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Author Topic: Why Not "Open Communion"?  (Read 19161 times) Average Rating: 5
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Peter J
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« on: June 30, 2007, 07:23:45 PM »

I found this article rather interesting:

Why Not "Open Communion"?

-PJ
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2007, 09:13:07 PM »

I found this article rather interesting:

Why Not "Open Communion"?

-PJ

Thanks for that! I especially appreciate this paragraph in the article which articulates eloquently what I've often wanted to say to people who asked me this question but couldn't find the words:
Quote
The real issue, however, is not one of obedience or disobedience to rules and regulations.  If the Orthodox preserve the sanctity of the Eucharist as a supreme obligation, it is because of the often stated truth that communion in the Body and Blood of Christ is the very end or fulfillment of Christian existence.  It can not, for example, be reduced to a means by which to achieve "Christian unity."  (In any case, Church history has made it clear that sharing of Communion among Churches of conflicting theological teachings never results in lasting unity.)
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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2010, 03:58:13 PM »

I was baptized Lutheran, attended a Catholic school, and was confirmed Presbyterian. I joined the Orthodox church as a teenager because of its connection to eastern countries. It is the church of Russia, Greece, and the Holy Land.

The strongest reason against my participation in nonOrthodox communion is practical:

Tradition and the church leadership demand I reject it, as a discipline like fasting. The threat of excommunication for disobedience controls my behavior. Should i give up orthodoxy because of this discipline and join what I believe to be a decayed Catholic church that closes its communion to traditional protestants on a search for the original faith? Should I give up Orthodoxy to join traditional protestants who reject the authority of tradition and apostolic succession? The traditions of the early church and belonging to a church with continuity with the apostles is more important to me than open communion.

But I feel an inner spiritual impulse to join with other Christians where I understand Jesus to be present.

Roman Catholic, eastern Catholic, and traditional protestant services are very beautiful for me, and I feel grace exists in their churches too. If the eucharist in Catholic and traditional protestant churches is a valid sacrament and if, as they believe, they are united with Jesus Christ, then they are united with all other Christians like us. Yet at Communion, Jesus, my family, my friends invite me to join them, and I reject them in favor of my own church's discipline. It is very hard for me.

Please help me understand the church's teaching.


I am aware of other reasons against open communion:

1. For us Orthodox Communion has a extremely high level of sacredness
We are afraid of undermining the meaning of communion and diluting our experience by taking it in non-Orthodox circumstances. Would a valid eucharist have the same meaning, whatever the value that non-Orthodox ascribe to it?
A less orthodox context could fool us into thinking that it has less value than it really does in fact. But despite the non-orthodox environment, can we maintain an orthodox understanding of communion? This leads to the next reason:

2. Possibility of different understandings of communion
Catholics teach "transubstantiation," whereby the visible properties of the eucharist are the same, but its substance is physically changed. Lutheranism describes the transformation event as consubstantiation, where both Jesus' body and the bread coexist.
The Orthodox church retained the original view that a transformation happens that is a mystery.

However, the article "Why Not Open Communion" (http://www.oca.org/CHRIST-life-print.asp?ID=132) rejects the Catholic explanation that it closes communion to protestants because of a common Catholic-Orthodox understanding of Eucharist, since: Like Orthodox and Catholics, traditional Anglicans and Lutherans "do believe that Holy Communion offers them a true participation in Christ’s Body and Blood."

If non-Orthodox understand the eucharist wrongly, does that alone mean their communion may be invalid even if they perform it correctly? This leads to the next reason:

3. Other churches don't give communion correctly
The article "Why Not Open Communion?" explains that Communion should be "from a canonically ordained priest or bishop within the context of the traditional Orthodox Divine Liturgy," which our tradition demands.

The article continues, saying closed communion "implies no particular judgment on the Eucharistic services of other Churches."
I disagree. Closed communion does give the wrong impression that we judge their eucharist to be done incorrectly or to be invalid.

What is the explanation given by that tradition? Some churches- I believe eastern catholics- have maintained apostolic succession and give the eucharist in the same manner and with the same theology.

4. Church unity.
The article explains that: "We are incorporated into a universal community of persons, both living and departed, whose common faith and practice unite them in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church."
The Catholic church isn't apostolic because it adopted ideas like purgatory that contradict the apostles' teachings. Traditional protestants reject apostolic succession, although it may in fact exist in them.

Communion is an expression of being in a common unity with other Christians, but an institutional unity does not exist. I feel connected with God in Catholic and traditional protestants in a similar way as I do in Orthodox churches, although I do not feel the same degree of belonging since our teachings are different. But if their communion is valid and we are joined together with eachother through Christ, then He overcomes their heresies.

Reasons that favor open communion:

1. Christian unityOpen Communion facilitates Christian unity because when it happens, Christians break bread together and share a meal.

Closed communion forces unity too, by pressuring believers to accept the church's authority and traditions, and I do accept them myself.
On the other hand, closed communion creates the threat of excommunication for traditionalists who challenge leaders who fall into heresies like those of the Roman church. But Orthodoxy rejects the idea that God makes the leadership by itself infallible, since the church as a whole rejected the dogma of iconoclasm.

=============================================

I can think up other reasons for open communion, like the fact we recognize the validity of nonOrthodox baptisms and marriage, the Ecumenical Patriarch concelebrated with the Roman Pope, I heard of instances when the Russian Patriarch church and OCA churches in America, and possibly other Orthodox churches gave or offered communion to Roman Catholics. I also heard of instances where Orthodox priests allowed Orthodox believers living very far from Orthodox churches to take communion in Catholic churches. I think there also a good cause exception to our abstaining from communion in Catholic churches.

I accept the Orthodox church's teaching on closed communion because I accept its authority and its teachings in general. I should say thy will, not mine be done O Lord, and not put my personal will, inspiration, and "learning" before God's. That is why I hope to get a better understanding and belief about "closed communion."
« Last Edit: April 23, 2010, 04:05:23 PM by rakovsky » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2010, 04:35:26 PM »

It is not only the threat of excommunication that controls my behavior, but a desire to obey the church, its teachings, and traditions.
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2010, 04:40:50 PM »

Just two corrections:
What is the explanation given by that tradition? Some churches- I believe eastern catholics- have maintained apostolic succession and give the eucharist in the same manner and with the same theology.

Eastern Catholic Churches changed their theology to the RCC's one.

Quote
the Ecumenical Patriarch concelebrated with the Roman Pope

It did not take place.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2010, 04:42:09 PM by mike » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2010, 05:11:33 PM »

It is not only the threat of excommunication that controls my behavior, but a desire to obey the church, its teachings, and traditions.

You ask very important questions and I really admire your openness in laying it all out there for anybody to take a potshot at.

I noticed that you did not cite the closing paragraph from that article, where Father Breck (a great theologian and minister, by the way) says the following:

"From this perspective, "open communion" -- the welcoming of non-Orthodox to share in the Eucharistic celebration -- is simply not possible without undermining the very meaning of the sacrament. This implies no particular judgment on the Eucharistic services of other Churches.  It acknowledges rather that for the Orthodox, the Divine Liturgy is what the name implies.  It is both the means and the end of Christian existence, an existence which arises from Orthodox faith, ongoing repentance, ascetic discipline, ecclesial identity and works of love.  To those who accept this "Orthodox Way," the Eucharist offers a true participation in the very Life of the risen and glorified Christ, just as it offers the forgiveness of sins, the healing of soul and body, and a foretaste of the heavenly Banquet in the eternal presence of God. " (Bolded portions are my emphasis)

There is nothing that holds back anyone from undertaking this "Orthodox Way." Thus, it would be disservice to folks if we were to have open communion. Such a practice would diminish the Orthodox Way because the Eucharist is much more than a symbol of unity or spiritual medicine. Prayer breakfasts, for example, are symbols of unity. Similarly, praying, fasting, alms giving, and any of the Holy Mysteries are all "spiritual medicine." By offering the Eucharist to those who are practicing the "Orthodox Way," we are making this Holy Mystery the center piece of Christian existence, to paraphrase Father Breck. As one desert father reportedly advised, we should live from Eucharist to Eucharist: spending the intervening period first in thanksgiving and the latter part in anticipation--with the Body and Blood of the Lord always in us and us in the Body of Christ.
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2010, 07:58:28 PM »

