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Author Topic: Attendance at Vigil Required for Communion?  (Read 9275 times) Average Rating: 0
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MarkosC
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« on: July 14, 2008, 09:32:20 PM »

Hello All,

I was talking to an priest a few weeks ago, and he said that (among other requirements) in his parish, attendance at one of the vigil services  (Vespers or Orthros) was necessary if a parishioner wished to receive communion on a particular Sunday.   

I'm just curious about how widespread this kind of requirement is, and the pros/cons of this (Based on my observations, this doesn't seem to be applied regularly throughout the Orthodox Church.  Or if it is there are lost of people who are taking communion illicitly!)

Markos

[just as a caveat: I am not a priest, nor do I intend to give advice on this to anyone else.  I'm just curious.]
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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2008, 09:39:56 PM »

In my parish, it's strongly encouraged to do so. I find it a great way to enable me to prepare mentally and spiritually and focus on receiving communion, as well as being guaranteed a chance to go to confession. There are usually those who show up on Sunday morning with intentions to receive  communion without having attended vigil the night before, but they must fast and confess in the morning, at least. Very often there is a long line-up for confession on Sunday mornings, and sometimes communion rolls around before everyone gets a chance to confess and thereby, those people lose their chance to commune. At least that's how it's done at my parish. No doubt things are done differntly in other parishes/jurisdictions.

I should add, just before the priest begins to administer communion, he always makes some sort of speech, to the effect, "Only those who have went to confession either last night or this morning are allowed to receive the Holy Mystery of Communion. This is how it is done in the Holy Orthodox Church." or something like that.
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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2008, 09:46:02 PM »

ROCOR and the MP both have this requirement I believe. My jurisdiction doesnt have to many vespers services...
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« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2008, 10:21:51 PM »

In my parish, it's strongly encouraged to do so. I find it a great way to enable me to prepare mentally and spiritually and focus on receiving communion, as well as being guaranteed a chance to go to confession. There are usually those who show up on Sunday morning with intentions to receive  communion without having attended vigil the night before, but they must fast and confess in the morning, at least. Very often there is a long line-up for confession on Sunday mornings, and sometimes communion rolls around before everyone gets a chance to confess and thereby, those people lose their chance to commune. At least that's how it's done at my parish. No doubt things are done differntly in other parishes/jurisdictions.

I should add, just before the priest begins to administer communion, he always makes some sort of speech, to the effect, "Only those who have went to confession either last night or this morning are allowed to receive the Holy Mystery of Communion. This is how it is done in the Holy Orthodox Church." or something like that.
Actually, the practice of requiring a communicant to go to Confession before receiving Communion is not a universal practice in the Orthodox Church, and many of today's theologians and historians have come to believe it representative of bad theology.
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« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2008, 10:31:33 PM »

Actually, the practice of requiring a communicant to go to Confession before receiving Communion is not a universal practice in the Orthodox Church, and many of today's theologians and historians have come to believe it representative of bad theology.

That's very interesting! Actually, I would prefer that!
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« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2008, 10:40:45 PM »

Attendance at Vespers and/or Matins prior to the Divine Liturgy is not required for reception of Communion in my parish; in fact, such a requirement would be quite impractical for those in my parish who have to drive long distances just to get to church.  Even so, I personally find such attendance a good way to prepare for reception of the Holy Mysteries and will recommend it for those who are able.
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« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2008, 11:26:31 PM »

Attendance at Vespers and/or Matins prior to the Divine Liturgy is not required for reception of Communion in my parish; Even so, I personally find such attendance a good way to prepare for reception of the Holy Mysteries and will recommend it for those who are able.

In my parish, only about 10 people would then receive the Holy Mysteries each week if this requirement were stringently enforced. 
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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2008, 11:29:53 PM »

In my parish, only about 10 people would then receive the Holy Mysteries each week if this requirement were stringently enforced. 
I was thinking much the same about my parish.
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« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2008, 12:32:51 AM »

On some Church websites, visitors who attend Church are asked to register themselves with either a Parish Council Member or the Priest regardless if one is Orthodox or not.  On top of that, these Churches recommend to Orthodox visitors that they refrain from receiving Communion during the initial visit.  Are such requirements legalistic overkill?
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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2008, 12:59:21 AM »

