The priest, even if he became a spiritual father, is one with every individual in his parish because they are all together a royal priesthood and a holy nation as Saint Peter says and they have together Christ’s love. A father looks over his sons with one jealousy and a father honors his son even if he knew his faults, and a creature can’t escape from faults because we are all human beings.

And for this relationship to stay healthy, no one should ask anything for himself especially that this will make him avoid shock if he wasn’t regarded. One shouldn’t say: “I have my dignity”. If it wasn’t regarded by others, your dignity is with God and it doesn’t decrease in his eyes. If you know that you are God’s beloved one, why would you search for a dignity expressed by a creature? Jesus didn’t want you to request. He wanted you to give and to ask yourself if you respected the dignity of others.

The relationship between the priest and the believer is bidirectional. It is true that he is your pastor, but on the other hand you should also take care of him. You should initiate by greeting him, and if you were a conservative Orthodox, you should ask for his blessing because you believe that he gives you the Lord’s blessing. And if you had some affluence, you should strengthen him financially without waiting for a ritual occasion such as a wedding or losing a member of your family.

A lot of mistakes were committed in the past because the priest didn’t do all his duties towards you or your family. You wanted to punish him so you left the Church and went to another Church without understanding that you are being separated from the remaining Orthodoxy in this priest or another one. This priest will die and you, and your family, would be on the wrong path. Thank God that this has decreased a lot after the others discovered that they are our brothers and stopped stealing people from our own pen and we stopped stealing from theirs.

If you have anything against the priest, complain to the bishop because if he discovered that he has mistaken he will discipline him without emotions but according to the law and would reconcile you with him and straighten his behavior so that love would be back between you.

You are a shepherd and a shepherded at the same time. You might have more awareness than the priest and guide him to the truth and urge him to have knowledge and to love his fellow priests if he needed that.

It is your job to push the priest into expressing his needs to the bishop because the bishop might not know all of them, and he can’t do that especially that the number of priests is large. Do not give the priest the chance to gossip or to criticize bitterly because this harms himself. Let him open his heart to his bishop that doesn’t have any need to take the side of any priest or to neglect, but he is a human being and can’t know everything. Give the bishop the chance to love him.

Give your brother the believer a chance to love the clergy so that we stay one royal nation. Do not leave any space for babbling or hatred or partisanship in Church. And if the parish was divided because of familial or political reasons, ecclesiastic meeting is the perfect opportunity to unite people. And if our Baptism was one, then our living is one and our giving becomes one through God’s grace.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “الكاهن وعامّة الشعب” –Raiati 45- 06.11.2011