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Author Topic: Can unchrismated believer partake of the Holy Eucharist?  (Read 8440 times) Average Rating: 0
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ChristianLove
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« on: December 23, 2007, 03:06:44 AM »

A friend of mine is being allowed to partake of Holy Eucharist during nativity. She says that her priest told her she is ready, since she believes in all things Orthodox, and was baptized High Church Anglican and raised in the Anglican Church under her priest, her Dad. She holds to the communion of our Church Fathers, belief in the canons of 7 councils, and the ever presence of The Holy Trinity in His one Holy Orthodox Church, and believes in the real presence of Christ in the communion. Her Orthodox priest does not want her to miss the blessing of partaking of communion during the nativity, so he is allowing and recommending this for her, although she is not to tell the Bishop or other priests or monks, since they might take it the wrong way, since she won't be officially crismated in the Orthodox Church until Pascha. She is wondering if it's holy to partake of communion under this priest's Orthodox blessings, or if she should hold until after her official Chrismation, so the Bishop's blessings would not have been circumvented in partaking of the Holy Eucharist?

Thanks for your advice brethren.
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« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2007, 03:12:48 AM »

The Bishop is the Shepherd of His Flock.
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« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2007, 03:14:04 AM »

No, it is not ok. The key word that gives this away is, "don't tell the bishop." The bishop is the head of the diocese. The priest is only his deputy. He should not dare to do anything against his bishop. He cannot give a blessing without having a blessing from the bishop.

When she communes and then is later chrismated...what are people in the parish going to think?
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« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2007, 03:22:51 AM »

I agree with Anastasios.  It is not okay, and she should wait until after her Chrismation.  I'm personally a bit surprised to hear a Priest suggest that.
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« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2007, 08:05:49 AM »

I agree with Anastasios.  It is not okay, and she should wait until after her Chrismation.  I'm personally a bit surprised to hear a Priest suggest that.

A bit surprised?  If this is true, it's really shocking.  I cannot believe that a priest would do this, let alone be so indiscrete as to say "don't let the bishop find out".  I also agree with what Anastasios wrote.
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« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2007, 08:15:26 AM »

Who am I being a sinner to judge the words of a priest of God?

Personally, I would not partake before being baptised and chrismated in such a situation lest any of the cogregation be caused to stumble and so likewise would I explain my thoughts to the priest.

Pray for those of us who struggle please.

Also, please pray for my priest Abouna Youhanna (Fr. John) who has recently returned from visiting the missions in Asia and is very ill so I hear.
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« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2007, 08:23:36 AM »

Who am I being a sinner to judge the words of a priest of God?

The point is that if this is being done as described, it is being done in a clandestine way, without the approval of the bishop.   Offering the Eucharist to non-Orthodox is not the practice of the Orthodox Church and it in fact flies in the face of Orthodox doctrine. 
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« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2007, 08:45:43 AM »

I understand and agree that nothing should be done with the bishop's approval as St. Ignatius says but I am still in no position to judge. The priest said not to tell the bishop. Perhaps permission had been obtained from the bishop and it is a test for the catechumen? Who am I to judge such matters? Pray for me please.
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« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2007, 09:11:24 AM »

Who am I to judge such matters?

This is a very delicate matter.  Strictly speaking, I suppose that the laity should not presume to judge what is done by the clergy.  On the other hand, it is the laity's responsibility to be the guardian of doctrine.  It is sometimes too easy for the laity to abrogate this responsibility and simply say "this is not my business."  Is this situation the business of the laity?  Based on what little I know of what is going on, I would have to say that to some degree at least, it is.
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« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2007, 11:12:05 AM »

Thanks for all your kindly guidance. My friend was told that the Bishop would not approve if he knew. Her catechumen class are all being given the opportunity to partake of the Holy Eucharist on that day, because the priest believes they all have so much liturgical Christian background, even if not in Orthodox churches, that it is fine and his desire is that they would not suffer as he had when he had to go through the Nativity without being able to partake of the Holy Eucharist.

A follow up question, in the place where she's at, there are many other Greek and Antiochian Orthodox Churches. She wants to know now if she should stop her catechumen class and go to another location of the Orthodox communion so she does not have to struggle with such problems in the future and can be faithful to the Orthodox communion. Thoughts please?

humbly in Christ,
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« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2007, 11:46:50 AM »

If you don't mind, one other question along this line. Within the ROCA communion, she has found great console that they do not follow modern evolutionary teachings against the teachings of the fathers of the church, as Seraphim Rose kindly spoke of many years ago, but she has read some Bishops of the Orthodox communion write that the belief in toll houses in some ROCA communion is against Orthodox holy teachings and should not be followed by faithful Orthodox. Don't want her to start "church hopping", but would really appreciate knowing when should an Orthodox member or catechumen decide they should continue in the hardship of their current congregation and when they should start leaving, especially if they are only in catechumen state at the moment?

Also, are there any recommended readings of the fathers of the Church about the time requirements before Chrismation or is that simply a matter of a priest's discernment? Are there any canon laws of the ecumenical councils that describe how long should a person wait to be accepted for Chrismation or is that not a matter for a priest to determine, even if a Bishop sets a rule to wait for 9 months or 3 years before chrismation? As we know, in the earliest Church, our holy apostles would baptize and chrismate a believer almost instantaneously (i.e. St. Phillip and the Ethiopian Eunuch who was searching the Holy Scriptures, St. Peter and the military commander, Pentecost and the 1000s who received The Holy Spirit instantly and were immediately baptized and received in the Church,...). If there are exceptions, and the Bishops set a rule to wait 9 months or 3 years like many Orthodox Churches used to, are priests to keep that rule strictly or utilize their own discernment and speed up the process, especially for those who might have already been reading the Fathers for many years and have attended the liturgy of various High Churches for years and are already in full communion with Holy Tradition and the Scriptures in faith and practice? Obviously St. Athanasius, when he was "only" a deacon, was called to stand up to Bishop Arius, and there are many times when Bishops and Patriarchs have entered heresy, which was not officially and canonically defined as heresy yet, but there are many times when members of our churches humbly continued to worship God without speaking out. Generally speaking, how do we discern when "it is better to obey God rather than man" even while keeping the unity of the Spirit as St. Ignatius wrote in his wonderful letters?
 
humbly in Christ and the communion of the saints,
Thanks kindly
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« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2007, 02:08:23 PM »

Dear ChristianLove,

God bless you for helping your friend so faithfully!

