Monthly Archives

January 2001

2001, Articles, Raiati

Dispraising the Priest / 28.01.2001

Since the priest, through fulfilling the sacraments, is an icon of Christ, then whoever dispraises him would be dispraising Christ. God said: “Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people”. If you wanted to blame him, go and do it with a meek spirit and blame him clearly. And if he committed a big mistake and didn’t fix himself, you could complain to the bishop. These are the limits that you could move between.

If gossip against any person is bad, then gossip against the priest, if it spread, could destroy the parish and the trust between the parish and the pastor. The determination of the dispraised priest and of the faithful both decrease. This could also affect other priests. In this country, we sometimes tend to generalize the accusation.

Perhaps the gossip started from our wish for our priest to be a saint. This wish is good. However, if we noticed a weakness in him, he won’t be healed if we criticized him in front of people. He will be healed through our treatment for him, through taking care of him and our feeling towards him. Create a strong bond between the priest and yourself. Invite him to your home and do not wait for him to pass by you once every year. And if he was a good speaker, listen to him so that he feels that you need him. And do not become sad if he was closer to someone than he is to you. He might be happy with that in his isolation.

Push him into education. The danger lies in him getting bored from books because of being busy with divine services, weddings, funerals and visits. Encourage him to continue studying until he masters his job. Without understanding, how could a priest be beneficial? What could he give? Influence him to be interested in books so that he provides you with knowledge that laymen don’t have enough time to obtain.

Push him into piety. This could increase through human effort and the vigilance of the soul; the priest is an example and a reference of behavior. You could ask from him the best behavior in order for the parish to do the same and become on the road of salvation. He takes care of the parish first through his purity and then through his word, and the word must become a service for him.

Don’t complain if your priest wasn’t the greatest priest in the world. But if you synergized with the brothers in the parish in order not to put on the shoulders of the spiritual father a heavy burden, he might ascend to the higher atmospheres and then descend to you with the greatest love.

The job of the parish towards itself is to be bonded with divine love between its members in a way that no conflicts would exist so that it doesn’t tire itself and its pastor. When disputes occur, the parish must expect a discipline. No one is exempt from being blamed and very few are from being rebuked. The faithful should behave with the priest with meekness that would make him happy and encourage him to do a greater service.

God is the priest’s fortune. Do not push him with your stinginess to seek for money in a sick way. Don’t give him the chance to humiliate himself and then dispraise him. Give him joy by having some affluence so that he wouldn’t have any excuse to be careless towards you. And above everything, have chaste tongues.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “ذمّ الكاهن” –Raiati 04- 28.01.2001

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2001, Articles, Raiati

The Time of Arriving to Church / 07.01.2001

We arrive to Church at the beginning of the Divine Service. In the early Church, the group of faithful used to arrive before the priest and he enters carrying the Gospel and saying: “Wisdom, let us be attentive”, which means that what I carry in my hands is the Wisdom so stand up to receive it. The divine words that we say or chant or act with motion is a banquet, and the invited come to the banquet of the righteous in a specified time.

And if the invitation was for the Divine Liturgy, it is one motion that has a beginning and an end. Everything in the Liturgy is a multi-faced food like the Litanies, chants, the two New Testament readings, and also the words of sanctification, communion and the ending. All the phases of the service are overlapping. At the Gospel reading for example, the divine word purifies you and you repent to be able to have communion with worthiness, therefore it isn’t compatible with the phases to go forward to communion if you didn’t get ready with what precedes it.

And if you wanted to live a perfect Sunday, you come to the Matins service in order to enter the ambience of Resurrection. And the meaningful Resurrection is spread in your ears. However, this is another subject.

If you were invited to a wedding, you are originally going to pray for the bride and groom and not only to congratulate them at the end. Congratulating has another place. How ugly it is to see the believers coming throughout the whole hour of the Liturgy. In this archdiocese, the time of the beginning of the service on Sunday morning is at ten or a little bit before. Why all this deceleration? What were you doing before that? If it is an issue of breakfast, this is out of question because you are coming to have Divine Communion. And if the slowing down is a result of being late at night, then this means that you love to stay up more than you love the Liturgy. Also, one of your family members being late cannot be your excuse. Teach your family to have time discipline because in all occasions this is a part of politeness and in the issue of your prayer this is a part of piety.

A flaming person in God’s love does not miss any word of His Words. You might miss a word that could save you from the situation that is causing you pain. You might find in some words an answer to questions that were worrying you. I hope that you also don’t forget that you are not alone in existence and that the Liturgy on Sunday morning or in feasts is the place where the community meets in front of God’s face. You are formed of two things: To be seen by the Lord on his banquet, and to be seen by the brothers as a support for them so that Christ looks at you as his body, i.e. his visible spread. As for going whenever suites your mood, this means that you do not want to condition your mind according to Christ and that you meet him whenever you want while he wants to receive you in every offering and in every season.

As for complaining that your circumstances didn’t allow you, this is unacceptable because your circumstances always allow you to welcome a friend that you love. And if you were an immigrant and a dear person died here, you leave everything to attend a funeral. I know countries in which believers spend one or two hours by car to reach the closest Church of ours. And you leave an Orthodox Church that is not more than quarter of an hour away to go to another Church because it is located in your street. And your excuse in this is that all Christian sects are one.

The issue of time and time accuracy is an essential subject in our education and an essential part in our spiritual belonging. If you were disciplined in time you prove that you are a serious person.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “وقت المجيء إلى الكنيسة” –Raiati 1 – 07.01.2001

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