI of the Apostolic Canons.

"Moreover, this also has come to our knowledge, that in Africa and Libya, and in other places the most God-beloved bishops in those parts do not refuse to live with their wives, even after consecration, thereby giving scandal and offence to the people. Since, therefore, it is our particular care that all things tend to the good of the flock placed in our hands and committed to us - it has seemed good that henceforth nothing of the kind shall in any way occur. And we say this, not to abolish and overthrow what things were established of old by Apostolic authority, but as caring for the health of the people and their advance to better things, and lest the ecclesiastical state should suffer any reproach...But if any shall have been observed to do such a thing, let him be deposed." Quinisext Council, Canon XII.

"The wife of him who is advanced to hierarchical dignity, shall be seperated from her husband by their mutual consent, and after his ordination and consecration to the episcopate she shall enter a monastery situated at a distance from the abode of the bishop, and there let her enjoy the bishop's provision. And if she is deemed worthy she may be advanced to the dignity of a deaconess." Quinisext Council, Canon XLVII:

"The fifth Apostolic canon allows neither bishop, presbyter, nor deacons to cast forth his wife under pretext of piety; and assigns penalties for any that shall do so, and if he will not amend he is to be deposed. But this canon on the other hand does not permit a bishop even to live with his wife after his consecration. But by this change no contempt is meant to be poured out upon what had been established by Apostolic authority, but it was made through care for the people's health and for leading on to better things, and for fear that the sacerdotal estate might suffer some wrong." Commentary by Aristenus:

"In the time of this Canon (of the Apostles) not only presbyters and deacons, but bishops also, it is clear, were allowed by Eastern custom to have their wives; and Zonaras and Balsamon note that even until the Sixth Council, commonly called in Trullo, bishops were allowed to have their wives." Commentary by Van Espen.

And from other leaders of the Church:

A resolution sent to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople asked "to consider returning to the practice of ordaining married priests as bishops as was done in the early church." Petition in 1992: The Orthodox Observer, publication of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America, in reference to a 1992 clergy-laity conference of that archdiocese held in New Orleans. Earlier the Greek Archdiocese formally stated that a married Episcopate was normal and permitted in the original practice of the Church.

Regarding married bishops and clergy with or without dedicated celibacy/continency:

Consider that the traditional position regarding the Apostles (including St. Peter), as well as many bishops of the early Church that they remained married but celibate/continent is supported by evidence of the early Church, as well as the Quintisext Council. Yet, if that celibacy/continence resulted from the heretical belief that marital relations were inherently sinful, even for clergy, that is a clear rejection of the Apostolic Canons -- thereby placing such a cleric under anathema.

If a bishop or cleric makes no promise to live a celibate life from the time or their ordination, then it raises the objection by some that "He who is married is concerned for his wife and the affairs of the world", as well as the words of St. Paul that it is "better to remain celibate." Yet, there are certainly plenty of cases of married bishops that bore children in lawful Christian marriage after their consecration. The canonical and theological fact remains that the lawful Christian state of marriage itself renders the married but not celibate/continent episcopate has not committed any sin that would prevent him from consecration or from remaining in the episcopal or clerical state, even if married after consecration or ordination. In fact, the Apostolic Canons direct that one was not allowed to put away one's wife. It is purely up to an episcopal conference and autocephalous jurisdiction to determine its own laws pertaining this discipline.

In the Latin Rite, it was not until the Second Lateran Council in 1139 that contracting marriage after ordination was forbidden specifically at the order of subdeacon and above – and this prohibition, whatever theological interpretations may later have been added, is generally believed to have been related to protecting church property rights. Many clerics, even cardinals and popes, still had official “common law wives” thereafter. Celibacy as a general expectation to the Latin Rite did not formally become part of canon law until 1917. And, Eastern Rite clergy and their counterparts in the Orthodox churches have always been able to marry, even to the present day. However, many Orthodox bishops are chosen exclusively from the ranks of the monastics or the widowers -- though this is not universal.

Modern examples of married clergy exist within the Roman Communion, such as those that resulted when Saint Benedict XVI permitted Protestant Anglican clergy to join the Roman Communion and become Catholic priests even if married. The Roman Communion also re-instituted the permanent diaconate (deacons who have no specific plans to become priests), and those deacons can be married. As another example, one modern Catholic Bishop, Monsignor Salamão Barbarosa Ferraz, was a participant in the Second Vatican Council in the mid-20th century, and he was married with several children.

The Imperial Roman Church (Apostolic See of Sts. Stephen and Mark), consistent with Scripture, the Apostolic Canons and traditions of the Church from its inception, and doctrine, permit both celibate and married clergy -- including bishops. Married men must have permission of their wives before taking Holy Orders. Those in Holy Orders are permitted to marry as well, provided that they have the permission of their Bishop.