It's actually kind of funny that this came up when it did, as we were just discussing the authority of the Bishop in another thread...

I want to first say, please understand that when we here on the forum are disapproving of what the priest has said, we do so with love, and not in judgement.  The canons of the church have been set out for specifically this reason, and we should follow them as best we can. 

My personal opinion is this... A priest should ALWAYS follow the rules of his Bishop.  Spiritually, when the Bishop makes a rule, on the day of judgement the responsibility is with him, not the priest, as long as the priest faithfully follows.  If a priest disagrees with a rule of the Bishop, then they should either obey with the understanding that it is no longer their responsibility, or they should contact another Bishop on the matter, and that Bishop can handle it within the Synod (for example, in the GOA, if a priest had a problem with something a Bishop said or did, he would appeal to Archbishop Demetrios of America.  I don't know who the equivalent is in the ROCOR church).

In the same way that the Bishop is responsible for his decisions, so is the priest.  Therefore, should your friend, or any of the other catechumens, decide to go ahead and receive, the responsibility for this is with the priest.  They are simply obeying.

This is not to say that she should not take the matter seriously, though.  Kudos to her, and God bless her, for realizing that something is wrong with this picture.  I would say, rather than church hop, that she should contact either another priest in the same jurisdiction, or the Bishop, for advice on the matter.  And as always, if she is not comfortable and does not feel she is approaching the chalice in the proper way, then there is nothing wrong with abstaining.  If it were me, I would give the Bishop a call.  There is NOTHING wrong with calling the Bishop on spiritual matters like this.  As was stated before, the Bishop is the Shepherd of his Flock, and his flock should ALWAYS feel that they can talk to him. 

As to the waiting period for catechumens, again, this decision belongs to the Bishop.  We are a hierarchical church for a reason.  The only canon that I am aware of (but that's not saying much- anyone who knows more about canon law, feel free to jump in here), is the one that mandates a waiting period before a convert can be ordained.  That's the only one I am aware of, though.  Again, the Bishop is responsible for his decision.  He probably had good reason for making it.  If a pries disagrees, he should take it up with the Bishop.  If a priest feels that there is an exception to the rule, he should inform and seek the blessing of the Bishop.  Otherwise, priests should obey bishops or seek out another bishop for help (as I said before).  If the Bishop is found to be corrupt, than that will happen by the decision of the conciliar synod, not by the decision of a priest.  Don't take the burden of the Bishop's decisions onto your shoulders.  Especially when it comes to this particular rule, there is nothing, whatsoever, wrong with following the Bishop's rule. 

As to finding another catechism class, I would advise that she speak with the Bishop before making this decision.  Just call him and ask for his blessings and guidance.  He will be kind, I'm sure, and probably more than willing to help a faithful catechuman on their journey.  Mind you, I'm not advocating tattling here, just seeking his guidance, because she is aware of the problem (the whole "don't tell anyone" thing), and does not feel that she can approach the chalice without his approval. 

Again, God bless you both, and don't worry too much.  Just seek the advice of the Bishop and have faith!  God will guide you...
Pray for me a sinner...
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« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2007, 02:17:12 PM »

P.S. Welcome to the forum!
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« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2007, 06:38:40 PM »

Perhaps permission had been obtained from the bishop and it is a test for the catechumen?
I'm not aware of any bishop who would grant a priest in his diocese permission to disregard Holy Tradition by giving Communion to the unchrismated.  Just as a priest is answerable to his bishop for everything that he does as minister of the Holy Mysteries, so is a bishop answerable to his regional Synod, of which he may be a member, for all that he does as custodian of the Faith and shepherd of the Flock of Christ.
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« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2007, 07:05:37 PM »

Dear ChristianLove,

I agree with others who said that in our Orthodox tradition, the bishop is the shepherd of his flock. If your friends's priest feels uncomfortable planning to admit her to the Eucharist and says that the bishop should better not know about that, then, I would think, she should better wait. Of course, the Church of England and especially its part known as "High Church" has always been viewed by the Orthodox theologians as perhaps the closest to the Orthodox Church from the "sea" of Protestantism; yet, it's still NOT the Orthodox Church. And until your friend is chrismated Orthodox, she is NOT Orthodox, no matter what...

As for evolution, I have always expressed my views on this subject clearly. The theory of biological evolution is a SCIENIFIC THEORY, like the theory of relativity in physics, or the theory of atomic-molecular structure of matter in chemistry, or the theory of idiotypic network in immunology (my own field). Fr. Seraphim Rose is no more judge in this theory than I am a judge in quantum mechanics or in theories of comparative linguistics. While I am not in the position to tell your friend what to do, I find it absolutely appaling, mediaeval, plain weird that people make judgments on scientific theories not being really educated in the latter (let alone experts).

Have a blessed Advent and a blessed feast of the Nativity of our Lord!

