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Author Topic: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?  (Read 20088 times) Average Rating: 0
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PeterTheAleut
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« on: January 30, 2009, 05:03:55 PM »

Thread started here:  does antidoron go bad?   -PtA


For Holy Communion,you need abstain any food or drink from midnight;and abstain from oil,wine,dairy produce,egg,meat for a period of time(can be 40days,7days,3days,1day even only from saturday noon,lie on your local tradition and your spiritual father).
This practice is stricter than any I've ever known.  I can see how this would arise in a culture where Communion is received maybe once a year, but I just don't see how it would even be possible for those who receive Communion weekly and on feasts.
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2009, 05:19:41 PM »

For Holy Communion,you need abstain any food or drink from midnight;and abstain from oil,wine,dairy produce,egg,meat for a period of time(can be 40days,7days,3days,1day even only from saturday noon,lie on your local tradition and your spiritual father).
This practice is stricter than any I've ever known.  I can see how this would arise in a culture where Communion is received maybe once a year, but I just don't see how it would even be possible for those who receive Communion weekly and on feasts.

I was told, by a priest, that these long periods of fasting and preparation were for people who only received once or twice a year.  A weekly communicate would need to fast, at least from midnight, and depending on the priest, confession either once a month (unless there was a serious sin).  At St. Tikhon's Monastery, confession was required before each time a person received.
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2009, 10:31:25 PM »

For Holy Communion,you need abstain any food or drink from midnight;and abstain from oil,wine,dairy produce,egg,meat for a period of time(can be 40days,7days,3days,1day even only from saturday noon,lie on your local tradition and your spiritual father).
This practice is stricter than any I've ever known.  I can see how this would arise in a culture where Communion is received maybe once a year, but I just don't see how it would even be possible for those who receive Communion weekly and on feasts.

I've had it pointed out that the more frequent the communion, the less necessary the strictness of the fast.  For one thing, it gets to the point of the fast preventing communion, which defeats the purpose.
Like I saw on another thread a long time ago, if we have to abstain from meat for a week before receiving the Holy Mysteries, weekly reception of the Mysteries would turn us into vegans.  Who can do that?  Of course, this is a good subject for another thread, and I'm not particularly in the mood to have to split a thread right now, if you get my drift. Wink
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2009, 01:54:04 PM »

Quote
Like I saw on another thread a long time ago, if we have to abstain from meat for a week before receiving the Holy Mysteries, weekly reception of the Mysteries would turn us into vegans.  Who can do that?  Of course, this is a good subject for another thread, and I'm not particularly in the mood to have to split a thread right now, if you get my drift.
Yes,there were and still are fathers to abstain from even oil for whole life,so they can serve liturgy almost daily.(If you eat more than once saturday,sunday and feasts,but abstain from oil,wine,fish......whole life,you do not break any canon.The canon forbid 'no eating or once eating fasting'on saturday,sunday and feasts,but no canon say orthodox cannot be vegans.)
So,if the weekly reception of the Mysteries make more orthodox vegans,it would be great! At least very very good for our poor environment.
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2009, 04:34:09 PM »

The canon forbid 'no eating or once eating fasting'on saturday,sunday and feasts,but no canon say orthodox cannot be vegans.)
What canons?

So,if the weekly reception of the Mysteries make more orthodox vegans,it would be great! At least very very good for our poor environment.
1.  Since when are we supposed to base how we prepare for reception of the Holy Mysteries on an environmentalism that draws many of its precepts from sources other than the Faith?
2.  I'm not aware of any canon that requires us non-monastics to never eat meat.  So why insist upon such a practice that makes sense--if it makes sense at all--only for those who receive Communion once or twice per year?  Why insist upon a practice that virtually no one has the strength to follow year round?
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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2009, 05:59:55 PM »

Quote
What canons?

FASTING:
On Saturdays and Sundaj s (except Greai Sai.) "Such is a Christ-killer." St. Ignatios . . . . . . .P 112 FN
Prohibited on Saturdays and Sundays, Si, Epiphanies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PI 12 FN
We cease Casting on Saturdays and Sundays to rest, St, John Chnsosiotn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PI 12 FN

Peischa, New Week. no fasting permitted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P123 FN
Pentecost Week, no Fasting permiUed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P123 FN
Christmas toEpiphany Eve, no faslingpemiilted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P123FN
Pope Innocent illegally abolished Wednesday, establishing Saturday in its place . . . . . . . . . . PI 12 FN
Never allowed Saturday or Sunday. except on the Great and Holy Saturday . . . . . . . . . . . . . PI10 C64

Sunday is the day of Resurrectioq thus we do not fast or kneel on this day . . . . . . . . . . . . .P 755 INT


I copy above from pedalion(SUPPLEMENTARY INDEX THE RUDDER;page 20)

So canons and fathers forbad the "non-eating" or "once-eating"fasting on sundays saturdays and some feasts.

