Relocating to preach abroad: advice to an aspiring priest

Serving as a priest outside the United States: things to consider

Question: Your blessing Father. I have come to the USA to be received in the Orthodox Church. I came here about 3 years ago and for 2 years I lived with a old priest and his wife. They have a very small parish that is under the Russian Church Abroad and they baptized me. They helped me a lot getting established here, especially financially. Now a year ago I married one of their grand daughters and we are about to have a child. However me and my wife are not happy here. Especially because of the fact that the parish here is so small and most of the times there is no younger people and some people left, and now we are thinking of leaving too. There is not even married people with kids that come around. And I know that no matter whos in Church, the services still have grace.

Me and the priest and also the priest wife got very close all these years I lived with them, and I know that this decision hurts them, because I also help them , especially singing at Church. But the priest is very old now and having a lot of difficulty serving, and there is nobody to serve in his place. So we have this feeling that the parish is about to die. And we have a child on the way and we would like to be in a parish where there is more people we could relate to and other children so our children could make friends with and have families and people that share and practice the same faith. I just keep wondering if I am being ungrateful and leaving the people that helped me. And I wonder if my concerns are really valid to the point of leaving. I understand also that not always the things we do please everybody. My wife was born here and she always wanted to go somewhere else. I know this is a complicated situation, but please Father if you have any advice to give, write to us. If not, just please pray for us.

Answer:  You will need to think about your wife. How hard will it be for her to move far away from her friends and relatives? In your place, I would see if I could have an ordination and serve in your parish. That way, you could attract some young people to the church. A parish with an older priest is one thing. But if you could serve here, there is a chance that you - as a younger person and family - could attract some younger Americans and immigrants. The parish would live. It would not close. But be careful about your choices. Is your wife ready to take up this cross? Is she prepared to bear all the hardships of being the wife of a parish priest? These are very delicate matters. You have a responsibility to your family together. Sometimes, one party will make a decision that looks right, but the other party finds its costs too much to bear, and the family falls apart. You will also need to have a conversation with the old priest. Also, examine your attitude: are you ready to dedicate yourself to the service of God? To work hard to bring your parish to life? Perhaps there will be a renewal. But do not expect too much too quickly. You may not gather crowds of people as soon as you begin to serve. Alexey Mechev, an elder from Moscow, served alone at church for seven years. Most people thought he was not of the right mind. However, seven years later, so many people started coming that there was hardly any room to stand. He persevered for many years before people began to flock to him.

Archpriest Andrey Lemeshonok

August 21, 2022
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Ratings: 5/5
Votes: 5
2 months ago

Rev,fr..john .T.kihanga

2 months ago
My beloved with love and kiind,stay there in the old priest's parish; evangelise to young and old,men and women.suprisingly you might be ordained as an assistance priest to very parish
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