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Author Topic: Orthodox Communion and Celiac Disease ?  (Read 13741 times) Average Rating: 0
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mamaquelly
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« on: June 01, 2008, 05:03:45 PM »

Hello,

I have been lurking here for a few months and finally decided to post a question that has been weighing on me.  I enjoy this site very much and have appreciated reading the comments and information offered by all.

I am a former Roman Catholic. I have been attending Divine Liturgy at our local OCA parish for over a year and am in the Inquirers class.  I hope to join the Church sometime in the next 6-12 months, when the priest and I agree that I am ready.

My question is related to a medical condition I have called Celiac Disease.  People with celiac disease experience a variety of problems and symptoms when exposed to a certain protein called gluten, which is in wheat and some other grains.  The condition is not immediately life threatening when exposed to wheat - unlike a serious allergic reaction.  Instead gluten is like a self destruct message to the body of a person with celiac disease.  Our immune system responds to gluten by destroying our own body tissues -most notably the intestinal tract - but any organ can be affected. Celiacs who are exposed to gluten have rates of cancer 12 x higher than the general population as well as suffer other serious and long term effects. 

As a Roman Catholic, I always recieved Communion under just the wine, as it is offered seperately.  I am very concerned about handling my medical condition while also accepting the longing to become Orthodox and recieve Holy Communion.

Does anyone know of any Orthodox with celiac disease?  How have they balanced their medical needs and spiritual needs? 

I read an article that said some Orthodox will arrange for the priest to try offer the celiac patient mostly wine from the spoon, even knowing that some of the wheat will be co-mingled.  I asked my priest about this very briefly, but he seemed confused about the problem and our conversation didn't go far.  I'll need to revisit it at some point, but I wanted to see if there is any real world experience with this situation out there. 

Thanks in advance for any information.   

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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2008, 05:26:22 PM »

I have heard it depends on how sensative the person is to wheat.  Some are fully able to receive just the wine, even though the two of mixed, with no issues.  Others, who are hypersenative, (there used to be one person at a parish I would attend like this), would have some wine set aside for them that was not mixed with the consecrated bread, specifically for them.  The Priest did have to get special permission from his Bishop to be allowed to do this though.  The person would also commune first, just to be extremely safe.

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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2008, 05:58:41 PM »

Someone at our parish has this, serious enough that he had to give up mission work in Europe.  He takes communion normally, and says he has never had a problem.  He doesn't overdo it on the qurban/antidoron though.
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2008, 06:37:12 PM »

I assume your priest would just set aside some wine without the bread co-mingled, and I'm pretty sure the bishop would agree to this, as well. I know someone in a neighboring parish who has Celiac's and that's what they priest did there.

I'd try talking to your priest about this issue again.

Good luck in your catechumenate!

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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2008, 10:55:08 PM »

There is a woman in our parish with this disease and she is able to commune. You only get a very small piece on the spoon.
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2008, 11:18:26 PM »

If one receives the Precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ at Communion, there's no need to worry about celiac disease because how can the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord himself trigger celiac disease?  Receiving Communion will not cure celiac disease; however, one will not be impacted by receiving Communion.

I have friends who won't receive Communion because of the sharing of the common spoon.  Above logic still applies with receiving the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord regardless if the 100 previous communicants wore lipstick, had colds or other communicable diseases, etc.

I speak based on having never experienced any adverse effects of receiving Communion; I can't and I won't speak for other churches and jurisdictions elsewhere except to say that receiving Communion in other jurisdictions and churches has not resulted in any adverse effects.   Wink
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2008, 12:28:20 AM »

I read an article that said some Orthodox will arrange for the priest to try offer the celiac patient mostly wine from the spoon, even knowing that some of the wheat will be co-mingled.  I asked my priest about this very briefly, but he seemed confused about the problem and our conversation didn't go far.  I'll need to revisit it at some point, but I wanted to see if there is any real world experience with this situation out there. 