George
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« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2007, 09:55:38 PM »

Your guidance have been most helpful. Thank you very much  angel
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« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2007, 10:57:16 PM »

A friend of mine is being allowed to partake of Holy Eucharist during nativity. She says that her priest told her she is ready, since she believes in all things Orthodox, and was baptized High Church Anglican and raised in the Anglican Church under her priest, her Dad. She holds to the communion of our Church Fathers, belief in the canons of 7 councils, and the ever presence of The Holy Trinity in His one Holy Orthodox Church, and believes in the real presence of Christ in the communion. Her Orthodox priest does not want her to miss the blessing of partaking of communion during the nativity, so he is allowing and recommending this for her, although she is not to tell the Bishop or other priests or monks, since they might take it the wrong way, since she won't be officially crismated in the Orthodox Church until Pascha. She is wondering if it's holy to partake of communion under this priest's Orthodox blessings, or if she should hold until after her official Chrismation, so the Bishop's blessings would not have been circumvented in partaking of the Holy Eucharist?

Thanks for your advice brethren.

Absolutely NOT!

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« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2007, 11:05:48 PM »

Not only is chrismation necessary, but how can one partake of the Eucharist without the Sacrament of penance?  I don't know whether this individual being discussed here has actually made confession and received absolution.  Before the Eucharist is distributed to the faithful, our priest always says "Those of you Orthodox Christians who are prepared by prayer, fasting and recent confession, with faith and with love draw near."  I really don't see how three of the great mysteries of the Church (penance, chrismation and eucharist) can be treated in such a manner by a priest. 
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« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2007, 11:23:26 PM »

Not only is chrismation necessary, but how can one partake of the Eucharist without the Sacrament of penance?  I don't know whether this individual being discussed here has actually made confession and received absolution.  Before the Eucharist is distributed to the faithful, our priest always says "Those of you Orthodox Christians who are prepared by prayer, fasting and recent confession, with faith and with love draw near."  I really don't see how three of the great mysteries of the Church (penance, chrismation and eucharist) can be treated in such a manner by a priest. 

Well, confession is supposed to return you to the state you were in at baptism.  I do agree that it's normal to go to confession before you are received into the Church as an adult.  It's probably necessary for priests to remind people that it's necessary and desirable to go to confession frequently.  In a way, though, it's become a little bit skewed in terms of being thought of as a necessary thing to have done before approaching the cup. 
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« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2007, 11:25:27 PM »

As for evolution, I have always expressed my views on this subject clearly. The theory of biological evolution is a SCIENIFIC THEORY, like the theory of relativity in physics, or the theory of atomic-molecular structure of matter in chemistry, or the theory of idiotypic network in immunology (my own field). Fr. Seraphim Rose is no more judge in this theory than I am a judge in quantum mechanics or in theories of comparative linguistics. While I am not in the position to tell your friend what to do, I find it absolutely appaling, mediaeval, plain weird that people make judgments on scientific theories not being really educated in the latter (let alone experts).

I couldn't agree more.
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« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2007, 11:28:34 PM »

Your guidance have been most helpful. Thank you very much  angel

I'm glad you were able to find assistance here.

Always be wary of those who don't wish to be mindful of the Church and the Bishop - I don't want to make this out to be boss-employee (which it is), but one has to remember that the Bishop stands in the space of Christ and the Apostles, and is charged not only with the teaching of the True Faith, but the responsibility of watching over the other shepherds of the flocks (i.e. the presbyters).  Any priest who wishes to circumvent this is essentially thumbing their nose at the whole body of the Church, and the great Saints therein, and does a great disservice to his own people, even if he has the purest of intentions (i.e. to see someone joined with Christ through the Eucharist).
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« Reply #21 on: December 24, 2007, 03:11:38 AM »

Serving Communion to anyone who is not a member of the Body of Christ, i.e. the Orthodox Church, is not within the authority of any priest or bishop.  All sacraments (mysteries) of the Church are reserved for those who believe and and have accepted the Faith; membership in the Orthodox Church, which is achieved through Baptism, and by economy, Chrismation of one who was baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, with water.  A priest cannot excersize the "discretion" which the catecumen in this matter is the apparent recipient of.

The is also another comment above indicating in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America a priest can appeal his bishop's opinion to the Archbishop of America.  Such an appeal is canonically prohibited.  Since 1978, the GOA hirearchs have been ruling bishops (not auxiliaries as they had been previously), although the Charter of '78 granted supervisory authority to the Archbishop of America.  That article of the Charter was always in question because it conflicted with the cannon.  The current Charter authorizes only synodical oversight that is not in conflict with the cannon.  The diocesan Metropolitans are ruling bishops.  Their subordinate priests do not have appeal rights from positions taken by their bishops, (except in matters within the province of spiritual courts).

If there is such a pressing need for the catecumen to receive the mysteries, the priest should perform the Chrismation  and direct her to continue her studies.
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« Reply #22 on: December 24, 2007, 09:44:09 AM »

I hope that your friend was mistaken by what her priest told her in the class.  I know priest will allow catechumen and non-orthodox to approach the cup but will only bless them but not commune them.  Perhaps this is what he meant to do otherwise is against the canons.

Thomas

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« Reply #23 on: December 24, 2007, 03:11:25 PM »

Dear Thomas, unfortunately there is no question, but again the priest is doing this with all loving heart wanting the catechumen not to suffer as he did during the nativity prior to his own Orthodox chrismation.

If I wanted to approach that priest on a 1:1 confidential basis, might you be able to provide me with specific canons and guidance from the Church Fathers on this please? I would like to approach him humbly, graciously and with some knowledge in order that he does not think this to simply be my personal opinion but rather an honest Orthodox understanding that must probably not be overridden by a kind hearted gesture due to the importance of partaking of the Holy Eucharist.

humbly in Christ,
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« Reply #24 on: December 24, 2007, 11:36:10 PM »

Thanks for all your kindly guidance. My friend was told that the Bishop would not approve if he knew. Her catechumen class are all being given the opportunity to partake of the Holy Eucharist on that day, because the priest believes they all have so much liturgical Christian background, even if not in Orthodox churches, that it is fine and his desire is that they would not suffer as he had when he had to go through the Nativity without being able to partake of the Holy Eucharist.

