|Abstract: ||Origen's reflections on priesthood, as weii as his interpretation of the Book of Leviticus, arc based on the assumption that there exists inner priesthood which is inherent in human naturę. Such priesthood means human abiiity to offer spirituai sacrifices to God. Origen points to the human mind as the priest in man. It is the mind that is capabie of turning to God. The spirituai priesthood imposes a morai obiigation on every human being. Only against this background docs Origenes consider priesthood in the Oid and the New Testament. The Old Testamental priesthood was established by Moses and involved the abiiity to make both materia! and spirituai offerings. That priesthood was an anticipation of the priesthood Jesus Christ. Jesus is, at the same time, a priest and a sacrifice, thus he fuifiiis aii the promises of the Oid Testament in himseif.
As regards the New Testamentai priesthood, Origen points to its reiationship with the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Jesus was the one who estabiished it. Uniike the Oid Testamentai priesthood, it does not entaii making materia! offerings, but oniy spirituai ones. Origen does not dweii on the typoiogicai reiations between the priesthood of the Oid and the New Testament, he emphasizes, however, that aii Christians are priests for their own souis, and if they faii to fuifiii it, even the priesthood of the Church is of iittie vaiue. Listing the responsibiiities of the Church's priests, Origen oniy mentions teaching and absoiving of sins, but he does not reiate them to any rites. The iack of any ciear iinkage to the ceiebration of Eucharist is typicai of the author. What is morę, the Eucharistic issues are virtuaiiy absent from his homiiies. Origen does not appiy the Oid Testamentai sacrifice - Eucharist typoiogy. If he invokes texts cieariy reiating to the Eucharist (e.g. the description of its estabiish- ment), he aiso gives them a spirituai interpretation: the body of Christ is the Word. The absence of the Eucharistic themes can be expiained as foiiows: the Eucharist is ceiebrated in the Church on a reguiar basis, and its meaning is ciear. Origen accepts the common understanding of the Eucharist as sufficient for ordinary Christians. In his homiiies, he consciousiy avoids any Eucharistic teaching and concentrates on the spirituai dimension whiie interpreting the passages from the Gospei, as he decides that doing otherwise wouid not contribute to the buiiding of the Church and might encourage the interpretation of the Eucharist as a sacrifice in the Oid Testamentai sensc. The homiiies contain aiiusions to the hidden deeper meaning of the Eucharist, accessibie oniy to the few. This approach to the theme of the Eucharist is essentiaiiy different from that of some decadcs iater: the Eucharist wiii become one of the ccntrai themes in the catechesis, and Bibie commentaries wiii raise the Eucharistic issues as frequentiy as possibie.|