Thanks in advance for any information.   



Perhaps you may schedule an appointment with your priest to speak about this matter formally.  When you do meet with him during the appointment take literature with you that explains Celiac Disease. 

Here is a link to brochures and articles explaining exactly what the disease is in a concise and easy to understand format;
http://www.celiac.org/resources.php
www.celiac.com
http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/celiac/index.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coeliac_disease wikipædia isn't my favourite reference but this one seems good and has lots of references in the footnote as well as eleven links to websites dealing with Celiac Disease.

These brochures/articles look great.  They are short and to the point.  If someone never heard of Celiac Disease these are the sort of brochure/articles printed out I'd want to hand that person.

Note, I am in no way offering medical advice.  I am simply showing the above links as a place of reference to show you that there is lots of information available to educate people about Celiac Disease.
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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2008, 12:39:15 AM »

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!  Welcome to the forum.

Mamaquelly, I forgot to welcome you in my previous message.   angel 
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2008, 03:34:52 AM »

The sister of a dear friend has Celiac Sprue disease and partakes of both the body and the blood at Holy Communion. Christ is the source of life. His body cannot cause harm. This fear, I believe, stems from the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. We do not subscribe to such a doctrine in the Orthodox Church.

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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2008, 08:15:25 AM »

I also know a few people with Celiac disease who are able to receive without difficulty.  However, I know that at least one of them has arranged with the priest to get the least amount of exposure as possible (i.e. they get the baby treatment - the bare minimum amount of Holy Communion).

Along the same vein as what SolEX01 and prodromos mentioned, I wouldn't be too afraid of Holy Communion inflaming your illness - If Communion were to pass on all the diseases it were exposed to then the Priest (who receives first and last) would be the most ill person in the parish, getting sick almost every week from the germs he would be exposed to - which is hardly the case in reality!
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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2008, 09:48:01 AM »

Welcome to the Forum!

I agree, the body and blood of Christ can not harm you.  This was seen in major epidemics in the US at the turn of the 2oth Century when many protestant churches went from common cup to  individual cups for communion yet had a higher rate of sickness than those churches who continued the use of the common cup. This is of course not an issue of scientific fact or study but rather a faith issue.  How can Christ who is the Great Physician offer you that which would harm you in his body and blood. If you still have concerns  get permission from your priest to contact your bishop about your issue, I am sure he will be able to advise you if your pastor felt unable to do make the decision.

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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2008, 10:17:59 AM »

I still think that if someone drank an entire communion cup full, there would be a reaction. The bread still has the chemical properties as it did beforehand, and though the spiritual essence is there, I wouldn't be comfortable receiving a large chunk based on faith alone.

To each his own, I suppose.
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« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2008, 11:57:29 PM »

If one receives the Precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ at Communion, there's no need to worry about celiac disease because how can the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord himself trigger celiac disease?  Receiving Communion will not cure celiac disease; however, one will not be impacted by receiving Communion.

I have friends who won't receive Communion because of the sharing of the common spoon.  Above logic still applies with receiving the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord regardless if the 100 previous communicants wore lipstick, had colds or other communicable diseases, etc.

I speak based on having never experienced any adverse effects of receiving Communion; I can't and I won't speak for other churches and jurisdictions elsewhere except to say that receiving Communion in other jurisdictions and churches has not resulted in any adverse effects.   Wink
I've received Communion from the same spoon as our resident AIDS patient--may his memory be eternal--and never had a problem.  Of course, I do think the risk of contracting HIV through the exchange of saliva is extremely minimal, but still...  How can the Fountain of Immortality be the vehicle for sickness and death, unless you approach failing to recognize the Body and Blood of Christ in the chalice?
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2008, 12:01:21 AM »

I've received Communion from the same spoon as our resident AIDS patient--may his memory be eternal--and never had a problem.  Of course, I do think the risk of contracting HIV through the exchange of saliva is extremely minimal, but still...

