Tuesday, November 18, 2014


   Most Orthodox are familiar with their Priests in  local parishes but have little contact with bishops, who are over the Priest and under whose authority he serves, being unable to serve without a bishop. What should the faithful expect from their Bishop?  He ought to be a man aware of his fearful duties before God, for he must shepherd the flock assigned to him who has total authority over him, who is over all of us and is the Good. The Bishop is obligated before Christ to assure by monitoring the purity of  Orthodoxy under their jurisdiction.The Bishop must also monitor the attitude and Christian behavior of Priests and laity, the preservation of all truths and assuring himself for certain that all the faithful know and be reminded that they keep the commandments of  Christ.  The Bishop must present himself as an image of Christ before his Priests and people. He must  reflect the humility and meekness of Christ, The countenance of the bishop must also radiate the love and peace of Jesus Christ. The people must see in the Bishop only an image of Christ.

   The Priest must honor his Bishop as his father in Christ  and the Bishop must honor the Priest as his son in Christ. The Bishop must shine with the joy and the love of Christ before his Priests and before his flock.  The Bishop’s entire flock of sheep when under    good  bishop’s example are  required to emulate the Bishop and to so also become like Christ. 

     Whenever we  think of  or talk of Christ the first thought that ought  to fill our minds and swell our hearts is His great  love: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life.;”  In his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul mentions the love of Christ which all clergy and laity must have toward each other:  

“to know the love of Christ which passes all knowledge that you might be filled with all the fullness of God . . .” 

 St. Nicholas Velimirovic of  Serbia partially describes what we must all understand and take to heart, or we will never enter the kingdom of heaven, for God is love.  Speaking on the above passage He enthusiastically speaks beautiful words of Christ’s love. Love for Jesus Christ and all that He loves is the supreme virtue and its power should never be misapplied, causing  St. John the Evangelist  to say:  “If we love the world the love of God is not in us.”  Love for anything out side of God becomes idolatrous.   Here are the wonderful words  love  by St Nicoli Velimirovic:

The love that passes knowledge, that exceeds our understanding: this is the love of Christ. No one can have any idea of either the nature or the greatness of this love until Christ makes His abode in him.  Can anyone who has never eaten honey have any idea of its taste? Once Christ enters by faith into the heart of man, that man experiences the inexpressible taste of the love of Christ, its sweet and intoxicating fragrance and its utter all-embracingness. 
        As a man having Christ in His heart touches the breadth and length and depth and height of the knowledge of divine wisdom, so also a man having Christ in His heart touches the endless, rolling ocean of the love of Christ. O my brethren, how weak are words when we try to speak of the love of Christ – nowhere are they so weak and ineffective as here: He creates us from love, takes flesh from love, endures shame and death from love, and from love opens the heavens and reveals the deathless glory that has been prepared for us. This that we have enumerated is only a little part of that inexhaustible richness, glory, beauty, and life giving food that is called the love of Christ."

   Every bishop should be filled with this ardent  love for Christ, who should rule his life, and people must be able to see the Bishop as though he were  Christ splendidly standing before their eyes. As we said, the Priest should also be like Christ just as his bishop, both being an image of Christ.  But it does not end there.  Each and every one of  we the faithful should struggle with faith, hope and love,  to radiate the beauty and glory of Christ. 

 Warning against poison! When clergy involve themselves in worldly affairs, public or church politics, ecumenism and philo-papism such  involvement serves to undermine the love of Christ which should be in all Bishops. Priests and lay people.  but mostly so in the Bishops who are ordained with special graces from God, 

     But woe to Bishops, Priest and lay people, who fail to struggle with all their strength to increase their love for Christ in both their hearts and in their churches. Bishops should forget about getting  involved with those outside the church, and thus neglecting their sheep. When the Bishop appears before us we should be able to see in his beautiful countenance the image of Christ the Good Shepherd who only seeks the salvation and sanctification of the sheep that God has given to him.  May our Lord send  to us many Christ-like good shepherds to guide all the faithful to everlasting life.Our time on this earth is very limited, so that action is important o all of us.

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