There are a few people in the world who heed this call and give their life to this service. We see them in church, serving as priests at the altar of the Lord. It often doesn’t cross our minds that these helpful people you feel you can always talk to, dressed up in gold-cloth and precious jewels, can be struggling financially. And if they are, we often think it’s their own fault: maybe they made some wrong choices.
Unfortunately, it’s often us, their parishioners, who make the wrong choice. No matter how much spiritual and emotional support we get from our priests, no matter how many times we hear of people calling the priest in the middle of the night, we hardly ever stop to think who pays for the bread on the priest’s table, or how is he to feed and clothe his wife and children.
Only about five parishes in the Eastern-American Diocese and 10 in the Western-American Diocese support their priest enough for him to get by without additional jobs. Meanwhile, the greater majority of priests have a meager salary and no medical insurance. Many clergy and their families subsist on the salary of a Matushka, who also works 24/7.
We all know there are not enough priests. How many young men, choosing a path in their life and hoping to start a family, will willingly prefer this lot? How many men have chosen it years ago, and toil on quietly for years, living in poverty and contemplating a needy old age.
This situation is as old as ROCOR, yet it violates Church canons which spell out the parish’s responsibility to support its priest. It’s time we, ROCOR members and parishioners, made a drastic change. The Church dictates that a priest be neither wealthier nor poorer than his average parishioner, so that neither envy nor condescension distort their relationship.
Please help our clergy! If we don’t support our own, no one will.
Fund for Assistance to ROCOR
75 E 93 St
New York, NY 10128
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May the Lord bless your generous hearts!