Desire to be Ordained

I know the process to becoming an Abouna is much different than in the Roman Catholic Church. My question is - what if an individual has an inner desire/ calling to want to become a priest?

 I am in my mid - twenties and always want to be at church and pray. Attend the liturgies whenever they have it [up to 3-4 times a week] as well as the other prayers. Attend seminary. Pray all the hours of the Agpeya everyday [1st - midnight]. Serving others more than myself; teaching my non-orthodox friends and family of teachings. When not in liturgy, I listen to hymns or liturgical recordings etc and more.

So after becoming so imbued in living a liturgical lifestyle, I find myself having a deep desire to become an Abouna. Even before coming into the church - I was told by people in every school category [elementary, middle, and high school], over the years, that I should become a minister or priest.

What should I do? I don't want to seem haughty or deserving of it because it's God's Will however, should I approach my Abouna about this?


  • edited August 2018
    Hey there my friend. I remember you from a few years ago! Good to see you on here again and wonderful to hear how much you love our church!!

    I am the reverse of you. I was called to serve our church. I have reluctantly continued to become even more involved to the point it is an inevitability. I never desired to have an opportunity to serve as a Priest, but after some time I am beginning to understand what my Father sees in me. Nonetheless, this was not meant to be about me. Although, I will make Abouna error #1 by using examples of myself, so my bad for the future selfish statements.

    First, if you, "want" to become a Priest, your mindset is wrong. God, for some odd reason, likes the reluctant guys. Perhaps because when you begin to understand the level of responsibility, your ego cannot lose a hold of itself? Maybe.

    Second, and this is a very important lesson I learned as a young man from my biological father: Do good things without anyone knowing.

    There is a fellow Deacon who serves the altar (he is actually a level lower than me and six years younger) no matter what. He's Abouna's, "right-hand" man. I am blessed to serve very often, but I am married and work mornings, so I only attend Liturgy on Sundays and maybe during the week on my day off.

    When he first started coming to the church, he wanted to do everything. A lot of Deacons assume I don't know the Liturgy because I am a convert, yet I know it very well, I act at times as if I do not and allow others to help, if applicable, of course. I do help when needed.

    He thought that by acting as if he were in control that he would benefit from it. It wasn't until he started to develop a friendship with me and my wife that he started to understand what I meant as I told him that trying to look good didn't mean anything.

    I think of him as far more important than I am to the church, but I often wonder why I have such a stronger personal relationship to my Priest as compared to him. It is because I have learned that those who do the most are those you hear the least.

    I help my Abouna with financial support, clean his house when his wife is not home, cut his grass, buy food for him every Sunday, we help his youngest son out with his car payments, and he treats us as if we are his children.

    I don't want anything in return. Especially the favor of him making me a Priest. But, no one knows what we do. His wife doesn't even know the extent of what we do for him. It is truly a blessing, but is a tough responsibility. That's why he believes in me when I don't see my appeal.

    Third, Start doing good deeds without expectations.

    If you have a desire and you are only in your mid-twenties, you're going to have to start from the bottom.

    There is a program from the Dioceses of NY and NE that is beginning in October online that is equivalent to a four year seminary. Ask your Abouna about it, and see what he thinks.

    You will first have to become a lower level Deacon, serve at least five years in that position, then if he sees fit, he would recommend you. You would also need the support of the parishioners to nominate you for the Priesthood.

    If you wish to start the process, begin by showing your Abouna that you are willing to do the small things that no one sees. Your character and spirit play just as much of a role as knowledge.

    What you are doing is great so far, but I would definitely pray and ask if it is the right path for you.

    I remember I refused my first chance at being formally ordained a Reader because I felt I deserved a higher level. We do not deserve any of the blessing we get from our wonderful church, we should be thankful, not allowing our own expectations from clouding our path to humility.

    I try my best to explain that I do not WANT to become a Priest, I have been called because I asked and got an answer.

    Do not desire to become a Priest, but first to become a true servant of the church. Going to Divine Liturgy and praying the Agpeya is a great start. It took me over five years to understand the Agpeya fully. Beyond the words, it is an exercise of our faith put out in an order, just like all of our other forms of prayer and worship.

    Also, ask to assist with Sunday school, develop a relationship with the youth of the church, create a Bible study group, maybe help create a VBS next summer or in a Fall at a retreat, etc.

    I could go on and on. You will have to take that first step yourself. Telling him you want to become a Priest is like me going to the hospital and telling the head Neurologist ,"I am ready to learn!"

    It is a long, long process and your desire should first be to serve the church in any way possible. Attending Liturgy is wonder. But, cleaning up after, putting the food away after lunch, helping to clean the dishes, are those little things that will help you develop humility.

    When you begin to see the benefits of doing those thankless tasks, then your Abouna will see if you are fit.

    God Bless You. It is wonderful to hear from you again!
  • Wow ItalianCopt, that was wonderful. As a fully ordained deacon, I can attest to everything you said. The desire to serve is the first seed. The ability to handle work no one will see and no one will help you with is very mentally challenging. But thank God he is the one who gives us the strength to continue. 
  • Read the book ON THE PRIESTHOOD by St. John Chrysostom, and then realize the awesome burden that will be placed on your shoulders if u become a priest , god will ask u to account for people who don’t even go to church . Are you a people person? Can you see urself connecting with different people on different levels to connect them to Christ ? It’s not just about preforming liturgies , it’s about salvation of souls
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