Like "open marriage" (a more appropriate titel would be "loose"), it defeats the purpose.
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2010, 08:36:42 PM »

Without judging those outside the Orthodox Church as heretics and schismatics, one must still recognize that we who call ourselves Christians are divided.  The Eucharist is the crown of our unity as one Body in Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16-17).  To the Orthodox, its celebration implies a unity that already exists, not a not-yet-existent unity for which we hope and strive; therefore, the Eucharist can never be used as a means to achieving unity with those outside our fold.  To allow non-Orthodox to receive Orthodox Communion or allow Orthodox to receive non-Orthodox Communion is to overlook the tragic fact of the disunity between Christians and to allow Christians to bring their divisions to the Chalice, something St. Paul condemned in 1 Corinthians 11:17-22.  AISI, it is best we respect what unity there is in a non-Orthodox church by not approaching their chalice for Communion, just as it is best we demand respect for the unity of our Orthodox Church by not allowing non-Orthodox to receive Communion from our chalice.  Again, this is not to judge any party in our divisions; this is merely a recognition that divisions exist and that we should not allow them to be brought to the Chalice.
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2010, 11:10:07 PM »

Without judging those outside the Orthodox Church as heretics and schismatics, one must still recognize that we who call ourselves Christians are divided.  The Eucharist is the crown of our unity as one Body in Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16-17).  To the Orthodox, it's celebration implies a unity that already exists, not a not-yet-existent unity for which we hope and strive; therefore, the Eucharist can never be used as a means to achieving unity with those outside our fold.  To allow non-Orthodox to receive Orthodox Communion or allow Orthodox to receive non-Orthodox Communion is to overlook the tragic fact of the disunity between Christians and to allow Christians to bring their divisions to the Chalice, something St. Paul condemned in 1 Corinthians 11:17-22.  AISI, it is best we respect what unity there is in a non-Orthodox church by not approaching their chalice for Communion, just as it is best we demand respect for the unity of our Orthodox Church by not allowing non-Orthodox to receive Communion from our chalice.  Again, this is not to judge any party in our divisions; this is merely a recognition that divisions exist and that we should not allow them to be brought to the Chalice.

yeah, what you said!  Wink
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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2010, 01:41:22 AM »

Like "open marriage" (a more appropriate titel would be "loose"), it defeats the purpose.

Well now you have me curious, what is the purpose of marriage?
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2010, 02:24:17 PM »

Mike, Second Chance, Ialmisry, PeterTheAleut,

I appreciate each of your answers very much!

Last month I visited St Anthony's Chapel in Pittsburgh's North Side. I want to give you an accurate description, because it impressed me as a special, holy place. It has over 5,000 relics, more than any other place in the world for visitors to see, outside the Vatican. The chapel was pretty, and had many relics all around the chapel's candlelit front half. There were the skulls of several early Popes, bone fragments from John Chrysostom and other early saints, pieces of the true cross, and a thread from the Blessed Mother's clothes. A Ukrainian Catholic gave me a tour, and showed me how many of our eastern saints are there. I was sickened to hear about the early martyrs' deaths. They had the skull of a commander in present-day Turkey who was skinned alive because he refused to reject Jesus as Christ. They had a statue of a 14 year old girl laying down. However, it was not a normal statue of a saint- it showed her throat cut, because in France she refused to give up Christianity. They had a jar of green clay, her blood, and the guide said at the statue's feet, they had her tooth. I felt sick. And I felt that my faith is not strong enough that I would hold to Jesus Christ if it meant I would be killed in such bloody ways. I have doubts, and am psychologically weak. I might easily make a sacrifice to a statute of the emperor and make up half-baked theological justifications for it, and repent later.

So being there, in the midst of so many saints was an emotional experience. When I have had trouble, I have asked all the saints for their help to get me out of it. At the chapel, I lit a candle, asking that they would try to help a Catholic I read about was unfairly executed in a horrible way in America.

I feel that this is a holy Christian place and would like to participate in the liturgy and receive there, which I believe is a spiritiual ceremony, and to receive the Eucharist there, which I believe is a valid Eucharist. It is hard for me to refuse it, because I feel that in a way I would be rejecting the saints who are there.




The best justification I see for abstaining from the Eucharist is the Orthodox church's asceticism.


At my rural college, there was no Orthodox Christian Fellowship. The priest and the students at the Catholic Campus Ministry were very nice, humble, sincere, and did not treat me as if I were outside the church. I can say the same of nearly all my interactions with Catholics I can remember. I attended a Catholic Apologetics Class, and was not persuaded at all by their differences with Orthodoxy, except that I learned that early western saints did show intense reverence for the Pope. The class explained that protestants couldn't commune in Catholic churches, not because they disbelieved in Christ's presence in the Eucharist, but because Catholicism requires that people take certain steps before communion, like Confession, and protestants don't.

John Breck's article says: "The Eucharist is life itself... To participate in the Eucharist... requires as well acceptance of an ascetic discipline, which includes personal prayer, liturgical celebration, fasting, confession of sins, and acts of charity: the ingredients of a life of repentance and of an ongoing quest for holiness... for the Orthodox, the Divine Liturgy is what the name implies.  It is both the means and the end of Christian existence, an existence which arises from Orthodox faith..., ascetic discipline, ecclesial identity."

In other words, my existence as an Orthodox means that I follow an ascetic discipline that my church has because of its high regard for the Eucharist. The Orthodox practice is that before taking the Eucharist, I should go to confession so that I receive it with clean hands and a clean heart, I should read certain prayers to prepare myself spiritually, and I should attend Vespers the night before. Our ascetic attitude toward Communion is so great that we fast from food and drink since the previous midnight, while St Paul allowed people to eat before communion so that they would not take it out of hunger. If we have such an ascetic discipline in preparing for the Eucharist, naturally, we would have the same ascetic attitude about taking the Eucharist, and would limit ourselves to taking it in circumstances that match this ascetic discipline.

It's true that when we can't go to vespers the night before, or we need to take medicine, then we relax our preparation. Likewise, I think there might be circumstances where the Orthodox church would relax its restriction on Catholic communion. A Catholic Church, like Ukrainian Catholic churches, could use an acceptable liturgical form. Its bishops and clergy obey Apostolic Succession. There were times when our churches were in communion despite western churches and saints, like St Augustine, having different beliefs, like Original Sin. However, because of our strict practices and deep respect for Communion, we abstain from it in circumstances that are outside this discipline, and the Catholic church's practices, including its organizational practices, differ enough from ours that it falls outside our system of spiritual discipline.

People often abstain from communion in church when they haven't prepared themselves ascetically, without casting an aspersion on the Church's Eucharist. Consequently, we are not casting an aspersion by refraining from the Eucharist in catholic churches, it is simply outside our spiritual discipline.



The weakest reason for abstaining from nonOrthodox Communion would be to claim that Catholics exclude Orthodox too.

In responding to a statement that "Orthodox Christians may take communion in all Roman Catholic Churches," Father Breck wrote in Why Not Open Communion: "It is true that Orthodox Christians are considered by some Catholic priests to be eligible to receive communion in their parishes; but this practice is not formally sanctioned by the Catholic Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the Holy Office or Magisterium)."

I disagree with his suggestion that the Catholic church considers Orthodox ineligible to take communion, since Catholic worship books contain the statement:
"Members of the Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church are urged to respect the discipline of their own Churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of communion by Christians of these Churches (canon 844 § 3)."

POPE PAUL VI in his DECREE ON THE CATHOLIC CHURCHES OF THE EASTERN RITE announced:
Quote
Without prejudice to the principles noted earlier, Eastern Christians who are in fact separated in good faith from the Catholic Church, if they ask of their own accord and have the right dispositions, may be admitted to the sacraments of Penance, the Eucharist and the Anointing of the Sick. Further, Catholics may ask for these same sacraments from those non-Catholic ministers whose churches possess valid sacraments, as often as necessity or a genuine spiritual benefit recommends such a course and access to a Catholic priest is physically or morally impossible.
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2010, 02:33:36 PM »


There are other reasons against open communion:


1. For us Orthodox Communion has a extremely high level of sacredness[/u]

Second Chance, I think this was the reason you were referring to. The Eucharist is the center of Orthodoxy, because it "offers a true participation in the very Life" of Christ. However, I am not sure that it would diminish its value or centrality if we offered it to nonOrthodox, who did not give it the same level of sacredness. If a person loves a certain kind of food or hobby and shares it with someone who doesn't care nearly as much about it, he hasn't diminished its value for him. In fact, he could say that he shares it because he values it so much that he wants to let others experience it too. And on the other hand, some nonOrthodox could regard Communion with the same reverence as some Orthodox, or even more.