 Some married bishops throughout the history of the Church:

Saint Peter, Prince of the Apostles
Saint Andrew the Apostle
Saint Bartholomew the Apostle
Saint Matthew the Apostle
Saint Philip the Apostle
Saint Jude the Apostle
Pope Anastasius I (Father of Pope Innocent)
Pope Adrian II
Pope Felix III (Great-great grandfather of Pope St. Gregory the Great)
Pope Hormisdas
Pope Felix III
Salamao Barbarosa Ferraz (Auxiliary Bishop of Rio de Janiero; Participated in committee of the  Second Vatican Council)
Aetherius, Bishop of Vienna
Ajax, Bishop of Botolous, Syria
Ajax, Bishop of Botoulos, Syria
Amator, Bishop of Auxere
Antoninus, Bishop of Ephesus (Judged by a Council headed by St. John Chrysostom that his married state was not contrary to Holy Law.)
Antonius, Suburbicarian Bishop in Rome (Cardinal Bishop; Father of Pope Damasus I)
Apollinaris Sidonius, Bishop of Clermont (Father of Apollinaris, Bishop of Auvergne)
Apollinaris, Bishop of Auvergene
Aquilinus, Bishop of Evreux
Arnulfus, Bishop of Metz
Artemius, Bishop of Auvergne
Artemius, Bishop of Sens
Asrug, Bishop of Pakravant, Armenia
Astidius, Bishop of Limoges
Autius, Bishop of Vienna
Avitius, Bishop of Plaisance
Badegisil, Bishop of Le Mans
Baudin, Bishop of Tours
Blandus, Bishop of Ortona
Bonosus, Bishop of Narbonne
Carterius (Bishop in Spain; His marital state was supported by St. Jerome, who acknowledge that there were many married Bishops consecrated to the Episcopate.)
Cassius, Bishop of Narni, Province of Perusia
Celidonius, Bishop of Basancon
Cereman, Bishop of Nilopolis
Demetrian, Bishop of Antioch
Demetrius, Patriarch of Alexandria
Desideratus, Bishop of Verdun
Diogenes (Bishop within Antioch; Married twice.)
Domninus, Bishop of Caesarea
Ennodius, Bishop of Pavic
Eucherus, Bishop of Lyon (Father of Salonius, Bishop of Geneva and Veranus, Bishop of Vence)
Eulalius, Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia
Eulogius, Bishop of Bourges
Euphronius, Bishop of Tours
Eusanius, Bishop of Agrigentia, Sicily
Eutopus, Bishop of Orange
Faron, Bishop of Meaux
Filibaud, Bishop of Aure-sur-l'Adour
Firminus, Bishop of Vivens
Francillon, Bishop of Tours
Fridolin Zahradnik (Consecrated bishop by Most Rev. Felix Maria Davidek in Czechoslovakia)
Gallomaguus, Bishop of Troyes
Genebaud, Bishop of Laon
Germanus, African Bishop
Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre
Gissur Ísleifsson
Gregory the Elder, Bishop of Nazianzea
Gregory the Illuminator, First Armenian Katholikos
Gregory, Bishop of Langres
Gregory, Bishop of Nazianzen (Father of St. Gregory of Nazianzen, Archbishop of Constantinople, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church)
Gregory, Spanish Bishop
Hesychius, Bishop of Vienna (Father of Avitus, Bishop of Vienna and Apollinaris, Bishop of Valence)
Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, France
Irenaeus, Bishop of Sirmium
Irenaeus, Bishop of Tyre
Isaac the Great, Armenian Katholikos
Ísleifur Gissurarson
Jan Krett (Consecrated bishop by Most Rev. Felix Maria Davidek in Czechoslovakia)
Jeronimo Podesta (Bishop in Argentina; married while a bishop; was defended by Jorge  Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, later Pope Francis of the Vatican Church.)
John the Almoner, Patriarch of Alexandria
Jón Arason
Julian, Bishop of Eclanum
Karel Chytil (Consecrated bishop by Most Rev. Felix Maria Davidek in Czechoslovakia)
Khat, Bishop of Pakravant, Armenia
Leo, Bishop in Italy
Leontius, Bishop of Bordeaux
Leontius, Bishop of Tripoli
Leudines, Bishop of Toul
Lucillus, Bishop of Malta
Lupus, Bishop of Troyes
Maclou, Bishop of Vannes
Magnús Gissurarson
Magnus, Bishop of Avignon
Marcellus, Bishop of Apamea, Syria
Martial, Bishop of Merida
Medoald, Bishop of Trier
Memorius, Bishop of Southern Italy (Father of Julian, Bishop of Eclanus)
Namatius, Bishop of Auvergne
Namatius, Bishop of Vienna
Nerses the Great, Armenian Katholikos
Nonnichius, Bishop of Nantes
Pacian, Bishop of Barcelona, Spain
Páll Jónsson
Palladius, Bishop of Bourges
Pancratius, Bishop of Umbria (Father of two sons who became bishops)
Pantogathe, Bishop of Vienna
Passiuus, Bishop of Fermo
Paul, Bishop of Trois Chateaux
Paulinus of Nola
Paulinus, Bishop of Nola
Pelagius, Bishop of Laodicea
Pelladius,Bishop of Eauze
Pharen I, Patriarch of Armenia
Pharen, Armenian Patriarch
Philieas, Bishop of Thmuis, Egypt
Philogonius, Bishop of Antioch
Principe, Bishop of Soissons
Priscus, Bishop of Lyon
Raymond Dumais (Bishop in Canada)
Reolus, Bishop of Rheims
Reticius, Bishop of Autun
Ruricius, Bishop of Limoges
Salvius, Bishop of Albi
Severus, Archbishop of Ravenna
Sigilaicus, Bishop of Tours
Simplicius, Bishop of Bourges
Spiridon, Bishop of Trimithus, Cyprus
St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa
Symposius, Bishop of Astorga, Spain
Synesius of Cyrene, Bishop of Ptolemais
Tamas Szabo, Bishop in Hungary
Theodore, Bishop in Jerusalem.
Urbicus, Bishop of Clermont
Verthanes, Patriarch of Armenia
Victor, Bishop of Rennes
Victor, Bishop of Veresium, Nunidia
Volusian, Bishop of Tours
Yusik, Arminian Katholikos



























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