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Priesthood, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

47- Bishops

 

[3] The First Bishops Were Our fathers The Holy Apostles

The apostles were universal bishops, and not local while Saint James was the local bishop for Jerusalem.

[4] The Lord Jesus Is Called Bishop

(1 Pet 2:25) For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

[5] It Is Fitting To Link Shepherdship With The Office Of The Bishop

The Lord Jesus called Himself, the Good Shepherd:

St-Takla.org Image: The Coptic Orthodox Holy Synod of Egypt (Bishops of the Coptic Church) on June 6, 2009. صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: أعضاء المجمع المقدس القبطي في الكنيسة القبطية الأرثوذكسية، الآباء الأساقفة الأقباط، يوم 6 يونيو 2009 م.

St-Takla.org Image: The Coptic Orthodox Holy Synod of Egypt (Bishops of the Coptic Church) on June 6, 2009.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: أعضاء المجمع المقدس القبطي في الكنيسة القبطية الأرثوذكسية، الآباء الأساقفة الأقباط، يوم 6 يونيو 2009 م.

(John 10:11) "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

He is the Shepherd and bishop of our souls. Bishops were delegated by Christ to carry out the bishopric office.

[6] The Apostles Were Also Bishops, Shepherds, or High Priests.

They were bishops according to their clerical office, and archbishops with respect to their hegemony over the other priests.

Also they are priests according to their clerical office, and high priests with respect to their hegemony over the other priests.

[7] The Bishops Are Also The Vicars Of God

(Titus 1:7) For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,

This means that the apostles were also vicars for God through their bishopric office.

Saint Paul also described himself as God’s vicar:

(1 Cor 4:1-2) Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. {2} Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

The apostles were bishops. This is because they were shepherds and vicars and because of the priestly nature of their work.

So the high priests of today are vicars to the Great High Priest, our Lord Jesus Christ. They are shepherds and vicars to the Chief Shepherd.

(1 Pet 5:4) and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

They are then His vicars in shepherdship and the other priestly duties, for example, teaching and giving the sacraments etc.

It is obvious the all are not God’s vicars, and all are not shepherds nor bishops, as we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other sections. Hence we were not all priests as some are claim.

[8] The Scriptures Stipulates Certain Qualifications For The Bishop

(1 Tim 3:2-7) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; {3} not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;

{4} one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence {5} (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); {6} not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. {7} Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

(Titus 1:9) holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

(Titus 1:6) if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.

[9] The Above Qualifications Are Naturally Not Prevalent In Every Congregational Member.

Not every person in any congregation can hold all the above qualifications, hence the grade of bishop is not for every congregational member.

[10] Some Say, Why are Today's Bishops Celibates?

Initially, marriage was permitted, to allow the suitable saints to become bishops, especially that these people were already married well before the rule of celibacy was canonised.

However we observe Saint Paul has enumerated the advantages of being celibate, for the service of the Lord:

(1 Cor 7:8) But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am;

(1 Cor 7:32) But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord; how he may please the Lord.

Celibacy was gradually accepted by the Church, and declared by the Church as one of the its Canons at the Council of Nicea (325AD).


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