I've heard a doctor state that to contract HIV from saliva one would need to exchange a regulation size swimming pool of saliva, now thats a sloppy kiss.
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« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2008, 01:14:38 AM »

As far as my personal studies is concern, is not possible to catch any deadly disease by communing from the same Chalice. Even if some bacterias comes inside the body, it won't be enough to get you sick or kill (your body will naturally kill them). Second, if you take the Divine Eucharist correctly, you will only open you mouth and allow the Bishop/Priest to simply drop the Bread (mix with wine and water) without even contacting personally with the Spoon. This had been a problem by many converts and even cradle Orthodox, and because of it, some only Communion once or twice a year for simple fear. This is extremely sad, and need to be address.

I have not heard of any body getting sick after kissing Holy Icons or partaking of the Divine Eucharist; although if you are extremely sick, it is advisable not to kiss Holy Icons.

On a more theological sense, the Holy Mysteries is Christ Body and Blood (1 Cor 10:16; 11:18-34), thereby it is not possible for someone to get sick by partaking of the Holy Body and Blood of Christ (for neither sickness nor death is in Christ Jesus). I am not Orthodox yet, but when I do become Orthodox, I will partake of the Holy Mysteries weekly with no hesitation. My faith assure me that there is no sickness in the Holy Gifts.

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« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2008, 02:06:55 AM »

As far as my personal studies is concern, is not possible to catch any deadly disease by communing from the same Chalice. Even if some bacterias comes inside the body, it won't be enough to get you sick or kill (your body will naturally kill them). Second, if you take the Divine Eucharist correctly, you will only open you mouth and allow the Bishop/Priest to simply drop the Bread (mix with wine and water) without even contacting personally with the Spoon. This had been a problem by many converts and even cradle Orthodox, and because of it, some only Communion once or twice a year for simple fear. This is extremely sad, and need to address.

Most of us cradle Orthodox learn as children to open mouth and receive Communion from the spoon.

What was described above sounds way too technical and I have an Engineering Degree.   Shocked
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« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2008, 02:35:29 AM »

One brother writes:  "If one receives the Precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ at Communion, there's no need to worry about celiac disease because how can the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord himself trigger celiac disease?  Receiving Communion will not cure celiac disease; however, one will not be impacted by receiving Communion."  Another brother writes that a person with celiac fearing adverse effects from receiving communion results from the roman catholic belief in transubstantiation.  Unfortunately, my mother, a recent convert and a person with celiac has experienced physical distress after receiving the Bread of Holy Communion without the antidoron when the priest neglected to give her only the Wine.  (An experiment?)  What do we make of her distress after receiving?  And what should my mother do?

It is my understanding that the roman catholic teaching of transubstantiation says that the essence of bread and wine no longer remains and only the "accidents" or qualities of bread and wine remain, but what still appears to be bread and wine has, in its essence, become the Body and Blood of Christ.  The Body and Blood, however, still possess the physical, chemical, or accidental properties of bread and wine.  This is my understanding of the RC teaching of transubstantiation.

It is also my understanding that we Orthodox don't explain holy communion in terms of transubstantiation, but continue to call the Body "Bread" and the Blood "Wine" even after the invocation of the Holy Spirit.  In other words, we don't cease calling them Bread and Wine while also calling them the Body and Blood of Christ.  But we don't try to explain this.  We simply say that the Bread is Christ's Body and the Wine is His Blood.

If the gluten or gliadin in the wheat of Holy Communion no longer remains either in essence or in quality after the invocation of the Holy Spirit and all that remains is the Body of Christ, then we Orthodox have taken the RC doctrine of transubstantiation one step further in saying that not even the qualities of bread and wine remain.  In other words, the imbibing of a full chalice of Holy Communion after the liturgy should not result in the priest or deacon feeling "tipsy."  Perhaps we should not speak of such "mysteries," but, unfortunately, with the auto-immune trigger caused by gluten in celiacs, we are forced to pull our head out of the pre-Enlightenment sand. 

