The hand of a priest

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Taken from Experiences During the Divine Liturgy, Protopresbyter Stephanos K. Anagnostopoulos

[While the Cherubic hymn is being sung during liturgy the priest reads the prayer which begins with the words, -ed]…”No one who is bound with the desires and pleasures of the flesh is worthy to approach…”

None of the priests ever approaches the Holy Altar, in order to serve the Divine Liturgy, trusting in his holiness. If he is ever fooled and believes that he is holy, he must not perform the Liturgy; in which case we have delusion and heresy. But at this point, we should not say much, for the more we say, the worse it is for us. Here, we do the sign of the Cross, are silent, and we priests ask for God’s mercy.

In order to comprehend what man is worth, for which God’s love can do anything, we ought to give some thought to the high ministry of the Priesthood. The priest, as a human being might not be wealthy, strong, wise and a scholar, but may be humble and insignificant. From the moment, however, he received the gift of the Priesthood and puts on “the grace of priesthood”, from that moment on the Priest receives spiritual power, which surpasses all secular power.

Saint Cosmas Aitolos used to say: “If I ever encounter the emperor of Byzantine. or the king and a poor priest on the street, I will first hasten to kiss the priest’s hand then greet the Emperor. And if I ever encounter an Angel or an Archangel or a Cherubim walking together with a priest on the same road, I will first hasten to kiss the hand of the Priest and then the hand of the Angel.”

The priest’s blessing is Christ’s blessing. It is Christ’s Grace. Whether the priest is young, or elderly, worthy, or unworthy, he bears Christ’s Priesthood, he possesses his Grace and imparts His divine Blessing.

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