TABOR - Tradition and Contemporaneity in the Romanian Orthodox Church
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The priesthood according to elder Sophrony
The priesthood is defined and exists from the Church, for the Church and in the Church. Without the Church, and outside it, there can be no priesthood, nor, indeed, any Christianity. The task of the priesthood is the same as the work of Christ for the salvation of the world. The priest ought first of all to offer himself as „a pleasing and living sacrifice” before God. His task is not confined to the celebration of the Mysteries, but also includes prayer for the life and salvation of the whole world. He himself is in „the front line of fire” and is called upon to fight with prayer and divine worship, so that all the peoples of the earth may know the Lord in the Holy Spirit. A priest cannot remain within the bounds of local needs, ignoring the rest of the world which, in de- spair, is being tormented in the shackles of Hell, of mutual hatred and of extortion. He has a duty to become, as much as is humanly possible, like Christ, the only true High Priest, Who offered Himself „for the whole of Adam”. Besides, the essence of the priesthood lies in prayer for the whole world, in accordance with the example Christ Himself.