Or perhaps, we should say, along with Christian Scientists, that any ill effects resulting are the result of a lack of faith or the wrong mental outlook.  Or is it simply due to receiving unworthily as Saint Paul says? 

All of these questions are important because they touch on the physical and spiritual health of my mother, a person with celiac sprue, and on our faith and teaching regarding the Mystery of Christ's Body and Blood in Communion.  Science and faith meet here at the chalice in an interesting way, and depending on our view of Holy Communion, this meeting can be either a conflict or a concord.  Somehow the answer to these issues seems more complex than simply saying that Holy Communion can cause no harm because Christ's Body brings life not death.  I wish I could just accept this statement simply, but given the experience of my mother a struggling new convert, I'm having difficulties myself in helping her. 
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« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2008, 12:47:54 PM »

Unfortunately, my mother, a recent convert and a person with celiac has experienced physical distress after receiving the Bread of Holy Communion without the antidoron when the priest neglected to give her only the Wine.  (An experiment?)  What do we make of her distress after receiving?  And what should my mother do?

In what Jurisdiction did she receive Communion and experienced such distress?

If the gluten or gliadin in the wheat of Holy Communion no longer remains either in essence or in quality after the invocation of the Holy Spirit and all that remains is the Body of Christ, then we Orthodox have taken the RC doctrine of transubstantiation one step further in saying that not even the qualities of bread and wine remain.  In other words, the imbibing of a full chalice of Holy Communion after the liturgy should not result in the priest or deacon feeling "tipsy."  Perhaps we should not speak of such "mysteries," but, unfortunately, with the auto-immune trigger caused by gluten in celiacs, we are forced to pull our head out of the pre-Enlightenment sand.

If communicable diseases are not transmitted in Canonically Valid Holy Communion, why would celiac disease not be any different?
 
Or perhaps, we should say, along with Christian Scientists, that any ill effects resulting are the result of a lack of faith or the wrong mental outlook.  Or is it simply due to receiving unworthily as Saint Paul says?

What happened to the power of God working in someone who has celiac disease?
 
All of these questions are important because they touch on the physical and spiritual health of my mother, a person with celiac sprue, and on our faith and teaching regarding the Mystery of Christ's Body and Blood in Communion.  Science and faith meet here at the chalice in an interesting way, and depending on our view of Holy Communion, this meeting can be either a conflict or a concord.  Somehow the answer to these issues seems more complex than simply saying that Holy Communion can cause no harm because Christ's Body brings life not death.  I wish I could just accept this statement simply, but given the experience of my mother a struggling new convert, I'm having difficulties myself in helping her. 

I emphathize with your mother's situation and I stand by what you quoted me as saying.   Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2008, 01:04:30 PM »

In what Jurisdiction did she receive Communion and experienced such distress?

Just being curious, but why would the jurisdiction matter please?

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If communicable diseases are not transmitted in Canonically Valid Holy Communion, why would celiac disease not be any different?

Because Celiac Disease is an auto-immune condition that is part of a person's body/system.  It's something that one can be genetically predisposed to have.  It's not transmitted by any germs or outside agents.

Quote

What happened to the power of God working in someone who has celiac disease?

Is the Body still bread chemically so that the gluten product is still present?  Then the body is reacting in its normal way to that product.  I"m sorry, but I don't understand what you mean in the above sentence.  Are you trying to say that God would prevent the auto-immune reaction?

Ebor  
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« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2008, 01:37:16 PM »

Peace be with you mamaquelly,

In the Coptic Orthodox Church we receive the Holy Elements separately.

Nonetheless, what have you to fear from receiving the Holy Body of the Lord?

Surely if one woman can be healed simply by touching the hem of Christ's robe eating His Body could do you no harm if by faith you receive.