2. Maintaining the Purpose of Communion:

IALMISRY, you commented that: "Like "open marriage" (a more appropriate titel would be "loose"), it defeats the purpose."
You would be right to suggest that reproducing outside of marriage would defeat the purpose, just like giving the pieces of the Eucharist outside of the Eucharist itself would defeat the purpose.

Asteriktos asked "what is the purpose of marriage?" Now I want to know what you mean too!
I think you mean that marriage (1) joins you to the other person and (2) gives the church's permission for you to reproduce. Likewise, in Communion, we are joined with Christ. An important difference is that millions of people accept the Eucharist and communion with Christ and eachother at the same time, but the church does not allow three people to be married together at once. If the church did, I am not sure it would defeat either of the two purposes. But it would go against Christ's teachings to us on marriage. I am not sure whether open communion goes against Christ's teachings, but it goes against the Russian Orthodox church's teachings.

3. A nonOrthodox church could have a different understanding of communion or doesn't give it correctly.

This would not apply to non-Canonical Orthodox churches like Old Belienvers, self-made "Ukrainian Patriarch" churches, or ROCOR before it reunited with Moscow, because they have the same theology as canonical churches. Mike, you mentioned that Eastern Catholics share the Roman church's theology instead of the Orthodox church's, but I don't know if that is correct.

The Melkites
Second, a Melkite claimed to me that our Orthodox Bishop allows her to take communion, since some Melkite churches preserved Orthodox theology. She also believed that the Melkite church considers itself sovereign instead of subject to the Pope, although I doubt this is legitimate, since the Pope doesn't view it that way. After all, what would it mean if one church viewed itself as superior, and the other one viewed itself as sovereign, and they both maintained communion with eachother?

I notice that Melkite websites are often silent about doctrines that divide Orthodox and Catholics.
This Melkite website distinguishes itself from Catholic theology, claiming Melkites accept theosis: http://www.melkite.org/OES-RomanMelkite.htm
The Catholic Near East Welfare Association claims: "Only Orthodox textbooks are used in religion classes and only Orthodox theology is taught in the Melkite seminary."
A review of the book "The Melkite Church" explains: "more [Melkites] are proposing a local restoration of communion with the Orthodox without renouncing the link with Rome." (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2065/is_n2_v47/ai_16885567/)
The Melkite Information Center says: "The Pope rarely exercises the responsibilities and authorities of the job position “Pope”. Some people say that the only time that a Pope has exercised the responsibilities and authorities of a "Pope" since 1800 was in 1854 when Pius IX unilaterally declared of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. The NonRoman Catholics, including Melkites, did not accept this declaration as dogma. They believe that only an Ecumenical Council can declare dogma." http://www.mliles.com/melkite/schoolcatholic.shtml
This Melkite website's understanding of the Eucharist doesn't mention the Catholic idea of Transubstantiation, instead relying on early church traditions: http://holytransfiguration.org/communion.htm

Church unity vs. Christian Unity vs. Unity in Christ:

PETER THE ALEUT, you said that St Paul condemned allowing Christians to bring their divisions to the Chalice in 1 Corinthians 11:17-22: "first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others."

In Galatians 2:11-14, St Paul rebukes Peter for failing to eat with the other big faction in the church, the Judaizers who required circumcision: "But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation."
From these two passages, it sounds like St Paul demands open communion with fellow Christians. The Judaizers' doctrines taught that Gentiles must follow Jewish laws like circumcision, but St Peter, like the Orthodox Church, reject that. So St Peter removed himself from eating with them.

In 1 Corinthians 11:17-22, St Paul again complains that each faction eats dinner by itself and the factions doen't come together in order to eat the Lord's supper. St Paul is telling us to be one church, not to have factions, live together as a community, and share the Eucharist. In 11:21 He tells us that if we are going to eat separately, be "drunk", and let others be "hungry," we should do those things at home, not when we come together. At that time, Christians took the Eucharist in the course of a meal, just like Jesus gave it to his apostles during the Last Supper. In Corinthians 11, isn't St Paul complaining that when people from the factions come together they do not share this communal meal?

I feel like I could be doing the same thing St Paul warns against when I refuse the Lord's Supper with other Christians. We and nonOrthodox Christians are separated into factions, and when I come together with them in one place- their churches, I have not left my factionalism at home, but have refused to eat with them when they pass the communion plate around to me.


PETER THE ALEUT,
You explained that "we who call ourselves Christians are divided.  The Eucharist is the crown of our unity as one Body in Christ."
If Christians with valid Eucharists are united in Christ, then aren't they also united with eachother, making them one body in Christ, despite their factionalism? If the believers are united in Christ, wouldn't they share the crown of this unity, the Eucharist?

You explained: "To the Orthodox, its celebration implies a unity that already exists, not a not-yet-existent unity for which we hope and strive."
If Christians with valid Eucharists are united in Christ, I think they must be united with eachother through Christ, and this unity does in fact exist.

I think that you mean: Sharing communion suggests a unity, so refusing communion suggests that they are not united. Sharing communion suggests the church is one whole, but we have divisions, so it is not one whole and we shouldn't share communion.

But from St Paul's writing in Corinthians and Galatians about the Judaizers and Orthodox, shouldn't we say that despite our divisions, we are one church?

Plus, sharing and refusing communion suggests unity and disunity from Christ. Refusing to share communion suggests nonOrthodox are not united with Christ. If nonOrthodox are not in union with Christ, then you are right that the Eucharist alone will not create that connection. But if Orthodox believe that nonOrthodox are in union with Christ, then they should share communion.

I disagree with the explanation that "it is best we respect what unity there is in a non-Orthodox church by not approaching their chalice for Communion, just as it is best we demand respect for the unity of our Orthodox Church by not allowing non-Orthodox to receive Communion from our chalice."
What is more important, Christians' unity in Christ, or the internal unity of our factions? If we refuse their invitation to the Eucharist, we respect their internal unity, but we disrespect their unity in Christ by disrespecting the unity that we both have in Christ, since if we are united in Christ, we must be united with eachother.


Weak Reasons favoring open communion:

MIKE, it is hard to find detailed information of the concelebration. I think you are right that the Patriarch didn't concelebrate. Instead, his "arcdeacon" concelebrated with the Pope's archdeacon in their presence in 1987. ( http://nektarios.home.comcast.net/~nektarios/1511.html , http://www.trueorthodoxy.org/heretics_world_orthodoxy_demetrios.shtml )
The "True Orthodoxy" website says the Ecumenical Patriarch said that Orthodox can take communion in Catholic churches where no Orthodox church is nearby, and I believe that applies to all Orthodox.
I read that in some years after 1054, Antioch did not break with Rome, that the Bulgarian Orthodox church never excommunicated Rome, and that Finland's Orthodox church has open communion, but I am not sure about the last two.


=======================================================

If I were to invent my own standard, I would have to use the same as St Paul: even if Christians are in competing factions with leaders who are "approved" and "recognized", or their practices are as different as the Judaizers and the Orthodox, we should share the Eucharist. But if the person rejects that it is Christ's body, then sharing it does not make sense, especially in light of I Corinthians 11:27-29. This is the explanation Catholic priests give for refusing communion to protestants. Father Breck is right to point out that traditional protestants do believe in the transformation and real presence. So they should take communion in their churches without worrying about violating Paul's requirement that they discern the body. And if we would advise them to take communion in their churches without condemnation, we would offer it in ours.

But it's not my place to invent new rules for the Orthodox Apostolic church, nor do I want to. Either way it is hard for me.

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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2010, 06:06:06 PM »

A bunch of relics does not make them 'true'. It's faith and faith only.

If I were at your place I would not attend RC gatherings in order not to be stolen from the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. They can be really nice while trying to do that.

Rites and magical laying hands does not make Ukrainian Catholics Orthodox. Taoists have also similar rites to the Orthodox ones.

Reverence does not make anyone Orthodox also.

Some Eastern Catholics can pose that they are not obligated to believe in all RCC teachings but they simply lie. Read that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magisterium.

Archdeacons as they are not Priests can't serve so they can't concelebre with anyone.