But no canon say you cannnot be vegans,if you eat more than once on those days,you are OK.


Quote
1.  Since when are we supposed to base how we prepare for reception of the Holy Mysteries on an environmentalism that draws many of its precepts from sources other than the Faith?
The benefit for environment is a byproduct of fasting not the main aim.

Quote
I'm not aware of any canon that requires us non-monastics to never eat meat. 
There is no any.

Quote
So why insist upon such a practice that makes sense--if it makes sense at all--only for those who receive Communion once or twice per year? 

Why it's "only for those who receive Communion once or twice per year?"
If any one's SF request him to keep trimeron fasting,and he has strength and willing to obey,then what's problem?

Quote
Why insist upon a practice that virtually no one has the strength to follow year round?
Why no one has the strength to follow it?
If some one has no such strength,then why he insist so much on "weekly reception of the Mysteries"? There is any canon requires us to do so?
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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2009, 06:31:34 PM »

Quote
What canons?

FASTING:
On Saturdays and Sundaj s (except Greai Sai.) "Such is a Christ-killer." St. Ignatios . . . . . . .P 112 FN
Prohibited on Saturdays and Sundays, Si, Epiphanies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PI 12 FN
We cease Casting on Saturdays and Sundays to rest, St, John Chnsosiotn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PI 12 FN

Peischa, New Week. no fasting permitted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P123 FN
Pentecost Week, no Fasting permiUed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P123 FN
Christmas toEpiphany Eve, no faslingpemiilted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P123FN
Pope Innocent illegally abolished Wednesday, establishing Saturday in its place . . . . . . . . . . PI 12 FN
Never allowed Saturday or Sunday. except on the Great and Holy Saturday . . . . . . . . . . . . . PI10 C64

Sunday is the day of Resurrectioq thus we do not fast or kneel on this day . . . . . . . . . . . . .P 755 INT


I copy above from pedalion(SUPPLEMENTARY INDEX THE RUDDER;page 20)

So canons and fathers forbad the "non-eating" or "once-eating"fasting on sundays saturdays and some feasts.
Okay, I misunderstood you then.  Please forgive me.  I thought earlier that you were actually saying that the canons require us to fast on Saturdays, which I know to be false.

Quote
I'm not aware of any canon that requires us non-monastics to never eat meat. 
There is no any.

Quote
So why insist upon such a practice that makes sense--if it makes sense at all--only for those who receive Communion once or twice per year? 

Why it's "only for those who receive Communion once or twice per year?"
If any one's SF request him to keep trimeron fasting,and he has strength and willing to obey,then what's problem?
The problem is that I find very troubling the idea that any spiritual father would require such asceticism of a non-monastic.

Quote
Why insist upon a practice that virtually no one has the strength to follow year round?
Why no one has the strength to follow it?
What world do you live in?  It sounds to me as if the only people you know are monastics.  Most of the rest of us, though, live in a world where family and career responsibilities don't allow us to pray anywhere near as much as monks and nuns do.  This alone deprives us of the strength needed to undergo such feats of asceticism as you advocate.

If some one has no such strength,then why he insist so much on "weekly reception of the Mysteries"?
Because the Holy Eucharist is our life, not fasting.

There is any canon requires us to do so?
Are you not aware that weekly reception of Communion was the earliest Christian practice and that the shift over time to mere annual reception is a deviation from this earliest practice?
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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2009, 07:09:14 PM »

A couple of good threads to read on this subject:

Jurisdictional Difference?

Confession before Communion
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2009, 07:26:01 PM »

So,if the weekly reception of the Mysteries make more orthodox vegans,it would be great! At least very very good for our poor environment.

Or it could seriously reduce the number of EO since there are many parts of the world where the people may not have the luxury or ability to be vegan.  It is relatively easy in places with grocery stores and refrigeration and fruits and vegetables available year round. But there are lots places where some form of animal product is what there is to eat much of the time.  There are herding people in Africa whose cattle are a major supplier of food; or as a friend of mine has said "Cows are how people eat grass."    The Inuit and other groups in Arctic regions don't have resources for growing lots of grains and legumes.  They survived since time immemorial by hunting and gathering as did the Native Americans.  In India milk and cheese are important sources of nutrition for some people again from cattle. 

While it is true that in many parts of Asia, there was little or no use of dairy products there were still other sources of protein with fish or meats.  Tofu and other soy bean products can be good, but those are still processed and created foods and some people do not react well to soy.  Just eating plant foods without some balance such as combining different items to get complete proteins is going to lead to health problems.

I'm sorry, but I hardly think that the point of EO is to make lots of vegans.