On some Church websites, visitors who attend Church are asked to register themselves with either a Parish Council Member or the Priest regardless if one is Orthodox or not.  On top of that, these Churches recommend to Orthodox visitors that they refrain from receiving Communion during the initial visit.  Are such requirements legalistic overkill?
Not necessarily...  My pastor has advised us during the peak vacation seasons that if one of us visits another parish for Sunday Liturgy, (s)he should speak to the priest of the host parish prior to the service, especially if one desires to receive Communion.  It's primarily about respect for the local practices of the parish you may choose to visit, particularly if the host priest requires you to confess your sins before receiving Communion.
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« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2008, 01:30:00 PM »

If that was a rule at my parish, hardly anyone would be able to receive Communion  Undecided. Some Russian churches are strict on that because you have to have a Confession before receiving the Holy Mysteries. The local MP church in town requires parishioners to be either at Vespers or the Hours to do a Confession so they can receive Communion.
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« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2008, 02:39:02 PM »

In my parish, it's strongly encouraged to do so. I find it a great way to enable me to prepare mentally and spiritually and focus on receiving communion, as well as being guaranteed a chance to go to confession. There are usually those who show up on Sunday morning with intentions to receive  communion without having attended vigil the night before, but they must fast and confess in the morning, at least. Very often there is a long line-up for confession on Sunday mornings, and sometimes communion rolls around before everyone gets a chance to confess and thereby, those people lose their chance to commune. At least that's how it's done at my parish. No doubt things are done differntly in other parishes/jurisdictions.

I should add, just before the priest begins to administer communion, he always makes some sort of speech, to the effect, "Only those who have went to confession either last night or this morning are allowed to receive the Holy Mystery of Communion. This is how it is done in the Holy Orthodox Church." or something like that.

This is the most orthodox method I know of.

It is not followed that much these days though.
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« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2008, 04:16:21 PM »

In my parish, it's strongly encouraged to do so. I find it a great way to enable me to prepare mentally and spiritually and focus on receiving communion, as well as being guaranteed a chance to go to confession. There are usually those who show up on Sunday morning with intentions to receive  communion without having attended vigil the night before, but they must fast and confess in the morning, at least. Very often there is a long line-up for confession on Sunday mornings, and sometimes communion rolls around before everyone gets a chance to confess and thereby, those people lose their chance to commune. At least that's how it's done at my parish. No doubt things are done differntly in other parishes/jurisdictions.

I should add, just before the priest begins to administer communion, he always makes some sort of speech, to the effect, "Only those who have went to confession either last night or this morning are allowed to receive the Holy Mystery of Communion. This is how it is done in the Holy Orthodox Church." or something like that.

Confession during liturgy on Sundays?  Reminds me of a parish near a place my brother lived at we would go to when I was still Catholic under Rome.  They'd have confessions up to the Sanctus, and that line was long.  You'd miss half the mass if you went.  So basically by the time the Sanctus is being sang it's almost time for communion.  If you spend half the time in a line for confession in an Eastern Orthodox Church I imagine the same thing would happen, you'd miss half the liturgy and about the time you'd step off the confessional you'd be ready to receive.  What is the point of even going to church then if you're spending half the Liturgy/Mass waiting in line to confess? 
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« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2008, 04:41:36 PM »

^ And how can you expect to make a good confession when you're in a hurry to get through it to receive Communion?
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« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2008, 05:56:19 PM »

^ And how can you expect to make a good confession when you're in a hurry to get through it to receive Communion?
  Amen! 
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« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2008, 09:28:45 AM »

The Vigil (actually is three services Vespers, Midnight prayers, and Orthros) and is most commonly served in many monasteries (note: monasteries of many jurisdictions and traditions immediately go into Divine Liturgy if it is truly an all-night vigil), as well as,churches of Slavic tradition. It is not usually served in parishes of the Byzantine traditions (Greek Orthodox or Antiochian Orthodox), instead these traditions have  vespers on evenings before Divine Liturgy and Orthros immediately before Divine liturgy.

In Parish use, the Vigil service is often abbreviated and as a result  is about the legnth of a Divine Liturgy (about 1 1/2 hours long) in monastery usage is is usually several hours in legnth dependent upon the rank of feast the next day (polyelos, etc). Generally, parish vigils usually are served in the early evening  and Monastic vigils later in the night but before midnight. Confession is often done during the vigil in this case.