I don't believe that any Orthodox Hierarch would allow the Orthodox to take Eucharist (or not - who knows?) in any non-Orthodox Church. Even in Finland.

Anathemas between the EOC and RCC are lifted but the unity has not been achieved.

A thousand years ago there was no Internet and communication was a bit more difficult. It was the reason for Antioch to be late with cutting ties with Rome.

The most important thing is that we can't ensure whether these outside the EOC have valid anything.
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2010, 09:07:07 PM »

I think I've brought this point up before in other places, but...

We believe that Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ, which is union with Him (theosis), transcending time and space, connecting the Earthly to the Heavenly, an experience of the Parousia, the foretaste of the eschaton.

This belief compels me to deny communion to those who are not Orthodox in order to spare their souls the Judgment that awaits - for how can they partake and be one with the Judge when they do not believe correctly with regards to the things concerning Him?  If they receive His Body and Blood, how will they be able to stand before His Judgment Seat, having Known Him intimately through partaking of His Body and Blood, and yet say that they deny Him, or His Father, or the Spirit?  I tremble knowing that I will be judged sternly for knowing Him and yet transgressing His Laws; I cannot subject someone who denies a part of Him to that same experience, for it will be exceedingly difficult.
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« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2010, 09:26:49 PM »

I think I've brought this point up before in other places, but...

We believe that Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ, which is union with Him (theosis), transcending time and space, connecting the Earthly to the Heavenly, an experience of the Parousia, the foretaste of the eschaton.

This belief compels me to deny communion to those who are not Orthodox in order to spare their souls the Judgment that awaits - for how can they partake and be one with the Judge when they do not believe correctly with regards to the things concerning Him?  If they receive His Body and Blood, how will they be able to stand before His Judgment Seat, having Known Him intimately through partaking of His Body and Blood, and yet say that they deny Him, or His Father, or the Spirit?  I tremble knowing that I will be judged sternly for knowing Him and yet transgressing His Laws; I cannot subject someone who denies a part of Him to that same experience, for it will be exceedingly difficult.

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« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2010, 10:25:13 PM »

If any of those relics are true, there probably stolen from the east ...Also the catholic churche's in the past were know to compete with each other  ,in who has the best relics there where many fake ones also, all for the tourist dinari,,How do you know that you weren't venerating a chicken bone or a porkrib bone....
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« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2010, 10:49:28 PM »

Church unity vs. Christian Unity vs. Unity in Christ:

PETER THE ALEUT, you said that St Paul condemned allowing Christians to bring their divisions to the Chalice in 1 Corinthians 11:17-22: "first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others."

In Galatians 2:11-14, St Paul rebukes Peter for failing to eat with the other big faction in the church, the Judaizers who required circumcision: "But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation."
From these two passages, it sounds like St Paul demands open communion with fellow Christians. The Judaizers' doctrines taught that Gentiles must follow Jewish laws like circumcision, but St Peter, like the Orthodox Church, reject that. So St Peter removed himself from eating with them.

In 1 Corinthians 11:17-22, St Paul again complains that each faction eats dinner by itself and the factions doen't come together in order to eat the Lord's supper. St Paul is telling us to be one church, not to have factions, live together as a community, and share the Eucharist. In 11:21 He tells us that if we are going to eat separately, be "drunk", and let others be "hungry," we should do those things at home, not when we come together. At that time, Christians took the Eucharist in the course of a meal, just like Jesus gave it to his apostles during the Last Supper. In Corinthians 11, isn't St Paul complaining that when people from the factions come together they do not share this communal meal?

I feel like I could be doing the same thing St Paul warns against when I refuse the Lord's Supper with other Christians. We and nonOrthodox Christians are separated into factions, and when I come together with them in one place- their churches, I have not left my factionalism at home, but have refused to eat with them when they pass the communion plate around to me.
The problem with your reasoning, though, and the Number One reason no Orthodox can find it acceptable is that it proceeds from the logical premise that all who call themselves Christian are visible members of the Church and that the heterodox churches are therefore part of the Church.  This is nothing less than the Branch Theory that Orthodoxy condemns as heresy.  Since you seem to want to misinterpret my words on unity and the Eucharist, I ask that you understand them in the light of my rejection of Branch Theory.  There is but one holy, catholic, apostolic Church, and that is the Orthodox Church.  Regardless of what you might feel on a subjective level when you visit a heterodox church, the teaching of the Orthodox Church is that those not united with us sacramentally and doctrinally are outside the Church.  It is this level of division that I cannot support bringing to the Chalice.

PETER THE ALEUT,
You explained that "we who call ourselves Christians are divided.  The Eucharist is the crown of our unity as one Body in Christ."
If Christians with valid Eucharists are united in Christ, then aren't they also united with eachother, making them one body in Christ, despite their factionalism? If the believers are united in Christ, wouldn't they share the crown of this unity, the Eucharist?
1.  How can we presume to speak with certainty that the Eucharist is valid and grace-filled when celebrated by those outside the Church?  We just don't know, and it's really not our concern.
2.  The Eucharist is the crown of our unity in that it manifests the glory of a unity that already exists, but it is not what makes us united.
3.  Christians are divided from the Church on the basis of heretical doctrines, not merely because we don't share the Eucharist together.  Many of our Fathers, notable among them the Bishop St. Cyprian, even taught that those sacraments performed outside the Church are devoid of grace and confer no salvific value to the recipient.  I can't say I agree wholeheartedly with this hard line position, since a number of other Fathers, particularly St. Cyprians opponent, Pope St. Stephen, believed otherwise, but the position needs to be taken seriously.  Seeing that it is nothing less than heresy that divides Catholics and Protestants from the Church, can we pretend that these divisions don't exist by sharing the Eucharist with them and them with us?

You explained: "To the Orthodox, its celebration implies a unity that already exists, not a not-yet-existent unity for which we hope and strive."
If Christians with valid Eucharists are united in Christ, I think they must be united with eachother through Christ, and this unity does in fact exist.
Only if you follow the heretical Branch Theory.

I think that you mean: Sharing communion suggests a unity, so refusing communion suggests that they are not united. Sharing communion suggests the church is one whole, but we have divisions, so it is not one whole and we shouldn't share communion.

But from St Paul's writing in Corinthians and Galatians about the Judaizers and Orthodox, shouldn't we say that despite our divisions, we are one church?
No.

Plus, sharing and refusing communion suggests unity and disunity from Christ. Refusing to share communion suggests nonOrthodox are not united with Christ. If nonOrthodox are not in union with Christ, then you are right that the Eucharist alone will not create that connection. But if Orthodox believe that nonOrthodox are in union with Christ, then they should share communion.

I disagree with the explanation that "it is best we respect what unity there is in a non-Orthodox church by not approaching their chalice for Communion, just as it is best we demand respect for the unity of our Orthodox Church by not allowing non-Orthodox to receive Communion from our chalice."
What is more important, Christians' unity in Christ, or the internal unity of our factions? If we refuse their invitation to the Eucharist, we respect their internal unity, but we disrespect their unity in Christ by disrespecting the unity that we both have in Christ, since if we are united in Christ, we must be united with eachother.
One is left to wonder just how united to Christ the non-Orthodox really are.  It's not enough to be united to Christ spiritually.  One must also be united to Christ within the context of His Body, the Church, the Orthodox Church.  Can we say that those outside the Church are most definitely NOT united to Christ?  I, for one, cannot, but neither will I say with certainty that they are.
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« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2010, 10:50:39 PM »

If any of those relics are true, there probably stolen from the east ...Also the catholic churche's in the past were know to compete with each other  ,in who has the best relics there where ,many fake ones also ,How do you know that you weren't venerating a chicken bone or a porkrib bone....
Known to compete with each other to the point of fakery?  Can you back up this slanderous claim?
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« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2010, 10:56:09 PM »

If any of those relics are true, there probably stolen from the east ...Also the catholic churche's in the past were know to compete with each other  ,in who has the best relics there where ,many fake ones also ,How do you know that you weren't venerating a chicken bone or a porkrib bone....
Known to compete with each other to the point of fakery?  Can you back up this slanderous claim?