With respect,

Ebor
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« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2009, 05:03:57 PM »

This is why we should keep the "idealist superfluous severe practice of  Preparation for Communion" so let almost no one can fulfill them perfectly even literally.
Holy Communion is the medicine of immortality that gives us life and the strength to resist sin.  Why make it so impossible to receive that which will give us this strength?  Why deprive the faithful of their life-giving Food?
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« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2009, 05:47:23 PM »

So,if the weekly reception of the Mysteries make more orthodox vegans,it would be great! At least very very good for our poor environment.

Or it could seriously reduce the number of EO since there are many parts of the world where the people may not have the luxury or ability to be vegan.  It is relatively easy in places with grocery stores and refrigeration and fruits and vegetables available year round. But there are lots places where some form of animal product is what there is to eat much of the time.  There are herding people in Africa whose cattle are a major supplier of food; or as a friend of mine has said "Cows are how people eat grass."    The Inuit and other groups in Arctic regions don't have resources for growing lots of grains and legumes.  They survived since time immemorial by hunting and gathering as did the Native Americans.  In India milk and cheese are important sources of nutrition for some people again from cattle. 

While it is true that in many parts of Asia, there was little or no use of dairy products there were still other sources of protein with fish or meats.  Tofu and other soy bean products can be good, but those are still processed and created foods and some people do not react well to soy.  Just eating plant foods without some balance such as combining different items to get complete proteins is going to lead to health problems.

I'm sorry, but I hardly think that the point of EO is to make lots of vegans.

With respect,

Ebor

Did I say we should reject any kind of oikonomia?Why you think that I intend to afflict our poor indian african eskimo...brothers by extreme akrebeia?

I just said,if someone(monastic or not)
a,Has such strength.
b,Has such will.
c,Be blessed by his SF.
Want to follow a more strict rule(in someone's view) of preparation for Mysteries.And such rule really exist in our tradition,not someting non-canonical or bad or crazy or cult-like .....then let him to do so.

Why it's so inacceptable for some guys,I do not see the point.

Why someones do believe that such practice inevitably cause:
a,pride
b,self-conceit
c,judging others
d,abandoning the Mysteries

In fact ,what ever practice you follow(more preparation,less,not at all...)you still can fall in those sins....
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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2009, 07:36:59 PM »

I don't have the direct link off hand, but "goarch.org" has a generally recommended year round summary of fasting guidelines approved by the Holy Eparchial (Provincial) Synod of Bishops of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.  (The fasting for a week from meat prior to receiving Holy Communion rule, is not included therein.)
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« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2009, 12:59:19 AM »


Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?

Are there people who don't?   Shocked
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« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2009, 01:45:05 AM »


Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?

Are there people who don't?   Shocked

Perhaps a case could be made to allow meat-eating for those communing the week after Easter, or the week after any other great feast where that week is "fast-free". But only if your priest says it's OK.
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« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2009, 01:47:36 AM »


Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?

Are there people who don't?   Shocked



Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?

Are there people who don't?   Shocked

Perhaps a case could be made to allow meat-eating for those communing the week after Easter, or the week after any other great feast where that week is "fast-free". But only if your priest says it's OK.


Are you two serious?


BTW, Fr. Ambrose, you apparently CUT and pasted the title of this thread into your post, which could explain the absence of a title. Wink
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« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2009, 02:16:22 AM »

Are you two serious?

I have spent most of my life in the Orthodox Church of Serbia.  A one week fast is always required.  But I do not know how this may have changed in the States.

I have also spent a great portion of my life on secondment to parishes of the Russian Church Abroad, where all the parishioners have always observed a one week fast.  (It is six days really since the fasting starts on Monday and ends with Sunday communion.)

This has been the normal preparation for communion in all the Orthodox Churches for hundreds of years.

BUT over the last decades, and especially among Western converts, there has been a move to more frequent communion and so the fasting period has been cut down, to faciliate approaching the Chalice more frequently.

In my parish BOTH systems operate side by side, according to individual preference.  One week is the majority practice.

Quote
BTW, Fr. Ambrose, you apparently CUT and pasted the title of this thread into your post, which could explain the absence of a title. Wink

Is that where it went to.   laugh
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« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2009, 04:42:01 PM »


Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?

Are there people who don't?   Shocked

Perhaps a case could be made to allow meat-eating for those communing the week after Easter, or the week after any other great feast where that week is "fast-free". But only if your priest says it's OK.

Good point! I think this is why in many parishes the Nativity be considered as a Communion day,but Theophany not.
Since many people feel the "one day fasting"is not enough for Holy Communion,but good enough for the great holy water....
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« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2009, 04:53:14 PM »

The time of fasting before communion has waxed and waned for centuries.  It was often a 40 day fast, and no one hardly ever went to communion, and it was St Nicodemos the Hagiorite that started the trend to cut it down by introducing a three day fast so that most people would begin to go at least once a month (although he wanted people to commune weekly).