Pray for me and for the unity of the Church please.
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« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2008, 01:46:27 PM »

Brother Ebor ...that's why your not orthodox....we believe Holy Communion is a Great Miracle of Miracles...if a person truly seeks healing thru holy communion God will Heal that person....Seek and you shall find ,Ask and you shall recieve...My children recieve not because they ask not....my 2 cent's worth...SmileyCentral.com" border="0
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« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2008, 02:07:11 PM »

mamaquelly,

Ask your priest.  And your bishop, if possible.  Do what they say; my guess is they'll opt for moderation.  Pray and trust God.

God bless, and welcome to the forum.
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« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2008, 02:30:33 PM »

Brother Ebor ...that's why your not orthodox...

 Huh I don't understand what you are trying to say here. What do you think is the reason I'm not EO, please?

I'm not EO because I do not believe that it is the only way to be a Christian. 

Quote
we believe Holy Communion is a Great Miracle of Miracles.

As do I.  But the Body and Blood are still in some way Bread and Wine are they not?  Meaning no disrespect at all, I assure you.

Quote
..if a person truly seeks healing thru holy communion God will Heal that person....Seek and you shall find ,Ask and you shall recieve

I'm sorry.  This reads as though it is a person's own fault if they are ill with such a thing as an autoimmune condition or other physical infirmity.  That they aren't 'trying hard enough' or that they aren't "truly" seeking God.   Huh Sad 

Ebor
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« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2008, 02:31:42 PM »

Brother Ebor ...that's why your not orthodox....

Really Huh
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« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2008, 06:28:23 PM »

Brother Ebor ...that's why your not orthodox....we believe Holy Communion is a Great Miracle of Miracles...if a person truly seeks healing thru holy communion God will Heal that person....Seek and you shall find ,Ask and you shall recieve...My children recieve not because they ask not....my 2 cent's worth...SmileyCentral.com" border="0

But isn't there a danger that you might be "testing God" by just assuming He will perform a miracle?
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« Reply #25 on: June 26, 2008, 09:37:10 PM »

Welcome, Baruch. Thank you for such a thoughtful response.
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« Reply #26 on: June 26, 2008, 10:16:21 PM »

But isn't there a danger that you might be "testing God" by just assuming He will perform a miracle?

Miracles haven't ceased on this earth ,,why is it considerd testing God to ask for healing?Huh..God presence never left us ...especally in holy communion he's their 100%....And his eternal word's are... not mine ...My Children receive not because they ask not....in faith when we ask it can move mountian's... also as tiny as a mustard seed is ..it's that amount of faith one has to have......SmileyCentral.com" border="0One Of The holy apostles  said ...When asking believe that you have recieved it ,and it shall come to pass......SmileyCentral.com" border="0Seem's to me some people have given up on miracles sad.....
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ГОСПОДЕ ГОСПОДЕ ,ПОГЛЕДАЈ СА НЕБА ,ДОЂИ И ПОСЕТИ ТВОЈ ВИНОГРАД ТВОЈА ДЕСНИЦА ПОСАДИЛА АМИН АМИН.
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« Reply #27 on: June 26, 2008, 10:41:29 PM »

Just being curious, but why would the jurisdiction matter please?

I believe Ebor because depending on Jurisdiction the Eucharist is given differently.

Brother Ebor ...that's why your not orthodox....we believe Holy Communion is a Great Miracle of Miracles...if a person truly seeks healing thru holy communion God will Heal that person....Seek and you shall find ,Ask and you shall recieve...My children recieve not because they ask not....my 2 cent's worth...SmileyCentral.com" border="0

Actually Stashko the Orthodox believe that the Eucharist is also bread and wine and doesn't stop ceasing to be once it also becomes the body and blood of Christ. Just for your information Ebor does believe in the "real presence" and doesn't just believe it is a memorial.

But isn't there a danger that you might be "testing God" by just assuming He will perform a miracle?