I thought this was just common knowledge; honestly I've read it stated in so many textbooks that I have taken it for granted. I was under the impression that the West had to start regulating and authenticating relics because of crooks selling fakes.
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« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2010, 10:57:11 PM »

If any of those relics are true, there probably stolen from the east ...Also the catholic churche's in the past were know to compete with each other  ,in who has the best relics there where ,many fake ones also ,How do you know that you weren't venerating a chicken bone or a porkrib bone....
Known to compete with each other to the point of fakery?  Can you back up this slanderous claim?

 It was on the history channel awhile back.....about medieval europe the churches and the fake relics.the competion between the catholic churches ........
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« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2010, 11:22:24 PM »

If any of those relics are true, there probably stolen from the east ...Also the catholic churche's in the past were know to compete with each other  ,in who has the best relics there where ,many fake ones also ,How do you know that you weren't venerating a chicken bone or a porkrib bone....
Known to compete with each other to the point of fakery?  Can you back up this slanderous claim?

I thought this was just common knowledge; honestly I've read it stated in so many textbooks that I have taken it for granted. I was under the impression that the West had to start regulating and authenticating relics because of crooks selling fakes.

People gave their entire lives to verify the provenance of the relics in that Chapel.  There are no relics preserved in the chapel unless they had a traceable provenance. 

This particular chapel is not a snake oil show!!

M.
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« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2010, 12:08:57 AM »

A  Lutheran Missouri synod friend was in business, for quite awhile selling classic furniture and religious  church furniture, religious goods ,tabernacles,censors, altar crosses, processional crosses ,tiny little pocket watches for nuns ,priest and brothers....altar candle holders, old Latin vestments,old Latin prayer books and many other things altar  stones with relics embedded inside ,chalices,statues, stations of the cross..also tons of individual relics with authentication...
All of this ended up in his shop when Vatican 11 rolled in ,The catholic churches started to look more protestant.. Eventally  he sold his business but he has a garage full of some of the things mentioned above...


Forgot to mention That Mother Angelic from E W T N Heard of him ,and sent her agents there to investigate...She only purchased thru her agents, stuff that was almost pure gold or Silver...
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« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2010, 01:19:32 AM »

If any of those relics are true, there probably stolen from the east ...Also the catholic churche's in the past were know to compete with each other  ,in who has the best relics there where ,many fake ones also ,How do you know that you weren't venerating a chicken bone or a porkrib bone....
Known to compete with each other to the point of fakery?  Can you back up this slanderous claim?
I thought this was just common knowledge; honestly I've read it stated in so many textbooks that I have taken it for granted. I was under the impression that the West had to start regulating and authenticating relics because of crooks selling fakes.
People gave their entire lives to verify the provenance of the relics in that Chapel.  There are no relics preserved in the chapel unless they had a traceable provenance.  This particular chapel is not a snake oil show!!

I'm sorry Mary, you misunderstood. I wasn't talking about that chapel, I was talking about the ambiguous "middle ages" when there was a lot of crooks cashing in on relics. This is actually why the church formalized an authentication process. But this is an area I have no real knowledge in, so I don't wish to get involved. I honestly need to study up on the question before I can make any comments. I also don't know if the East ever had to grapple with these kinds of issues, but I have to admit that the many different "findings" of St. John the Forerunner's head makes me wonder...
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« Reply #23 on: May 06, 2010, 02:02:30 AM »

I think the most complicated part of this issue is with those individuals who have essentially the same Theological, Triadological, and Christological beliefs as the Church on top of the same understanding of the substance of the Sacred Mysteries and are thus almost entirely if not entirely orthodox in their dogmatic beliefs but for other personal reasons have not found the Church otherwise a home for them. I actually encountered one Byzantine priest who was willing to give a person Holy Communion on that basis. I don't know whether I agree with his approach or not. It's a very complicated issue.
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« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2010, 06:10:38 AM »

If any of those relics are true, there probably stolen from the east ...Also the catholic churche's in the past were know to compete with each other  ,in who has the best relics there where ,many fake ones also ,How do you know that you weren't venerating a chicken bone or a porkrib bone....
Known to compete with each other to the point of fakery?  Can you back up this slanderous claim?
I thought this was just common knowledge; honestly I've read it stated in so many textbooks that I have taken it for granted. I was under the impression that the West had to start regulating and authenticating relics because of crooks selling fakes.
People gave their entire lives to verify the provenance of the relics in that Chapel.  There are no relics preserved in the chapel unless they had a traceable provenance.  This particular chapel is not a snake oil show!!

I'm sorry Mary, you misunderstood. I wasn't talking about that chapel, I was talking about the ambiguous "middle ages" when there was a lot of crooks cashing in on relics. This is actually why the church formalized an authentication process. But this is an area I have no real knowledge in, so I don't wish to get involved. I honestly need to study up on the question before I can make any comments. I also don't know if the East ever had to grapple with these kinds of issues, but I have to admit that the many different "findings" of St. John the Forerunner's head makes me wonder...

Oh...all right.  I see what you were doing then.  And yes, you are quite right.  In fact that is what makes the St. Anthony Chapel such an amazing place.  It is because there was such a concerted effort to trace the provenance of the relics and be sure they were human and traceable to a reliable source.  Who knows.  In a place with that many relics, there is always the chance of error.  It was an astonishing reclamation project in any event.

But back to the topic, it seems to me that open communion would be sinful and that would be the best reason for not engaging it.  Or at least it would be sinful for those in a Church who believes all other confessions are objectively heretical or have no Apostolic Succession.

M.
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« Reply #25 on: May 06, 2010, 08:51:45 AM »

I think I've brought this point up before in other places, but...

We believe that Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ, which is union with Him (theosis), transcending time and space, connecting the Earthly to the Heavenly, an experience of the Parousia, the foretaste of the eschaton.

This belief compels me to deny communion to those who are not Orthodox in order to spare their souls the Judgment that awaits - for how can they partake and be one with the Judge when they do not believe correctly with regards to the things concerning Him?  If they receive His Body and Blood, how will they be able to stand before His Judgment Seat, having Known Him intimately through partaking of His Body and Blood, and yet say that they deny Him, or His Father, or the Spirit?  I tremble knowing that I will be judged sternly for knowing Him and yet transgressing His Laws; I cannot subject someone who denies a part of Him to that same experience, for it will be exceedingly difficult.
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« Reply #26 on: May 06, 2010, 08:59:15 AM »

I think I've brought this point up before in other places, but...

We believe that Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ, which is union with Him (theosis), transcending time and space, connecting the Earthly to the Heavenly, an experience of the Parousia, the foretaste of the eschaton.

This belief compels me to deny communion to those who are not Orthodox in order to spare their souls the Judgment that awaits - for how can they partake and be one with the Judge when they do not believe correctly with regards to the things concerning Him?  If they receive His Body and Blood, how will they be able to stand before His Judgment Seat, having Known Him intimately through partaking of His Body and Blood, and yet say that they deny Him, or His Father, or the Spirit?  I tremble knowing that I will be judged sternly for knowing Him and yet transgressing His Laws; I cannot subject someone who denies a part of Him to that same experience, for it will be exceedingly difficult.

This is quite a strong juridical explanation for an Orthodox truth...I am perplexed by it.  Is there a juridical faction in Orthodoxy?

M.
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« Reply #27 on: May 06, 2010, 09:12:12 AM »

I think I've brought this point up before in other places, but...

We believe that Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ, which is union with Him (theosis), transcending time and space, connecting the Earthly to the Heavenly, an experience of the Parousia, the foretaste of the eschaton.

This belief compels me to deny communion to those who are not Orthodox in order to spare their souls the Judgment that awaits - for how can they partake and be one with the Judge when they do not believe correctly with regards to the things concerning Him?  If they receive His Body and Blood, how will they be able to stand before His Judgment Seat, having Known Him intimately through partaking of His Body and Blood, and yet say that they deny Him, or His Father, or the Spirit?  I tremble knowing that I will be judged sternly for knowing Him and yet transgressing His Laws; I cannot subject someone who denies a part of Him to that same experience, for it will be exceedingly difficult.

This is quite a strong juridical explanation for an Orthodox truth...I am perplexed by it.  Is there a juridical faction in Orthodoxy?

M.
I think a careful reading of 1 Corinthians 11:23-30 with a focus on vs 27-29 explains this.  To me this just keeps the sacrament sacred & within the church and one ought to consider what happened when Aaron's sons offered strange fire in Leviticus 10 as a lesson. It seems safe to believe that other churches that reverance the body of Christ probably have grace too but we must not venture too far & fall into a potential trap of a false ecumenism. This is a delicate issue & the father put it into the context we as Orthodox Christians must understand within the church for the  welfare of souls of others as well as ourselves. There seemed only the law of love here not any condemnation.
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« Reply #28 on: May 06, 2010, 09:17:12 AM »

I think I've brought this point up before in other places, but...

