Cyprian (or St. Cyprian to the Eastern Orthodox) wrote:
"Which very thing, too, we observe to come from divine authority, that the priest should be chosen in the presence of the people under the eyes of all, and should be approved worthy and suitable by public judgment and testimony;"
I've witnessed many ordinations of priests in the Eastern Orthodox church. Not one time was the public asked for approval or given any type of public judgment or testimony (for or against).
It was always "The bishop ordains". or "He passed the degree and gets ordained". The bishop shouts "worthy" (axios), the choir may sing "worthy", but never was the public (or church body) asked for testimony, judgment, etc. A lot of ordinations happened after men completed their degrees at St. Vlad's in New York. Never were they brought out for any type of public judgment, testimony, etc.
I'm seeing a conflict here with a significant early Christian whom the Eastern Orthodox deemed a saint. Cyprian was born around 200.
Shouldn't a new priest be placed before the church public body, where people can give testimony (for or against) prior to ordination.... like it was?
Perhaps you have forgotten the fact that a man cannot enter seminary or be ordained to the priesthood without the blessing of his spiritual father. It is the responsibility of the spiritual father to vouch for the candidate, that they do not have any canonical impediments and that they are properly prepared spiritually for accepting this yoke. If someone has major concerns regarding the candidate, he may express these concerns to the ordaining bishop and express a loud "Anaxios" at the time of ordination.
Yes I agree that these things can happen, but some are missing the point.
It's not just about shouting "axios or anaxios", according to Cyprian, the candidate for priesthood people would give testimony publicly, and their judgments about the candidate. In the seminary, the "public" represented other priests & deacons, visitors of the ordained who flew in out of town.
It seems as though in the early church, the priests were taken from the congregation, known to the congregation, and testimony came from the Orthodox congregation from those who knew the priest. That way a bishop would more fully ascertain the person who is a candidate for the priesthood, based on the testimony of those Christians who knew of him. It almost seems awkward that a priest would be ordained just through a degree earned (often the case of the Master's of divinity from St. Vlad's seminary). In St. Cyprian's time, it wasn't just the testimony by the parish priest - it seems - as he used the world "public".
Speaking in complete hypothetics, but what if the priest was a child molester, bank robber, muderer, or he pushed his wife into having an abortion at sometime.... and somebody within his parish new about it (perhaps somebody he grew up with). Wouldn't it be important that it be brought out publicly, if he were wishing to become a priest? I know it seems like "backwards public confession", but the church will be using this person for spiritual guidance, confessing their most intimate sins, etc.... The scrutiny that Cyprian cited of early Christianity seems to really make a lot of sense.