Fr. Philotheos Pharos, Clergy. The unfulfilled Promise of Fatherhood, Athens: Akritas Publications, 1997 (2nd ed), pages 332.
Father Philotheos Pharos’ book attempts to offer to the modern priest some elementary, useful, but also “crucial”, as the writer himself emphasizes, information that will make him sensitive to the needs and condition of man today, whom he is called to serve.
In the first unit, the author deals with the theology of priesthood, stressing from the start that the truly virtuous priest is the one who does not hide Jesus from men with his own “virtue”. The authentic virtue glorifies God, from whom it derives, and not man, who is simply its agent.
In the second unit, Fr. Pharos analyzes the issue of the clergyman as a spiritual leader, examining all the problems that may come about from the twisting of the concept “spiritual”. The role of the clergyman does not exhaust itself in administrative capabilities or even personal charm. Abilities help the cleric to become an able pastor, but do not make him a pastor. The ecclesiastical leader should first and above all be a spiritual leader and this, in spite of his external characteristics, is an inner reality.
In the next unit, the writer deals with the question of power or deaconate and fatherhood or brotherhood. In other words, what is the role the cleric is called to play? In the next units, he records problems related to priesthood and resulting from the distortion of tradition and its spirit, such as: spiritual teaching and material comforts, the clergy and sin, love for the enemies, competition among the clerics and its consequences, the pressures that the cleric often has from his family and the conflicts of his duties, misunderstanding or fear of praying and, finally, the problem of loneliness, which stems from the clerical status.
The book contains in all its units many references to the hagiographic and patristic tradition.