Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Why do we call a priest "father" although the Lord said, "Call no man father"?

Our Lord did not mean this literally, otherwise we should not call our parents father and mother. Many churches have Sunday school 'teachers' and in some churches the minister has an advanced degree, so he is given the title "doctor," as are physicians. The problem is that our Lord forbids the title "teacher" (which is the meaning of the Latin word for doctor), "Do not call anyone teacher, because your teacher is one, the Christ" (Mt 23:10). Therefore, if we follow the literal interpretation, any church with Sunday school teachers or doctors is guilty of breaking the literal interpretation of the Holy Gospel of St. Matthew 23:9-10.

The New Testament also gives Christian leaders the title "father." The Holy Book of 1 Thessalonians refers to St. Paul "as a father exhorting his own children" (2:11). This is consistent with his frequent designation of the members of his communities or disciples as children (1 Cor 4:14,17; 2 Cor 6:13; Gal 4:19; Phil 2:22; 1 Tim 1:2,18; 2 Tim 1:2; 2:1; Titus 1:4; Phm 10). By this St. Paul places himself in the role of spiritual father. In fact, he insists on being called the spiritual father of the Holy Book of Corinthians when he says, "You have in Christ ten thousand teachers, but not many fathers, because in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through announcing the gospel. Therefore I exhort you to become imitators of me" (1 Cor 4:15). Preaching the Holy Gospel of Christ constitutes St. Paul's fatherly begetting of children, making him their spiritual father.
Furthermore, he requests that they imitate him, not only in good behavior but in bringing others to spiritual rebirth through preaching the Gospel of Christ Jesus.
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