Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Priesthood - A Follow-up to Sunday's Lecture

Sunday our Great Lenten Lecture was about the organization of the ancient Church. The lecture was somewhat focused on the diocese, although it also touched on the bishop and his ministry in the diocese and how that developed over time. You can listen to the lecture here. The video is now up and you can see it here.

One of the interesting questions that came up at the discussion period afterwards was the development of the ministry of the priest over time. I think the answer I gave was perhaps not fully precise, and so I would like to point out the chapter on the hierarchy and priesthood in Fr. Michael Pomazansky's book Orthodox Dogmatic Theology as a place where you can get a much better answer than I gave. Please do have a look at that to learn more. You can also find the slide show from the lecture at this link. I am including that because the last slide mentions good further reading on this topic.

I think it is important to clarify the position of the priest in a parish. You can find the Instructions to Parish Rectors at this link – this is part of the Compendium of Regulations, Statues, and Laws of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia that we discussed at the lecture and which is recommended for further reading. The Rector servers in place of the bishop and because the bishop cannot be in many places at the same time. Some parishes have more than one priest if there are many parishioners, but generally only one priest is the Rector of a parish. All clergymen of a parish serve at the pleasure of the bishop – none has a “right” (as we understand that word in the west) to exercise his mission without the bishop's blessing.

In theory we could talk about this topic for quite a few more paragraphs, but I would prefer to continue to the conversation from Sunday's lecture here on Blogtushka. Please submit questions or make comments in the space below.

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