We believe that Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ, which is union with Him (theosis), transcending time and space, connecting the Earthly to the Heavenly, an experience of the Parousia, the foretaste of the eschaton.

This belief compels me to deny communion to those who are not Orthodox in order to spare their souls the Judgment that awaits - for how can they partake and be one with the Judge when they do not believe correctly with regards to the things concerning Him?  If they receive His Body and Blood, how will they be able to stand before His Judgment Seat, having Known Him intimately through partaking of His Body and Blood, and yet say that they deny Him, or His Father, or the Spirit?  I tremble knowing that I will be judged sternly for knowing Him and yet transgressing His Laws; I cannot subject someone who denies a part of Him to that same experience, for it will be exceedingly difficult.

This is quite a strong juridical explanation for an Orthodox truth...I am perplexed by it.  Is there a juridical faction in Orthodoxy?

M.
I think a careful reading of 1 Corinthians 11:23-30 with a focus on vs 27-29 explains this.  To me this just keeps the sacrament sacred & within the church and one ought to consider what happened when Aaron's sons offered strange fire in Leviticus 10 as a lesson. It seems safe to believe that other churches that reverance the body of Christ probably have grace too but we must not venture too far & fall into a potential trap of a false ecumenism. This is a delicate issue & the father put it into the context we as Orthodox Christians must understand within the church for the  welfare of souls of others as well as ourselves. There seemed only the law of love here not any condemnation.

Is that what "juridical" means?  Juridical=Condemnation

If I as a Catholic would drink from an Orthodox Chalice, would I not be drinking to my condemnation?  Is that not what Father George said.

Is this not a juridical explanation of an Orthodox truth?

Mary
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« Reply #29 on: May 06, 2010, 09:34:15 AM »

If I as a Catholic would drink from an Orthodox Chalice, would I not be drinking to my condemnation? 

If an Orthodox priest knows that you are not in communion with Holy Orthodoxy, and your own conscience does not prevent you from approaching the chalice, then he would be compelled to turn you away--not out of some type of legalism---but out of love.

Forgive me if that is a subpar explanation.
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« Reply #30 on: May 06, 2010, 09:49:07 AM »

I think I've brought this point up before in other places, but...

We believe that Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ, which is union with Him (theosis), transcending time and space, connecting the Earthly to the Heavenly, an experience of the Parousia, the foretaste of the eschaton.

This belief compels me to deny communion to those who are not Orthodox in order to spare their souls the Judgment that awaits - for how can they partake and be one with the Judge when they do not believe correctly with regards to the things concerning Him?  If they receive His Body and Blood, how will they be able to stand before His Judgment Seat, having Known Him intimately through partaking of His Body and Blood, and yet say that they deny Him, or His Father, or the Spirit?  I tremble knowing that I will be judged sternly for knowing Him and yet transgressing His Laws; I cannot subject someone who denies a part of Him to that same experience, for it will be exceedingly difficult.

This is quite a strong juridical explanation for an Orthodox truth...I am perplexed by it.  Is there a juridical faction in Orthodoxy?

M.
I think a careful reading of 1 Corinthians 11:23-30 with a focus on vs 27-29 explains this.  To me this just keeps the sacrament sacred & within the church and one ought to consider what happened when Aaron's sons offered strange fire in Leviticus 10 as a lesson. It seems safe to believe that other churches that reverance the body of Christ probably have grace too but we must not venture too far & fall into a potential trap of a false ecumenism. This is a delicate issue & the father put it into the context we as Orthodox Christians must understand within the church for the  welfare of souls of others as well as ourselves. There seemed only the law of love here not any condemnation.

Is that what "juridical" means?  Juridical=Condemnation

If I as a Catholic would drink from an Orthodox Chalice, would I not be drinking to my condemnation?  Is that not what Father George said.

Is this not a juridical explanation of an Orthodox truth?

Mary
If we are not in communion how can we share communion? Again, I believe in the eyes of God both churches may actually be sharing grace but we do not have the same understanding as we live so we as Orthodox must obey our clergy who discern what is right for us. This is a serious and delicate issue & great care must be taken. This does not make the non Orthodox Christian any better or worse than the Orthodox Christian but I think St. Paul's words have definition & sometimes sentimentality is secondary.
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« Reply #31 on: May 06, 2010, 09:57:04 AM »

If I as a Catholic would drink from an Orthodox Chalice, would I not be drinking to my condemnation? 

If an Orthodox priest knows that you are not in communion with Holy Orthodoxy, and your own conscience does not prevent you from approaching the chalice, then he would be compelled to turn you away--not out of some type of legalism---but out of love.

Forgive me if that is a subpar explanation.

Are you suggesting that laws are not given out of love? 

Is that what Orthodoxy teaches?  That love cannot come out of the law?

Really?

Orthodoxy, in terms of strict adherence to canons, is by far and away more juridical than the Catholic Church.

Are you suggesting that the laws of the Catholic Church are prompted by something other than love?  Is that really what the Orthodox have been suggesting all this time?

Mary
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« Reply #32 on: May 06, 2010, 10:04:29 AM »

If I as a Catholic would drink from an Orthodox Chalice, would I not be drinking to my condemnation? 

If an Orthodox priest knows that you are not in communion with Holy Orthodoxy, and your own conscience does not prevent you from approaching the chalice, then he would be compelled to turn you away--not out of some type of legalism---but out of love.

Forgive me if that is a subpar explanation.

Are you suggesting that laws are not given out of love? 

Is that what Orthodoxy teaches?  That love cannot come out of the law?

Really?

Orthodoxy, in terms of strict adherence to canons, is by far and away more juridical than the Catholic Church.

Are you suggesting that the laws of the Catholic Church are prompted by something other than love?  Is that really what the Orthodox have been suggesting all this time?

Mary
Who is suggesting that? We have different theology & we believe it has the same basis that you have in your communion. If we forced ours on yours we would violate some the very things you beleive are sacred but we do not understand as such. If I attend a Catholic mass I do not take communion out of respect that I would be violating certain tenets of the RCC since I do not share them like the immaculate conception for instance.
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« Reply #33 on: May 06, 2010, 10:11:55 AM »

If I as a Catholic would drink from an Orthodox Chalice, would I not be drinking to my condemnation? 

If an Orthodox priest knows that you are not in communion with Holy Orthodoxy, and your own conscience does not prevent you from approaching the chalice, then he would be compelled to turn you away--not out of some type of legalism---but out of love.

Forgive me if that is a subpar explanation.

Are you suggesting that laws are not given out of love? 

Is that what Orthodoxy teaches?  That love cannot come out of the law?

Really?

Orthodoxy, in terms of strict adherence to canons, is by far and away more juridical than the Catholic Church.

Are you suggesting that the laws of the Catholic Church are prompted by something other than love?  Is that really what the Orthodox have been suggesting all this time?

Mary
Who is suggesting that? We have different theology & we believe it has the same basis that you have in your communion. If we forced ours on yours we would violate some the very things you beleive are sacred but we do not understand as such. If I attend a Catholic mass I do not take communion out of respect that I would be violating certain tenets of the RCC since I do not share them like the immaculate conception for instance.

You raise something of a different issue Mickey than the one I was addressing. 

Can you answer the question?  Does Orthodoxy teach that love cannot come out of the law?

In response to your issue here:  I believe that what separates Orthodoxy from the Catholic Church is not sufficient to a rupture in communion.  But I do accept that there is a material schism.  So yes.  Out of respect I would never approach an Orthodox chalice unless it was offered to me at point of death.

However I think that because of what Orthodoxy professes at the moment concerning the schism, then if you were to approach a Catholic chalice, you would sin in disobedience if nothing else.  Any Catholic knowingly offering you the chalice would be a scandalum, a near occasion of sin and that priest would have to answer to God for his act.

M.
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« Reply #34 on: May 06, 2010, 10:17:46 AM »

I think I've brought this point up before in other places, but...

We believe that Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ, which is union with Him (theosis), transcending time and space, connecting the Earthly to the Heavenly, an experience of the Parousia, the foretaste of the eschaton.

