Monday, January 28, 2008

First Corinthians, Chapter Nine, Verse Twenty-Five

I realize that this article (link) is very remotely related to the verse above (1Co 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.), but it is important to realize that whether our churches crown their elders with physical, corruptible crowns, all true believers have crowns laid up for them in heaven, namely the crown of Christ's righteousness, life eternal, and unfading glory:

2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

1 Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

In comparison to which, the bishop's crown is just so much dust.

I do genuinely feel sorry for the bishop in question, who says he feels "lost" without his crown. And I exhort him to remember the words of our Lord, who said:

Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:


Note to irascible Orthodox readers: I realize that this crowning with a physical bejeweled crown is a very ancient practice in your sect, and that this bishop saying that he feels "lost" without his crown is presumably not a soteriological reference. Also, I recognize that not everyone who seeks to be an Orthodox bishop does so in order to get decked out in gold, and to obtain the mastery (as per the subject verse). Doubtless there are bishops who despise their gaudy crown, awaiting a crown of righteousness, glory, and eternal life in the life to come. There is great diversity within "Orthodoxy."

UPDATE: Another Orthodox bishop lost his crown, this one the more usual way (link) (and not just any bishop, but an archbishop).


Paul Hoffer said...

Obviously, the distinction here is that the crown the archbishop wears is a symbol of his office, not an item of property that he personally owns. The loss the man feels is the shame of losing something that belongs to his flock or the fact that he was not careful taking care of an item of property that he was merely a caretaker for rather than a person who would tear their house up looking for a lost pearl of great value.

Turretinfan said...


In the article, he calls it a gift he was given. It may indeed be merely a symbol of office, though. Certainly, one would expect that.

He also does not say that he feels shame for not taking better care of the crown.

Nevertheless, again, it may well be that such is the case. From the article, it sounds like he had taken ordinary precautions, but someone knew the crown was there.

In other words, the thief is probably someone who knows the bishop.

Oh well.