An Eastern Orthodox man told me that, because he was blind, canon law forbid him from serving as a priest. He was quite okay with this (and served his church in other capacities), but unfortunately didn't have the time to elaborate on the rationale for why Eastern Orthodoxy had this restriction.

Why does the Eastern Orthodox Church forbid blind men from serving as priests? And does this restriction apply to men with other disabilities (e.g. deafness)?

  • Father Teofil Paraian, a well-known Romanian abbot, priest and confessor, was blind from early infancy.
    – user46876
    Dec 6, 2019 at 8:39

1 Answer 1


I asked on the OCA website (Orthodox Church In America)

I was happy to receive an answer within a few minutes.

Below is the response

The complete lack of sight would be an impediment to ordination as one who serves as a priest, both liturgically and practically, must be able to see what he is doing, and especially be in a position to read from Scripture publicly as well as the prayers in the service books.  Some forms of blindness -- the type where people can see poorly but with corrective lenses can, even though perhaps considered legally blind in some places -- might not be an impediment, but such matters are evaluated individually by ordaining bishops.

  • I understand the practical side of it (most parishes do not have the facilities to handle blind priests), but why is it liturgically an issue? Is there some reason that Scripture and service books can’t be printed in Braille so as to allow blind men to read from them? Or is there something else I’m not considering. Jul 29, 2018 at 15:15

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