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Offline wolf

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Confused about the priesthood
« on: August 03, 2011, 06:07:19 AM »
Maybe a complicated question...

Are the priesthoods of Christ and the priesthood of believers, both lay and ordained, the same thing? What I mean by that is: do the baptised faithful participate in the one priesthood of Christ, or only ordained priests, or neither? Is there anywhere in the new testament or from the early Fathers that talk about this?

Thanks.

Offline Melodist

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Re: Confused about the priesthood
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2011, 07:59:56 AM »
Maybe a complicated question...

Are the priesthoods of Christ and the priesthood of believers, both lay and ordained, the same thing? What I mean by that is: do the baptised faithful participate in the one priesthood of Christ, or only ordained priests, or neither? Is there anywhere in the new testament or from the early Fathers that talk about this?

Thanks.

Chrismation (which is supposed to be done at baptism) confers the "seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit" which also serves as one's "ordination" in a sense to the priesthood of the believer, which is rooted in Christ's priesthood because He is the Great High Priest. The OT priesthood was first washed and then immediately annointed with oil, similar to how we do baptism and chrismation. Ordained priests aren't really what the bible calls "priests", they are what the NT calls "elders" or in greek "presbyters" (which is the etymology for the english word "priest"). Every believer participates in the royal priesthood of believers being members of the Body of Christ who is the Great High Priest, but not every believer is an elder. In the NT, elders for the churches had to be chosen and ordained through the laying on of hands, it wasn't just an office that anyone could just "do" who wanted to do it. To say that "we don't need an ordained priesthood" is like the foot saying to the hand "I don't need you".

I don't know if this answers your question, but I hope it helps.
And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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Offline pasadi97

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Re: Confused about the priesthood
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2011, 08:37:02 AM »
A priest is ordained through the sacrament of ordination. Through this sacrament of Ordination he can perform Holy liturgy. People seeing with the eyes of the soul see that on priests heads are fires or Holy spirit like the oned that descended on Pentecost on heads of the apostles. This is for life and on a Communist concentration camp there was a former monk that saw the fire on the head of another man and he asked that man if he was ordained and the answer was yes. To get ordination , the ordination has to be done by a Bishop that has Holy Spirit received back from apostles that received it from God on Pentecost day when the Church was established.

So ordination is a sacrament and it has great impact on Invisible world as any sacrament. After ordination the Priest can celebrate Holy liturgy obtaining Holy Eucharist for eternal life.

Priest ordination I believe was from beginning of the Church and if you read the Holy Liturgy of Apostle James you see that there are things that can be told by a priest.

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0717.htm
« Last Edit: August 03, 2011, 08:40:36 AM by pasadi97 »
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Offline SakranMM

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Re: Confused about the priesthood
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2011, 09:27:03 AM »
Dear-to-Christ Wolf:

All Orthodox Christians, by virtue of their baptism, are part of the priesthood of all believers.  We all have the ministry of intercession and sacrifice - meaning we are called to pray for others, and to sacrifice ourselves for the love of Christ (that sacrifice will come in various ways - for some, it may the sacrifice of married life and raising children, for others it may be a calling to monastic life, etc...) 

Now, within that priesthood of all believers, some are called to be ordained priests in order to lead the community that God has called them to.  So the ordained priest does not stand apart or outside of the priesthood of all believers, but rather he is ordained within the community of believers and remains part of them.  He leads them to Christ from within the community, not apart from it.

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Offline jah777

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Re: Confused about the priesthood
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2011, 09:34:43 AM »
Nobody denies the fact that in the Old Testament there were priests who were set aside for making sacrifices and offerings, yet the fact seems often to be overlooked that the Israelites themselves were called by God a "kingdom of priests", and that the New Testament reference to the Church as a "royal priesthood" is to be understood similarly.

Quote
Exodus 19:3-6

And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:  'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself.  Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.  And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."

