THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST AND THE PRIESTHOOD OF THE CLERGY
“You are a priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 5: 6)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
We encounter the above words in King David’s Psalm 110: 4. They refer to the person of Jesus Christ. With these words the person of Christ is presented as the person of the unique Messiah and the eternal Archpriest. However, before proceeding with our theme let us point out that God was worshpped through the centuries by all people. Thus, it becomes apparent that man, by his nature, is a religious being and he always seeks his creator.
From this, we see that there always existed a priesthood order in all races. This order served and looked after the religious needs and demands of its fellowmen. In the case of the Israelites, before they had the priesthood order of Aaron and that of the tribe of Levi, the role of a priest was undertaken by the Patriarchs, the Judges, the Prophets and the elders of the tribes.
Afterwards the priesthood of the family of Aaron which was hereditary, followed. All the descendants of Aaron could become priests provided they were whole. Aaron was the brother of Moses. Then, the order of priests from the tribe of Levi followed. Levi was one of the twelve sons of Jacob. The hereditary priesthood of the Israelites came to an end with the coming of Jesus Christ. Christ, as has already been mentioned, is called a priest, not in accordance with the order of Aaron, but in accordance with the order of Melchizedek. Who then, was Melchizedek?
Melchizedek was a priest and a king of the city of Salem, that is Jerusalem. Once, when Abraham was returning from a war he was met by Melchizedek who made a sacrifice using bread and wine and blessed Abraham. This is seen as a prototype of the Holy Eucharist. After that, Abraham gave to Melchizedek a tenth of the spoils he took from the war. (Genesis 14: 18-20).
The word ‘Melchizedek’ means ‘king of peace and justice’. In the Old Testament the person of Melchizedek appeared out of nowhere. Let us then simplify matters. The Bible mentions nothing about his origin. It keeps silent about his birth and death, his mother, his father, his ancestors and descendants as well as about his order as a priest. Thus, the people who explain the Old Testament as well as St Paul consider Melchizedek as a mysterious person, who prefigures Jesus Christ as the eternal Archpriest.
Jesus Christ, as God, is called motherless since He has no mother but He has God as His father. Additionally, He is called fatherless since as a man He has only a mother, Panagia. Further to these, as God, He has no genealogy. He does not have ancestors or descendants. As an Archpriest He remains eternal since His Highpriesthood does not come to an end.
However, the Archpriests, as men, have human relatives and they are surrounded by ancestors and descendants. Their highpriesthood begins with their ordination and comes to an end at their death. Their parents and relatives are known. Their highpriesthood is neither hereditary nor eternal.
It appears that our anti-spiritual era and the secular spirit of our time which prevail in all aspects of life, have created a terrible lack of clergymen as far as the response of men, to serve the people of God from the place of a Deacon, of a Presbyter and of an Archpriest. Everyone is aware of this dire need.
As a result, there are not many families who are willing and ready to prepare their children early enough so they would want to serve the people of God, provided they have the talent and the call. Additionally, the parents do not seem to want to see their children serve the Holy Altar from the position of a clergyman.
However, the faithful need clergymen who have the will to serve and look after their spiritual needs. Let us invoke Holy God to invite the appropriate persons and elevate them to the priesthood, who, after being prepared accordingly, they will undertake the responsibility in the various ecclesiastical posts and offer their labour for the glory of God and the salvation of man. Amen!
C O M M U N I T Y N E W S
MEALS FOR THE ELDERLY: The meals for the elderly during the month of March were subsidised by the following: the family of Sophia Livera for the well-being of her family; Erotokrita Livera in memory of her beloved parents Anna and Andreas and the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA. We thank all the kind donors for their generosity and consideration towards this cause.
RENEWAL OF SUBSCRIPTIONS: The subscriptions for the Community (£50.00), Pantanassa (£25.00) and the Archdiocese Magazine (£15.00) are now due. If you have not already paid your subscriptions or wish to subscribe to any or all of these you may contact our Community’s offices.
DOXOLOGY: On Sunday, 21st March 2010, a doxology marking the two national events of 25th March 1821 and 1st April 1955 will take place in both our churches. At St Barnabas the doxology will take place at about 10.30 a.m. and at St Mary’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral at 11.30 a.m. The pupils of St Barnabas Greek Schools will take part at the doxology in St Mary’s Cathedral. We look forward to seeing as many parents as possible accompanying their children.
NATIONAL SCHOOL CONCERT: St Barnabas Greek Schools will commemorate the two National days, 25th March 1821 and 1st April 1955 by presenting a concert. The concert will take place in St Mary’s Church hall on Sunday, 21st March 2010 at 4.00 p.m. It will comprise of plays, songs, poems
and dances relating to the two events. Please come forward to encourage the children by your attendance and support.
PARENT/TEACHERS MEETING: We wish to inform all the parents of St Barnabas Greek Schools that the meeting between parents and teachers will take place as follows:
First & Second Schools: 6.45 p.m. Thursday, 18th March 2010
Third School: 12.15 p.m. Saturday, 20th March 2010
Fourth School: 5.15 p.m. Saturday, 20th March 2010
ANNUAL SCHOOL RAFFLE: The annual school raffle is in circulation. So far 1,400 raffles have been sold. Please make every effort to support this endeavour by enabling us to sell the remaining raffles of 9,600.
CHURCH COMMITTEE MEETING: We will inform all committee members of St Barnabas Greek Orthodox Community that there is a meeting tomorrow, Monday, 8th March 2010, at 7.30 p.m. At this meeting various matters currently concerning the community will be discussed. If any one is interested in becoming a member of the Committee we would be pleased to hear from you. You may contact our offices regarding this matter.
PANTANASSA MEETING: The Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA are meeting at 7.30 p.m. on Thursday, 11th March 2010 at the church offices. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss matters relating to Lent, Holy Week and Easter and the contribution which the ladies can make towards these event in order that they run smoothly and efficiently.
EXTRA-ORDINARY GATHERING OF COMMUNITIES’ OFFICIALS: On Thursday evening, 4th February 2010 our community hosted the unofficial gathering of communities’ officials. The gathering was chaired by His Eminence, Gregorios, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain. The Right Revered Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou, as head of the hosting community welcomed everyone. His Eminence spoke to the participants extensively mentioning many current matters regarding the life and activities of our communities. His, Grace, Chrysostomos, Bishop of Kyaneae, was also present. More than a hundred representatives attended. The works of the evening were concluded by a well-prepared meal, given in the hall of St Barnabas.