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Author Topic: Attendance at Vigil Required for Communion?  (Read 9363 times) Average Rating: 0
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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.

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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

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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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« Reply #45 on: July 21, 2008, 10:25:51 AM »

Straw man arguments, I will agree, which is why I avoid making such arguments against the practice of requiring confession before every communion.
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?

I disagree. Weekly communion ( BTW, communion is not required more than that if there are multiple liturgies in the same week, unless you have the need to) builds a discipline into your life that  can easily be lacking in many people. If you don't have to have a very recent confession to commune and are only expected to go five or six times per year
( and that minimun can easily be slipped) you may be storing sins and confessing them all at the same time. In between, you may be approaching the chalice unworthily.

There is a big build up to occasional confession which has it's good side. But making confession part of your regular weekly routine cleans out ever dusty corner that less frequent confession has a much harder time getting to. Lets call it the "Slice of Pizza on Wednesday" syndrome. I confess that sort of thing now but never ever would have remembered such things ( or a flash of anger that week etc.) by only confessing around feasts
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« Reply #46 on: July 21, 2008, 11:02:08 AM »

Just my own thought, but I feel that we can't ever truly receive worthily. Regardless of how often we are confessing, we can not be worthy of the body and blood of our Lord. It is Christ that makes us worthy, whether or not we've just confessed the night before. I know for a fact that I can't do this on my own. I also know that confession helps me to be a better person and to become more like the Lord, but there is still nothing I can do to be worthy to approach the chalice.

Your mileage may vary.
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« Reply #47 on: July 21, 2008, 11:18:07 AM »

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.

This seems to be the norm.

Of course as this thread shows "norm" is a variable indeed.

WE should confess as often as possible, maintain a life of obedience to the Christ and His commandments, condem and rebuke the ways of the world and have a strong relationship with our individual holy father who will guide our life.

A person who does not want a priest to guide his life is in a precarious situation. I know today that I know many people who would rather 'run' their own lives. If that is best for a person than so be it.  WE have to choose. The Church however is our life line in this corrupt world. WE are Orthodox Christians and as such we 'should' be aware that we are preparing for eternity. AS such this world can offer 'us' nothing.

The only source of our sustenance is our communion with Christ.

I had a young sub deacon recently say to me (out of no where)..." I can not wait to make it to paradise". I looked at him (we working together in a field) to evaluate his seriousness. He appeared convincingly very matter-of-fact. However do the the magnitude of his words (and that he is only 14) I verified..."are you certain of what you are saying?".....He said with a straight albeit delighted demeanor..."Yes". I said  "you do know that you would have die to go their among other things". He said ...."of course!..But that would be only physical death". I said..."yes"...you are correct young man".

I left it at that considering that he said to me the day before while we were working on a small project in the church building together late one evening after I asked him about his plans for the future were...He said "I want to become a monk". I was quite shocked considering that I had already prepped his possible answers to my questions by verbalising various presumptions like "doctor", Lawyer, dentist, etc as people do. I never included anything spiritual like a priest or bishop or archdeacon or monk. I was shocked as I said but also I must admit slightly ashamed. I asked him..."what does your parents think about that?"...He looked down then back up and sad...."nothing". I left it at that.

The point here is that the church is our life. Why are'nt we planning to live 'in it'?

When we put our lives in Christ then His church is all we have in this world. Thus we are one in Him with the mystery of the Holy Communion. This young deacon is making plans that few if any of us would make for oursleves. Not that we would not want to be monks persay 'IF' we were called by some great mystery of the Lord; but plan to do it ......Uhm No. This boy is not waiting to be called.......He is persuing it. I pray that he is called. And if not that God protect his life and let his will be preserved in everything he does.

So we must persue the Holy Mystery by making IT our priority above everything. We should encourage our children to pray and prepare for Holy Communion every day.

It takes Seven days to prepare. Sunday to Sunday. WE should use all the time we are given for the purpose of partaking of the life sustaining mystery. WE must use our whole body to help us nourish the spirit beings that we are.

I teach sometimes:

1.that our mouths were designed to partake of the Holy Communion; not fried chicken.