Thats an excellent point theistgal. We should not put God on trial.
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« Reply #28 on: June 26, 2008, 10:54:27 PM »

Sorry, double post. I hate when I do that.
see below
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« Reply #29 on: June 26, 2008, 10:54:53 PM »

Regardless of what any of us beleive about the Eucharist being the body and blood of Christ, NONE of us should be handing out medical advice on OC.net

Call around until you can talk to a priest with a medical doctor in his parish (if your own doesn't have one). Share your concern with an Orthodox medical doctor and then discuss with your priest. If your priest still doesn't get it, ask the Orthdox doctor to call your priest.

Then again, the doc may tell you that it is such a tiny amount of bread that it will not trigger your illness.
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« Reply #30 on: June 26, 2008, 11:03:47 PM »


Actually Stashko the Orthodox believe that the Eucharist is also bread and wine and doesn't stop ceasing to be once it also becomes the body and blood of Christ. Just for your information Ebor does believe in the "real presence" and doesn't just believe it is a memorial.



[/quote]



 Thank You Brother ,,i knew this,,, we see and taste bread and wine....But the  great miracle of miracles  it is his precious blood and body we consume,,,a great mystery indeed.....SmileyCentral.com" border="0
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ГОСПОДЕ ГОСПОДЕ ,ПОГЛЕДАЈ СА НЕБА ,ДОЂИ И ПОСЕТИ ТВОЈ ВИНОГРАД ТВОЈА ДЕСНИЦА ПОСАДИЛА АМИН АМИН.
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« Reply #31 on: June 26, 2008, 11:47:25 PM »

Just being curious, but why would the jurisdiction matter please?

I asked Baruch and Jurisdiction does matter since I'm not aware of what Liturgies are being used in these Jurisdictions for the Anaphora and other events leading up to the offering of the Holy Gifts.

Because Celiac Disease is an auto-immune condition that is part of a person's body/system.  It's something that one can be genetically predisposed to have.  It's not transmitted by any germs or outside agents.

If Holy Communion can kill a person with Celiac Disease, perhaps they ought not get in line regardless of faith.  If partaking the Body and Blood of Christ can kill a person; Gee, there's only a handful of evil people who died in the Epistles - none by receiving Communion.

Is the Body still bread chemically so that the gluten product is still present?  Then the body is reacting in its normal way to that product.  I"m sorry, but I don't understand what you mean in the above sentence.  Are you trying to say that God would prevent the auto-immune reaction?

As has been suggested to me many times, the answer is I don't know.   Smiley
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« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2012, 06:52:23 PM »

Hello.  Are Mamaquelle and Baruch still here?  I realize this is a very old thread.

I have Celiac disease too, and I'd like to know how Baruch's mother and Mamaquelle are doing.  Or is there anyone else on this board with celiac disease who has dealt with the Eucharist?
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« Reply #33 on: March 07, 2012, 01:15:48 PM »

Hi Elizabeth,

I saw your comment.  I am the priest at a large church in Canada, and we have several celiacs in our congregation.  We reserve a special chalice with just the wine in it for them, and we commune them separately, with the permission of our bishop.
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« Reply #34 on: March 07, 2012, 01:25:38 PM »

Thank you very much, SakranMM.
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« Reply #35 on: March 07, 2012, 04:15:35 PM »

Where God wills it, the order of nature is overcome.
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« Reply #36 on: March 08, 2012, 01:33:13 AM »

Where God wills it, the order of nature is overcome.
Pentecostals have the same justification for snake handling.
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« Reply #37 on: March 08, 2012, 04:17:57 AM »

I always wondered about disease from the common cup, so before becoming orthodox I googled it. From what I saw I was amazed that the CDC actually studied this. It turns out that both the alcohol and compounds called poly phenols in the wine have a powerful sterilizing action so they could find no evidence of disease transmission. God is great! Also at last a good use of my taxes. I'm just repeating what I read I'm an engineer not a doctor so maybe someone more knowledgable could comment.
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« Reply #38 on: March 08, 2012, 06:41:35 AM »

I always wondered about disease from the common cup, so before becoming orthodox I googled it. From what I saw I was amazed that the CDC actually studied this. It turns out that both the alcohol and compounds called poly phenols in the wine have a powerful sterilizing action so they could find no evidence of disease transmission. God is great! Also at last a good use of my taxes. I'm just repeating what I read I'm an engineer not a doctor so maybe someone more knowledgable could comment.

