The Orthodox Pages















Question 61.

Hello father, is it true you have to be Married to become a priest?


Answer to Question 61.


Not exactly, we have both married and celibate priests. In general most priests that serve a parish church are married. Anyone wishing to join the married priesthood must be married before he is ordained a deacon which is the first stage of the priesthood. He cannot first become a priest and then marry. If on the other hand someone wishes to remain a celibate priest, he must first become a member of a monastic community and then be ordained. The simple reason is that the Priesthood is considered a higher sacrament than marriage and we go from the lower to the higher and not the other way round.  You might also like to know that a priest can get a divorce, but he cannot remarry unless he gives up the priesthood. Likewise a priest who becomes a widower cannot remarry if he wishes to remain in the priesthood.  Those who choose the married priesthood will always be priests even though we have titles of honour that are given to priests as titles of distinction, but those who choose the celibate priesthood can go on to become Bishops.