Among most Orthodox I know in the United States from ROCOR, there was no fasting before communion (although canons and akathists were required as well as attendance at the full Vigil).  Amongst the Greek Old Calendarists, a three day fast is most common, although I do not believe someone keeping the canonical fasts every week and during the four periods, confessing regularly, doing prostrations, etc, should be required to keep this fast.  It is of course a personal matter for the spiritual father.  And of course, if someone WANTS to keep this fast (or the optional Monday fast, or obstain from meat for life) I would not object!

Here's St Nicodemos's book on the topic:
http://uncutmountain.com/index.php/uncut/headbig/new_book_fall_2006_concern_frequent_communion_by_saint_nikodemos_the_hagior/
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« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2009, 12:30:10 PM »

I have spent most of my life in the Orthodox Church of Serbia.  A one week fast is always required. 

Really Father?  If I asked his Holiness Patriarch Pavle of this, would he say that such a fast is "required", as you put it?
And "required" for whom?  It seems to me that deacons, priests and bishops are obliged to partake of communion at every liturgy they attend.  Does this mean that the entire clergy of the Serbian Church are vegetarians who fast rigourously on a continual basis?

Quote
This has been the normal preparation for communion in all the Orthodox Churches for hundreds of years.

The passage of time does not mean that such a degenerate practice that is not consistent with the Patristic vision or praxis needs to be held up as the "norm".

Quote
BUT over the last decades, and especially among Western converts, there has been a move to more frequent communion and so the fasting period has been cut down, to faciliate approaching the Chalice more frequently.

Forgive me, but the fact that this movement stems from Western converts is irrelevant.  Frequent communion is not an abberation, but the reverse certainly is such a thing.
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« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2009, 01:18:05 PM »


Really Father?  If I asked his Holiness Patriarch Pavle of this, would he say that such a fast is "required", as you put it?

I expect that he would see it as the norm.  All the priests coming out of seminary are taught it.   The ones who arrive in this country usually are surprised that we permit Communion more than four times a year, maximum, during the four fasting periods.

Quote
It seems to me that deacons, priests and bishops are obliged to partake of communion at every liturgy they attend.  Does this mean that the entire clergy of the Serbian Church are vegetarians who fast rigourously on a continual basis?

The clergy are exempt from this fasting and fast only from midnight or, if it is their custom, from after the Vespers or Vigil on the preceding evening.

Quote
The passage of time does not mean that such a degenerate practice that is not consistent with the Patristic vision or praxis needs to be held up as the "norm".

It is not a happy thing to call "degenerate" a practice which has been followed by hundreds if not thousands of Saints.

Quote
Frequent communion is not an abberation, but the reverse certainly is such a thing.

Again.... I don't see how an aberration could have produced so many Saints, and in the case of the Churches which bore the brunt of Communist persecution, so many holy martyrs.

As I mentioned, both practices can be found in my parish and I can respect both of them.
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« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2009, 01:40:40 PM »

I don't have the direct link off hand, but "goarch.org" has a generally recommended year round summary of fasting guidelines approved by the Holy Eparchial (Provincial) Synod of Bishops of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.  (The fasting for a week from meat prior to receiving Holy Communion rule, is not included therein.)

The article in question is here. It prescribes a "morning of" fast.

As far as those western converts are concerned, the reason why Anglican converts expect weekly communion is because the Anglican churches have largely suppressed the medieval innovation of watching communion rather than taking communion.
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« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2009, 03:18:40 PM »

In the serbian church we had to fast for a week for Holy Communion...thats how i was brought up..Fr.Ambrose is correct in this ....Oce Blagoslovi.....
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« Reply #22 on: February 05, 2009, 03:24:38 PM »

I expect that he would see it as the norm. 

Answer the question please.  Would he tell me that it is required.

Quote
All the priests coming out of seminary are taught it. 

Are you sure about that?  They are taught that it is a requirement for laity before partaking of the chalice?

Quote
The clergy are exempt from this fasting and fast only from midnight or, if it is their custom, from after the Vespers or Vigil on the preceding evening.

In other words, the clergy receive some kind of mysterious blagodatz once they are ordained deacon that the laity do not have in order to be "allowed" to waive this "requirement."  I would call this clericalism of the worst kind.

Quote
It is not a happy thing to call "degenerate" a practice which has been followed by hundreds if not thousands of Saints.

It is not a happy thing to laud implicitly a practice which has produced thousands of saints in spite of its implementation, and not because of the said practice. 

Many saints have argued passionately for the revival of the Patristic practice.   Fr Anastasios has referenced one of them.

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As I mentioned, both practices can be found in my parish and I can respect both of them.