Not only has science failed to demonstrate any ability of shared Holy Communion to transmit disease, but we also have some 2000 years of empirical evidence that it does not. Countless priests and deacons have consumed what remains in the chalice after everyone else has communed, across many centuries and countries, including during times of epidemics such as bubonic plague and Spanish 'flu, which wiped out millions. Yet their rate of morbidity (becoming ill) and mortality (death) has never been any different to that of the general population.

I work in a scientific field which demands adherence to the highest standards of infection control and prevention of cross-contamination. In well over thirty years in this field, I have never once balked at the idea of receiving Communion from a common chalice. Not once. I believe it is nothing less than the Body and Blood of Christ, which surely can overcome any possible nasties which might enter the chalice. I refuse to entertain the thought that viruses or bacteria can be more powerful than God Himself.
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« Reply #39 on: March 08, 2012, 08:53:06 AM »

I always wondered about disease from the common cup, so before becoming orthodox I googled it. From what I saw I was amazed that the CDC actually studied this. It turns out that both the alcohol and compounds called poly phenols in the wine have a powerful sterilizing action so they could find no evidence of disease transmission. God is great! Also at last a good use of my taxes. I'm just repeating what I read I'm an engineer not a doctor so maybe someone more knowledgable could comment.

Not only has science failed to demonstrate any ability of shared Holy Communion to transmit disease, but we also have some 2000 years of empirical evidence that it does not. Countless priests and deacons have consumed what remains in the chalice after everyone else has communed, across many centuries and countries, including during times of epidemics such as bubonic plague and Spanish 'flu, which wiped out millions. Yet their rate of morbidity (becoming ill) and mortality (death) has never been any different to that of the general population.

I work in a scientific field which demands adherence to the highest standards of infection control and prevention of cross-contamination. In well over thirty years in this field, I have never once balked at the idea of receiving Communion from a common chalice. Not once. I believe it is nothing less than the Body and Blood of Christ, which surely can overcome any possible nasties which might enter the chalice. I refuse to entertain the thought that viruses or bacteria can be more powerful than God Himself.

If I am not mistaken that is what I said, if the science puts some minds at rest so much the better. I was not denying that communion is the real Body and Blood of Christ . How it is is a mystery and I have always believed that even as a RC. Transsubstantiation was an unnecessary explanation which made my head hurt.
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« Reply #40 on: March 08, 2012, 11:28:19 AM »

Where God wills it, the order of nature is overcome.
Pentecostals have the same justification for snake handling.

So?
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« Reply #41 on: March 08, 2012, 01:09:47 PM »

If communicable diseases are not transmitted in Canonically Valid Holy Communion, why would celiac disease not be any different?

Because Celiac Disease is an auto-immune condition that is part of a person's body/system.  It's something that one can be genetically predisposed to have.  It's not transmitted by any germs or outside agents.

Quote

What happened to the power of God working in someone who has celiac disease?

Is the Body still bread chemically so that the gluten product is still present?  Then the body is reacting in its normal way to that product.  I"m sorry, but I don't understand what you mean in the above sentence.  Are you trying to say that God would prevent the auto-immune reaction?

Ebor  


I just want to repeat everything Ebor said. The people asking about communion already have Celiac disease, and so cannot have anything with gluten. While the studies of communion and disease are interesting, contracting or passing along the disease is not their concern.

I have a friend who doesn't have Celiac (she can eat many things with gluten), but she is allergic to wheat specifically. This developed when we were freshmen in college, and she was throwing up daily and nauseous the rest of the time. She was already 5'3" and 105-110 lbs., but because she could not hold anything down, her weight dropped to below 100. A doctor eventually pinpointed her wheat allergy, and since eliminating wheat from her diet, she is no longer sick.