In Byzantine Traditions one may find short abbreviated vespers  or fully served vespers dependent upon the directives of the local Bishop and the custom of the parish. Usually in these parishes, confession is available before and after vespers but not during vespers. Morning Orthros likewise may be an abbreviated service (45 minutes - 1 hour) or fully served taking 2+ hours--- occasionally priests will do confessions  during  Orthos but more often they are preparing for the Divine Liturgy and serving the prokomdia.

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« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2008, 10:52:19 AM »

Confession during liturgy on Sundays?  Reminds me of a parish near a place my brother lived at we would go to when I was still Catholic under Rome.  They'd have confessions up to the Sanctus, and that line was long.  You'd miss half the mass if you went.  So basically by the time the Sanctus is being sang it's almost time for communion.  If you spend half the time in a line for confession in an Eastern Orthodox Church I imagine the same thing would happen, you'd miss half the liturgy and about the time you'd step off the confessional you'd be ready to receive.  What is the point of even going to church then if you're spending half the Liturgy/Mass waiting in line to confess? 

Even if you're waiting in line, you'd still be listening to the readings and the homily, right?

The Holy See released an instruction on this very recently, encouraging parishes to have confessions during Mass.
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« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2008, 05:57:09 PM »

Confession during liturgy on Sundays?  Reminds me of a parish near a place my brother lived at we would go to when I was still Catholic under Rome.  They'd have confessions up to the Sanctus, and that line was long.  You'd miss half the mass if you went.  So basically by the time the Sanctus is being sang it's almost time for communion.  If you spend half the time in a line for confession in an Eastern Orthodox Church I imagine the same thing would happen, you'd miss half the liturgy and about the time you'd step off the confessional you'd be ready to receive.  What is the point of even going to church then if you're spending half the Liturgy/Mass waiting in line to confess? 

People in that line are people who have not 'pre'-pared themselves for the wedding feast.

I hope you or I are never in that sad and dreadful line.

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« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2008, 08:11:36 PM »

In response to your inquiry, re. "required" participation in the services of the week prior to the Divine Liturgy, it is my understanding that the only "requirement" is generally consistent attendance at the Liturgy; a regular fasting routine, no canonical prohibition, i.e. cohabitation without the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony in the Church, etc.; a generally sober life, etc.  It is also my understanding that the only canon associated with participation in the Mystery of Holy Communion, is the prohibition from eating food prior to receiving Holy Communion, beginning at midnight.

Fasting guidelines are not codified by cannon.  They are disciplines; teachings of the Fathers as helps in our spiritual journey.  Fasting and service attendance "requirements" are practices often called for by synods, bishops and priests.  This is not meant to minimize the "theologoumena" of the Church, but is in direct response to the topical inquiry.
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« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2008, 12:40:29 AM »

In Parish use, the Vigil service is often abbreviated and as a result  is about the legnth of a Divine Liturgy (about 1 1/2 hours long)

Thomas, are you sure? A Vigil lasting one and a half hours would involve either some VERY fast reading and singing, or some VERY serious shortcuts, even by parish standards. Parish vigils in the Slavic tradition are rarely less than 2 1/2 hours long.
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« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2008, 12:59:03 AM »

For us vigil lasts 2 hours minimum.  It is poorly attended as usual i.e. in winter it is too cold for people to go out. In summer everyone is on vacation. This is a bad practice in Slavonic parishes going back atleast 40 years.  In our parish once the Liturgy has started that's it - no more confession. I remember seeing a priest stop the Communion line to confess someone.  What about telling people to get their act together - may be that is why many only communion twice a year? police
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« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2008, 08:56:45 AM »

In Parish use, the Vigil service is often abbreviated and as a result  is about the legnth of a Divine Liturgy (about 1 1/2 hours long)

Thomas, are you sure? A Vigil lasting one and a half hours would involve either some VERY fast reading and singing, or some VERY serious shortcuts, even by parish standards. Parish vigils in the Slavic tradition are rarely less than 2 1/2 hours long.

