Greetings everyone, I would like to begin by wishing you all a happy feast of nativity. The issue I want to discuss is sacramants in a corrupt church. This issue is in my church and not the Coptic church in general. 2 years ago we decided to change priests after the last one had altercations with very many congregents. They decided to hold a vote between the current priest & a senior deacon in our church. The current priest seems to only be interested in staying in America however a few people decided to use lies to keep him here in order to keep their high political power in the church. As a result many people have left and im trying to bring them back explaining that if we leave we lose the spirit of the sacraments and thus salvation. Can anyone help me by providing a few examples of how sacraments are still holy in a corrupt church and that these sacraments outweigh principles
This belief in Christ as the true celebrant of all the sacraments is particularly clear in the Divine Liturgy. Before the initial blessing the deacon says to the priest, ‘It is time for the Lord to act’ ( êáéñïò ôïõ ðïéçóáé ôù Êõñéù : a quotation from Psalm 118 . 126). The Liturgy, that is to say, is not just words but an action; moreover, it is not primarily our action but the action of the Lord. The true celebrant at every Eucharist is always Christ the unique High Priest; we, the clergy and the people, are no more than concelebrants with him. This same point is explicitly affirmed in the prayer recited by the officiant during the Hymn of the Cherubim, when he says to Christ, ‘Thou art He who offers and He who is offered.’ Christ is both offerer and offering, both sacrificer and sacrifice, both priest and victim. The immediate participation of Christ in the Eucharistic action is expressed also in the greeting exchanged by the clergy during the Kiss of Peace: ‘Christ is in our midst.’
The same understanding of the sacraments as actions of Christ is to be found in the Fathers as well as in the liturgical texts. Thus St Augustine says, ‘Baptism is effective, not by virtue of the merits of those by whom it is administered, nor yet of those on whom it is conferred, but by virtue of its own intrinsic sanctity and truth, because of Him by whom it was instituted.’ Among the Greek Fathers St John Chrysostom is especially definite on this point. ‘It is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit who accomplish everything’, he says. ‘The priest merely lends his tongue and supplies his hand.’ At Holy Communion, ‘It is the hand of Christ that is extended to you.’ ‘God’s gifts are not such as to be the result of any virtue of the priest’s; they are wholly the work of grace. The priest’s function is simply to open his mouth, and it is God who accomplishes what is done … The eucharistic oblation remains the same, whether Paul or Peter offers it. The oblation that Christ gave to His disciples is identical with the one now offered by the priests. The latter is in no way inferior to the former, for it is not men who consecrate it, but He who consecrated the original oblation.’
From this it follows that the validity of the sacraments is not hindered by the unworthiness of the celebrant, nor does it depend upon the personal faith of the recipient. On the contrary, as the actions of Christ Himself, the sacraments possess an objective character.
Taken from: http://www.pravmir.com/article_249.html
God bless and strengthen your services
In any case, sacraments performed by an unworthy priest are still valid, to say otherwise is to fall into the heresy of Donatism.
Further, the priest is ultimately the representative of the bishop, so if you were looking for someone to be unworthy (which wouldn't make a difference anyway), it would be the bishop not the priest. What do you mean by this?
Even if they are not repentant, this does not necessarily mean they are abandoning salvation for themselves, and certainly does not mean they are abandoning your salvation. For themselves: obviously no-one knows who's going to heaven or hell (and that's not just being polite - we really actually don't know, apart from the canonised saints who are in heaven). For you: it wouldn't be fair on you, as you are still a member of the one true church (the Orthodox Church). For this to change, and for your salvation to be put at risk, your bishop (not just your priest) needs to be deposed/excommunicated.
So I wouldn't worry about it at all, the real question is: is your presence in the parish helping you to grow in your spiritual life, or are you falling into sin because of the difficult parish circumstances? That alone should help you decide what to do, it has nothing to do with whether the parish has lost salvific power (it hasn't).