It seems to me from your posts that you have a marked preference for infrequent lay communion.
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« Reply #23 on: February 05, 2009, 04:28:21 PM »

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I expect that he would see it as the norm. 
Answer the question please.  Would he tell me that it is required.
The reality is the one week fasting is standard in serbian church,but still has room for oikonomia.
I think His Beatitude would say that the one week fasting is normal but everyone should discuss with his SF for his/her own status.
What else answer we can expect from His Beatitude?Tell us the reality is not real and try to get nirvana?


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All the priests coming out of seminary are taught it. 
Are you sure about that?  They are taught that it is a requirement for laity before partaking of the chalice?
So you want to say priests did not learn this ,but invent this by themselves?
If here word "requirement" means "a standard practice should be followed",YES it is.
If means "a coercive rule without any exception" NO it is not, oikonomia always exist,in every historical period.


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The clergy are exempt from this fasting and fast only from midnight or, if it is their custom, from after the Vespers or Vigil on the preceding evening.
In other words, the clergy receive some kind of mysterious blagodatz once they are ordained deacon that the laity do not have in order to be "allowed" to waive this "requirement."  I would call this clericalism of the worst kind.
The answer for your question here is heard  thousands times in catechetical class:
The fasting is not the only way of preparation for Holy Communion,and according to anyone's possibolity ,some kind of "exchange" of methods is allowed.
For example,if you are srong but analphabetic,you can chose more strict fasting than reading(canons,prayers,spiritual readings and so on)by the blessing of your SF——vice versa is same....
In the case of the clergy,they at least serve matins and vespers daily,if any layman do the same ,I think he can get blessing easily to keep fasting just like the clergy and to receive Mysterion.

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« Reply #24 on: February 05, 2009, 05:18:48 PM »

In the serbian church we had to fast for a week for Holy Communion...thats how i was brought up..Fr.Ambrose is correct in this ....Oce Blagoslovi.....
So does this mean the Serbian Church discourages people from receiving Holy Communion weekly since it would mean perpetually fasting?
I find this strange that a Church should encourage people to Commune less frequently.
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« Reply #25 on: February 05, 2009, 06:31:18 PM »

This thread quite acutely demonstrates the varying traditions along the two major lines in Orthodoxy (Roman/Greek-influenced and Slav influenced).

In the Roman/Greek practice, the "requirement" is regular participation in the sacramental life of the Church and keeping the prescribed fasts (i.e. fasting on each Wed and Fri, keeping the periodic fasts, confessing a regular number of times per year - 2, 4, 6 times, etc. - thus living a full life in the Church), then you're generally prepared.  Do not eat after Supper on Saturday, say some prayers of preparation, and voila.  In our tradition, if a Priest were celebrating the Liturgy with a minimal congregation (> just one or two) and went from "With the Fear of God, with Faith and Love..." straight to "Save O Lord your people..." without bringing the chalice out, he'd be censured by the Bishop.  Different mindset - not better or worse, IMO.
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« Reply #26 on: February 05, 2009, 07:42:00 PM »

In the serbian church we had to fast for a week for Holy Communion...thats how i was brought up..Fr.Ambrose is correct in this ....Oce Blagoslovi.....
So does this mean the Serbian Church discourages people from receiving Holy Communion weekly since it would mean perpetually fasting?
I find this strange that a Church should encourage people to Commune less frequently.

Not really my own Late mother did all the fasts including the Wednesday and Friday weekly fasts...she would prepare herself for holy communion on all the major great feast day's......
fast for the nativity 40 day receive holy communion..pasca 40 some day's holy communion...Dormitian of the holy virgin receive communion....and the other red letter holy days...and by the way, God blessed her that she lived to be 96 yrs old even though she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure early in life...why im mentioning this is when she fasted we all had to fast she did all the cooking,,,,,
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« Reply #27 on: February 05, 2009, 08:25:04 PM »

The reality is the one week fasting is standard in serbian church,but still has room for oikonomia.
I think His Beatitude would say that the one week fasting is normal but everyone should discuss with his SF for his/her own status.
What else answer we can expect from His Beatitude?Tell us the reality is not real and try to get nirvana?

Yeah, but I'm not asking you what you think.  I think I have a fair grasp of your opinions on the matter already.  I am addressing my question to Irish Hermit.  And I have no idea what you mean by the last above quoted sentence, nor am I sure that I want to know.  

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« Reply #28 on: February 05, 2009, 08:28:20 PM »

In the serbian church we had to fast for a week for Holy Communion...thats how i was brought up..Fr.Ambrose is correct in this ....Oce Blagoslovi.....

No one is asking your opinion concerning popular practice.  I am asking Irish Hermit (not you) if he thinks that His Holiness Patriarch Pavle would consider such fasting a requirement before going to communion.
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« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2009, 08:36:17 PM »

  Different mindset - not better or worse, IMO.

