Armodoxy for Today: To the Priests
The first responder in the Church is often the priest. He is ordained to the ministry. In Armenian, the word for ordination is tzernatrutiun which literally means “hands placed upon.” It refers to the Biblical process by which the transfer of rites is accomplished. In the Book of the Acts of the Apostles we read,
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:14-17)
One of the marks of the true Church is that it is “apostolic” which means that there is a traceable line of succession to the time of the apostles. In other words, a priest can trace his authority within the Church, in a straight line to the time of the Apostles, and therefore to Jesus Christ. In the case of the priests of the Armenian Church, each can trace their roots to the Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew. (Apostolic also refers to the traditions carried over from Apostolic times.)
In the Armenian Church, a priest is not only ordained, via the laying on of hands, but is also consecrated with the holy miuron.
We offer this prayer for all of our priests by Fr Karl Rahner SJ
The priest is not an angel sent from heaven
He is a man chosen from among men,
A member of the Church, a Christian.
Remaining man and Christian, he begins to speak of you the Word of God.
The word is not his own.
No, he comes to you because God has told him to proclaim God’s Word.
Perhaps he has not entirely understood it himself.
Perhaps he adulterates it.
But he believes, and despite his fear he knows he must communicate God’s Word to you.
For must not some of us say something about God,
About eternal life; about the majesty of grace in our sanctified being?
Must not some one of us speak of sin, the judgement and mercy of God?
So, my dear friends, pray for him, carry him,
So that he might be able to sustain others by bringing to them
The mystery of God’s love revealed in Jesus Christ.