But we aren't dealing with heretics.We are dealing with ignorant, baptized Orthodox Christians. I realize that many years ago, the church was much tougher with communion practices but honestly, do we really want to return to those times? We can romanticize the past or we can live in the present.
If our clergy held us to the same standards as years past, I think most of us we find ourselves outside the church doors for various sins. Frankly, I think the church is doing the right thing by encouraging people to take Holy Communion. In my lifetime, I have seen the Orthodox Church in America flower and produce fruit I could never have imagined. More folks are taking fasting, attending services, and studying their faith seriously than in years past when no one would approach the altar. I believe part of the spiritual awakening (evangelization programs, IOCC, OCMC, OCN, Ancient Faith Radio, Project Mexico, Hogar Raphael, etc. etc.) is due to more of us taking Holy Communion on a regular basis.
Again, I think you misunderstood me. I'm not at all about telling people whether they should commune or not, and I'm not about liturgical anachronism for the sake of anachronism, just citing precedent. Although I am glad to see people approaching the chalice more than four times a year, the former practice did come with a sense of holiness and gravity for when people did partake. St. Mary of Egypt communed once or twice in her whole life, and look at the fruit that bore.
Also - many heretics were probably ignorant too, and I hope God had mercy on them because of their foolishness, but they were still subject to the same anathemas as the ringleaders.
I am not disagreeing with you that folks should stay quiet in the church but is it really that awful? How loud are they?
Can you move closer to the altar so it won't annoy you so much? When it used to annoy me I would move to the front of the church because the talkers usually sat or stood in the back. I honestly think if the priest made a consistent effort to ask people to save their chatter till after the service it would begin to have an effect. The priest can set the tone.
This isn't about me, but someone bothered by chatter might not be able to tell among strangers who's going to talk and who isn't when picking a place to sit/stand, and moving would be especially difficult if the church in question has pews.
If I could pick any place to stand during liturgy, I would be hunkered next to the iconostasis the whole time so that I can hear the priest; in a big church I still can't understand the priest half the time, regardless of what anyone else is doing.
Again, I do not disagree with you but there is not much we can do about it. I remember trying to get people to be quiet but they would just look at me as if I was from Mars. We could lock all the doors and enforce codes of silence but real change only happens in the heart and most people will change if they are approached with love and kindness.
I know, but to me, the idea of not doing anything about it at all in the name of "not judging" is like saying, "if you don't like pollution, don't breathe". I thought we were not islands unto ourselves: that we are partly responsible for each other's salvation, not just our own. Just like our priests are here to lead us and care for us, as a royal priesthood ourselves we share some of that responsibility.