Respect for the Priesthood

edited December 1969 in Personal Issues
I am noticing an alarming lack of respect for the priesthood in my own church. Chanters are changing the pitch if Abouna goes too low or too high, people question Abouna's knowledge on many subjects, and many flat out point out just make fun of them. People just don't care as much about what Abouna has to say. I might be generalizing, but I don't think that is the case. I am not judging anyone because I have fallen into these traps as well.

Is this something recent, caused by our society that teaches us to question figures of authority?

Are you noticing this in your own churches?

Is the priest to blame or the congregation?

How can it be fixed?


  • Well, an Abouna is a normal person like you and me other than the fact that he devoted his whole life to God. I am surprised to hear about this because in my church nobody does anything like this. This should be addressed because your abouna most likely knows more about the bible than all your congregation combined, so i don't see why people would make fun of him.
  • [quote author=geomike link=topic=11034.msg133387#msg133387 date=1300577521]
    This should be addressed because your abouna most likely knows more about the bible than all your congregation combined, so i don't see why people would make fun of him.

    You see, geomike, I don't think people feel that way anymore. I certainly don't think abouna knows more about the bible than all of the congregation combined. This might be the source of the problem...
  • Biblical knowledge is one thing. Any one of us could study the Bible even just using the internet and, if we were diligent enough, eventually reach a level of knowledge that may be higher than a given priest (in terms of recall, if not in terms of exegesis). But that wouldn't make any of us fit to be priests, would it? Forgive me if I am talking out of turn as a non-Copt, but I think a certain respect for the office or position should be inherent. Your abouna is a man who has given his life over to the service of God in a certain way that is great and admirable and if the people of your congregation can't see SERVICE TO GOD as worthy of respect then, well...I don't know what to say. That makes me very sad. Yes, he's no doubt imperfect (aren't we all?), and there's probably something or maybe even many things that he could improve in some way, but for our Lord's sake, what kind of attitude is it that mocks His servants? We too are His servants and I would be willing to bet that if the roles were reversed and those doing the mocking were instead in the position of being mocked they might see just how unhealthy that attitude is. It does not help anyone, and it certainly does not honor God when you complain against the servants He has chosen and blessed you with.
  • The Bible says: "My people perished for their lack of knowledge"

    The priest should be treated as if Christ Himself is present. Diligent prayer is the weapon in this situation.

  • Sure there should be an inherent respect for the priest, dzheremi. But that respect can only go so far. A priest's knowledge is not the only way the congregation will benefit from him, but it is no doubt important. Theology is the language of God. If a priest cannot speak in this language he will lead his congregation in the same way. Anyhow, I did not mean this to become a discussion about what makes a priest gain respect. I want to know if this is happening elsewhere? And is this lack of respect something the people need to change or does the priest need to change? Since priests are elected by God, should we accept them for what they are, never demanding more?
  • Forgive me, I think I was not clear enough. I meant that in the modern era it might be easier to learn the scriptures than it was in the past (at least in terms of being able to memorize), so it is conceivable that anyone could know more in that way, but that this shouldn't be a reason to disrespect a priest.

    Think of it this way: I have been blessed to gain an education that is far beyond what either of my parents were able to achieve. So in that way, I "know" more than they do. Be that as it may, I would never, ever mock them for their relative lack of knowledge. (I know it's not a great analogy, but that's close to the point I was trying to make.)

    Do priests in the Coptic Orthodox Church not study the Holy Bible diligently? I'm having trouble imagining that a priest would be so ignorant of the scriptures so as to be made an object of ridicule by his own congregation. Perhaps, like you wrote, there is something in society that encourages people to question all authorities?
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