This belief compels me to deny communion to those who are not Orthodox in order to spare their souls the Judgment that awaits - for how can they partake and be one with the Judge when they do not believe correctly with regards to the things concerning Him?  If they receive His Body and Blood, how will they be able to stand before His Judgment Seat, having Known Him intimately through partaking of His Body and Blood, and yet say that they deny Him, or His Father, or the Spirit?  I tremble knowing that I will be judged sternly for knowing Him and yet transgressing His Laws; I cannot subject someone who denies a part of Him to that same experience, for it will be exceedingly difficult.
This is quite a strong juridical explanation for an Orthodox truth...I am perplexed by it.  Is there a juridical faction in Orthodoxy?

I fail to see how this is juridical/legalistic.  It is merciful.  I believe you have a greater chance of attaining the Kingdom of Heaven as a non-Orthodox who does not partake of His Body and blood than you do as a non-Orthodox who does.  Juridical would be saying something to the effect of, "You are not Orthodox, and will be condemned if you take Communion," or something like, "Communion is for the Orthodox, you are not Orthodox, therefore communion is forbidden to you."  In the case I described, I am not judging you - but we will all be judged - but I, by denying you Communion when you are not Orthodox, am hopefully facilitating an easier Judgment for you than if you were to receive of Him.

If I as a Catholic would drink from an Orthodox Chalice, would I not be drinking to my condemnation?  

We don't know for certain.  But what has been revealed to us is that you're better off becoming Orthodox than not.  We know where the Truth is, and we choose to stay there.

Are you suggesting that laws are not given out of love?  

Is that what Orthodoxy teaches?  That love cannot come out of the law?

Really?

Your question comes out of an incorrect reading of the previous statement.  Yes, the law out of love directs me to not commune non-Orthodox.  But the sense of love to my neighbor is what compels me.  The loving law is a guide, but love compels.

Orthodoxy, in terms of strict adherence to canons, is by far and away more juridical than the Catholic Church.

Juridical?  "You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means."
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« Reply #35 on: May 06, 2010, 10:19:50 AM »

Are you suggesting that laws are not given out of love? 

No.

Is that what Orthodoxy teaches?  That love cannot come out of the law?

No.

Are you suggesting that the laws of the Catholic Church are prompted by something other than love?

No. 


Is that really what the Orthodox have been suggesting all this time?

No.
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« Reply #36 on: May 06, 2010, 10:38:59 AM »

Are you suggesting that laws are not given out of love? 

No.

Is that what Orthodoxy teaches?  That love cannot come out of the law?

No.

Are you suggesting that the laws of the Catholic Church are prompted by something other than love?

No. 


Is that really what the Orthodox have been suggesting all this time?

No.

So tell me why is it that Orthodox faithful refer to the Catholic Church as "juridical" as though there is something wrong with that?

Also what do you think about my estimation of communing, at least between Orthodox and Catholic and do you see communing outside of Orthodoxy as sinful?

M.
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« Reply #37 on: May 06, 2010, 10:46:39 AM »

So tell me why is it that Orthodox faithful refer to the Catholic Church as "juridical" as though there is something wrong with that?

I cannot answer that.  I would have to see the context in which the word is being used.


Also what do you think about my estimation of communing, at least between Orthodox and Catholic and do you see communing outside of Orthodoxy as sinful?  

I am in no place to judge anyone's actions as sinful.

I only receive Holy Communion in the Holy Orthodox Church. 

Fr George has a wonderful explanation above.
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« Reply #38 on: May 06, 2010, 11:05:51 AM »

So tell me why is it that Orthodox faithful refer to the Catholic Church as "juridical" as though there is something wrong with that?

I cannot answer that.  I would have to see the context in which the word is being used.


Also what do you think about my estimation of communing, at least between Orthodox and Catholic and do you see communing outside of Orthodoxy as sinful?  

I am in no place to judge anyone's actions as sinful.

I only receive Holy Communion in the Holy Orthodox Church. 

Fr George has a wonderful explanation above.

Does Orthodoxy not have a concept of objectively sinful acts that can be discerned without judging anyone as being guilty of actual sin?

Is murder not an objectively sinful act?

Even if you cannot read the heart can one not say that the act itself is objectively evil?

Do words not have definitive meaning that can be established as a baseline, outside of context?

How does one tell if a word is being used in the appropriate context without some objectively determined meaning?

Mary
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« Reply #39 on: May 06, 2010, 11:22:10 AM »

Does Orthodoxy not have a concept of objectively sinful acts that can be discerned without judging anyone as being guilty of actual sin?

Is murder not an objectively sinful act?

Even if you cannot read the heart can one not say that the act itself is objectively evil?

We were talking about Holy Communion. Suddenly you have veered to a subject on murder as an objectively sinful act.  I often have trouble understanding your twisting of subjects.

Fr George answered your question sufficiently.
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« Reply #40 on: May 06, 2010, 11:39:40 AM »

Are you suggesting that laws are not given out of love? 

No.

Is that what Orthodoxy teaches?  That love cannot come out of the law?

No.

Are you suggesting that the laws of the Catholic Church are prompted by something other than love?

No. 


Is that really what the Orthodox have been suggesting all this time?

No.

So tell me why is it that Orthodox faithful refer to the Catholic Church as "juridical" as though there is something wrong with that? 

Also what do you think about my estimation of communing, at least between Orthodox and Catholic and do you see communing outside of Orthodoxy as sinful?

M.
Re Juridical: Our parish priest was an RCC priest & he told us that the juridical concept originates with Tertullian (2nd c & when he was still Orthodox & Catholic) so it is not wrong but different than the Greek Orthodox mindset. It is based on the Roman legal system as an approach to theology. A fatal flaw eventually developed though with the concept of merits applied to works in salvation. Some of the Protestants obliterated works in salvation & applied solely faith as preached by St. Paul in Romans but failed to take into account that St. Paul was preaching against  circumcision being required for gentile Christians (Fr Lawrence Farley has a good Orthodox study book of Romans on this).
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« Reply #41 on: May 17, 2010, 05:13:31 AM »

The Best Reason I Find Against Open Communion: The Asceticism of Orthodox Practice

Is my reason for abstaining from the Eucharist in nonOrthodox churches, the asceticism of Orthodoxy as I wrote in Reply #10, acceptable?

Quote
As an Orthodox, I follow an ascetic discipline that my church has because of its high regard for the Eucharist. The Orthodox practice is that before taking the Eucharist, I should go to confession so that I receive it with clean hands and a clean heart, I should read certain prayers to prepare myself spiritually, and I should attend Vespers the night before. Our ascetic attitude toward Communion is so great that we fast from food and drink since the previous midnight, while St Paul allowed people to eat before communion so that they would not take it out of hunger. If we have such an ascetic discipline in preparing for the Eucharist, naturally, we would have the same ascetic attitude about taking the Eucharist, and would limit ourselves to taking it in circumstances that match this ascetic discipline.

It's true that when we can't go to vespers the night before, or we need to take medicine, then we relax our preparation. Likewise, I think there might be circumstances where the Orthodox church would relax its restriction on Catholic communion. A Catholic Church, like Ukrainian Catholic churches, could use an acceptable liturgical form. Its bishops and clergy obey Apostolic Succession. There were times when our churches were in communion despite western churches and saints, like St Augustine, having different beliefs, like Original Sin. However, because of our strict practices and deep respect for Communion, we abstain from it in circumstances that are outside this discipline, and the Catholic church's practices differ enough from ours that it falls outside our system of spiritual discipline.

Just as our ascetic discipline demands that we fast before taking communion in a church, which must be Orthodox, we have an exception to this asceticism when we must take medicine in the morning or possibly when there is no Orthodox church close enough to attend.

That would explain why the Ecumenical Patriarch approved the Thyateira Confession, which stated in part:

"When they are not near a Roman Catholic Church, Roman Catholics are permitted to receive the Holy Communion in Orthodox Churches; and the same is also extended to Orthodox when they are not near an Orthodox Church."

Does this apply to other Orthodox jurisdictions?


Side Comments

1. Juridical Rules

ELIJAHMARIA, I wouldn't get too bogged down in the juridical vs mystical approach. They can be complementary, as Recent Convert said, instead of an exclusive dichotomy.

2. Differing Understandings of Communion or Theology

The Melkites
Mike said "Eastern Catholics can pose that they are not obligated to believe in all RCC teachings but they simply lie." He referred to the Roman Catholic "Magisterium" doctrine from Vatican I, which says the Pope has direct authority over all Catholics and is infallible.