A follow up question, in the place where she's at, there are many other Greek and Antiochian Orthodox Churches. She wants to know now if she should stop her catechumen class and go to another location of the Orthodox communion so she does not have to struggle with such problems in the future and can be faithful to the Orthodox communion. Thoughts please?

humbly in Christ,

It's very hard for me to believe an Orthodox Priest would suggest doing this. Yes, I would leave and go to another Orthodox Church if one is nearby. 
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« Reply #25 on: December 25, 2007, 03:22:18 PM »

... wanting the catechumen not to suffer as he did during the nativity prior to his own Orthodox chrismation.

It may not be my place to say, but I was wondering if there might be a self-fulfilling prophesy here. You know ... someone keeps hearing about how miserable they'll be if they follow the rules and don't commune ... then when they're not allowed to commune, surprise surprise they feel unhappy.

My $0.02.
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« Reply #26 on: December 25, 2007, 04:30:05 PM »





I just can't envision the situation happening in an Orthodox church, allowing a whole slew of catechumens to commune.  If this did happen, are you sure it is a legit Orthodox Church and not one of the self-proclaimed true Orthodox churches you see on the internet, you know the ones where they have two churches, one being on the "archbishop's property."  then they seemingly have 12 bishops and every priest is mitered.  You know the ones that have the names like "the true Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russian in exile from the other Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia"  Or, like, "The True Autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Exile outside of Scranton."
I'm just having a hard time believing an Orthodox priest would allow this to happen. 
So what did happen?  Did this event take place?
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« Reply #27 on: December 25, 2007, 04:43:08 PM »

PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE TROLL

And just who, pray tell, is the troll in this thread?
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« Reply #28 on: December 25, 2007, 05:21:46 PM »




I just can't envision the situation happening in an Orthodox church, allowing a whole slew of catechumens to commune.  If this did happen, are you sure it is a legit Orthodox Church and not one of the self-proclaimed true Orthodox churches you see on the internet, you know the ones where they have two churches, one being on the "archbishop's property."  then they seemingly have 12 bishops and every priest is mitered.  You know the ones that have the names like "the true Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russian in exile from the other Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia"  Or, like, "The True Autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Exile outside of Scranton."
I'm just having a hard time believing an Orthodox priest would allow this to happen. 
So what did happen?  Did this event take place?

Excuse me, but those of us who are Old Calendarists or True Orthodox and those who are vagantes are not the same thing.

And those of us who are Old Calendarists or True Orthodox usually baptize converts--we certainly don't let heterodox commune.
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« Reply #29 on: December 25, 2007, 06:10:23 PM »

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« Reply #30 on: December 25, 2007, 06:16:42 PM »

Excuse me, but those of us who are Old Calendarists or True Orthodox and those who are vagantes are not the same thing.

And those of us who are Old Calendarists or True Orthodox usually baptize converts--we certainly don't let heterodox commune.


geeeeeeeeeez I wasn't talking about you!  Let me clarify, at a certain pilgrimage a few years back I had two guys tell me they were orthodox bishops and the chapel was on the archbishop's property.  They asked me where I was from, they said they were from there.  Never heard of them.  Also there was another guy there who was at one time a priest in a certain apostolic church and left and created  his own, like 8 bishops and one church. 
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« Reply #31 on: December 25, 2007, 10:02:22 PM »

I also had an experience of a visit to a vagante parish, where they did not want to tell me to which jurisdiction they belong.

Regarding the original question - strong no. Nobody can partake the Communion in Orthodox Church without being baptized or / and chrismated there. Also, if this priest in question hides even this issue from his Hierarch, what else can he invent?
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« Reply #32 on: December 25, 2007, 10:37:49 PM »

Thank for clarifying that. Smiley

There certainly are vagantes who stole the name "True Orthodox" or "Old Calendarist" for sure. I did not understand that that was to whom you were referring.

In Christ,

Anastasios
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« Reply #33 on: December 26, 2007, 04:34:47 AM »

Dear Thomas, unfortunately there is no question, but again the priest is doing this with all loving heart wanting the catechumen not to suffer as he did during the nativity prior to his own Orthodox chrismation.

If I wanted to approach that priest on a 1:1 confidential basis, might you be able to provide me with specific canons and guidance from the Church Fathers on this please? I would like to approach him humbly, graciously and with some knowledge in order that he does not think this to simply be my personal opinion but rather an honest Orthodox understanding that must probably not be overridden by a kind hearted gesture due to the importance of partaking of the Holy Eucharist.

humbly in Christ,
Personally, my gut-level feeling on this is that your priest knows quite well what the canons say to prohibit him from communing the unchrismated.  Your talking to him privately probably isn't going to help if he knows well enough that he is disobeying the canons and his own bishop to tell people to conceal his act from his and your bishop.  I would personally recommend that, if you're going to talk to anyone in authority, you go over your priest's head and tell your bishop what your priest is doing.
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« Reply #34 on: December 26, 2007, 01:30:58 PM »


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Glorify Him!

At our Nativity Feast Liturgy yesterday our priest made it plain prior to administering Holy Communion that only those who are Orthodox AND who have properly prepared could partake of our Lord's Supper.

Cant be any simpler than that.

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« Reply #35 on: December 26, 2007, 02:21:46 PM »

Who am I being a sinner to judge the words of a priest of God?

Personally, I would not partake before being baptised and chrismated in such a situation lest any of the cogregation be caused to stumble and so likewise would I explain my thoughts to the priest.

