Our teacher St. Paul mentioned in his first epistle to his disciple, Timothy the Bishop (chapter three), many conditions for bishops that also apply to the priests as their work is one and their pastoral specifications are similar. Of these conditions, the priest must be:

  • Blameless, commended by others

  • The husband of one wife according to the first divine law. If he is widowed, he should not remarry another woman, for being the father of all women, he cannot marry one of his daughters.

  • Self-controlled to serve without trouble, he must be sober-minded, not lazy, just, holy, self-controlled (Titus 1:8).

  • Modest: distinguished by his simplicity in all things; his food, clothing, and so on. The same principle must also apply to his wife and children who must be modest and not extravagant.

  • Hospitable to strangers, merciful with the poor and needy who are brothers to the Lord.

     

  • Able to teach: as a minister is a teacher and must explain the word of truth rightly, well learned in the Holy Bible and ecclesiastical subjects to nourish his congregation by sound Orthodox doctrine, and fill them by his knowledge, ready to answer any question correctly and exhort all.

  • Not given to wine as wine is a mocker, intoxicating drink arouses brawling and whoever is led astray by it is not wise (Proverbs 20:1). As drunkenness opposes wisdom and fullness of the Holy Spirit and causes mockery and lack of reverence.

  • Not violent, for a priest must gather people through fatherly love, not dominate them by terror.

  • Not greedy for money: the minister must not care to strive in collecting money by any means, for in so doing, he degrades himself amidst people, and leads himself to serve the rich and disregard the poor. Hence, his service is unacceptable before God and blamed by people who will spread rumors against him, and this will destroy the dignity of priesthood, for, “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts, which draw men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness” (1 Timothy 6:9,10).

  • Not quarrelsome but gentle like his master Jesus Christ, “will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench” (Matthew 12:19,20).

  • Not be proud and a generator of troubles and strife, for these qualities do not suit a common Christian, let alone a minister, who is to have a gentle spirit. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle, able to teach, with patience and humility, correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God will grant them repentance that they may know the truth.

  • He rules his own house well, his children are obedient and revering, for if a man does not know how to rule his own house how will he take care of the church of God?  The house is a small church and the father is the head of the family.  The children should not be known for disobedience, nor be a cause of stumbling for others. If the children live righteously in obedience to their parents, holding fast Christian principles, this indicates the success of their parents and father who is being recommended for the ministry of priesthood, “having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination” (Titus 1:6).

  • He must be known and experienced in his service in the church. He must be able to carry the yoke of Christ humbly and patiently, so that he does not fall into condemnation and become a stumbling block in the service, but rather, bring people back to the church. He must be a source of comfort and joy for the people, rather than a cause of worry.

 

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