In Acts chapter 6 it is said that the apostles appointed seven deacons for the service of others, while they were to give themselves over "continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word." (Acts 6:4)  In Eph 4:11-12, St. Paul says, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…”  indicating that not all who are in Christ have the same calling but the faithful may be set apart for different functions.  In 1 Corinthians chapter 12, St. Paul speaks of there being one Spirit but a diversity of gifts, and he asks, “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?”(verse 29).  The Church is the royal priesthood, and as such we are all called to offer our bodies as “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (Rom 12:1).  As the royal priesthood, we all in baptism receive the Holy Spirit, we can all partake of the same deifying grace, and we can all attain by grace to the glory of God; yet we will not all have the same calling.   That from the beginning there was a specific priesthood in the Church that was ordained for this function by the bishop can be seen from the second Apostolic Canon which states, “A Presbyter must be ordained by a single Bishop, and so must a Deacon and other Clergymen”.  The writings of St. Ignatius of Antioch also refer to the specific orders of bishop, priest, and deacon within the “royal priesthood” of the Church.  So, just as in the Old Testament there was both a “kingdom of priests” and priests who were called out specifically for sacramental service, so in the Church we are a “royal priesthood” and yet there is also a priesthood that is called out and ordained specifically for sacramental service.       

Quote
http://www.orthodoxphotos.com/readings/Orthodox_Church/the_clergy_and_the_laity.shtml

The clergy are the sacred priesthood, where the laity are called the royal priesthood. One is not greater than the other but equal and distinct. Each play a very important role in the liturgical and administrative life of the Church. The clergy cannot conduct formal worship services without the participation of the laity; nor can the laity perform the same services without the clergy to lead them in prayer. The laity are called upon to live by the same Christian moral standards as the clergy. Both are expected to participate in all the worship services and keep the various days and seasons of fasting and feasting.

For more on the subject, this may be helpful:
http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/priesthood_voulgaris.htm

Offline jah777

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Re: Confused about the priesthood
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2011, 10:01:23 AM »
Met Hierothoes of Nafpaktos has written very well on the subject of the "royal" or "spiritual" priesthood in his book Orthodox Psychotherapy.  Many Fathers are quoted as well:

http://www.oodegr.com/english/psyxotherap/psyxotherap4.htm

Offline wolf

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Re: Confused about the priesthood
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2011, 01:45:05 PM »
Thanks to all for the replies.

It seems pretty clear then, that the priesthood is the same, whether it be Christ, faithful or ordained as we are all members of the body of Christ, we take on his priesthood.

Melodist
Quote
Ordained priests aren't really what the bible calls "priests", they are what the NT calls "elders" or in greek "presbyters" (which is the etymology for the english word "priest").

Yet they have a priestly fuction do they not? They offer sacrifice, forgive sins, dress in vestments and so on. Does anybody know if the new testament or early christians say that presbyters/elders are to take on a priestly role and represent Christ in his priesthood to the faithful or did it devolop later?

Offline orthonorm

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Re: Confused about the priesthood
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2011, 02:03:27 PM »
Maybe a complicated question...

Are the priesthoods of Christ and the priesthood of believers, both lay and ordained, the same thing? What I mean by that is: do the baptised faithful participate in the one priesthood of Christ, or only ordained priests, or neither? Is there anywhere in the new testament or from the early Fathers that talk about this?

Thanks.

Chrismation (which is supposed to be done at baptism) confers the "seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit" which also serves as one's "ordination" in a sense to the priesthood of the believer, which is rooted in Christ's priesthood because He is the Great High Priest. The OT priesthood was first washed and then immediately annointed with oil, similar to how we do baptism and chrismation. Ordained priests aren't really what the bible calls "priests", they are what the NT calls "elders" or in greek "presbyters" (which is the etymology for the english word "priest"). Every believer participates in the royal priesthood of believers being members of the Body of Christ who is the Great High Priest, but not every believer is an elder. In the NT, elders for the churches had to be chosen and ordained through the laying on of hands, it wasn't just an office that anyone could just "do" who wanted to do it. To say that "we don't need an ordained priesthood" is like the foot saying to the hand "I don't need you".

I don't know if this answers your question, but I hope it helps.

This answers the question in about the most concise, accurate, and thorough manner possible. Nice!

I am going to start compiling such answers on here and pasting them into the new threads with the same question.