Pray for those of us who struggle please.

Also, please pray for my priest Abouna Youhanna (Fr. John) who has recently returned from visiting the missions in Asia and is very ill so I hear.

The matter is very sensitive.

The Priest has the power to bind or not and carries the weight of his office on his shoulders.

He may opt to provide the communion if this is how the Holy Spirit directs the matter.

The Priest must believe and know that the act is un-orthodox and be yet willing to answer for such decisons if he proceeds. He should not try to save himself by hiding the actions of his office. All that the priest does in the Holy Church is out in the open. No secrets as it relates to administering the sacraments.

The person partaken is not required to just because of the offer. The person can say "no I will take it latter with Gods will".

For me I would not have offered the communion to people not baptised and are not faithful in the Holy Church.

God bless the health of His Grace Abouna Yehounna.

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« Reply #36 on: December 26, 2007, 05:31:05 PM »

Christ is Born!
Glorify Him!

At our Nativity Feast Liturgy yesterday our priest made it plain prior to administering Holy Communion that only those who are Orthodox AND who have properly prepared could partake of our Lord's Supper.

Cant be any simpler than that.



Our priest says pretty much the same thing (see my earlier post).  One wonders how it could be interpreted any other way unless they were deluding themselves.
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« Reply #37 on: December 26, 2007, 09:11:17 PM »

A friend of mine is being allowed to partake of Holy Eucharist during nativity. She says that her priest told her she is ready, since she believes in all things Orthodox, and was baptized High Church Anglican and raised in the Anglican Church under her priest, her Dad. She holds to the communion of our Church Fathers, belief in the canons of 7 councils, and the ever presence of The Holy Trinity in His one Holy Orthodox Church, and believes in the real presence of Christ in the communion. Her Orthodox priest does not want her to miss the blessing of partaking of communion during the nativity, so he is allowing and recommending this for her, although she is not to tell the Bishop or other priests or monks, since they might take it the wrong way, since she won't be officially crismated in the Orthodox Church until Pascha. She is wondering if it's holy to partake of communion under this priest's Orthodox blessings, or if she should hold until after her official Chrismation, so the Bishop's blessings would not have been circumvented in partaking of the Holy Eucharist?

Thanks for your advice brethren.


So what's the update?  Find anything out?
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« Reply #38 on: December 26, 2007, 09:45:22 PM »

This is a Reply to Reply #23 above.

While it is wrong for heterodox to be served or receive Holy Communion, I would not agree that the catecumen in question should seek another jurisdiction.  Not-with-standing his gross error in this situation, he seems to be a rather caring clergyman, more concerned about salvation than adherence to rules, not that I agree with that type of thinking.  There has not been additional information provided with which to question his Orthodoxy.  "Jurisdictions" in and of themselves are anomalies to our One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith.  Only God knows how long our Holy Church in North America will continue to suffer from this self defeating dilemma.

Also, it should be noted that the priest's determination of the catecumen's intellectual acceptance of her orthodoxy (purposely not capitalized), is also contrary to Orthodoxy ecclesiology.  It is not our intellectual understanding of our Faith that makes us Orthodox, though our commitment is an element, it is our acceptance of the sanctifying Grace of the "Seal and Gift of the Holy Spirit," bestowed upon us, that enables our path to His Kingdom.

I would also recommend that she politely tell the priest that she will refrain from going to Communion until her catecumenate is completed.
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« Reply #39 on: January 08, 2008, 04:33:03 PM »

update: My friend decided to not partake of the communion and has chosen to move to another Orthodox Church, where such questions may not have to be handled by a catechumen. Other catechumen chose to partake, but they simply followed their priest's leading and are covered by God's Grace. The priest's heart is well intentioned and God will grant Him Mercy as he continues to grow in Grace and Knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, while in full communion with Orthodox and His Bishop's direction.

Thanks again for your wonderful and timely thoughts.
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« Reply #40 on: January 08, 2008, 04:47:01 PM »

Other catechumen chose to partake, but they simply followed their priest's leading and are covered by God's Grace. The priest's heart is well intentioned and God will grant Him Mercy as he continues to grow in Grace and Knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, while in full communion with Orthodox and His Bishop's direction.

With all due respect, none of us can say that for certain.  We can hope for God's grace and mercy, but we can certainly not presume to know how anyone will ultimately be judged, for good or for ill.
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« Reply #41 on: January 09, 2008, 01:07:19 AM »

I just find it incredible that the liturgy literally cannot be served without "literally" the bishop's signature.  Yet communion can be given without it?  Doesn't make much sense to me. 

If that priest really didn't want that catachumen to suffer without communion, then chrismate them!  wouldn't that make more sense than the other option at hand?  Just a thought...

I do not think that we can stand by and just watch indifference, irregard for protocol, disrespect of our bishops and the church itself, and a trifling with the Eucharist.  But that's just my opinion. 

* took a word out*
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« Reply #42 on: January 09, 2008, 04:32:39 PM »

In reality, there is no way for a priest to determine if a believer is or is not chrismated.  He can ask?  I have been told that in certain former "communist" countries that are Orthodox many people receive communion who may or may not be chrismated or in "good standing."  I was once asked by a Romanian soldier why I did not go to communion in Iraq and when I told him I was not worthy because of a divorce and remarriage he laughed and said no one in Romania worries about those things.  I sometimes wondered seeing their soldiers receiving the sacrament and obviously not knowing how to approach the chalice.  The world is not a village anymore.
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« Reply #43 on: January 09, 2008, 04:57:13 PM »

He can ask?

He can indeed ask.  Remember, he's equally & eternally responsible if either (a) someone receives who shouldn't, or (b) he refuses someone who should receive.

