A reader has posted a comment on our post, Comments on the Vows of the Tonsure to the Great Schema. We tried to reply with a comment but for some reason it doesn’t work. Here’s our reply:
A married man can become a monk but by becoming a monk he dissolves the marriage in the eyes of the Church. However, the secular authorities would probably not recognize his action as dissolving the marriage. He would therefore at the least be liable for whatever actions and penalties under the secular law someone who had abandoned his wife and children would be liable to. However he himself would be bound to celibacy for the rest of his life.
In Greece in the 19th Century, the Government under the Bavarian King's Protestant advisors attacked Greek Orthodox monasticism forcing many monks and nuns to marry—but this was a persecution of the Church.
The only instance of married monks is in Japan where in the 19th Century, if we remember correctly, the Meiji Dynasty forced Buddhist monks to be married by law. This of course is a contradiction in terms for a Buddhist monk. There are even today married Buddhist monks, and even married Buddhist Abbots, in Japan. We have no information on how they live with their wives.