Some Church Fathers on Christ's Priesthood

Gerald O'Collins and Michael Keenan Jones

in Jesus Our Priest

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199576456
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723032 | DOI:
Some Church Fathers on Christ's Priesthood

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This chapter examines the scattered references to Christ's priesthood made by the fathers of the Church from Clement of Rome down to Gregory the Great, with particular attention paid to major contributions coming from Origen, John Chrysostom, and Augustine of Hippo. Both then and later, reflection on Christ's priesthood was prompted both by issues concerning the exercise of the ordained ministry in the Church and by serious attention to Hebrews. Clement of Alexandria applied the story of Melchizedek further by understanding the offering of bread and wine to prefigure the Eucharist. Augustine developed the narrative of Christ's priesthood in the light of his being the head of the body that is the Church. At the Eucharist Christ is truly, if invisibly, present and makes the offering ‘on our behalf’. Augustine also reflected significantly on the nature of ‘true sacrifices’ as ‘works of mercy done to ourselves or our neighbour and directed to God’.

Keywords: Augustine; Eucharist; John Chrysostom; Melchizedek; Origen; sacrifice

Chapter.  14800 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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