I have actually personally attended  Slavic Vigils that took that long, I was amazed at the abbreviated services. They used Xeroxed  service books that were greatly shortened from the Texts I was used to. When I asked about it I was told it was "parish practice"

Thomas
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« Reply #22 on: July 17, 2008, 12:57:51 PM »

I have actually personally attended  Slavic Vigils that took that long, I was amazed at the abbreviated services. They used Xeroxed  service books that were greatly shortened from the Texts I was used to. When I asked about it I was told it was "parish practice"

Thomas

I thought there is a movement today in Eastern Orthodoxy to return to fuller rubrics and lengthier services?
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« Reply #23 on: July 17, 2008, 01:09:06 PM »

In Parish use, the Vigil service is often abbreviated and as a result is about the legnth of a Divine Liturgy (about 1 1/2 hours long)

Thomas, are you sure? A Vigil lasting one and a half hours would involve either some VERY fast reading and singing, or some VERY serious shortcuts, even by parish standards. Parish vigils in the Slavic tradition are rarely less than 2 1/2 hours long.

At my old OCA Parish they only served Vespers and you had to show up beforehand to give confession ( which was not required to commune). In my new Rocor parish, the "All night Vigil" goes from 5 pm till 7:30 and sometimes 8:00. Confession is invited at various times during the Vigil and is required in order to commune. Both places ask you to then do your pre-communion prayers at home before liturgy.

I love the longer service and the stricter rule of confession and is frankly one reason I went over to Rocor.
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« Reply #24 on: July 17, 2008, 01:24:11 PM »

DIXIT ALIQUIS
"Only those who have went to confession either last night or this morning are allowed to receive the Holy Mystery of Communion. This is how it is done in the Holy Orthodox Church."

DICO
The notion that one prepares for Communion by confessing seems to be Catholic in inspiration.
In the historical view one must be reconciled after committing major sins (murder, e.g.).  
The pre-Communion prayers seem congruent with this view.
I have never seen any early canons requiring confession (argumentum ex silentio!).  Are there some  
early canons guaranteeing contemporary practice?  
Erickson offers useful material (_The Challenges of Our Past_, ch. 2), as does Schmemann (his Lent book).

DanM

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« Reply #25 on: July 17, 2008, 01:44:54 PM »

I thought there is a movement today in Eastern Orthodoxy to return to fuller rubrics and lengthier services?

My current parish (Antiochian Archdiocese of North America affiliated)  uses fuller rubrics and proper legnth of  Byzantine services (Vespers and orthros, as well as daily services in my parish).  My reference to the vigil service times was my observation when visiting some OCA and ROCOR services around the country, many OCA and ROCOR parishes do serve full services, but as my visits showed me such is not the case everywhere. This is possibly to parishes who got use to shorter services due to aging priests or lay led services , I really do not know the reason.  Many if most services I went to where  Vigil was served were full that is why I was so surprised when I saw the abbreviated services.

Thomas
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« Reply #26 on: July 17, 2008, 04:10:41 PM »

I thought there is a movement today in Eastern Orthodoxy to return to fuller rubrics and lengthier services?

There is, but the question still remains: who's rubrics and services?  Return to when - 17th century, 15th century, 9th century, 4th century?

Besides, I don't like using the term "vigil" if the service doesn't go beyond midnight and doesn't involve at least 3 services and it doesn't lead directly to Liturgy.  A vigil should take more than 4 hours, should include Vespers, Compline, and Matins at the least, and should end with Divine Liturgy.  Any parishes or traditions who are doing 9th Hour/Vespers/Matins or anything like that on a Saturday night for 3+ hours between 7 and 10 or 6 and 9 or whatever should call it something other than "Vigil."
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« Reply #27 on: July 17, 2008, 04:28:22 PM »

There is, but the question still remains: who's rubrics and services?  Return to when - 17th century, 15th century, 9th century, 4th century?

Also, one would like to know the rubrics and services of monastics or laity? 
DanM



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« Reply #28 on: July 17, 2008, 07:45:14 PM »

DICO
The notion that one prepares for Communion by confessing seems to be Catholic in inspiration.
In the historical view one must be reconciled after committing major sins (murder, e.g.). 
The pre-Communion prayers seem congruent with this view.
I have never seen any early canons requiring confession (argumentum ex silentio!).  Are there some   
early canons guaranteeing contemporary practice? 
Erickson offers useful material (_The Challenges of Our Past_, ch. 2), as does Schmemann (his Lent book).


