SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY: AUTHORITY OR SERVICE?

Spiritual power is not like political or financial power. What makes it different?

Spiritual power differs from political or other forms of authority by the principle that Christ taught: “If any man desire to be first, [the same] shall be last of all, and servant of all” (Mark 9:34). Christ, teaching this, gives His example, saying that the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45).

So, the spiritual power is in service, and the greater the power, the greater the need to serve, to have responsibility and the duty according to the religious conception.

This is how the Apostles, the Church Fathers, explain especially high-ranking clergy’s service. St. Gregory the Theologian has said that as the sea in storms, also the bishop’s mind is undulated with concerns for his flock. He called the bishop’s service a storm of thoughts. That is to say, the higher the clergy, the more he has the duty to serve God, the Church, and the faithful people.

But here we cannot accept that a clergyman becomes a servant of the believer with the concept of lord and servant of the feudal era. In the spiritual field, service of the clergy is perceived as a relationship between father and son.

Our fleshly parents have brought us their service, taking care of us from childhood, and this service continues, otherwise, when we become adults. And as we show respect to our parents, who serve us, and accept their authority, so we must act toward the spiritual ministers of the faithful.

Anyone who chooses the spiritual path must clearly imagine the importance of his step. Many have the opportunity to get an education in a spiritual institution. Often this choice is made immediately after the school. Which age is favorable for such a decision?

The decision to receive education in a spiritual institution is right after the high school because at the same time young people are also admitted to other higher educational institutions by choosing serious professions, such as a doctor, diplomat, lawyer, etc. Similarly, anyone who has an attachment to spiritual service can enter in a spiritual educational institution after school.

However, according to the church canon, a special age is defined; the age of thirty, since passing to the priesthood is a serious decision and should be taken seriously in adulthood. In modern times, taking into account the great need of clergy, the age of the ordination has been slightly reduced, and at the age of twenty-six to twenty-seven, that is, under the age of thirty, the candidates can now be ordained as priests.

In history, there have been cases when even a clergyman in his younger age becomes a Patriarch. Such cases were exceptional for the best candidates.

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