Offline Melodist

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Re: Confused about the priesthood
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2011, 02:38:11 PM »
I am going to start compiling such answers on here and pasting them into the new threads with the same question.

You forgot something in your post. (from 0:45-about 1:03)
And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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Offline Melodist

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Re: Confused about the priesthood
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2011, 03:53:14 PM »
Melodist
Quote
Ordained priests aren't really what the bible calls "priests", they are what the NT calls "elders" or in greek "presbyters" (which is the etymology for the english word "priest").

Yet they have a priestly fuction do they not? They offer sacrifice, forgive sins, dress in vestments and so on. Does anybody know if the new testament or early christians say that presbyters/elders are to take on a priestly role and represent Christ in his priesthood to the faithful or did it devolop later?

The NT tells us they are ordained by the laying on of hands (1Tim 4:14), shepherd the flock (1Pet 5:1-2), served a sacramental role (James 5:14), that Christ gave the command specifically to the apostles to be the ones to celebrate the Eucharist (Luke 22:14,19) and forgive sins (John 20:23), that Paul exercised that authority to firgive sins as an apostle (2Cor 2:10), that it was the apostles and not anyone else who gave the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands (chrismation) (Acts 8:14-15), and had authority (Philemon 8-9) in Christ. All authority belongs to Christ, who gave His authority to His apostles (this is why everything is done in His name), who passed on that apostolic authority in Christ to be exercised by the bishops (overseers) and priests (elders) in the churches.

I will find some quotes from some early fathre (ones that personally knew the apostles) for you.
And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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Offline jah777

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Re: Confused about the priesthood
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2011, 04:08:48 PM »
Does anybody know if the new testament or early christians say that presbyters/elders are to take on a priestly role and represent Christ in his priesthood to the faithful or did it devolop later?


You can find mention of ordination to the priestly role, and the unique sacramental role of the priest/presbyter, in the earliest Christian writings. Below are quotes from St. Polycarp of Smyrna and St. Ignatius of Antioch.  St. Polycarp and St. Ignatius of Antioch (+107) were both disciples of St. John the Apostle and Theologian, and they both were in close contact with others who knew and were eye witnesses of Christ.

Quote

St. Polycarp, Letter to the Philadelphians
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.iv.ii.v.html

Wherefore, it is needful to abstain from all these things, being subject to the presbyters and deacons, as unto God and Christ.


St. Ignatius of Antioch

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.v.xiv.viii.html

May I have joy of you in the Lord! Be ye sober. Lay aside, every one of you, all malice and beast-like fury, evil-speaking, calumny, filthy speaking, ribaldry, whispering, arrogance, drunkenness, lust, avarice, vainglory, envy, and everything akin to these. “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Ye presbyters, be subject to the bishop; ye deacons, to the presbyters; and ye, the people, to the presbyters and the deacons. Let my soul be for theirs who preserve this good order; and may the Lord be with them continually!


http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.v.iii.vii.html

As therefore the Lord does nothing without the Father, for says He, “I can of mine own self do nothing,” so do ye, neither presbyter, nor deacon, nor layman, do anything without the bishop. Nor let anything appear commendable to you which is destitute of his approval.  For every such thing is sinful, and opposed [to the will of] God. Do ye all come together into the same place for prayer. Let there be one common supplication, one mind, one hope, with faith unblameable in Christ Jesus, than which nothing is more excellent. Do ye all, as one man, run together into the temple of God, as unto one altar, to one Jesus Christ, the High Priest of the unbegotten God.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.v.vii.viii.html

Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as where Christ is, there does all the heavenly host stand by, waiting upon Him as the Chief Captain of the Lord’s might, and the Governor of every intelligent nature. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize, or to offer, or to present sacrifice, or to celebrate a love-feast. But that which seems good to him, is also well-pleasing to God, that everything ye do may be secure and valid.

