For if any one will consider how great a thing it is for a man, being only flesh and blood, to be enabled to draw near to that blessed and pure nature, he will then clearly see what great honor has been entrusted to priests by the grace of the Spirit. By their action the holy rites are celebrated, and other Sacraments, not inferior to these both in regard to our dignity and our salvation. For priests who inhabit and dwell on the earth are entrusted with the administration of things which are in Heaven. They have received an authority which God has not given to angels or archangels. For it is not said to the angels, “Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.”
Priests, indeed, are those who are entrusted with the pains of spiritual labor and the birth which comes through baptism. By their means we put on Christ, and are buried with the Son of God, and become members of that blessed Head. All this considered, priests should not only be more piously feared by us than rulers and kings, but also be more honored than parents. For our parents birthed us of blood and the will of the flesh, but priests are the authors of our birth from God, even that blessed regeneration which is the true freedom and the sonship according to grace...
I know my own soul, how feeble and puny it is: I know the magnitude of this ministry, and the great difficulty of the work; for more stormy billows vex the soul of the priest than the gales which disturb the sea.
For as long as the life of the priest is well regulated in every direction, it is invulnerable to plots; but if he happens to overlook some trifle, as is natural in a human being, traversing the treacherous ocean of this life, none of his other good deeds are of any avail in enabling him to escape the mouths of his accusers; but that little blunder overshadows all the rest. And all men are ready to pass judgment on the priest as if he was not a being clothed with flesh, or one who inherited a human nature, but like an angel, and emancipated from every species of infirmity.
~ St. John Chrysostom, from Treatise on the Priesthood ~