I don’t see how you could commune The Holy Mysteries without confessing your sins. Confession in the Orthodox Church has been neglected of late (in Australia) and needs to be re invigorated amongst the laity. The cleansing and regeneration a person receives after confession allows for the ultimate union of our Lord Jesus Christ through Holy Communion.

The early Christians I have read would publically confess their sins. Wow imagine confessing your intimate passions to the whole Church. It’s hard enough to make people admit they have fault let alone making them confess it.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me a sinner
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« Reply #29 on: July 17, 2008, 09:49:20 PM »

I don’t see how you could commune The Holy Mysteries without confessing your sins. Confession in the Orthodox Church has been neglected of late (in Australia) and needs to be re invigorated amongst the laity.
I certainly agree with you that the practice of more frequent confession needs to be restored among the laity, but is the requirement that one confess every time one intends to receive Communion the way to accomplish this?  With what I've read in this thread alone, I can see such a requirement putting too much stress on already overworked clergy and actually diminishing the quality and effectiveness of the rite of confession, particularly if everyone is expected to confess and commune every week.

Quote
The cleansing and regeneration a person receives after confession allows for the ultimate union of our Lord Jesus Christ through Holy Communion.
IF--and that's a big IF--confession is done right, which means thoroughly.  Otherwise, I don't see how a quickie confession, or even a mere request for absolution without real confession, followed by the absolution one seeks, really does anything to prepare one for Communion--if anything, this may actually make one the most poorly disposed to receive the Holy Mysteries.  Yet this is one of the things mandatory confession before Communion can encourage.  And what about Communion being the REAL means of cleansing and regeneration that provides the context for confession?  Does not required confession before Communion make Communion dependent on confession rather than making the Eucharist the very life of confession, as with all the other sacraments?
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« Reply #30 on: July 17, 2008, 10:21:31 PM »

Let's say there was a community of 100 adults and 80% of them Confessed (between Sunday afternoon and Saturday Vespers) and Received Communion every Sunday.  Also assume that each Confession requires 20 minutes.

80 people @ 20 minutes per confession = 1,600 minutes or an entire day + 160 minutes devoted to listening to Confessions.

If the Priest has 1,600 minutes each week to devote to Confessions, sounds good.  In most Churches, not 80% of the Parish Confesses and Communes each week.

In 2007, I attended a Vespers at an OCA Church in Bethesda, MD.  Between 5 PM and 6:15 PM, about 4 people participated in Confession, all performed by 1 priest.  The other priest and deacons performed the Vesper service.

I have never seen Confessions during the Divine Liturgy at any Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #31 on: July 17, 2008, 10:42:04 PM »

IF--and that's a big IF--confession is done right, which means thoroughly.  Otherwise, I don't see how a quickie confession, or even a mere request for absolution without real confession, followed by the absolution one seeks, really does anything to prepare one for Communion--if anything, this may actually make one the most poorly disposed to receive the Holy Mysteries.  Yet this is one of the things mandatory confession before Communion can encourage.  And what about Communion being the REAL means of cleansing and regeneration that provides the context for confession?  Does not required confession before Communion make Communion dependent on confession rather than making the Eucharist the very life of confession, as with all the other sacraments?

I do not comprehend consuming Holy Communion first then confessing. Doesn't Scripture tell us that we must be prepared. Isn’t the best preparation a thorough confession and fasting?
I thought communing was the ultimate union with God. Everything leads to communion. Baptism, Chrismation, confession then Communion not the other way around.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me a sinner.
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« Reply #32 on: July 17, 2008, 11:07:21 PM »

Thanks all for your thoughts and perspectives.   

Random factoids somewhat relevant to some of what was discussed above: under the current books:

Sunday Vespers takes 45 minutes, without kathisma psalms or (when appropriate) readings (1 hour with psalms)

Orthros takes 1.25 hours without kathisma psalms and with only the katavasiae sung without the canon (and without super-elaborate musical settings).   
Full sunday canon took 45 minutes the one time I've been through it
Add in kathisma is about half an hour, based on my recollection of a monastery visit.   

So, "full" Orthros will be about 2.5 hours, meaning that it should start at 8:30 in the morning, or that a "vigil" should be from 2-3.5 hours, using the shortcuts described above (5-8:30, 6-9:30 or 7-10:30).   