2.Our stomachs are designed to hold the precious mystery like the Ark of God; not to hold a belly full of ice cream.  

3.Our noses were designed to intake of the holy, sweet and blessed incense; not 'Channel' or 'Calvin Klien'.

4.Our eyes were designed to stare upon the Holy Icons and the Holy Alter which consecrates the mind and soul; not to look at 'Hancock' or 'Batman'.

5.The feet were designed to walk the path of rightiousness and hold us up being planted in the holy Sancturary; not for running the 400 meters or dancing the lates dance.

6.The knees were designed to bow and prostrate to God along with the Hosts, Principalities and Dominions in the heaven of heaven; not to kneel to the ways of men and this corrupted world of ours.

7.Our hands were designed to stretch out and raise for praises of our Lord and Creator; not to hold our loved ones hands.

8.Our arms are designed to hold each other, and reach out for each other, to pull up those of us who are weak and need help; not hugging or holding our children.

9.Our necks were designed to turn to and frowe but not so much that we see that which is behind us since we are told about the destruction of Sodom and the pillar of salt. Christ said to the tempter "get behind me satan".

Like the spirit of truth pronounced "he who has ears to hear let him hear".
  
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« Reply #48 on: July 21, 2008, 12:21:26 PM »

The only source of our sustenance is our communion with Christ....

So we must persue the Holy Mystery by making IT our priority above everything. We should encourage our children to pray and prepare for Holy Communion every day.

It takes Seven days to prepare. Sunday to Sunday. WE should use all the time we are given for the purpose of partaking of the life sustaining mystery. WE must use our whole body to help us nourish the spirit beings that we are.

I teach sometimes:

1.that our mouths were designed to partake of the Holy Communion; not fried chicken.

2.Our stomachs are designed to hold the precious mystery like the Ark of God; not to hold a belly full of ice cream.  

3.Our noses were designed to intake of the holy, sweet and blessed incense; not 'Channel' or 'Calvin Klien'.

4.Our eyes were designed to stare upon the Holy Icons and the Holy Alter which consecrates the mind and soul; not to look at 'Hancock' or 'Batman'.

5.The feet were designed to walk the path of rightiousness and hold us up being planted in the holy Sancturary; not for running the 400 meters or dancing the lates dance.

6.The knees were designed to bow and prostrate to God along with the Hosts, Principalities and Dominions in the heaven of heaven; not to kneel to the ways of men and this corrupted world of ours.

7.Our hands were designed to stretch out and raise for praises of our Lord and Creator; not to hold our loved ones hands.

8.Our arms are designed to hold each other, and reach out for each other, to pull up those of us who are weak and need help; not hugging or holding our children.

9.Our necks were designed to turn to and frowe but not so much that we see that which is behind us since we are told about the destruction of Sodom and the pillar of salt. Christ said to the tempter "get behind me satan".

Like the spirit of truth pronounced "he who has ears to hear let him hear".
Difficult words, but important ones. I believe Christ said similar things:

Quote from: St. Luke 14:26-27
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

Quote from: St. Luke 18:29-30
Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.
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« Reply #49 on: July 21, 2008, 12:22:22 PM »

This seems to be the norm.

Of course as this thread shows "norm" is a variable indeed.

WE should confess as often as possible, maintain a life of obedience to the Christ and His commandments, condem and rebuke the ways of the world and have a strong relationship with our individual holy father who will guide our life.

A person who does not want a priest to guide his life is in a precarious situation. I know today that I know many people who would rather 'run' their own lives. If that is best for a person than so be it.  WE have to choose. The Church however is our life line in this corrupt world. WE are Orthodox Christians and as such we 'should' be aware that we are preparing for eternity. AS such this world can offer 'us' nothing.

The only source of our sustenance is our communion with Christ.

I had a young sub deacon recently say to me (out of no where)..." I can not wait to make it to paradise". I looked at him (we working together in a field) to evaluate his seriousness. He appeared convincingly very matter-of-fact. However do the the magnitude of his words (and that he is only 14) I verified..."are you certain of what you are saying?".....He said with a straight albeit delighted demeanor..."Yes". I said  "you do know that you would have die to go their among other things". He said ...."of course!..But that would be only physical death". I said..."yes"...you are correct young man".

