The recent "Report: What Are Orthodox Priests Paid?" caught the attention of The Motley Monk. Obviously, there's a serious salary and benefits injustice affecting clergymen in the Roman Catholic Church. Something must be done to overcome this structural injustice!
Consider the 2013 salary schedule for Orthodox clergy. A priest serving:
- < 6 years is paid $49,128-$66,528;
- 6-10 years is paid $68,528-$74,136;
- 11-15 years is paid $74,136-84,960;
- 16-20 years is paid $84,960-$94,440;
- 21-25 years is paid $94,440-$101,136;
- 26-30 years is paid $101,136-$107,616;
- 31-35 years is paid $107,616-$113,856; and,
- > 35 years is paid $113,856-$120,144.
In addition, the plan also requires parishes to provide:
- an automobile (which the parish purchases or leases) for use by the priest, with all related expenses paid by the parish;
- Social Security/Medicare taxes (FICA/SECA equal to the maximum self-employment Social Security/Medicare tax each year, currently 15.3% of Salary and the Housing Allowance or rental value of a parish home);
- the monthly health insurance premium for the Archdiocese-sponsored and approved Orthodox Health Plan (either single or family coverage, as appropriate, as all clergymen are required to participate in the Orthodox Health Plan);
- a minimum annual vacation of 15 days (2 weeks) to a maximum of 5 weeks, taking into consideration the clergyman’s cumulative years of service;
- expenses for attending District/Metropolis Clergy-Laity Assemblies and Retreats, the Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress, Clergy Continuing Education Programs, and the Archdiocese Presbyters Council Retreat;
- a 3-month sabbatical leave for every 6 years of service with the same parish; and,
- the annual minimum increase in a clergyman’s remuneration must include an annual cost of living increase beginning January 1st of each year (when using these remuneration ranges, the Parish Council should factor in the relative cost of living for its geographic area).
And all of this is to say about what in the Latin Church are called "stole fees"--cash gratuities to priests from the faithful for performing sacraments--or other goodies for which an individual priest may contract his parish. There's nothing like having a "slush fund," just in case!
Then, too, if a parish provides "housing" by making available a parish-owned home, the salary schedule states that an equitable and reasonable "deduction adjustment" should then be made from the salary and housing allowance figure, based on the local fair market rental value of the home being provided. The Motley Monk would observe that "should" doesn't mean "must." An enterprising Orthodox priest might contract with the parish to use this item to fund a mortgage savings account for his retirement hermitage.
Commenting on the compensation package, Theodore Kalmoukos writes:
The above salary scale is not always observed by the local Metropolises.
In many parishes there are huge differences of salaries and benefits.
Some Metropolitans in order to take care “their own boys” as the
expression goes, put pressure on the parishes to give them more money,
in some instances even double the amount that the Archdiocesan salary
scale directs. Generally in Metropolises, it is the metropolitan, not the
chancellor, that selects a priest. In many cases, the unwritten laws of
friendship and favoritism prevail over education, experience, and
In other instances, the metropolitans turn their heads the other way....
It is widely known that the Greek-Orthodox Clergy in the United States
are the highest paid among the Orthodox Jurisdictions. One of the basic
reasons that so many converts are trying to get into the Greek-Orthodox
Archdiocese as priests is the fact that the Archdiocese is considered
“the golden fish” of Orthodoxy in terms of salary and benefits.
Judging from the Greek Orthodox salary schedule, The Motley Monk is woefully underpaid, as are just about all Roman Catholic clergy who are forced to live on diocesan salary scales.
Some might suggest that The Motley Monk stop complaining and join the "Nuns on the Bus" (NOB) group who are fighting the other alleged structural injustices the Vatican has perpetrated against their members for centuries. "Get on the bus, Motley Monk!," they're saying. "The playing field is being leveled. Our cause is now your cause."
That would be impossible for The Motley Monk. After all, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith's "Note" about the Leadership Conference of Women Religious has accused that organization's leadership over the past four decades of abuses in the areas of doctrine and liturgy. In The Motley Monk's estimation, the NOBs are even further to the left of the LWCRs.
To think that The Motley Monk thought that the priesthood, like the sisterhood, was a ministry of "service" whose members didn't give a thought to salary and benefits!
Let the discussion begin...
To read the report, click on the following link: