Creation and Priesthood in Modern Orthodox Thinking
Keywords:Orthodox theologicans, priesthood, creation, icon
This paper is a response to suggestions that the notion of humans as priests of creation is the standard Orthodox view, and that it devalues non-human creation and the praise other creatures offer to God. It will be argued that, while human priesthood is a dominant image for some Orthodox theologians, more often it is used—if at all—as one among several images, which should be seen as complementary. ‘Priesthood’ language cannot be understood apart from the idea of a cosmic liturgy in which all creatures play their part; the meaning Orthodox theologians give to ‘priesthood of creation’ is a function of their understanding of priesthood in the Church as an integral part of the people of God. Creation needs human ‘priestly’ mediation not because its praise is inadequate, but because the praise we offer together awaits its fulfilment—the transfiguration of all creatures in Christ.
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