I left it at that considering that he said to me the day before while we were working on a small project in the church building together late one evening after I asked him about his plans for the future were...He said "I want to become a monk". I was quite shocked considering that I had already prepped his possible answers to my questions by verbalising various presumptions like "doctor", Lawyer, dentist, etc as people do. I never included anything spiritual like a priest or bishop or archdeacon or monk. I was shocked as I said but also I must admit slightly ashamed. I asked him..."what does your parents think about that?"...He looked down then back up and sad...."nothing". I left it at that.

The point here is that the church is our life. Why are'nt we planning to live 'in it'?

When we put our lives in Christ then His church is all we have in this world. Thus we are one in Him with the mystery of the Holy Communion. This young deacon is making plans that few if any of us would make for oursleves. Not that we would not want to be monks persay 'IF' we were called by some great mystery of the Lord; but plan to do it ......Uhm No. This boy is not waiting to be called.......He is persuing it. I pray that he is called. And if not that God protect his life and let his will be preserved in everything he does.

So we must persue the Holy Mystery by making IT our priority above everything. We should encourage our children to pray and prepare for Holy Communion every day.

It takes Seven days to prepare. Sunday to Sunday. WE should use all the time we are given for the purpose of partaking of the life sustaining mystery. WE must use our whole body to help us nourish the spirit beings that we are.

I teach sometimes:

1.that our mouths were designed to partake of the Holy Communion; not fried chicken.

2.Our stomachs are designed to hold the precious mystery like the Ark of God; not to hold a belly full of ice cream.  

3.Our noses were designed to intake of the holy, sweet and blessed incense; not 'Channel' or 'Calvin Klien'.

4.Our eyes were designed to stare upon the Holy Icons and the Holy Alter which consecrates the mind and soul; not to look at 'Hancock' or 'Batman'.

5.The feet were designed to walk the path of rightiousness and hold us up being planted in the holy Sancturary; not for running the 400 meters or dancing the lates dance.

6.The knees were designed to bow and prostrate to God along with the Hosts, Principalities and Dominions in the heaven of heaven; not to kneel to the ways of men and this corrupted world of ours.

7.Our hands were designed to stretch out and raise for praises of our Lord and Creator; not to hold our loved ones hands.

8.Our arms are designed to hold each other, and reach out for each other, to pull up those of us who are weak and need help; not hugging or holding our children.

9.Our necks were designed to turn to and frowe but not so much that we see that which is behind us since we are told about the destruction of Sodom and the pillar of salt. Christ said to the tempter "get behind me satan".

Like the spirit of truth pronounced "he who has ears to hear let him hear".
  

Please tell us more about the practice in Ethiopia regarding confession and communion.
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« Reply #50 on: July 21, 2008, 01:21:58 PM »

Just my own thought, but I feel that we can't ever truly receive worthily. Regardless of how often we are confessing, we can not be worthy of the body and blood of our Lord. It is Christ that makes us worthy, whether or not we've just confessed the night before. I know for a fact that I can't do this on my own. I also know that confession helps me to be a better person and to become more like the Lord, but there is still nothing I can do to be worthy to approach the chalice.

Your mileage may vary.

Well.................Do you mean to say that since we are never really worthy why do anything? At base it's true that we never are, but it's better to make such labors than not to. I am sure we agree on that.
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« Reply #51 on: July 21, 2008, 02:05:14 PM »

No no, I don't mean that since we are never worthy we should never do anything! My point was that going to confession is good, and the more often you go the better it is for your soul, but it doesn't make you worthy of the chalice.
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« Reply #52 on: July 21, 2008, 03:40:09 PM »

No no, I don't mean that since we are never worthy we should never do anything! My point was that going to confession is good, and the more often you go the better it is for your soul, but it doesn't make you worthy of the chalice.
My point exactly.  Marc1152, if frequent confession for you means weekly, then I commend your commitment to this practice.  Such frequent confession, engaged with the right frame of mind, cannot but benefit your salvation.  All I would say is that it's not good to refrain from receiving Communion on Sunday just because you did NOT go to confession the night or the week before.
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« Reply #53 on: July 21, 2008, 04:07:13 PM »

My point exactly.  Marc1152, if frequent confession for you means weekly, then I commend your commitment to this practice.  Such frequent confession, engaged with the right frame of mind, cannot but benefit your salvation.  All I would say is that it's not good to refrain from receiving Communion on Sunday just because you did NOT go to confession the night or the week before.

Okay, but understand that the Rocor Priests I know and in my own parish this would be a moot point. They will not allow you to receive unless they know you have made a recent confession.I had a good OCA friend attend last week ( she is on this board and may be reading this Smiley. She was careful to call ahead and let our Priest know that she had recently confessed at her Church.

 I have seen our Priests turn people away at the chalice who did not understand the rule. I rather like their seriousness.
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« Reply #54 on: July 21, 2008, 04:19:50 PM »

Okay, but understand that the Rocor Priests I know and in my own parish this would be a moot point. They will not allow you to receive unless they know you have made a recent confession.I had a good OCA friend attend last week ( she is on this board and may be reading this Smiley. She was careful to call ahead and let our Priest know that she had recently confessed at her Church.

 I have seen our Priests turn people away at the chalice who did not understand the rule. I rather like their seriousness.

So what's the standard?  The ROCOR priests that require recent confession before communion of their parishioners are also dealing with people who receive once per month or less.  If the standard is 1:1 Confession:Communion and nothing less, then there may be a problem, especially if confessions are frequent but communion is desired to be more frequent.  Would communion 2-3 times per month with monthly confession be ok?  Weekly communion with 2 confessions per month?  Bi-monthly confession with 2-3 communion per month?
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« Reply #55 on: July 21, 2008, 04:32:07 PM »

I have seen our Priests turn people away at the chalice who did not understand the rule. I rather like their seriousness.

If I were ever refused Communion by an Orthodox priest (unless I was placed under such a restriction by my own Priest and I would know better than to Receive Communion under such a restriction), I would be inclined to literally shake the dust off my shoes and leave, never to return to that Church again.

I realize that Priests aren't mind readers; However, if a Priest says "With the fear of God and with love draw near" and turn away someone who's Orthodox and who wishes to Receive because such a person is a "stranger" who hasn't called ahead and "reserved" a place in the Communion line, I don't see the justification....   Huh

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« Reply #56 on: July 21, 2008, 04:49:28 PM »

If I were ever refused Communion by an Orthodox priest (unless I was placed under such a restriction by my own Priest and I would know better than to Receive Communion under such a restriction), I would be inclined to literally shake the dust off my shoes and leave, never to return to that Church again.

I realize that Priests aren't mind readers; However, if a Priest says "With the fear of God and with love draw near" and turn away someone who's Orthodox and who wishes to Receive because such a person is a "stranger" who hasn't called ahead and "reserved" a place in the Communion line, I don't see the justification....   Huh
I do.  Every priest is tasked by his bishop--I believe also by his ordination vows--to guard the sacred Chalice.  This means that he has the responsibility to verify that you are able to receive the Holy Mysteries.  He therefore has the authority to deny you Communion for whatever reason he deems disqualifying.  You have no right to receive Communion, for Communion is the gift of Jesus Christ, Who makes Himself present in the person of the priest.  Granted, the priest also must not exercise this authority frivolously.  But who are you to judge?
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« Reply #57 on: July 21, 2008, 05:01:33 PM »

Peter, I agree with you on every point you made.  Imagine the nightmare of every Priest calling every Church of every visitor who wishes to receive Communion.  Why should Priest B care if I went to Confession at Priest A - let's say a year ago or even a month ago or a week ago?  Priest A has no business telling Priest B that I attended Confession.
 
If I'm refused Communion only because I'm a stranger, hasn't that Priest already judged me and I have a right to act under such Judgment by walking out of the Church with dignity and calm?  Thankfully, I have never been refused Communion in a number of Orthodox Jurisdictions; However, I dread the day when I'm refused Communion solely because I'm a stranger who didn't call ahead?

I do.  Every priest is tasked by his bishop--I believe also by his ordination vows--to guard the sacred Chalice.  This means that he has the responsibility to verify that you are able to receive the Holy Mysteries.  He therefore has the authority to deny you Communion for whatever reason he deems disqualifying.  You have no right to receive Communion, for Communion is the gift of Jesus Christ, Who makes Himself present in the person of the priest.  Granted, the priest also must not exercise this authority frivolously.  But who are you to judge?
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« Reply #58 on: July 21, 2008, 05:08:20 PM »

You have no right to receive Communion, for Communion is the gift of Jesus Christ, Who makes Himself present in the person of the priest. 

Neither do you nor anyone in this forum nor anyone of the Orthodox faith.  Why say I have no right to receive Communion when technically, no one has the right to distribute and receive Communion?  It's by fasting, prayer, confession, etc. that we prepare ourselves to receive something which we're totally unworthy of receiving except we receive for the remission of sins and of life everlasting.
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« Reply #59 on: July 21, 2008, 05:34:21 PM »

Priest A has no business telling Priest B that I attended Confession.
Really?  I am aware that your priest has no business telling another priest what you divulged in confession, but I am not aware that the sacrosanctity of the confessional prohibits your priest from telling another priest with a legitimate concern that you have been to confession recently.

Quote

If I'm refused Communion only because I'm a stranger, hasn't that Priest already judged me
No.  Most likely the priest just doesn't know you and wants to err on the side of caution by making sure you're Orthodox before he gives you Communion.  He's probably not acting on any certitude that you're NOT Orthodox; he just wants to be cautious.

Quote
and I have a right to act under such Judgment by walking out of the Church with dignity and calm?
And no.  Are you not judging the priest [for "judging" you] when you do this?  What gives you the right to so judge a priest?

Neither do you nor anyone in this forum nor anyone of the Orthodox faith.  Why say I have no right to receive Communion when technically, no one has the right to distribute and receive Communion?
You're absolutely correct.  No one has the right to receive Communion, so I'm not singling you out. Wink  But when you speak of your "righteous indignation" toward any priest who denies you Communion because you're a "stranger", are you not in fact asserting that Communion is yours to receive by right?

Quote
  It's by fasting, prayer, confession, etc. that we prepare ourselves to receive something which we're totally unworthy of receiving except we receive for the remission of sins and of life everlasting.
AMEN!
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« Reply #60 on: July 21, 2008, 07:10:05 PM »

So what's the standard?  The ROCOR priests that require recent confession before communion of their parishioners are also dealing with people who receive once per month or less.  If the standard is 1:1 Confession:Communion and nothing less, then there may be a problem, especially if confessions are frequent but communion is desired to be more frequent.  Would communion 2-3 times per month with monthly confession be ok?  Weekly communion with 2 confessions per month?  Bi-monthly confession with 2-3 communion per month?

Like I said before, you must give a confession before receiving communion. The exception would be multiple Liturgies in the same week. So for example, if there is a Liturgy on Thursday and you confessed before receiving then ( in most cases that would have been done during Vigil the evening before) you would not be expected to confess again before Sunday unless something comes up and you need to.

This really should not be all that confusing.

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« Reply #61 on: July 21, 2008, 07:17:03 PM »

If I were ever refused Communion by an Orthodox priest (unless I was placed under such a restriction by my own Priest and I would know better than to Receive Communion under such a restriction), I would be inclined to literally shake the dust off my shoes and leave, never to return to that Church again.

I realize that Priests aren't mind readers; However, if a Priest says "With the fear of God and with love draw near" and turn away someone who's Orthodox and who wishes to Receive because such a person is a "stranger" who hasn't called ahead and "reserved" a place in the Communion line, I don't see the justification....   Huh

I wouldn't get too hung up on the calling ahead part. My friend knows the Priest very well and the rules of the parish, so for the sake of courtesy and efficiency she called ahead. But if a stranger approached the Chalice he or she would simply be asked a few questions. This is a pretty standard practice. Anything less boarders on malpractice IMHO.

I am going to an OCA parish at the beach while I am on vacation next week. I will email the Priest and let him know I am coming and also go to vespers and give my confession.

If I go to another Rocor Parish, I know to let the Priest or Deacon know if I am recently confessed and if not I will get in line... No biggie
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« Reply #62 on: July 21, 2008, 10:20:38 PM »

In Reference to Replies 59, 60 & 61.

On July 13, 2008, Four Priests from California in town for the Clergy-Laity Conference served the Divine Liturgy.  Three of the Four visiting Priests distributed Holy Communion while the 2 Priests from my Church remained in the Altar.  These visiting Priests didn't know the local Parishioners.  The local Parishioners didn't know the visiting Priests and all three Priests distributed Holy Communion without any issues.   Grin

Now, if I were a visitor to another Church, why should the Priest of that church treat me any differently compared to the visiting Priests from California who distributed Holy Communion to a foreign laity?  Was every parishioner intent on receiving Communion supposed to call the Church Office and report that they intended on receiving Communion as a courtesy to the visiting Priests?   Huh
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« Reply #63 on: July 21, 2008, 10:25:04 PM »

But if a stranger approached the Chalice he or she would simply be asked a few questions. This is a pretty standard practice. Anything less boarders on malpractice IMHO.

I faintly remember that happening to me a long time ago; I don't exactly know where and only one question was asked - if I were Orthodox and I received Holy Communion without issues.  I see the logic in asking a simple question although my bigger concern is being refused because I didn't follow a certain protocol.
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« Reply #64 on: July 21, 2008, 10:55:30 PM »

Are you not judging the priest [for "judging" you] when you do this?  What gives you the right to so judge a priest?

If a Priest judges me, He judges Himself.  If I judge a Priest, I judge myself as well.  If I'm rejected for receiving Holy Communion because I'm a stranger, that Priest and that Church automatically become strangers to me.  However, asking one simple question, "Are you Orthodox?" is more than enough satisfaction for me.  Not asking such a question reflects on my nature and that Priest's nature - being too cautious, being too timid, et al.  I take the chance under the Fear of God to receive Holy Communion.  While I don't take such Fear lightly, neither does the Priest who distributes Holy Communion.   Wink

You're absolutely correct.  No one has the right to receive Communion, so I'm not singling you out. Wink 

As usual, we're good.   Wink

The context of your statement indicated that I practiced something which I find false (e.g. my right to receive Holy Communion).  If I felt that receiving Holy Communion was a right, I would receive every Sunday except that I receive once every blue moon (e.g. Feast Days) after preparation.  I was taught that way in GOA and what I read backs it up.   Wink

But when you speak of your "righteous indignation" toward any priest who denies you Communion because you're a "stranger", are you not in fact asserting that Communion is yours to receive by right?

No, I do not assert that I have a right to receive Holy Communion.  I do assert that if I prepared to receive Holy Communion in another Orthodox Church like how I prepare for receiving Holy Communion in GOA and the Priest throws a curveball in my preparation by refusing the Chalice, I will feel rather disappointed and upset.  Plus, I feel that I would be rejected due to being refused Communion and if I feel rejected in an Orthodox Church - why stay in that Church one picosecond longer than necessary?

AMEN!
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« Reply #65 on: July 21, 2008, 10:56:12 PM »

In Reference to Replies 59, 60 & 61.

On July 13, 2008, Four Priests from California in town for the Clergy-Laity Conference served the Divine Liturgy.  Three of the Four visiting Priests distributed Holy Communion while the 2 Priests from my Church remained in the Altar.  These visiting Priests didn't know the local Parishioners.  The local Parishioners didn't know the visiting Priests and all three Priests distributed Holy Communion without any issues.   Grin

Now, if I were a visitor to another Church, why should the Priest of that church treat me any differently compared to the visiting Priests from California who distributed Holy Communion to a foreign laity?  Was every parishioner intent on receiving Communion supposed to call the Church Office and report that they intended on receiving Communion as a courtesy to the visiting Priests?   Huh

You should call or email and let the Priest know who you are and when you will be there.  More commonly it's done when you show up to a Church where they don't know you. Simply let them know that you are Orthodox. If the rule of the Jurisdiction is confession before communion you should do so or consider refraining from receiving communion.  