As to the rest of your post: I have a feeling it's not just in the former communist nations.  I haven't observed any non-chrismated folk receiving, but certainly people who haven't prepared.  Of course, I'm guilty of the same I suspect...
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« Reply #44 on: January 09, 2008, 05:32:16 PM »

If that priest really didn't want that catachumen to suffer without communion, then chrismate them!  wouldn't that make more sense than the other option at hand?  Just a thought...

It's the only thing that makes sense here, IMHO.  Receving communion essentially makes you Orthodox.  One consequence of a non-iilumined person receiving the Eucharist is that  the recipient is just being deprived of everything that comes with chrismation, such as protection from demonic attacks, the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit etc.  I don't see this action as something doing any favours for the uniniated!
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« Reply #45 on: January 09, 2008, 08:03:44 PM »

It's the only thing that makes sense here, IMHO.  Receving communion essentially makes you Orthodox.  One consequence of a non-iilumined person receiving the Eucharist is that  the recipient is just being deprived of everything that comes with chrismation, such as protection from demonic attacks, the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit etc.  I don't see this action as something doing any favours for the uniniated!

I agree.  Also, it's as if to say that all the other prayers of the church are "not good enough."

As if Paraklisis is not good enough, or a vespers service, or any of the other miriad of services in the Orthodox church are not good enough to protect this person.  ONLY the Eucharist?  I am sorry, I have a huge problem with that. 

eh...some more cents just added...giving me the grand total of .05
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« Reply #46 on: February 22, 2008, 12:14:00 PM »

In my OCA parish I can see how someone can slip in who is not chrismated sincethere is sometimes as many as 200 plus folks in line but the Priests do try to be introduced to new comers asking for communion. I have a Romanian friend whom I brought to Church a couple of times and had to vouch for her. Our Priest basically said that "I trust you" that she was not only Orthodox but prepared to communion.

We are a typical suburban OCA parish not known for being overly strict.. At the local Rocor Church that I often visit, you must not only be known to the Priest but I wouldn't think of asking for communion without having confessed beforehand.

I simply cant believe there is an Orthodox Priest out there who wants to give comunion to unchrismated catechumans. I think we are missing some vital piece of info.
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« Reply #47 on: February 22, 2008, 02:15:36 PM »



I simply cant believe there is an Orthodox Priest out there who wants to give comunion to unchrismated catechumans. I think we are missing some vital piece of info.

What are we missing...believe me they exist, and I have witnessed it, as I am sure others have as well...it is a reality that we have to deal with. 
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« Reply #48 on: February 22, 2008, 02:40:13 PM »

What are we missing...believe me they exist, and I have witnessed it, as I am sure others have as well...it is a reality that we have to deal with. 

WE must pray for these priests..not "deal with" the false acts of 'spirituality' they engage in.

Giving a non-beleiver Holy Communion is a crime.

The person is being given a false truth. It is like a lawyer hiding or dismissing evidence which is also a crime.
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« Reply #49 on: February 22, 2008, 02:55:44 PM »

Giving a non-beleiver Holy Communion is a crime.

The person is being given a false truth. It is like a lawyer hiding or dismissing evidence which is also a crime.

Really?  Would you care to show me where we have made that a crime?  Since I'm in Texas, a citation to either the Texas Penal Code or the United States Code (if it's a federal crime) will suffice.
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« Reply #50 on: February 22, 2008, 03:07:17 PM »

What are we missing...believe me they exist, and I have witnessed it, as I am sure others have as well...it is a reality that we have to deal with. 

I think you are right.  I have come to see in the last little while that there are a lot more liberal attitudes present in the Orthodox Church than I ever used to think was possible. 
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« Reply #51 on: February 22, 2008, 03:18:33 PM »

WE must pray for these priests..not "deal with" the false acts of 'spirituality' they engage in.

Giving a non-beleiver Holy Communion is a crime.

The person is being given a false truth. It is like a lawyer hiding or dismissing evidence which is also a crime.

I know I am not in the church yet, but yall sound very legalistic. It is one of the reasons I left Islam, because they were too legalistic.  Judaism was very legalistic, and Jesus came and brought the Spirit of the Law.  And Islam seems like they need Jesus now, so He can give them the spirit of the law.  And the way you sound now in this thread, it seems like yall need Jesus to, to give yall the Spirit of the law.

It is still beyond me why one has to wait a year to be Baptized?  And then you still might not get baptized.  It is like I want to learn about spirituality of Christianity but can't really do nothing until I get baptized.  I was reading this book entitled, The Path to Salvation (A Manual of Spiritual Transformation) by St Theophan The Recluse. In the first chapter it speaks of Baptism and its important role in Spirituality.  But I am shut off from Spirituality because of Church rules, which Jesus himself did not make.  It is very frustrating to me.

I don't know but it is my rant for today.



 
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« Reply #52 on: February 22, 2008, 03:26:35 PM »

I know I am not in the church yet, but yall sound very legalistic. It is one of the reasons I left Islam, because they were too legalistic.  Judaism was very legalistic, and Jesus came and brought the Spirit of the Law.  And Islam seems like they need Jesus now, so He can give them the spirit of the law.  And the way you sound now in this thread, it seems like yall need Jesus to, to give yall the Spirit of the law.

It is still beyond me why one has to wait a year to be Baptized?  And then you still might not get baptized.  It is like I want to learn about spirituality of Christianity but can't really do nothing until I get baptized.  I was reading this book entitled, The Path to Salvation (A Manual of Spiritual Transformation) by St Theophan The Recluse. In the first chapter it speaks of Baptism and its important role in Spirituality.  But I am shut off from Spirituality because of Church rules, which Jesus himself did not make.  It is very frustrating to me.

I don't know but it is my rant for today.


