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On The Priesthood

"Wherefore the consecrated priest ought to be as pure as if he were standing in the heavens themselves in the midst of those powers." 

 ~ St. John Chrysostom ~ 

"But our condition hereafter how shall we endure, when we are compelled to give our account for each of those who have been entrusted to us? For our penalty is not limited to shame, but everlasting chastisement awaits us as well. As for the passage, Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit to them, for they watch in behalf of your souls as they that shall give account; Hebrews 13:17 though I have mentioned it once already, yet I will break silence about it now, for the fear of its warning is continually agitating my soul.


For if for him who causes one only, and that the least, to stumble, it is profitable that a great millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depth of the sea; Matthew 18:6 and if they who wound the consciences of the brethren, sin against Christ Himself, 1 Corinthians 8:12, what then will they one day suffer, what kind of penalty will they pay, who destroy not one only, or two, or three, but so many multitudes?" [Book VI, section 1]

John Chrysostom

Contemporary icon by the Sisters of H.C. Ormylia. Simonos Petras, Mt. Athos.

John Chrysostom wrote a lengthy treatise, On the Priesthood, emphasizing the responsibility clergy have to strive to be pure.

When a priest deviates from their duty to respect the Office of the Holy Priesthood, the faithful are called to discern the priest's behavior and decouple the errant priest from the Holy Office. 

A failure to speak of clergy fallibility is a terrible mistake and a sin against the souls of the faithful. 

"For the soul of the Priest ought to be purer than the very sunbeams, in order that the Holy Spirit may not leave him desolate, in order that he may be able to say, Now I live; and yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. Galatians 2:20 For if they who dwell in the desert, and are removed far from the city and the market-place, and the tumult therein, and who enjoy all their time a haven of rest, and of peacefulness, are not willing to rely on the security of that manner of life, but add to it numberless other safeguards, hedging themselves round on every side, and studying both to speak and to act with great circumspection, so that to the utmost extent of human power they may draw near to God with assurance, and with unstained purity, what power and strength, do you think, does the ordained Priest need so as to be able to tear his soul away from every defilement, and to keep its spiritual beauty unsullied?


For he has need of far greater purity than they; and whoever has need of greater purity, he too is subject to more pressing temptations than they, which are able to defile him, unless by using constant self-denial and much labor, he renders his soul inaccessible to them." [Book VI section 2]

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