December 12

Seminary & Priesthood

“Clericalism suffocates; it makes part of itself into the whole sacred character of the Church; it makes its power a sacred power to control, to lead, to administer; a power to perform sacraments, and, in general, it makes any power a “power given to me”! Clericalism separates all “sacredness” from the lay people: the iconostasis, communion (only by permission), theology. In short, clericalism is de facto denial of the Church as the body of Christ, for in the body, all organs are related and different only in their functions, but not in their essence. And the more clericalism “clericalizes” ( the traditional image of the bishop or the priest – emphasized by his clothes, hair, e.g., the bishop in full regalia!), the more the Church itself becomes more worldly; spiritually submits itself to this world. In the New Testament, the priest is presented as the ideal layman. But almost immediately there begins his increasingly radical separation from the lay people; and not only separation, but opposition to lazy people, contrast to them. The tragedy of theological education lies in the fact that young people who seek priesthood are – consciously or unconsciously – seeking this separation, power, this rising above the laity. Their thirst is strengthened and generated by the whole system of theological education, of clericalism.” ~Fr. Alexander Schmemann [Journals, pp. 310 & 311]

Have I ever really heard a call to serve, or have I just always tried to please those whom I admire? Have I ever really wanted to be a truly humble servant, or do I simply want to be admired myself, recognized, and well thought of? Is it “me as Christ,” or “Christ in me?” Have others actually seen a “call” on my life, or have they simply seen good leadership qualities?

~And so I begin yet another period of reflection on why I ever wanted to seek the priesthood in the first place. Lord have mercy.~



Copyright © 2003-2017 by Luke Beecham. All rights reserved.

Posted 12 December, 2004 by Luke Beecham in category "General

8 COMMENTS :

  1. By Josh on

    “…in the body, all organs are related and different only in their functions, but not in their essence.”
    Yep, this says a lot.
    Christ, knew this. Out of the many who followed him, he chose the seventy and sent them out in pairs to preach and minister. Then, He chose the twelve to be apostles.
    – And he sat down and called the twelve; and he said to them, “If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” –Mark 9:35
    Lord, cultivate humility in the earth of our hearts.

  2. By Bryan Peter (Pedro) on

    A lighthearted observation:
    “But almost immediately there begins his increasingly radical separation from the lay people; and not only separation, but opposition to lazy people, contrast to them.”
    Did you mean “opposition to LAY people”?
    And a serious one:
    “And so I begin yet another period of reflection on why I ever wanted to seek the priesthood in the first place.”
    Indeed, I’m waiting until around 30 to tackle this question, as it’s looming — for what reason, I don’t yet know — in my twenty-something head. St. John Chrysostom’s _On_the_Priesthood_ hasn’t done much to encourage me, but — Lord willing — hopefully by 30 I’ll have worked through many of the fears, insecurities, selfish ambitions of my young adulthood…so that I’ll be able to recognize a bit more readily those of my thirties…and make a decision one way or another concerning this.
    Bryan Peter

  3. By Luke Seraphim on

    Hey all! Thanks for all the encouraging comments. Bryan Peter; yep, still here. Just been busy. Have 2 posts still unfinished, but hope to put them up soon. Thanks for checking! Hope all is well! Peace.
    ~Luke Seraphim

  4. By The Rambler on

    Mmm…so long as you’re genuinely familiar with the life most Priests lead (in particular, having to have a secular job as well as their ministry), and all of the nonsense they have to put up with, etc. etc… IOW, so long as you’re actually seeing this vocation for what it is, then I can’t see how you would be doing it for vain/bad reasons. It’s just too much trouble. Which is precisely why I have no desire to ever be a Priest, period, end of sentence. So long as you’re in touch with reality, I don’t see how anyone can have anything but good motives for being an Orthodox Priest.

  5. By basil on

    L. Seraphim:
    I see no email address on your site. I’d like to correspond with you about life, love, whatever. Right now, I’d like to start with this question: What is your opinion of The Ragamuffin Gospel by Manning? What have you kept from it and made your own? I’m currently reading it, and I’d like a brother’s opinion on it whose read it and been able to digest it a bit.
    Use my email form at:
    http://kevinbasil.com/feedback/

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