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« Reply #66 on: July 21, 2008, 10:59:17 PM »

"If I'm rejected for receiving Holy Communion because I'm a stranger"

I think this is the problem. You would feel personally "Rejected". Wrong attitude. The Priest is protecting the Chalice and trying ( really really hard) to protect you. You should be grateful and inspired by such seriousness by our Priests.
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« Reply #67 on: July 21, 2008, 11:21:26 PM »

I think this is the problem. You would feel personally "Rejected". Wrong attitude.

I ought to rejoice for being turned away from the Chalice?  What am I going to celebrate when I feel that I deserve to be in tears and shame?

You should be grateful and inspired by such seriousness by our Priests.

I agree with you.
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« Reply #68 on: July 22, 2008, 12:47:11 PM »

Please tell us more about the practice in Ethiopia regarding confession and communion.

No difference from what is already posted on this thread already.

After Holy Baptism:

1. Live a life according to the commandments of God. Including prayer and fasting.

2. Confess sins snd short comings as often as needed. The Soul father has a big part in how and when and how often. People are not left to decide this for themselves or to just keep confessing as a prerequisite to communion to ensure that 'confessing' is active in the person.

3. Confer with and obtain giudence form your Soul father (confessor) on a regular basis. This is very important in the Ethiopian and Coptic traditions. Absenece from your Soul fathers guidance for an extended period of time (over one month or more lets say) a person should not take communion until he has talked to and has gotten his Soul fathers guidnace and blessing. This 'may' include confession if needed. The Soul father will decide if confession is needed based on the situation. The person may also simply ask for confession and it will be granted.
 
4. attend the Holy Liturgy ON TIME.
 
5. With a contrite heart take communion.

The Ethiopian Church strictly miantains:
- Communicants must wear white. NO black or dark clothing. Black is allowed if a person is in morning. Such persons usually do not take communion until they are finished morning.

- Shoes must be removed. Actually knowone enters an Ethiopian Church in shoes....no exceptions.

- All communicants must have fasted at minimum from 12 midnight the night before. In Ethiopia many people start fasting at 6 PM Saturday until they take communion the next day. Fasting for communion means the usual no meat or animal products. We believe that covers the stomach only.

So for us we do not watch TV shows, movies, videos, games  etc. Only reading of scripture or maybe a nature show or videos about a bible story if you must. This fasts the eyes.

We do not listen to music or any audio that is regarding entertainment. This fasts the ears. We listen to liturgy or psalms and the like.

We do not attend birthdays or any other kind of party while fasting. It does matter whos birthday it is or what the party is for. This fasts the mind and removes us from temptation.

We refain from idle talk. To fast the mouth and speech. Many Ethiopian faithful once the fast period begins will not talk at all (other than for prayer or an emergency) until they take communion the next day.

Basically the whole body is at a state of fasting; this includes any kind of physical relations.

- Women are required to be covered from head to toe at all times while praying and during the Holy Liturgy. This applies to guests as well. NO exceptions.

- Men are required to be cover from neck to toe. NO skin exposed but from the neck up.

The covering up allows each faithful person to be 'one ' with each other. We are 'one' body. It is wonderful to see the "sea of white" during the Holy Liturgy. You can not tell one person from the other. You can not distinquish rich or poor old or young. We say Tewahado....One nature, One faith, One Baptism, One God. WE coevr up also to remind of that our street cloths are symbols of the world and sin. So we cover our street cloths truly hoping that the Lord will look away from our sins. It is a very ancient practice. Older than Christianity. This covering tradition is national dress in Ethiopia due to the fact of the age of the tradition plus the fact that we are an Christian Orthodox country for over 1600 years.

- When  recieving we use an order: The just Baptised, babies (boys first then girls), girls, boys, men, women.

- We receive on our knees. ("Every knee shall bow")

- We keep our mouths covered until we have masticated and cosumed the mystery.

- We refrain from touching non-communicants until after sun down.

If a person fails to follow the above then they are best to refrain from taking communion.

Just  a small list of our tradition.
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« Reply #69 on: July 22, 2008, 05:09:27 PM »

"If I'm rejected for receiving Holy Communion because I'm a stranger"

I think this is the problem. You would feel personally "Rejected". Wrong attitude. The Priest is protecting the Chalice and trying ( really really hard) to protect you. You should be grateful and inspired by such seriousness by our Priests.

