Author Topic: Why can't 'everyone' take Communion?  (Read 2205 times)

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Offline ignatius

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Why can't 'everyone' take Communion?
« on: April 04, 2008, 01:39:09 PM »
As I understand, Orthodoxy teaches that 'everyone' has grace to one degree or another. So why can't 'everyone' take Communion? I mean what is it that denies them Communion in Orthodoxy or the necessity to do Penance first? I don't understand...
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Offline Anastasios

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Re: Why can't 'everyone' take Communion?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2008, 01:46:08 PM »
In general, Orthodoxy does not teach that everyone has grace as if it were the same for all. It teaches that the entire world is being imbued with the uncreated energies of God. But on the unbaptized it works from without, whereas in the Orthodox it works from within.  The unbaptized do not have the faculty to receive sacramental grace, and if they were to receive it, they can become sick (spiritually and physically, cf. St Paul's Letter to the Corinthians).

I would read St Nikodemos's On Frequent Communion to further elaborate as to your specific question.
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Offline ignatius

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Re: Why can't 'everyone' take Communion?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2008, 01:53:03 PM »
In general, Orthodoxy does not teach that everyone has grace as if it were the same for all. It teaches that the entire world is being imbued with the uncreated energies of God. But on the unbaptized it works from without, whereas in the Orthodox it works from within.  The unbaptized do not have the faculty to receive sacramental grace, and if they were to receive it, they can become sick (spiritually and physically, cf. St Paul's Letter to the Corinthians).

I would read St Nikodemos's On Frequent Communion to further elaborate as to your specific question.

Thanks Anastasios!

That was great, clear and concise.

So the unbaptized really are incapable of taking communion in a healthy way? But aren't we born with a certain 'unity with God' that we loose in personal sin?
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Offline SiviSokol

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Re: Why can't 'everyone' take Communion?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2008, 02:44:43 PM »
...The unbaptized do not have the faculty to receive sacramental grace, and if they were to receive it, they can become sick (spiritually and physically, cf. St Paul's Letter to the Corinthians).

I would read St Nikodemos's On Frequent Communion to further elaborate as to your specific question.

I have a question concerning this.  If this is so, how would it be permissible for a pregnant woman to receive communion?  Does St. Nikodemos address this at all?  I ask since I don't have access to this book.  Thanks!

Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Re: Why can't 'everyone' take Communion?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2008, 04:18:16 PM »
I have not read St. Nicodemos' book, but how it was explained to me is that just as the baby receives physical nourishment from her mother which she could not receive on her own, so the baby receives communion only through the mother, who is baptized and can receive that grace.
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Offline drewmeister2

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Re: Why can't 'everyone' take Communion?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2008, 11:11:54 AM »
or the necessity to do Penance first?

As for why we need to go to confession before communing, St. Symeon says in his pre-communion prayers: "For Thou art Fire which burns the unworthy."  Communion burns all that which is bad, and if we are not made pure by coming to confession first, we ourselves will be burned because of the evil which has not yet been confessed. 
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Online PeterTheAleut

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Re: Why can't 'everyone' take Communion?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2008, 03:02:55 PM »
As for why we need to go to confession before communing, St. Symeon says in his pre-communion prayers: "For Thou art Fire which burns the unworthy."  Communion burns all that which is bad, and if we are not made pure by coming to confession first, we ourselves will be burned because of the evil which has not yet been confessed. 
Please be careful in disseminating this point of view as dogma, though.  We have already discussed the requirement of Confession before Communion in many other threads, and one could conclude rightly from our past discussions that your understanding is not the only doctrine embraced by the Orthodox regarding a link between these two sacraments.

To summarize, the practice of requiring Confession before EVERY reception of Holy Communion was originally a pastoral response to the trend over many centuries toward lay reception of Communion maybe once or twice per year.  The return to weekly Communion in many Orthodox churches has made this requirement virtually unenforceable, and the subordination of Communion to the absolution received in Confession is a bad understanding of what Communion and Confession really are.  I could go into much greater detail here, but, as I've already said above, many posters here already have on other threads.  I'll just refer you to one of the most recent of these.

Communion, Confession, Confusion
« Last Edit: April 05, 2008, 04:21:14 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline Tzimis

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Re: Why can't 'everyone' take Communion?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2008, 11:17:44 PM »
As I understand, Orthodoxy teaches that 'everyone' has grace to one degree or another. So why can't 'everyone' take Communion? I mean what is it that denies them Communion in Orthodoxy or the necessity to do Penance first? I don't understand...
Would you have sexual relations with a woman before you are married? The same applies for communion.
If you aren't married to the church you can't have the milk. ;)
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Re: Why can't 'everyone' take Communion?
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2008, 12:02:33 AM »
Would you have sexual relations with a woman before you are married? The same applies for communion.
If you aren't married to the church you can't have the milk. ;)
Maybe a rather crude analogy, but I think you bring up a good point.  We need to remember that Communion is also a communal sacrament.  We not only partake of the Body and Blood of Christ in Communion; we become the Body of Christ through Communion (1 Corinthians 10:16-17).  There has never been the idea until recently that someone outside of the Christian community of the Church can participate in this Holy Mystery.  You must be a member of the community (i.e., the Church) to partake of the communal meal (i.e., Holy Communion).
« Last Edit: April 06, 2008, 12:03:25 AM by PeterTheAleut »
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