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Τετάρτη, 26 Σεπτεμβρίου 2012

RESPECT OF THE FAITHFUL FOR THE CLERGY



By Archbishop Athenagoras (Kokkinakis) (+1979)

Orthodox Christians respect and love their clergy. Knowing that the clergy are servants of God and man, devoting their life for the salvation of their flock, the Orthodox people express their grat¬itude and respect to them on every - occasion.
First, the priest is addressed as "Father" by all, for he is the spiritual father of his flock; He is their teacher, confessor, sanctifier and healer. Second, when people greet their priest they kiss his hand as an expression of respect, as recognition of his priesthood, as a veneration to the holiness of his sacred duties. The fact that the priest handles the Holy of Holies, that is, the Body and Blood of Christ, when he offers the Divine Liturgy, is recognized by the people, at all time throughout the world, as a great and awesome privilege.
Your priest's hands are the hands that touch and offer the Bloodless Sacrifice on the Holy Altar; (the hands that give to us the Body and Blood of Christ; the hands that baptize and anoint us with Holy Chrism; the hands that absolves us forgiveness; the hands that bless our wedlock and anoints our bodies with the healing oil of the sacrament of Holy Unction; the hands that sprinkle upon us the holy water of sanctification; the hands that bless us, alive and dead. These hands are indeed instruments of salvation. For these reasons, Orthodox Christians through the centuries kissed the hand of their priest, as we continue to do in our days. We kiss the hand of our priest when we greet him either when he distributes, at the end of the Liturgy, the blessed bread (Antithoron), or outside the Church whenever we meet him. We close with the words of St. Paul:
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Be not carried about with diverse and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. (Heb 13:7-9)
Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. (Heb 13:13)
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit your-selves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it With joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (Heb 13:17)

Vol. 10, Issue 09-10
Orthodox Heritage

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