I'm sorry Cleveland, I have to profoundly disagree with you here.   The two mindsets are not compatible.   How can you possibly justify the idea that laity should only be admitted to the chalice once or twice a year in light of all the evidence to the contrary that we have passed down to us from the early church and the Patristic period?   It is simply indefensible, and a great abuse.  You have seen that Irish Hermit did not reply that the Patriarch would tell me that such a burdensome fasting regimen is a requirement.  This is because he knows full well that His Holiness would not take such a position.  And if my sources are correct, the Serbs (in Serbia) are finally beginning to realise once again that frequent lay communion is an essential component of the Orthodox faith.
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« Reply #30 on: February 05, 2009, 09:01:07 PM »

What are you talking about once or twice a year...How many major feast day's a year does orthodoxy have...thats the time most of the orthodox  fast and partake of holy communion.....it more than once or twice a year...
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« Reply #31 on: February 05, 2009, 09:05:29 PM »

In the serbian church we had to fast for a week for Holy Communion...thats how i was brought up..Fr.Ambrose is correct in this ....Oce Blagoslovi.....

No one is asking your opinion concerning popular practice.  I am asking Irish Hermit (not you) if he thinks that His Holiness Patriarch Pavle would consider such fasting a requirement before going to communion.

i didn't see your name in the quote box im sure i was responding to george...
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« Reply #32 on: February 05, 2009, 09:50:47 PM »

We've been discussing the history of this sort of thing in liturgical theology classes at seminary.  I think it can be safely assumed that people in the early church communed very often; Basil the Great speaks of communing 4x a week.  After the conversion of Constantine, the frequency of communion was greatly reduced because of 1)  Adult converts were mostly nominal (being Christian was the "pc" thing to do); 2) A strict penitential discipline that forced people to abstain from the chalice for years at a time; 3) A common practice of delaying baptism until the end of one's life.

This kind of thing led to very legalistic requirements to prepare for communion, because people saw communion itself as a sort of vehicle of grace for their individual sanctification, rather than a participation of union with God and other Christians - the very thing that makes the Body of Christ what it is.  So, when people began only communing once a year, it of course followed that a lengthy thing like a week-long fast from meat would precede (as if not eating meat for a week, going to confession, and saying a few prayers made one "worthy" of communion, then immediately after partaking, they go back to their usual "state" until the next year's communion [ala' Fr. Alexander Schmemann] )

The best preparation for communion, as was implied in an earlier post, is living a Christian life, period.  Preparation from communion shouldn't involve separation from normal life (i.e. excessive fasting and prayer) - now, with that said, I'm not saying that one shouldn't prepare to receive the Mysteries - it is indeed an awesome and dread thing, and I wouldn't dream of partaking without at least fasting from midnight and reciting the pre-communion prayers; but I think the main point is that communion (and indeed all the sacraments) are intended to sanctify life, not separate us from it.  Fasting and prayers aren't magic keys to communion; Life in Christ is what leads us to communion, period.
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« Reply #33 on: February 05, 2009, 10:36:12 PM »

I'm coming to a conclusion that the new calendar followers brag that they fast less and take communion regularly and some probably are not preparing themselves correctly,,and take communion because its something to do every Sunday...and they become lax ..now the old calendar people like me and others would prepare them self for a week knowing that not to prepare correctly can be dangerous....doesn't the catholic church have this problem receiving communion regularly and not preparing correctly..i read this on there own forum...God forbid we start imatating the catholic's and lose the awe and fear in recieving Holy Communion unprepared....
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« Reply #34 on: February 05, 2009, 11:16:12 PM »

I'm coming to a conclusion that the new calendar followers brag that they fast less and take communion regularly and some probably are not preparing themselves correctly,,and take communion because its something to do every Sunday...and they become lax ..now the old calendar people like me and others would prepare them self for a week knowing that not to prepare correctly can be dangerous....doesn't the catholic church have this problem receiving communion regularly and not preparing correctly..i read this on there own forum...God forbid we start imatating the catholic's and lose the awe and fear in recieving Holy Communion unprepared....

 Roll Eyes

I'm coming to the conclusion that the more I ignore your posts, the better chance I have for intelligent discussion on this forum.
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« Reply #35 on: February 05, 2009, 11:23:08 PM »

We've been discussing the history of this sort of thing in liturgical theology classes at seminary.  I think it can be safely assumed that people in the early church communed very often; Basil the Great speaks of communing 4x a week.  After the conversion of Constantine, the frequency of communion was greatly reduced because of 1)  Adult converts were mostly nominal (being Christian was the "pc" thing to do); 2) A strict penitential discipline that forced people to abstain from the chalice for years at a time; 3) A common practice of delaying baptism until the end of one's life.

I think you make a lot of good points here.  I think there are quite a few other things to consider as well.  One might be the rise of popular erroneous beliefs about the nature of the Church and the liturgy.    One such erroneous belief was that one did not need to go to communion, because the liturgy is the re-enactment of Jesus's life on earth.
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« Reply #36 on: February 06, 2009, 12:17:46 AM »

I expect that he would see it as the norm. 

