I read this quite a while ago, but realized that I never posted it here. This is an observation from a Protestant website called “Daily Devotions”, which publishes… well… Daily devotions.  The ministry is called something like “First Radio Parish Church of America.” Anyway, their observation of Orthodoxy, and especially the Orthodox priest, was surprisingly interesting.

“Cults of personality expand the masks of celebrities into distortions of false perfection. We create demigods from the clay of human beings, and project upon them our own desires of virtue or corruption, imagining them to be impossibly perfect saints or sinners. One can never be wholly either. When the object of a personality cult wields power – political, ideological, or theological – through words, office, or action, then dangers of distortion appear. This is evident when our need for stability crosses paths with a preacher or politician’s charisma, projecting to them holiness or perfection that belongs to only God.

We could take a cue from Orthodoxy, whose priests stand with their backs to their congregation, leading a liturgy that is neither clever nor impassioned, but simply beautiful, like stone smoothed by centuries of rhythmic tides. It’s an austere ritual, in the sense of – there’s nothing new here; it’s sublime, in the sense of – creating a clearer view into Heaven. The priest can be any priest. Who he is, what he looks like, how he speaks, and what he thinks matter little. He hasn’t written the service that he officiates. It isn’t about him or his prowess. He’s an interchangeable functionary draped in brocaded robes, obscured by incense, and, as such, never points to himself, a flawed human, pointing ever and only to the Perfection of the Mysterious Divine. That is the role of every priest or preacher – invisibility, while making God seen.”

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