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Question 27.

Why is it we have to pay for all the services carried out. i.e Christenings, marriage, death, certain types of blessings etc., candles are priced, basket tray at every service etc., if this is Gods house why do we have to pay for his services? Why should we have to pay to pray?     

 

Answer to Question 27.

 

The Church does not belong to the priests, it is your church and you have a responsibility in its upkeep. In the Old Testament we read that people had to donate 10% of their earning to the temple. This was continued in the times of the Apostles and was essential for the Church to carry out her philanthropic work. Today we don’t ask you for 10% of your earning although that would be absolutely fantastic. So if someone earns 20,000 they would have to give 2,000 to the Church.  The Church has many expenses, the priests wages, the chanters wages, the cleaning ladies wages, electricity, structural repairs, general wear and tear, new vestments, a great deal of charity work that you don’t know about because she doesn’t boast of the good works that she does and many many other hidden expenses. Where is the Church supposed to find the money for all these things? It is your duty as a Christian and a member of the church community to provide for the daily running of the church. But instead of demanding from you to donate 10% of your wages, she makes small charges for feasts, memorials, baptism, weddings and funerals. The fees are so minimal that no one should really begrudge giving. In Cyprus we charge 100 euros for a wedding and people complain, yet they spend 2 – 4 thousand on flowers that will wither and die in a few days. If someone genuinely can't afford to pay for something the church will gladly do it for free. Don't be so petty with your arguments.

 

Question by another member

 

On this subject i wanted to add that there should be a fixed price if we have to pay for some services as i have enquired for my son's christening for this summer and the prices were ridiculous. Started from 70-250€. I christened my god-daughter last year and the priest asked for 50€. I just think its sad that each church decides to charge whatever they want

 

Answer

 

You mention euros so I must assume that you are either in Cyprus or Greece. I cannot comment on pricing in England or Greece because each Orthodox country deals with her administration problems separately. Each Orthodox country is independent (autocephalous) and what binds us together is not a central religious government like the Vatican, but our faith and communion which is one.  The Church in Cyprus has set a fixed charge for baptisms and weddings and by and large most churches respect this ruling by the Holy Synod, although I have heard of some Churches charging more than they should with the justification that they charge extra for more lighting, heating or air condition. The charge for baptism should be €50 and for a wedding €100 for which a receipt MUST be given. As far as I know all the churches in Limassol charge the same and our bishop has strictly forbidden priests to charge anything more. If someone wishes to give something to the priest and helpers then it is gratefully excepted, but we are not allowed to put our hand out or ask for a tip. If you are asked to give more and if it is not justified with a valid receipt then you can report the priest to the bishop and he will be dealt with severely.  The fixed prices are what you will be charged in your local parish church which you are obliged to support. If someone wishes to have a baptism in some other church then he must pay his local parish church and also the new location. The same applies for a Wedding. A woman is obliged to have her wedding at her local church, but if she decides to have it at the groom’s local church then she will be charged €70 from her local church and the other church will charge €100 for the wedding. If the woman is from a large family (Polyteknoi) then her local parish church waves the wedding charge and is absolutely free, but if she decides to marry in another church then she still has to pay that church €100.  If someone cannot pay because of hardship the Church will gladly perform the services for free, but then the baptism or wedding should reflect that hardship. One cannot plead poverty if the flower arrangements cost thousands of euros, the brides dress costs thousands and everything else is top drawer.  There is also a charge for the marriage certificate which I think is €20 and again if the woman produces her card showing that she belongs to a large family, then there is no charge. These rules do not apply to men. The only thing men pay is for their certificate of celibacy (πιστοποιητικό ελευθερίας – αγαμίας) which is €20. This is probably because they will have to pay for the rest of their lives. Sorry ladies, couldn’t help myself, I had to put that in.

 

Comment by another member

 

Churches in Cyprus DO NOT have a fixed price for marriages & baptisms.....each church with its own priest charge as much as they feel like, which really is a sin in its self!!!! Mitropoli (head of the Orthodos Church) should have a set price.

 

Reply

 

The Church of Cyprus INDEED has a fixed price set by the Holy Synod of Cyprus. If certain priests turn a blind eye to this ruling, which I know does happen, then you can report them to their Bishop who should reprimand them and ask them to return any extra they charged. And always ask for a valid receipt stating what the charges were for.