Hierarchy or church dictatorship ?
authority that the church leader should have over his flock, often,
regretfully, turns into dictatorship. I used intentionally the word
flock and not subjects, as in the Church, even tough there is
submission, yet there are no subjects. On the contrary, according to the
orthodox doctrine, the only subject is the leader himself. The Christ’s
statement is very categorical when He says “You know that the rulers of
the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise
authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become
great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must
be your slave” (Matthew 20, 25-27). Christ, the ideal Priest, is called
by John Golden Mouth “the servant of our salvation”. Every priest should
be like Him.
In human relationships the ugliest things are the betrayal and the dictatorship. To order another man, means to rend from his head the liberty wreath which was offered to him by Christ Himself. As “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20, 28). The dictatorship is contrary to the human nature, because we are the likeness and image of God’s liberty and sovereignty. Therefore Christ as well, wanting to preserve this principle, before giving to the disciples the power to bind and to loose, washed them the feet, showing the way in which they must prove their power.
The Gospel should enter into the Christians’ life; it is not only a gathering of metaphors and beautiful sayings. Nowadays too there are such “Evangelic” priests. One of our contemporaries from Greece, father Epiphanies, applied actually the example of the feet’s washing. As he was a learned and very opened man, many students used to come to him and confess the sins characteristic for that age. But the elder did not say them to do bows, instead he took them into his cell, put a wash-bowl with water and washed them the feet, in silence. This was the punishment which father Epiphanies, used to give for grave sins. Some of these youngsters confessed afterwards, that even when their friends enticed them to amusements, they were avoiding them, as they were ashamed that the elder could wash again their feet.
If all the priests had kept this elementary principle left by Christ, then the Martin Luther’s reform wouldn’t have been ever needed and the schools of “scientific atheism” wouldn’t have existed either. We, however, don’t have to fall in this kind of excesses, but find a solution, without cancelling the priesthood, because Christ has given us the freedom but also the priesthood. For this reason we should make a difference between the authority and the dictatorship. The authority and the power has been given to the priests (I refer also to the chief priests and bishops) in order to condemn the evil and to set up the good. When this power, given by Christ, is abusively used and with other aims, then it becomes dictatorship. By betraying the principles of Christ, we are betraying Christ Himself. How the order and the submission is possible, without that this degenerate into dictatorship? The love makes everything possible: “A new command I give you: Love one another.” John (13, 34).
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