Answer the question please.  Would he tell me that it is required.


It is imposible to reduce preparation for Communion to a matter of "what is required" since every individual may have different advice from his or her spiritual father.    In the "diaspora" and among converts the "one size fits all" has long gone.  Preparation requirements fluctuate widely in the West.   In Serbia and other European Orthodox countries, there is much more homogeneity on this matter and it is still basically "one size fits all."   For example, during the time I was a young monk in Serbia, in a monastery with 27 monastics we were permitted to go to Communion four times a year (during the four Fast) and on our Nameday.   Preparatory fasting was a week.   It was the same in every parish which I knew.

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Are you sure about that?  They are taught that it is a requirement for laity before partaking of the chalice?

Checked with a young priest who graduated three years ago.  The answer is, Yes.  That is the expected norm.  But he has authority to vary it for individual parishioners.

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The clergy are exempt from this fasting and fast only from midnight or, if it is their custom, from after the Vespers or Vigil on the preceding evening.
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In other words, the clergy receive some kind of mysterious blagodatz once they are ordained deacon that the laity do not have in order to be "allowed" to waive this "requirement."  I would call this clericalism of the worst kind.

That's the way you would call it?  Unfortunate, but you have the right to see it as you like.   It has been the practice of all the Orthodox Churches for centuries past though.


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As I mentioned, both practices can be found in my parish and I can respect both of them.
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It seems to me from your posts that you have a marked preference for infrequent lay communion.

Frequent communion, every three or four weeks, is the norm for our converts.  They fast about 3 days.  I encourage them to do this and not to follow the ways of the "ethnic" parishioners.  But our Russians and Serbs choose to fast for the whole week.    Do you find something inherently wrong or un-christian about people who *want* to keep the fast a bit longer?  I really don't understand that.  As for frequency - obviously our Saints did not suffer any loss of grace from coming to communion four or five or six times a year.   I don't understand the emphasis on frequency!   Are you communing once a day yourself?  I remember that a woman (in Russia) wanted daily communion and it was ruled out by the late Patriarch Alexey (Memory Eternal!)
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« Reply #37 on: February 06, 2009, 12:20:22 AM »

In the serbian church we had to fast for a week for Holy Communion...thats how i was brought up..Fr.Ambrose is correct in this ....Oce Blagoslovi.....
Thank you, Stashko.   It really surprises me that people in the West are not aware of the traditions which are practised in the "home countries" of Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #38 on: February 06, 2009, 12:30:24 AM »

[You have seen that Irish Hermit did not reply that the Patriarch would tell me that such a burdensome fasting regimen is a requirement.  This is because he knows full well that His Holiness would not take such a position. 
 

Your assesment of the reason for my response time is wrong!  Don't be impatient!   Smiley

1.  I live in a time zone which is about 16 hours ahead of yours.  Our sleep times and active times are out of whack.

2.  There *are* other things to do in the day than play with the computer (although I enjoy that immensely.)

and 3,  you will see that I have now replied, up above. 

Elpidophorus expressed it very well:

"The reality is the one week fasting is standard in serbian church,but still has room for oikonomia.
I think His Beatitude would say that the one week fasting is normal but everyone should discuss with his SF for his/her own status."
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« Reply #39 on: February 06, 2009, 03:28:43 AM »

doesn't the catholic church have this problem receiving communion regularly and not preparing correctly..i read this on there own forum...God forbid we start imatating the catholic's and lose the awe and fear in recieving Holy Communion unprepared....

Correct. From ancient times until 1953, Catholics were required to fast (NO food or drink) from midnight. By 1957 this had been reduced to 3 hours abstention from food before Communion and 1 hour abstention from drink. In 1964, Pope Paul VI allowed that the fast from water be entirely dropped (which is why it is permitted for priests to have a glass of water during Holy Mass -- I MC'ed a Pontifical Mass last year and the bishop had a glass of water in the middle of the Mass), and reduced the fast from both food and beverages other than water to just one hour before communion. Since communion typically takes place 40-45 minutes into the Mass, this means that Catholics need only to abstain from food for 15-20 minutes before Mass. In practice, a lot of Catholics don't even bother to do this (in the Catholic school where I graduated from "high school", the pupils were allowed to chew gum during Mass).

In many devout Catholic circles, the 1964 "reform" of the Eucharistic fast is held to be an unmitigated disaster. As a Catholic who sees in every Mass, people going to communion with absolutely no preparation, I am horrified at the numberless sacrileges thus committed. Unfortunately, some Orthodox are absolutely willing to do as we have done. God forbid. May God grant that the Orthodox hierarchs NEVER relax their traditions with regard to Eucharistic fasting.

