by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow
“It is a mistake to understand the Church merely as a hierarchy: the bishops, priests, deacons, or other people who work in the Church. The Church is the entire people of God. The Church reveals itself when it celebrates the Divine Liturgy around its bishop or priest, and everyone has his own ministry within the Church. And the layman – that is, a baptized member of the Church – is not an extra on the stage. A layman is someone who bears a special ministry in the Church. To be a layman is also a ministry, and we are dedicated to this ministry through the Mystery of Baptism.
“Therefore when in the life of the Church everything is done only by hierarchs or clergy, and the laity only attend divine services, this is very dangerous for the life of the Church, because in it the most important principle of church existence is not being realized: the Church as a community of faith, as the people of God, united around their bishop.”