While Melkites accept the ope's authority as their "world leader" (http://www.mliles.com/melkite/pope.shtml), it sounds like some reject the Roman Catholic idea of the Magisterium doctrine of Papal infallibility. That means those Melkites remain under the Pope despite considering eachother to be in apostasy. If people are obligated to accept their leaders' doctrines even if the doctrines are heresies, then Mike is right and the Melkites have surrendered their Orthodox theology. It looks to be the case, although I could imagine a Melkite bishop continuing to teach Orthodox theology despite his obligations to the Pope.


3. Church unity vs. Christian Unity vs. Unity in Christ:

PETER THE ALEUT,
I do not want to misinterpret your words. Your explanation for rejecting open communion was that "we who call ourselves Christians are divided", that Open Communion overlooks "the disunity between Christians," and that St Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:17-22 told Christians not to bring their divisions to the chalice. I concluded that you meant Catholics are Christians who are divided from us, and you meant that St Paul warned different divisions of Christians from sharing the Meal together.

On closer inspection, it appears to me that St Paul in Galatians 2:11-14 and 1 Corinthians 11:17-22 instructed Christians that they should not abstain from eating together based on divisions, the factions mentioned being those of St Peter who rejected kosher rules and the Judaizers who required circumcision. But doesn't it look like modern Orthodoxy would consider the Judaizers to be outside its communion?

In your next message, you said you rejected the branch theory and the idea that Catholics were a legitimate faction within the church. This makes 1 Corinthians 11:17-22 irrelevant at best, because the passage's message is that factions of Christians should share the meal together.


I appreciate your writings, Mike, Peter,  Fr. George, ElijahMaria, and RecentConvert.
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« Reply #42 on: May 17, 2010, 05:19:04 AM »


Other Reasons Against Open Communion


1. Juridical Rules

Recent Convert said: "we as Orthodox must obey our clergy who discern what is right for us."

Father George defended Reason #3 below (different understandings of God or the Eucharist), saying:
I fail to see how this is juridical/legalistic... Juridical would be saying... something like, "Communion is for the Orthodox, you are not Orthodox, therefore communion is forbidden to you."

This juridical rule is the Orthodox Church's position, but it is not the only reason.


2. nonOrthodox Communion Might Not Be Valid


If bishops like those of ROCOR(1925-2007) or some Ukrainian Orthodox have an organizational disagreement with other bishops, why should that make the former's communion invalid?
In Galatians 2:11-14, St Paul objected to St Peter (the Pope) abstaining from sharing meals with the Judaizer faction.

Please say more about why we are uncertain if communion is valid in nonOrthodox churches and if grace exists outside of the Orthodox church.

Can you please point me to Bishop St. Cyprian's writings saying that sacraments outside the Church are devoid of grace, or the contrary writings of Pope St. Stephen?

RecentConvert suggested that a nonOrthodox Communion could be like Aaron's sons' offering of strange fire in Leviticus 10. This comparison is wrong, because the Eucharist-Jesus' body- is not bad. Whether the Eucharist remained bread and wine as Protestants believe, or became physically Jesus' body and blood as Catholics believe, the item itself would not be harmful. It is a different matter for a person to take the Eucharist unworthily, which is what St Paul warns against in 1 Corinthians 11:27. As Jesus says in Matthew 15:11 "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man."

The OCA website (http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=200&SID=3) writes:
Quote
Concerning the Eucharist: Many Orthodox Christians do view the Roman Catholic Eucharist as the Body and Blood of Christ; others today would not subscribe to this. The answer is linked to whether one believes that Roman Catholicism is "with grace" or "devoid of grace."

In other words: If we believe a church is devoid of grace, then we would believe its Eucharist would be invalid. But if we believe a church had grace, then we would believe its Eucharist was valid. And if we are uncertain, then we should abstain because we would be unable to "discern the body" in it.

This makes sense, but goes back to the question of whether their Eucharist is valid or not.
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« Reply #43 on: May 17, 2010, 05:27:27 AM »

3. Differing Understandings of Communion
This does not apply to non-canonical Orthodox churches like Old Believers or self-made "Ukrainian Patriarch" churches, who share our theology.

What about Catholics and Traditional Protestants?
Father George asks: how will they be able to stand before His Judgment Seat, having Known Him intimately through partaking of His Body and Blood, and yet say that they deny Him, or His Father, or the Spirit
In other words, if they reject God, their rejection is worse because they reject him at the same time as they have joined with him.

Since the resurrection, is Jesus' body both physical (he can eat) and spiritual (he can pass through doors)? Or perhaps we don't know this either? This relates to the Eucharist's transformation.

My understanding is that Orthodox say the mechanics of the Eucharist's transformation is a mystery, while Catholics have transubstantiation (the physical substance changes) and traditional Protestants have consubstantiation (the physical substance remains bread, but its spiritual nature changes).

So do you mean that Catholics who say Jesus' body is the same "substance" as the Eucharist could be wrong, while Protestants could be right that the bread remains bread in a physical sense, and in such a situation Catholics would blaspheme Jesus by saying that what is- unbeknownst to them- in reality physical bread is part of the "substance" of His body?

And if a priest has this mistaken understanding of the Eucharist, then his attempt to perform it is blasphemous, as would be my reception of the Eucharist from him?

Meanwhile, St Paul instructs us in 1 Corinthians 11:29 to discern the body in the Eucharist, and I as an Orthodox respond that "Yes, I accept that it has changed in some mysterious way, but am unable to discern it further."

4. Differences in Theology

RECENTCONVERT, you commented:
If I attend a Catholic mass I do not take communion out of respect that I would be violating certain tenets of the RCC since I do not share them like the immaculate conception for instance.

The Roman Catholic church doesn't consider you to be violating its tenets if you take its communion. Their service books say: "According to Roman Catholic discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of communion by Christians of [Orthodox] Churches (canon 844 § 3)."

5. Church unity vs. Christian Unity vs. Unity in Christ:

PETER THE ALEUT, You rejected the branch theory and the idea that nonOrthodox belong to The Church, which you said means the Orthodox Church. My impression is that a non-authoritative "Balamand Agreement" accepts the Catholic church as some kind of sister church. Anyway, the assumption that "those not united with us sacramentally and doctrinally are outside the Church" goes back to the original question of why Christians outside the Church are not united with us sacramentally, and to Reason #1 the validity of Communion in nonOrthodox churches.

Do self-made Ukrainian "Orthodox" churches rely on the "Branch theory" for apostolic succession, since their nonconsensual branching off of Orthodoxy violated traditional church rules?

If the Eucharist unites believers with Christ, why wouldn't we be united in Him with nonOrthodox believers - regardless of the Branch Theory?

Do we use the formula:
the Eucharist = the Body of Christ = The Church = Christians With Right Beliefs about Christ

Peter, you wrote: "It's not enough to be united to Christ spiritually. One must also be united to Christ within the context of His Body, the Church, the Orthodox Church." I am confused. If a nonOrthodox is spiritually united to Christ, wouldn't that mean the person is united to His body, which is The Church?


Weak Reasons for Open Communion:


Galatians 2:11-14 and 1 Corinthians 11:17-22 appear to suggest that Christian factions, like St Peter and the Judaizers, should share the Meal together (See Reply #11). The Judaizers didn't accept Peter or St Paul's authority over them and they disagreed over doctrines like circumcision and kosher rules.

In 1987 the Ecumenical Patriach attended a liturgy with the pope where their deacons both took the Eucharist. (http://www.trueorthodoxy.org/heretics_world_orthodoxy_demetrios.shtml)

Mike said that this was not a concelebration, but I can't find any more detailed information on the event!
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« Reply #44 on: May 17, 2010, 09:48:49 AM »


Side Comments

1. Juridical Rules

ELIJAHMARIA, I wouldn't get too bogged down in the juridical vs mystical approach. They can be complementary, as Recent Convert said, instead of an exclusive dichotomy.

I appreciate your writings, Mike, Peter,  Fr. George, ElijahMaria, and RecentConvert.

Dear Rakovsky,

First I smiled at your name and avatar.

Then I read your posts with great interest.

Then I read your comment to me and fell out of my chair!!  laugh

Thank you.  I am in full agreement.

Elijahmaria
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