Interesting that Ahramic uses the word kohenat
for an Orthodox priest. The word in Biblical Hebrew for an Levite priest is kohen
. Obviously cognates. This is interesting because the Greek word for priest is hieros
. This is not the word used for New Testament priests. Rather, they are called presbyteros
, "elders." This was shortened to "prest" and then "priest" in English to get the modern form. Sometimes, though, we will still refer to our priests as "presbyers." The most common occurance of this I can think of is referring to the specific rank of the priesthood known as the "protopresbyter." I don't know why this is, I guess "protopriest" just sounds funny.
I would assume that the preference for married priests in Orthodox is related to the Apostles declarations the the heads of the churches also be good heads of their own family households. Married priests are better equipped to deal with the family and social matters of parish life which is their rightful ministry.
The history of celibacy tied with holy orders is an interesting one. It is my understanding that the Twelve lived celibate lives after receiving the Holy Spirit and leading the Church, even those who were married (among them being St. Peter). None had children.
Then, being a priest or bishop, one was respected when he chose to live a celibate life, but it was not required. The early Church had married priests and bishops.
However, at one point very early (this is only my second-hand understanding, so please correct if I'm mistaken) the idea was pushed that priests and bishops should be celibate, either as single men or participating in a white marriage. This, for obvious reasons, caused some problems. The East and the West took different routes to solve the problem. The Roman Church opted to have only celibate, unmarried priests. The Eastern Churches opted to allow priests to marry and have children. By this time, monasticism had been clearly established and it was decided that only monastics could serve as bishops. This canon was very early and is observed by every historically apostolic church, both Eastern (EO, OO, etc.) and Western (Roman).
Not every monastic is a priest, and technically once previously ordained priests take on monastic orders they do not generally lead celebrations of the Divine Liturgy or other Divine Mysteries.
This is interesting. Of course not every priest is monastic (this is even true for the Roman Catholic priests, even though they are required to be celibate, they do not automatically receive monastic tonsure). But are you saying that a previously-married priest that is later tonsured in monastic life does not usually serve Liturgy? I find that quite peculiar. I've never heard of there being a stigma attached to previously non-monastics priests serving liturgy after their tonsure.
As a matter of fact, Archimandrite Matthias that I mentioned above is a prime example. A married priest who become a hieromonk, and now he's to be consecrated a bishop!
Another prime example is St. Innocent of Alaska, who had been a married priest. Once his wife passed away, he was consecrated a bishop, and eventually become the Metropolitan of Moscow and All Rus'.