August 4, 2022

Homilies on the Great Litany of the Divine Liturgy - Clergy and Laity (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 Homilies on the Great Litany of the Divine Liturgy

Clergy and Laity

Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

We are interpreting in these eucharistic sermons, during the Summer Sundays, the petitions we address to God at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy, every Mystery and Sacred Service. Today we will look at the petition we are called to address to God for all the members of the Church. The Priest exhorts us: "For our Archbishop, the Honorable Presbyters and those who minister in Christ, all the Clergy and the people, let us pray to the Lord", that is, let us pray for the Archbishop, namely, the Metropolitan of this region - and mention his name - for the Presbyters and Deacons, for all the Clergy and the laity of the Sacred Metropolis.

In this petition, the government of the Church can be seen, which is made up of the members of the Church who have been baptized, chrismated and partake of Divine Communion. There are three Categories, namely the "Higher Clergy", which includes the Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons, the "Lower Clergy", which includes the subdeacons, chanters and readers, and there is the laity.

The Clergy are the spiritual officers of the Church Army. The Church is not a disorderly spiritual army, it is not a place of anarchy in which anyone does what they want, but it is a blessed army directed by Christ, through the Clergy. But even among the Clergy there is a gradation of ministry, since the work of the Metropolitan is one, the work of the Presbyter is another, and the work of the Deacon is another. In each Sacred Metropolis there is only one Metropolitan, who constitutes the unity of the Church, just as Christ is one, who is the head of the Church. With the prayer and blessing of the Bishop, the Clergy work pastorally, perform the Sacred Mysteries, sanctify the people and protect them from all evil.

The so-called Lower Clergy (subdeacons, chanters, readers, etc.) do not have priestly grace, they cannot celebrate the Sacred Mysteries, but they help, according to each one's gift. A special ceremony is held by the Bishop for those who take on a work of ministry, because in the Church no one can improvise. Thus, everyone's gift is offered, through the Church, to God. The subdeacons, where they exist, help the Clergy in the Holy Altar, the chanters chant on behalf of the people, the readers read the readings, both apostolic and prophetic, the doorkeepers watch the doors so that no one who is uninitiated enters the Divine Liturgy.

The people are the so-called laity who are members of the Church, have been baptized, have been chrismated and have the extraordinary honor of participating in the Divine Eucharist and in the whole of ecclesiastical life. The laity are not just present, but participate in the worship in their own way. They pray to God, unite with the other members of the Church, partake of the Immaculate Mysteries.

This is the government of the Church, the all-around people of the Lord, those who have been blessed by God to be members of the Church. We have a duty to pray for all the brotherhood in Christ, for the Bishop, the Clergy and the laity, so that they respond to their ministry, prove themselves worthy of their mission, glorify God with their whole lives.

We must feel that we are not strangers, orphans, alone, but we belong to a global family, since the Church spreads throughout the world and includes as members people from all races, ethnicities, and languages. This is a great blessing for us.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.