If you have to wait a year to be baptized, it is because that is the amount of time that your bishop and/or Synod have determined is a sufficient period of instruction and preparation.  Baptism isn't merely a ritual of initiation, but a dramatic transformation of one's life.  It is thus not something to be entered into lightly or upon a whim.  Waiting a year allows some time for any superficial infatuation with Orthodoxy to wear off, ensuring that you are coming to Orthodoxy because you believe it to be truth rather than seeking your latest spiritual thrill.  The rules and waiting period is there for a reason, not simply for the sake of creating some hoops through which to jump.
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« Reply #53 on: February 22, 2008, 03:39:13 PM »

If you have to wait a year to be baptized, it is because that is the amount of time that your bishop and/or Synod have determined is a sufficient period of instruction and preparation.  Baptism isn't merely a ritual of initiation, but a dramatic transformation of one's life.  It is thus not something to be entered into lightly or upon a whim.  Waiting a year allows some time for any superficial infatuation with Orthodoxy to wear off, ensuring that you are coming to Orthodoxy because you believe it to be truth rather than seeking your latest spiritual thrill.  The rules and waiting period is there for a reason, not simply for the sake of creating some hoops through which to jump.

Well maybe that is how it works are your church.  But there is no instruction or preparation at the church I go to.

So in theory you answer sounds nice, but in practice, not very applicable.

So it is very legalistic practice at my church, it is applied without meaning at my church, perhaps with meaning at your church. I've even heard it is applied legalistically where instruction is given.  If a person is well informed about the Orthodox Church, its theology and practices, the wait is still a year.

So it is very legalistic in nature in terms of practice. But I guess rules are rules.  So I'll wait a year with or without instruction, its all the same just as long as you follow the rules.  I guess one would reply, it is about testing one sincerety.  Does one really want to be part of the church or is it all talk? 
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« Reply #54 on: February 22, 2008, 03:44:01 PM »

Well maybe that is how it works are your church.  But there is no instruction or preparation at the church I go to.

So in theory you answer sounds nice, but in practice, not very applicable.

So it is very legalistic practice at my church, it is applied without meaning at my church, perhaps with meaning at your church. I've even heard it is applied legalistically where instruction is given.  If a person is well informed about the Orthodox Church, its theology and practices, the wait is still a year.

So it is very legalistic in nature in terms of practice.


First, the fact you don't receive instruction is a problem with your priest, not the rule set forth by your bishop.

Second, the mere fact that there is a rule doesn't make it legalistic.  The mere fact that rules exist isn't legalism; rules solely for the sake of rules is legalism.  You apparently ignored a portion of my post in order to jump on the instruction portion.  Once again, the waiting period also serves the goal of making sure there is a cooling off period and that a person truly desires to become Orthodox, which requires work, rather than simply looking for their latest spiritual high.  Theosis is a hard, lifelong work.  If someone can't be constant enough to be faithful to Orthodoxy to the year, are they really going to be faithful to Orthodoxy for a lifetime? 
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« Reply #55 on: February 22, 2008, 03:46:06 PM »

WE must pray for these priests..not "deal with" the false acts of 'spirituality' they engage in.

Giving a non-beleiver Holy Communion is a crime.

The person is being given a false truth. It is like a lawyer hiding or dismissing evidence which is also a crime.

Since when does dealing with it not include prayer.  That is why I put that particular phrase, because many of us abuse it and make it into a flipant response.  Dealing with something includes coping, taking action, prayer, etc.  ANY way that you feel like dealing with it.  
I think you are right.  I have come to see in the last little while that there are a lot more liberal attitudes present in the Orthodox Church than I ever used to think was possible. 

That's an interesting statement...would you care to elaborate?  

I know I am not in the church yet, but yall sound very legalistic. It is one of the reasons I left Islam, because they were too legalistic.  Judaism was very legalistic, and Jesus came and brought the Spirit of the Law.  And Islam seems like they need Jesus now, so He can give them the spirit of the law.  And the way you sound now in this thread, it seems like yall need Jesus to, to give yall the Spirit of the law.

Legalistic?  What do you mean?  If you are talking about our interpretation of giving communion...then perhaps we ARE legalistic.  

But also let me ask you this.  What does scripture mean by telling us that we do not give pearls to the swine?  

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« Reply #56 on: February 22, 2008, 04:10:05 PM »

If someone can't be constant enough to be faithful to Orthodoxy to the year, are they really going to be faithful to Orthodoxy for a lifetime? 

I have no choice but to wait, so i guess i have to wait.  But I don't see the wisdom in the rule.

And the answer to your question, it depends on the individual, everybody enters into Christianity for different reasons and leaves the religion for different reasons.

Some become Orthodox in order to marry an Orthodox, I've seen this, even among the Catholics.  However within this group, some become strong believers while others will leave as soon as their wife leaves them.  So while the intention is not very sound, the end results may differ depending on the person.

So it depends on the individual.
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« Reply #57 on: February 22, 2008, 04:19:20 PM »


Legalistic?  What do you mean?  If you are talking about our interpretation of giving communion...then perhaps we ARE legalistic.  

But also let me ask you this.  What does scripture mean by telling us that we do not give pearls to the swine?  



I don't know that lady, but from the looks of it, she is a full fledge Christian, she has been baptized. 

Casting the pearls to the swine.  The meaning of this is quite clear.  But I hardly doubt she is a swine.

Legalistic is when you look at the outward and refused to look inwardly. Perhaps the priest sees that she is Christian, endowed with the Holy Spirit. Perhaps he has a gift others do not. However because of legalism, he has commited a crime.

There has to be a middle path, yes there must be rules, but the spirit should also have a say.  The Outward and the inward should be reviewed. Not just the outward.