Offline Melodist

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Re: Confused about the priesthood
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2011, 04:11:06 PM »
St Clement of Rome

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ii.ii.xl.html
Quote
Chapter XL.—Let us preserve in the Church the order appointed by God.
These things therefore being manifest to us, and since we look into the depths of the divine knowledge, it behoves us to do all things in [their proper] order, which the Lord has commanded us to perform at stated times. to the next sentence. [1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2.] He has enjoined offerings [to be presented] and service to be performed [to Him], and that not thoughtlessly or irregularly, but at the appointed times and hours. Where and by whom He desires these things to be done, He Himself has fixed by His own supreme will, in order that all things being piously done according to His good pleasure, may be acceptable unto Him.176176    Literally, “to His will.” [Comp. Rom. xv. 15, 16, Greek.] Those, therefore, who present their offerings at the appointed times, are accepted and blessed; for inasmuch as they follow the laws of the Lord, they sin not. For his own peculiar services are assigned to the high priest, and their own proper place is prescribed to the priests, and their own special ministrations devolve on the Levites. The layman is bound by the laws that pertain to laymen.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ii.ii.xli.html
Quote
Chapter XLI.—Continuation of the same subject.
Let every one of you, brethren, give thanks to God in his own order, living in all good conscience, with becoming gravity, and not going beyond the rule of the ministry prescribed to him. Not in every place, brethren, are the daily sacrifices offered, or the peace-offerings, or the sin-offerings and the trespass-offerings, but in Jerusalem only. And even there they are not offered in any place, but only at the altar before the temple, that which is offered being first carefully examined by the high priest and the ministers already mentioned. Those, therefore, who do anything beyond that which is agreeable to His will, are punished with death. Ye see, brethren, that the greater the knowledge that has been vouchsafed to us, the greater also is the danger to which we are exposed.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ii.ii.xlii.html
Quote
Chapter XLII.—The order of ministers in the Church.
The apostles have preached the Gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first-fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus saith the Scripture in a certain place, “I will appoint their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith.”
And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Confused about the priesthood
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2011, 09:15:16 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

If you could please clarify just a few things I'd appreciate it.

1. What is the exact reason the Sabbath is commemorated?

2. Refraining from eating pork is just a cultural habit as is circumcision, correct?

The Sabbath is in place because Emperor Zara Yacob confirmed the dual Sabbath tradition of the Ethiopian Church in 1446 in order to reunify several region schisms in the Church regarding Sabbatarians and anti-Sabbatarians of various groups across at least a 400 year period of not longer.  The influence of Ethiopia's indigenous Jewish populations should never be diminished when interpreting the current and historical cultural fabric of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.  Further, by that time Islam was steadily creeping inland from the coastal regions and was also holding cultural sway and influence on the evolving mindsets of the times.  Either way, the Sabbath observance was a long standing Ethiopian cultural tradition and perhaps predates Christianity's coming to Ethiopia and so rightfully was preserved in respect for the people.  Even at the various times which the Church and the political leaders tried to suppress its observance, the people could not shed themselves of themselves.



In regards to taboos regarding pork and other seemingly "Jewish" customs it should be noted that these indeed cultural habits, in fact they predate Judaism because Semitic culture originated and evolved firstly within Central Ethiopia and spread outwards, so it is also the source of many "pan-Semitic" traits such as monotheism (yes, even the 'pagan' Semites are indigenously monotheism, Abraham did not invent such, it existed long before his time) circumcision, and pork taboos.  This is as Our Lord affirmed in the Scriptures when he said, "Not that circumcision is from Moses, but from the fathers."

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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Offline wolf

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Re: Confused about the priesthood
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2011, 02:56:34 AM »
Thank you both, Melodist and jah777  ;D I definitely need to bookmark this thread for future reference.

Offline Knee V

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Re: Confused about the priesthood
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2011, 04:21:50 PM »
For added clarification...

(mind you, I don't know how to use Greek characters, so my usage of Greek words is what I can find to be the best transliteration into English)

There are two Greek words in the New Testament that can be translated into the English word "priest": hieros and presvyteros. Presvyteros is the word that is often translated as "elder" in many modern NT's. It's also the word where we get "presbyter" and "presbyterian". It's also where we derive the word "priest" (as someone else pointed out). Hieros is the word used for, say, a descendent of Aaron, or the role that Melchizedek held.