Quite frankly, that's a lot.  I admire parishes that make the effort, but I can understand why someone may want to shorten things.  From a musical perspective, I think you'd need at least 2-3 experienced chanters who could sing the services themselves, as well as a number of less trained assistants.   Not impossible, but still demanding.   
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« Reply #33 on: July 17, 2008, 11:11:11 PM »

IF--and that's a big IF--confession is done right, which means thoroughly.  Otherwise, I don't see how a quickie confession, or even a mere request for absolution without real confession, followed by the absolution one seeks, really does anything to prepare one for Communion--if anything, this may actually make one the most poorly disposed to receive the Holy Mysteries.  Yet this is one of the things mandatory confession before Communion can encourage.  And what about Communion being the REAL means of cleansing and regeneration that provides the context for confession?  Does not required confession before Communion make Communion dependent on confession rather than making the Eucharist the very life of confession, as with all the other sacraments?
Just a hint...  You might try using the 'Quote' function to quote text from another post, as you have above from my most recent reply on this thread. Wink

Quote
I do not comprehend consuming Holy Communion first then confessing.
Confession and Communion are indeed two absolutely vital and necessary means to a fulfilling life in Christ and our ultimate goal of theosis, and in this way they are connected, but I prefer not to connect the two sacraments in such a strict sequence such that one must follow or precede the other.

Quote
Doesn't Scripture tell us that we must be prepared. Isn’t the best preparation a thorough confession and fasting?
Can not frequent confession, though not necessarily a confession before every reception of Communion, make one just as well prepared for frequent communion in the Holy Mysteries?

Quote

I thought communing was the ultimate union with God. Everything leads to communion. Baptism, Chrismation, confession then Communion not the other way around.
Life confession, baptism, and chrismation are rites of entry into the Church and are only required once, so I don't see how you can equate these with frequent/weekly confession.  Again, frequent confession is an excellent way to keep oneself living the life consistent with frequent reception of the Body and Blood of Christ, but I'm not convinced that a strict sequential connection between the two rites is the way to encourage this.  Could not required confession before Communion have the purpose-defeating effect of making one feel that confession makes one worthy to receive Communion?
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« Reply #34 on: July 17, 2008, 11:17:43 PM »

DIXIT ALIQUIS
And what about Communion being the REAL means of cleansing and regeneration that provides the context for confession? 

DICO
Pre-Communion prayers seem to portray Communion as cleansing and regeneration.
Being cleansed and regenerated in order to be cleansed and regenerated seems odd.
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« Reply #35 on: July 17, 2008, 11:41:27 PM »

Thank you for your reply,

I indeed agree with your post and have shed light on your earlier post. You are right in saying that you can still commune without confessing. My Spirtual Father also mentioned it to me.

My problem though, I tend to feel that even a minor sin must be immediately confessed.

Sometimes I haven’t been to confession for months at a time and my wife can sees negative aspects to my behavior coming out more frequently and most importantly she sees my relationship with God goes downhill. 

Thank God for His priests and thank God for Confession.

Correct me if my wrong

Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me sinner
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« Reply #36 on: July 18, 2008, 12:24:14 PM »

Could not required confession before Communion have the purpose-defeating effect of making one feel that confession makes one worthy to receive Communion?

In many jurisdictions, frequest communion requires only frequent confession, not everytime communed. I have seen Schmemann and others note this in their defense of frequent communion. Regretfully I do not have source books at work to quote.

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« Reply #37 on: July 19, 2008, 08:48:51 PM »

On some Church websites, visitors who attend Church are asked to register themselves with either a Parish Council Member or the Priest regardless if one is Orthodox or not.  On top of that, these Churches recommend to Orthodox visitors that they refrain from receiving Communion during the initial visit.  Are such requirements legalistic overkill?

Probably more a function of a very small, tight-knit community. I've been to various little parishes (mainly ROCOR) that have this practice, as well as several monasteries with similar rules. Of course, in those situations, there's only 50 or 100 people at the Liturgy. However, at our medium-sized parish, with 550 families signed up as stewards and anywhere from 50 to 100 guests every Sunday, it couldn't be done.
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« Reply #38 on: July 20, 2008, 12:02:33 AM »

Probably more a function of a very small, tight-knit community. I've been to various little parishes (mainly ROCOR) that have this practice, as well as several monasteries with similar rules. Of course, in those situations, there's only 50 or 100 people at the Liturgy. However, at our medium-sized parish, with 550 families signed up as stewards and anywhere from 50 to 100 guests every Sunday, it couldn't be done.

