A Noble Task: Entry into the Clergy in the First Five Centuries

Lewis J. Patsavos

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"This handsome volume deals with a topic that has a specific significance for the present. It investigates thoroughly the phenomenon of entry into the clergy in the first five centuries of the history of the Church and demonstrates the tremendous importance ascribed to the office and service of the priest by both the Fathers of the Church and the Christian communities of the initial centuries of ecclesiastical life." -Archbishop Demetrios of America

This book presents a rich collection of key texts from the Fathers and early councils setting out what was expected in moral and educational terms from aspirants to the clergy in the early Christian centuries. Hitherto students of the early church have had to search for this material in a variety of different publications. Here they will find it translated and discussed in a comprehensive manner. While the latest historical scholarship has been taken into account, the book’s main focus is on the spiritual rather than the social role of the clergy. It is the author’s deepest wish that those aspiring to the Christian priesthood might find here an accurate and vivid account of the virtuous life that should always be their goal.

Lewis J. Patsavos is Professor of Canon Law and Director of Field Education at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. He serves as consultant on canonical affairs to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and other Orthodox jurisdictions. He is also the author of Primacy and Conciliarity (1995) and Spiritual Dimensions of the Holy Canons (2003).