There is a "church office" of presvyteros. Only those ordained as such are called that. But everyone who is baptized (whether in water or in blood or otherwise) is a hieros. Christ is our High Hieros. With that understanding, there is an "ordained priesthood" (presvyteros), and there is the "priesthood of all believers" (hieros).

Offline wolf

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Re: Confused about the priesthood
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2011, 03:32:09 PM »
Knee V

Thanks for the clarification. It is a little odd that the word Presbyteros/elder is used if the office was meant to be a priestly role, mind you - using the honorific Father probably comes from the same root.

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Confused about the priesthood
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2011, 09:14:36 PM »
It seems pretty clear then, that the priesthood is the same, whether it be Christ, faithful or ordained as we are all members of the body of Christ, we take on his priesthood.

I don't think this is true at all. There are clear clear lines between Christ, the bishops and priests, and the laity. The term "priesthood of all believers" is, IIRC, from Martin Luther. The Scriptural term is "royal priesthood."

What is a priest? One who is set apart to sacrifice, to offer to God what is God's. In a sense, all three do this, but in quite different capacities. Both the royal and ordained priesthood find their fulfillment in Christ, they do the work of Christ in partnership with Him, but one should make a qualificationhere for the sake of clarity because one can take comparisons too far and end up in heresy.
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Offline wolf

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Re: Confused about the priesthood
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2011, 03:22:49 AM »
It seems pretty clear then, that the priesthood is the same, whether it be Christ, faithful or ordained as we are all members of the body of Christ, we take on his priesthood.

I don't think this is true at all. There are clear clear lines between Christ, the bishops and priests, and the laity. The term "priesthood of all believers" is, IIRC, from Martin Luther. The Scriptural term is "royal priesthood."

What is a priest? One who is set apart to sacrifice, to offer to God what is God's. In a sense, all three do this, but in quite different capacities. Both the royal and ordained priesthood find their fulfillment in Christ, they do the work of Christ in partnership with Him, but one should make a qualificationhere for the sake of clarity because one can take comparisons too far and end up in heresy.

What I meant was that the type of priesthood is the same - the order of Melchizedek, since we all participate in Christ's priesthood, but that the function or duties of each were different.

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Confused about the priesthood
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2011, 10:06:10 AM »
It seems pretty clear then, that the priesthood is the same, whether it be Christ, faithful or ordained as we are all members of the body of Christ, we take on his priesthood.

I don't think this is true at all. There are clear clear lines between Christ, the bishops and priests, and the laity. The term "priesthood of all believers" is, IIRC, from Martin Luther. The Scriptural term is "royal priesthood."

What is a priest? One who is set apart to sacrifice, to offer to God what is God's. In a sense, all three do this, but in quite different capacities. Both the royal and ordained priesthood find their fulfillment in Christ, they do the work of Christ in partnership with Him, but one should make a qualificationhere for the sake of clarity because one can take comparisons too far and end up in heresy.

What I meant was that the type of priesthood is the same - the order of Melchizedek, since we all participate in Christ's priesthood, but that the function or duties of each were different.

I still don't understand what you mean by the type of priesthood being the same. Where does this idea come from?
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Offline wolf

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Re: Confused about the priesthood
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2011, 12:31:00 PM »
Shanghaiski
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I still don't understand what you mean by the type of priesthood being the same. Where does this idea come from?

I thought that all baptised people participate in Christ's Priesthood, Prophethood and Kingship by virtue of their baptism and chrismation. The threefold offices of Priest, Deacon and Bishop manifest these three roles in and to the community, one of these being the priesthood of Christ. So the priesthood is the same, Christ in the Order of Melchizedek. Where does our priesthood come from (all believers and ordained) if not from participating in Christ's eternal priesthood? The ordained priests represent Christ as the priest in the community, this is one of the reasons why repentance and forgiveness of sins is made in reference to the priest/bishop. But the royal priests also participate in the priesthood of Christ, but we do not take on a ministering role within the Church.

You obviously know more than me - so if I am wrong tell me where I am going wrong in my understanding. I don't know where this came from, but I thought it was what Orthodox Christians believed.