I never saw such a request at any GOA Church.  Most of these requests applied for small parishes within OCA or ACROD.
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« Reply #39 on: July 20, 2008, 03:30:52 AM »

I never saw such a request at any GOA Church.  Most of these requests applied for small parishes within OCA or ACROD.

I've never experienced this in any GOAA or ACROD parish...of any size.
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« Reply #40 on: July 20, 2008, 05:26:42 PM »

We are encouraged to confess regularly, and to participate in the life of the church. However, our priest does not require confession each time someone wants to go to communion- in fact he recommends 4 times a year (during the major fasts) as a minimum standard for how often people should be confessing. Obviously individuals still have individual needs, though.  Really, the Church tells us that if we do not eat Christ's body and drink his blood then we have no life in us, and it asks us to draw near. To a certain extent I think this is about obedience, and isn't even up to us, if we are fully participating in the life of the church.

My priest also pointed out the logical fallacy that if you have to confess before communion, it implies that having gone to communion you now need to confess.  So in our parish, everyone who is a regular participant is encouraged to receive every week,and we are encouraged to confess often. I guess I trust my priest's judgment on the individual issues.
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« Reply #41 on: July 20, 2008, 06:37:09 PM »

I just went from a Church that asks you confess  at each feast as a minimum to Rocor which requires confession before every communion..... All I can tell you is that now I am far more trouble ... far more often. ..........

I was told by folks in my former parish the confession this frequently would water  things down and eventually it will be merely going through the motions. I was also told that the Priest would try to control my life and what a hassle that would be... I have not found that to be the case and in fact and look back with some trepidation on how unprepared for communion I may have been previously.

 
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« Reply #42 on: July 20, 2008, 06:53:20 PM »

Not necessarily...  My pastor has advised us during the peak vacation seasons that if one of us visits another parish for Sunday Liturgy, (s)he should speak to the priest of the host parish prior to the service, especially if one desires to receive Communion.  It's primarily about respect for the local practices of the parish you may choose to visit, particularly if the host priest requires you to confess your sins before receiving Communion.

This has been the advice that I've always been given.  I've been told to contact the priest of the parish I'll be visiting to let him know I want to receive Communion and find out whether I'll need to do confession or whether I don't because I'm current.  In my diocese, the guidelines for confession is that if you commune frequently (and almost everyone in my parish receives Communion every week), you should be doing confession once a month.  Personally, I don't like to do it any less frequently, since I start to feel burdened. 
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« Reply #43 on: July 20, 2008, 06:55:50 PM »

I don't think frequent confession waters things down, I used to go every week when I was Roman Catholic. I was also thinking about the fact that my parish is extremely small and my priest probably has a clear handle on where we all are as a group compared to some of the larger communities. I don't know that I think one is necessarily better than the other, and I'm not going to say that someone shouldn't go to confession to prepare themselves for communion.

I would say that only going to confession once or twice a year and receiving at the same rate seems to me to be dangerous (or it would be for me), but embracing frequent confession and communion seems like a positive thing no matter how you term the arguments.
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« Reply #44 on: July 20, 2008, 07:14:17 PM »

I was told by folks in my former parish the confession this frequently would water  things down and eventually it will be merely going through the motions. I was also told that the Priest would try to control my life and what a hassle that would be...
Straw man arguments, I will agree, which is why I avoid making such arguments against the practice of requiring confession before every communion.

Quote
I have not found that to be the case and in fact and look back with some trepidation on how unprepared for communion I may have been previously.
But I would venture to say that the idea that one is unprepared for Communion if one hasn't confessed the night before is just as much a straw man argument.  Is the goal to be purified prior to receiving communion, or is the goal to be reminded of how unworthy we are to receive Communion and of how Christ gives us His Body and Blood freely to unite us to Himself despite our unworthiness to receive this gift?  Are we to glory in our purity and worthiness to receive the Holy Mysteries, or are we to humbly give thanks to Christ for His wonderful gift of Himself to us, though we are unworthy of Him?
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