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Royal priesthood

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#1 Dcn Alexander Haig

Dcn Alexander Haig

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 06:10 PM

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
(1 Peter 2:9, also Exodus 19:6).

Dear friends

The 'royal priesthood' is often mentioned in the Church, but how is it understood by the Fathers? I have heard two schemes:

  • We are all priests, at least in some sense. Whilst we have certain men set apart as priests, we are all called to offer everything to God.
  • Christians form a corporate "priesthood" in the world. We are not individually priests but rather as a nation offer all to God.

I heard point 2 from an Anglican who I think was trying to keep away from people dismissing priests as unnecessary, but it's a position I've never really come across in an Orthodox context. Do the Fathers make use of both schemes, or even use others, in interpreting this passage?

In Xp

#2 John Konstantin

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 12:23 AM

I will leave it to others to find the patristic support but I a have always understood a differentiation between the priesthood of believers given at baptism and that of the 'ministerial' priesthood given at ordination. I am not sure priesthood in either sense is about offering anything but in participating in a mystery. The priest is only where the bishop cannot be and shares his eucharist with the faithful. Primarily is is the God given manner in which grace is channelled in His Church.

Because the word priest is used we traditionally understand priesthood in terms of offering based on the Jewish model and therefore look for things we offer. So Latins talk about the un-bloody sacrifice of the Mass offered by the priest or we offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving which is essentially what eucharist means.

So the Bishop is a sign of God's presence and the human face of The Church. God's Faithful are also the human face of Gods' Church. Both are priesthoods in reality but differ in function.

Edited by John Konstantin, 03 March 2011 - 01:23 AM.

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