When I read the Gospel of Jesus, The Law is important, but we must not neglect the inward. Moses brought the law and grace came by way of Jesus.

It just seems to me that in this board, the priest was attacked merely on legalistic ground, without reviewing the spiritual aspects of the situation. And Our Lord knows best.

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« Reply #58 on: February 22, 2008, 04:24:57 PM »

Really?  Would you care to show me where we have made that a crime?  Since I'm in Texas, a citation to either the Texas Penal Code or the United States Code (if it's a federal crime) will suffice.

Very funny..LOL

I think it's US Federal code...

You are joking right!
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« Reply #59 on: February 22, 2008, 04:30:31 PM »

I have no choice but to wait, so i guess i have to wait.  But I don't see the wisdom in the rule.


Perhaps right now you don't see the wisdom.  But the Church has adhered to this practice for its entire history.  Now is the perfect time to try and practice humility and accept the Church's practice and pray for the grace to someday see the wisdom in it.
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« Reply #60 on: February 22, 2008, 04:33:43 PM »

I know I am not in the church yet, but yall sound very legalistic. It is one of the reasons I left Islam, because they were too legalistic.  Judaism was very legalistic, and Jesus came and brought the Spirit of the Law.  And Islam seems like they need Jesus now, so He can give them the spirit of the law.  And the way you sound now in this thread, it seems like yall need Jesus to, to give yall the Spirit of the law.

It is still beyond me why one has to wait a year to be Baptized?  And then you still might not get baptized.  It is like I want to learn about spirituality of Christianity but can't really do nothing until I get baptized.  I was reading this book entitled, The Path to Salvation (A Manual of Spiritual Transformation) by St Theophan The Recluse. In the first chapter it speaks of Baptism and its important role in Spirituality.  But I am shut off from Spirituality because of Church rules, which Jesus himself did not make.  It is very frustrating to me.

I don't know but it is my rant for today.



 

I am hearing you on this.

I do not know about 'waiting' 1 year we have 90 days of catachism (this varies by community I believe); but you must be taught. The faith came to us from Christ through His entire mission completed in fullness on the cross.

WE must suffer like our Lord.

This is our first and most important lesson.

You must "endure to the end".

WE pray for the catachumen in the liturgy just for this reason.

God give you patence and blessing to see your day of salvation...Amen.

Our Lord said: "he who endures to the end shall be saved"
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« Reply #61 on: February 22, 2008, 05:17:42 PM »

Really?  Would you care to show me where we have made that a crime?  Since I'm in Texas, a citation to either the Texas Penal Code or the United States Code (if it's a federal crime) will suffice.

Ya.. I think cannon law and Holy Tradition is what you should be looking into..

But of course, you already knew that.
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« Reply #62 on: February 22, 2008, 05:18:57 PM »

Ya.. I think cannon law and Holy Tradition is what you should be looking into..

But of course, you already knew that.

Remind me to order a sense of humor off eBay for you. Wink
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« Reply #63 on: February 22, 2008, 08:04:13 PM »

I have no choice but to wait, so i guess i have to wait.  But I don't see the wisdom in the rule.

And the answer to your question, it depends on the individual, everybody enters into Christianity for different reasons and leaves the religion for different reasons.

Some become Orthodox in order to marry an Orthodox, I've seen this, even among the Catholics.  However within this group, some become strong believers while others will leave as soon as their wife leaves them.  So while the intention is not very sound, the end results may differ depending on the person.

So it depends on the individual.


The practice of taking a long time to enter into the church is in no way new.  In the days of the early church, it took years to go from inquirer to catechuman, catechuman to illumined (preparing for baptism), illumined to baptized/chrismated.  Note that I said "years."  The fact that it's ONLY a year, or 90 days, or a month, etc., to me, is surprising.  We live in a sound byte nation, in a world where everything is go, go, go, and we have no patience, wanting what we want when we want it (I'm not accusing you of this, I'm just saying generally). 

The waiting period before baptism is not only for LEARNING the faith, it is (more importantly) for LIVING the faith.  One can know all the doctrine, quote the fathers, etc. until they're blue in the face.  But learning HOW to PRAY, how to come to worship services, how to apply Orthodox thinking to everyday life, how to truly become Orthodox in our way of life-- this is what takes a long time.  I'm "cradle" Orthodox, I spent two years at the seminary, and STILL, I'm learning more and more about my faith every day.  More importantly, through frequent confession, reading, watching the examples of my husband, my spiritual father, my bishop, and of course through prayer, I'm learning more and more about how to LIVE as an Orthodox Christian every day.  THIS is what takes so long.  And just when you think you are beginning to get the idea, BAM!  God humbles you. 

Just be patient, my brother in Christ.  In God's time (through the hand of His Holy bishop and His Holy priest who minister to you), you will be initiated into the Church.  Just take it as a practice in humility, obedience, and patience (three virtues that we all struggle with, I'm sure).  Take the time to learn all you can (if there is no instruction at your church--which there should be--find another church that has instruction or ask your priest privately or call your bishop).  Take the time to practice the lifestyle of the Church.

I hope I have not offended you with my words.  If so, I apologize as it was not my intent.  May God bless you in your journey to the faith and may He guide your footsteps always.
With Love in Christ,
Presbytera Mari
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« Reply #64 on: February 22, 2008, 08:18:45 PM »

It took me years to become Orthodox. From the time I first announced my intention to be received to the day I was baptized was over 3 and a half years...that is on top of 4 years of studying about Orthodoxy and visiting Orthodox parishes.

Once it happened I was sure glad it took so long. It really helped me prepare.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2008, 08:19:25 PM by Anastasios » Logged

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Past posts reflect stages of my life before my baptism may not be accurate expositions of Orthodox teaching. Also, I served as an Orthodox priest from 2008-2013, before resigning.
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