True, Priestly Image: Bishop, Priest, Deacon


by St. Symeon of Thessalonica

Priests are servants of the Creator of all things, who are to serve in the restoration of those, who were alienated by their own free choice and fell into being evil. Priests are ministers of the greatest and most divine work, through which earthly and heavenly beings are reunited, enmity is dissolved, God makes peace with human beings, every deceit ceases, the dominion of the demons is extinguished, and human beings become equal to the angels, sons of God and gods by grace.

This is the work that priests perform in an ineffable way through their liturgies, the gifts they disperse and the truths, into which they initiate others. They bear an image, which is truly divine, and the highest, each one according to how worthy he is.

The Bishop, more specifically, is an icon of God par excellence, but so are the Presbyters after him on account of the charisma they received and especially of their offering of the Mystical Sacrifice.

The Bishop is an icon of the Father of Lights, from whom every good gift and every perfect bestowal come, and who is, therefore, considered to be an illuminator or an enlightener.

The Presbyter also stands as a type of the superior orders and serves as a second light that transmits and operates the Mysteries and is on this account called an administrator and dispenser.

The Deacon is the third order and stands as a type of the ministering Angels, who are always sent to those, who are to inherit salvation.

This is why he is called a preacher, one, who prepares, and one, who also administers and dispenses. All three are guards (παραστάται) of the One God and of the one sacrificial victim. They partake of Him and become one body with Him, glorified with Him and transmitters of divine grace, although this last function occurs in accordance with the order that has been given to each of them from above.


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