She used to think she was allergic to soy. Turns out that's because most soy sauce has wheat mixed in!

From what I'm hearing, is it correct to say that how people with Celiac receive communion depends on the priest and the severity of the person's reaction?
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 01:11:30 PM by Delphine » Logged
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« Reply #42 on: March 11, 2012, 01:59:37 AM »

I have wheat allergy; my dh has celiac.  We both receive, and our priest gives us mostly wine from the co-mingled chalice.  Neither of us partakes of the antidoron after communion, and my dh, who is more sensitive than I, receives first in line so that he can partake of the cleansing wine/water without having had kids dipping their antidoron in that before he gets there.  It took a few passes for the kids to get used to not being able to dip their bread in THAT particular wine, but they do comply now. 

I was interested to note that preceding posters have noted that the bishop has given permission for non-comingled wine, and if your celiac is that serious that even a grain of gluten can do you in, I recommend you talk to your priest, as someone mentioned, with brochures in hand.  Not making demands, but informationally.  I cannot imagine my bishop turning a dear ear to one who wishes to receive communion who is physically debilitated by so doing. 

There is enough research out there to show that the wheat we have now is not even similar to the wheat of Jesus' time.  It is shorter, and contains more gluten, due to having been genetically modified.  It's a crime, but there it is. 

God be with you. 
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« Reply #43 on: September 02, 2012, 03:42:20 PM »

SakranMM- Father, bless!  Can you say who your bishop is? I ask because I attend an Antiochian church in the Boston area, and I wonder if our bishop would allow something similar.

I'm Celiac, and have been communing with just the wine from the co-mingled chalice, but I still get sick every week as a result. For anyone who doesn't know about Celiac Disease - this is not just a stomachache, this is an autoimmune reaction, in which the body attacks itself and does damage to itself. I wish that this weren't the case -- I, too have heard many stories of people with Celiac Disease who have no reaction to the wheat in the elements of communion. Sadly, I am not one of them. 

I still commune every week or so, because I believe communion is of utmost importance. The problem is that I'm hoping to have children soon, and not sticking to a strict GF diet during pregnancy is associated with miscarriage, low birth weight, autism, as well as other possible birth defects for the child.

So, I guess I have two issues: 1) the crisis of whether I should or shouldn't seek to "find a way around" this issue: I want very much to just trust in God's providence on all this, and perhaps I should just do that and not worry about trying to commune in a perfectly gluten free chalice. But I guess I'd be interested to hear the reasoning of priests or bishops who do allow for modifications to the regular way of taking communion (I am familiar with, and currently submit to, the views of those who believe that the most I can do is only take the wine from the common cup, but I haven't ever heard anything from anyone in ecclesiastical authority who allow parishioners to commune from a wine-only chalice -- in fact, I didn't even know this was a possibility until I read about it online), and 2) If the way SakranMM distributes the Mysteries to the Celiacs in his church would even be a possibility for me. I don't know if our bishop would allow it, and I find it profoundly upsetting to asks these questions of people who don't know much about Celiac disease, and react with horror at my asking, as if I don't believe that the Mysteries are the true Body and Blood as well as bread and wine.

Many thanks for any help that others can give!
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« Reply #44 on: January 14, 2013, 12:23:36 AM »

Yes, I am resurrecting this thread. It has a lot of bearing on our son's life at the moment.

It seems our son Tazzy has a very significant celiac reaction to communion. Considering the fact that at almost 11 months he is 26 inches long (not on the charts) and not quite 14 lbs (not even close to the bottom of the chart), every gluten reaction he has sets him back considerably.

So does anyone that has celiac have any opinions on what I should do? This is not a fad GF diet for us. There are fad GF people at our parish, and of course they do not have a gluten reaction from communion.
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