If you think infrequent communion was bad, try mindless, sacrilegious communions. Infrequent communion never prevented holiness, but sacrilegious communions are a barrier to salvation. Period.
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« Reply #40 on: February 06, 2009, 04:03:32 AM »

If you think infrequent communion was bad, try mindless, sacrilegious communions. Infrequent communion never prevented holiness, but sacrilegious communions are a barrier to salvation. Period.
So you think frequent reception of Communion is itself a sacrilege? Huh

Yes, the fact that many people were made holy despite receiving the Holy Mysteries no more than four times per year is evidence that God can truly work in exceptional ways to bring people to salvation, but weekly Communion was the norm established by the Church of the first three centuries.  So how can such a deviation from this norm, such as the infrequent Communion we see in many churches today, be salvific for the vast majority of us, who don't have the special blessing from God to receive infrequently?
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« Reply #41 on: February 06, 2009, 04:10:55 AM »

doesn't the catholic church have this problem receiving communion regularly and not preparing correctly..i read this on there own forum...God forbid we start imatating the catholic's and lose the awe and fear in recieving Holy Communion unprepared....

Correct. From ancient times until 1953, Catholics were required to fast (NO food or drink) from midnight. By 1957 this had been reduced to 3 hours abstention from food before Communion and 1 hour abstention from drink. In 1964, Pope Paul VI allowed that the fast from water be entirely dropped (which is why it is permitted for priests to have a glass of water during Holy Mass -- I MC'ed a Pontifical Mass last year and the bishop had a glass of water in the middle of the Mass), and reduced the fast from both food and beverages other than water to just one hour before communion. Since communion typically takes place 40-45 minutes into the Mass, this means that Catholics need only to abstain from food for 15-20 minutes before Mass. In practice, a lot of Catholics don't even bother to do this (in the Catholic school where I graduated from "high school", the pupils were allowed to chew gum during Mass).

In many devout Catholic circles, the 1964 "reform" of the Eucharistic fast is held to be an unmitigated disaster. As a Catholic who sees in every Mass, people going to communion with absolutely no preparation, I am horrified at the numberless sacrileges thus committed. Unfortunately, some Orthodox are absolutely willing to do as we have done. God forbid. May God grant that the Orthodox hierarchs NEVER relax their traditions with regard to Eucharistic fasting.

If you think infrequent communion was bad, try mindless, sacrilegious communions. Infrequent communion never prevented holiness, but sacrilegious communions are a barrier to salvation. Period.


thank you very much for your reply..the moderator here think's im stupid...i do read the catholic forum ....
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« Reply #42 on: February 06, 2009, 04:44:53 AM »

thank you very much for your reply..the moderator here think's im stupid...i do read the catholic forum ....
Well, do you want to offer anything intelligent, or are you satisfied to just sit in judgment on all practices outside of your own?
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« Reply #43 on: February 06, 2009, 04:56:54 AM »

This kind of thing led to very legalistic requirements to prepare for communion, because people saw communion itself as a sort of vehicle of grace for their individual sanctification, rather than a participation of union with God and other Christians - the very thing that makes the Body of Christ what it is.  So, when people began only communing once a year, it of course followed that a lengthy thing like a week-long fast from meat would precede (as if not eating meat for a week, going to confession, and saying a few prayers made one "worthy" of communion, then immediately after partaking, they go back to their usual "state" until the next year's communion [ala' Fr. Alexander Schmemann] )

Hello Sakran,

I am not sure if we can encapsulate our history so easily and then simply throw it away.

From around 350 AD to around 1950 AD the Orthodox Churches followed a certain pattern of preparation for Holy Communion.

In other words we are looking at a 1,600 old tradition.  This is virtually the entire span of the existence of the Church.

We cannot just throw it away so glibly.

I do not see how a tradition which has spanned the life of the Church can be labelled "degenerate" or "a deviation" or erroneous"  as people have labelled it here.

We have seen the fruits of this pattern of receiving Communion - the thousands upon thousands of Saints in our holy Church.

The new practice of weekly Communion is only a few decades old.  It is too early to see what the final fruits of it will be. 

Those who want to follow the new ways should not lash out at those who adhere to the old ways or think of them as stupid or uneducated or "behind the times."     They *are* the ones in tune with all their ancestors and the Saints.   

Someone said that the two ways are incompatible.  If that is true and we are forced to choose just one way then let us continue to adhere to the authentic tradition of our Church.   

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« Reply #44 on: February 06, 2009, 05:45:44 AM »

At the risk of sounding like an uneducated bafoon, what are the "risks" of partaking of the gifts weekly?

As the gifts are healing for both soul and body, I would think that as long as one received them in the proper manner (having fasted as per Spiritual father's instructions, repented of any sins, said pre-communion prayers, etc) that it would be okay to receive them frequently.

Are there any writings that suggest otherwise?
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