Eastern Orthodox Priests


Exploring this Job

One of the best ways to learn about the Eastern Orthodox faith and vocational paths is to talk with your parish priest and, perhaps, job shadow him as he visits the sick, blesses homes, and performs other duties. If your priest is unavailable, visit the Web site of your archdiocese for interview contacts. The Orthodox Church in America offers a database of priests (that includes their e-mail addresses) at https://oca.org/clergy. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA offers a list of its priests at http://www.uocofusa.org/directories_clergy.html.

Visit the Web sites of seminaries to learn about admissions requirements, degree programs, and typical classes. Some seminaries offer a vocations day or weekend retreats in which aspiring priests can learn more about the challenges and rewards of studying to be a priest.

Volunteer as an altar server at your church or help out in other volunteer positions. Visit your archdiocese’s Web site to learn more about your faith and the work of priests. Check out The Orthodox Faith at the Orthodox Church in America’s Web site, https://oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-faith. It provides information on Orthodox doctrine and scripture, worship practices, church history, and other topics.

Being a priest is a calling from God, so you should pray to discern whether you are actually being called to serve as a priest. After serious contemplation and prayer, some people determine that they are a better fit in other positions in the church—such as deacon, teacher, parish council member, choir director, or school principal. Your priest and bishop can help you decide if you are actually being called to be a priest.   

The Job

The Orthodox Church—along with the Protestant and Roman Catholic traditions—comprise the three main Christian groups. According to a BBC primer on the religion, “the Orthodox Churches share with the other Christian Churches the belief that God revealed himself in Jesus Christ, and a belief in the incarnation of Christ, his crucifixion, and resurrection. The Orthodox Church differs substantially from the other Churches in the way of life and worship, and in certain aspects of theology.” (Visit https://www.britannica.com/topic/Eastern-Orthodoxy/History to learn more about the Eastern Orthodox Church.)

Typical job responsibilities for Eastern Orthodox priests include:

  • presiding during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, including leading the congregation in prayers and hymns and reading from holy scripture
  • celebrating the sacraments: Baptism, Chrismation, Confession, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Anointment of the Sick
  • teaching congregants about Jesus Christ and the works of the saints
  • officiating at funeral services and providing guidance/support to the family of the deceased
  • maintaining regular office hours for parishioners to seek religious counsel and guidance
  • providing counseling and guidance to youth
  • developing and implementing educational and extracurricular programs for youth
  • managing the overall operation of their church, including being responsible for the care and upkeep of the church and other buildings, managing office staff, and fund raising