The Authority of the Priest

by Fr. Sergei Shveshnikov All too often, a priest acts as if he were a secular leader, a board president, a CEO of a non-profit, a manager of an organization. To be sure, priests do hold a position of authority in the Church. But what kind of authority is it? What kind of headship? I really like the Roman Bishop’s official title: “the servant of the servant of God.” Regardless of how it is realized in the life of any particular Read more…


The Priest As A Role Model

by Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky To be a model for others requires an enormous amount of spiritual gifts to offset his glaring imperfections. And if he thinks of himself as a prototype for others, he’s already in trouble. “Be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (St. Paul’s first letter to Timothy 4:12) Through the years I’ve been gifted with more than a few pectoral crosses, the sort Read more…


Refresher for the Orthodox Pastor

by Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky) 1. Having accepted the grace of ordination, bear in mind of what a gift and of what mercy the Lord has found you worthy – and what responsibility you now bear. A priest is an apostle to his flock. "I do not belong to myself, but to others," said the great Russian pastor Fr. (now St.) John of Kronstadt. 2. Scripture says, "The priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the Read more…


How to Avoid the Priesthood

by Fr. Sergei Begian Whoever has been to an ordination knows how grace fills the church at the moment of the imposition of hands…. Joy fills the hearts of those praying, even if they do not personally know the person being consecrated to the priestly rank. With what stateliness and joy do they sing the troparia “Holy Martyrs,” “Glory to Thee, O Christ God,” and “Dance, O Isaiah”! The man being consecrated to the priesthood is Read more…


The Power of the Priestly Cassock

by Fr. Moses Samaan One of the most disturbing ideas I’ve heard in the recent push to “modernize” the Coptic Orthodox Church and make it more “attractive” to people in today’s society is the idea of priests putting aside their priestly cassocks in favor of pants, shirts, and collars, like other western clergy. The general arguments in favor of abandoning the priestly cassock essentially argue that it is too traditional to the Read more…


Christian Priesthood and Ecclesial Unity

Some Theological and Canonical Considerations by Professor Contantine Scouteris School of Theology of the University of Athens 1. The records of the early Christian tradition leave no doubt that Christian priesthood is not a "function" necessary for the institutional being of the Church. Nor is it an autonomous, isolated and self sufficient office belonging to the ordained individual. It is rather a ministry related and belonging Read more…


Survey Results: Observations and Advice for New Priests

We are coming up on graduation day for our seminaries, so I fielded a survey to gather the collective wisdom of priests to share with our new graduates and ordinands. These sets of “five things” are offered with thanks to the priests who answered the survey and prayers for all our clergy.  It's a beautiful and blessed - but often incredibly difficult - life. Five Things that Surprised Us in Parish Ministry Worldly Behavior. Read more…