Monday, May 21, 2012

St. Luke of Simferopol Regarding Priests

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
St. Luke Archbishop of Simferopol the Surgeon (+1961) - Commemorated May 29 / June 11 (source)
   
Note: I by no means stand in judgment of any Orthodox clergy throughout the world. And St. Luke by no means is denigrating the great grace given to every Priest to celebrate the Holy Mysteries, regardless of their sins. I simply translate and post these admonishing yet consoling and inspiring words of this great Saint of our days, that we be all urged to greater love and sacrifice for the Lord, the Good Shepherd and True High Priest of the faithful.
   
St. Luke of Simferopol Regarding Priests (amateur translation)
Regarding the priests who shorten services or who do not celebrate them regularly, St. Luke the Surgeon brought to mind the passage of the Prophet Jeremiah: “Cursed be everyone who does the work of God negligently.” (Jeremiah 48:10) He himself celebrated all the services and liturgized with great piety and care, without rushing, cutting or shortening. He advised priests continuously in encyclicals to celebrate services daily and to pray for their flock: “We have churches which remain locked all week, besides Sunday. Should not the Church be open every morning, and the bell ring, calling the faithful, even for a short time, to enter the Church before going to their work? If the faithful knew that the Church is open every morning, or that the priest is reading the Orthros, the Hours, etc., the grace of God will speak to the weak Christian, and would attract him to Church, where he would find the priest praying for him...

"I entreat priests to keep this request of mine. It is not difficult, even when the priest is all by himself, without a chanter, to read the services. The blessing of God to this cleric will be great, for he who remembers that God made him to pray for the people...If the faith and the soul of the priest is lukewarm, how can he light the light of the faith in the souls which have lost it, not recognizing God in the souls of the men whom God gave him to shepherd and to pray for...

"A priest who does not have the rudimentary knowledge of his mission might solve a problem by occupying a priestly vacancy, however, he will create much greater and more serious problems...You Priests have this goal in your lives, to nourish the people of God. But maybe you see your priesthood as a means that you can eat? Perhaps you see your service like a simple job, like a mere breadwinning profession? You should know that priests like these are easily recognized by the their flocks...

"Many were the hits taken by the Church all of those years, many the wounds, great the catastrophes. Naturally, all of these were allowed by God to enlighten us, because we ourselves are also responsible. It is necessary that we repent...

"All of these things that we experienced have not become lessons for us, have not taught us anything. And we continue to make the same mistakes, and even worse than before. Because of this, men become frustrated, distance themselves from the Church, and fall into the nets of heresies, with the end result being the loss of their souls.”

He urged priests to ever preach the word of God, even if they were lacking in theological education: “If the priest seeks the grace of God, if the nous and the heart of the priest are filled with the words of God, then his mouth will speak from the heart. The Holy Spirit, which dwells in the heart of the priest, will Himself preach with the humble mouth of the priest...

"In the Holy Scriptures are so many themes to preach on, that it is easy for anyone to find them if he reads...Let us remember, O brothers, also Saint Seraphim of Sarov, who read the whole New Testament each week.

"If you cannot preach with the word, preach with other things. You should be fragrant before men with your life, your personality, with your love towards Christ, with the spirit of Christian love, purity and deep faith. If you do not have this fragrance, nor the gift of speaking, then you will not be a shepherd, you will be a hireling. And then, what defense will you give at the terrible Judgment Seat of Christ? The heart of the priest is a special heart which should ever shine from the faith of Jesus Christ. The heart of the priest should be fire, to shine from the light of the Gospel, to shine from the love towards the Cross of Jesus Christ”
From the book on St. Luke of Simferopol, by Archimandrite Nektarios Antonopoulos.
   
St. Luke Archbishop of Simferopol the Surgeon (source)
   
Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
Truly the Lord is risen!