Financial reponsibilities of members of this parish
The concept of tithing holds true for the Old and New Testaments, and was an ideal held in Constantinople under St. John Chrysosotom, and in Kyiv under St. Vladimir (Volodymyr). Tithing is to be done to the Church and to other legitimate charitable causes that are in line with God's Commandments. The portion of a tithe that is given to the Church should be at least a fair share of the operating budget, according to Scripture which says that each one shall do their own part and each one shall bear their own share of the load (Gal 6.5). According to Scripture, each Christian is to lay aside on Sundays as he has prospered for the week, and these the firstfruits (the first priority in our spending) set aside and given.
Proverbs 3.9: "Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase" (increase means your salary and other money you have gained).
1 Cor. 16.1: "On the first day of the week let each one of you lay aside an established offering from the money he has gained" [κατὰ μίαν σαββάτων ἕκαστος ὑμῶν παρ’ ἑαυτῷ τιθέτω θησαυρίζων ὅ,τι ἂν εὐοδῶται
2 Corintians 9.6-11: "He who sows [gives] sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows [gives] bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give with preference (προῄρηται) of heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, have an abundance for every good work.
It takes $20 a week ($1040 per year) per adult member to sustain our budget, and that is what is expected of every member who is of working age and not disabled. Those who are disabled or are of retirement age and on lower restricted income have a lesser responsibility reduced by a third ($680 per year). Those who are retired but can give more, however, are asked to do so. Those who live up north primarily but in the Tampa area part time (i.e. less than half time, or 3-4 months out of the year) and are registered as full time members with a parish up north can obtain part-time membership if in good standing and abiding by other standards by contributing $250 up front. They will be listed as part time members by the parish with rights of participating as members when present at parish meetings, etc. However, they will not be registered with the diocese as they are already listed as members with their primary parish. Those who are in true dire financial straits, however, the destitute, etc., who meet all the other requirements for membership in an Orthodox parish shall be recognized as members under financial hardship, upon examination and approval of the parish council.
Tithe and Giving to the Church in the Orthodox Church
Luke 1232 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give charitably; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. 34 For where you put your money, there your heart will be also.”
Not only the Law of Moses and its priesthood required a tithe, but also the New Covenant under the priesthood of Melchizadek (Christ's priesthood) requires not less than a tithe, as now our whole lives belong to God. The Old Law's emphasis was minimalism to give people a minimum standard. The New Covenant would do away with this. Christ fulfilled the law that we would be free to do more. "You have heard it said...(minimalist expections of the old law)... But I say unto you... (even greater standards of the New covenant)."
Hebrews 7.5-8: “And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. Here mortal men receive [present tense] tithes, but there he receives [present tense] them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.” This speaks of Christ, who is the sole Great High Priest forever “according to the order of Melchizedek.”
Some try to claim that the book of Hebrews shows that tithing is abolished in the New Testament. The reality is far from it. The change in priesthood shows a change in administration. Thus there was a “change of the law” (vs. 12). Unlike the law of Moses, which prescribes tithes of particular things, the priesthood of Christ, the order of Melchizedek, demonstrates a tithe of all without the complex particulars of the law of Moses, which was fulfilled. The Mosaic law prescribe no priesthood coming from Judah (vs. 13-14). Thus, the whole passage indicates that just as Abraham tithed to Melchizedek before the priesthood of Levi was established, so also the faithful of the Church continue to tithe to the eternal Great High Priest after the Levitical priesthood had ended.
From the third-century document Didascalia Apostolorum: “Set aside part offerings and tithes and first fruits to Christ, the true High Priest, and to His ministers, even tithes of salvation to Him. . . . Today the oblations are offered through the Bishops to the Lord God. For they are your high priests; but the Priests and Levites are now the Presbyters and Deacons. . . . Your fruits and the work of your hands present to him, that you may be blessed; your first fruits and your tithes and your vows and your part offerings give to him; for he has need of them that he may be sustained, and that he may dispense also to those who are in want, to each as is just for him.”
From Saint John Chrysostom, Homilies on Ephesians: “Woe to him, it is said, who does not give charitably; and if this was the case under the Old Covenant, much more is it under the New. If, where the getting of money was allowed and the enjoyment of it, and the care of it, there was such provision made for the succoring of the poor, how much more in that Dispensation, where we are commanded to surrender all we have? For what did not they of old do? They gave tithes, and tithes again upon tithes for orphans, widows, and strangers, whereas some one was saying to me in astonishment at another, ‘Why, such a one gives tithes.’ What a load of disgrace does this expression imply, since what was not a matter of wonder with the Jews has come to be so in the case of the Christians? If there was danger then in omitting tithes, think how great the danger is now.”
In order for a Church community to be allowed to exist, its members must give enough to support a full time priest, something very clear from Scripture:
A Church community must give a fair share of the budget. It must support its Priest, and if it does not, it ought not exist. “Do you not know that those who perform the priestly services (ἱερὰ ἐργαζόμενοι) make their living from the things of the holy place, and those who have charge of the altar have a share in the things of the altar? So also, the Lord has ordered that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 9.13-14). The Lord ordered this, commanded it. It is not an option to be a cheap parish. If 20 people who make $30,000 per year are tithing, that is enough to pay the parish priest $30,000 (the median income of the parish) and to pay the rest of the Church budget including giving charitably as a parish.
1 Timothy 5:17-18 states that 'The Presbyters who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, 'Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,' and 'the worker deserves his wages.'"
In Galatians 6:6-7, we read, "Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. "
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 says, "Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. "
A parish that does not support a full time priest and a full budget, is lukewarm or spiritually (including evangelically) dead, and shall have its candlestick removed from it, as the book of Revelation clearly says.