I keep reading about what people and priests should and should not do about communion:  surely the canons offer some guidance.  After reading through so many posts, I have the following questions.

1.  What is the earliest canon we know of which mandates confession before communion?  Does it explain how often to confess?
2.  How is the priest instructed to refuse communion?
3.  Are there canons clarifying the priest's treatment of visiting parishioners?

If there are canons answering these questions, there is hardly any reason to debate them; if there are no canons answering these questions, then we are likely concocting man-made rules which are so far from being unnecessary that they are positively harmful.
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« Reply #70 on: July 22, 2008, 07:59:02 PM »

1.  What is the earliest canon we know of which mandates confession before communion? 

None exists.

2.  How is the priest instructed to refuse communion? 

The only canon that I can recall that discusses the giving or refusing of Holy Communion is Canon 101 of the Sixth Ecumenical Council, which instructs all laypeople to receive the Gifts in their hand, and which excommunicates all laymen and priests who do otherwise.


3.  Are there canons clarifying the priest's treatment of visiting parishioners?

No.

P.S. I cannot think of any canon before the 13th century, Eastern or Western, that even mentions Confession. Anyone?
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« Reply #71 on: July 22, 2008, 08:57:21 PM »

I feel compelled to add, the examinations discussed above, while I understand them; are not my experience.  One of the many things I like about the Orthodox Church, is it's catholicity; the fact that I had felt I can receive Holy Communion, not only in my home parish in the midwest U.S., but in Moscow; on the Greek island of Samos; or in Sofia, Bulgaria.

It seems to me, in this discussion, there is too legalistic of an examination involved, when the extent of fasting, and the frequency of Holy Confession are the responsibility of the communicants who are guided by their spiritual father, typically the communicant's parish parist.  These are disciplines, which vary based on the spiritual level of the communicant. Holy Communion, too, is "...for the remission of sins..."  The priestly examination seems as if there is some level of perfection sought by the parish priest that I feel is un-Orthodox; and which, I have never been exposed to from multiple priests and bishops or from any written guidance from the ecclesiastical jurisdiction in which I am a member and have been a member for my over 55 years on Earth.
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« Reply #72 on: July 23, 2008, 01:16:43 PM »

Rom 10:4 - 18
"The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" that is, the word of faith which we preach: that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

1Jn 1:1-end
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.


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« Reply #73 on: July 23, 2008, 01:22:46 PM »

Difficult words, but important ones. I believe Christ said similar things:


1Jn 2:1-6
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.[/i]

Hard words indeed.

But the true faith is exactly that.

A lot of work and extreme sacrifice was done to put a human on the moon.

How much more than will it take to put one human in Heaven?


« Last Edit: July 23, 2008, 01:24:48 PM by Amdetsion » Logged

"ETHIOPIA shall soon stretch out her hands unto God".....Psalm 68:vs 31

"Are ye not as children of the ETHIOPIANS unto me, O children of Israel"?....Amos 9: vs 7
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« Reply #74 on: July 23, 2008, 01:43:38 PM »

Canons requiring confession before communion?
None exists.

Then what is the point of this discussion?  Aren't each of us entitled to his opinion?
If the Scriptures are silent, if the Fathers say nothing, if the canons do not exist, then my
opinion is no better than yours.

Does anyone want to cite chapter and verse on fasting before communion?
Extra-credit to anyone who can satisfactorily explain why the monastic habit of fasting on
Saturday in preparation for communion does not violate the ancient canon mandating that
Saturday be fast-free.

DanM
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« Reply #75 on: July 23, 2008, 02:34:48 PM »

1Jn 2:1-6
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.[/i]

Hard words indeed.

But the true faith is exactly that.

A lot of work and extreme sacrifice was done to put a human on the moon.

How much more than will it take to put one human in Heaven?
The Christian faith is a difficult, narrow road. Christ never promised that salvation was easy. I think I would have seriously doubted Him if He had said so.
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« Reply #76 on: July 23, 2008, 02:53:58 PM »

Does anyone want to cite chapter and verse on fasting before communion?

St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain has a number of things to say about it (and abstaining from sex before and after) in the Pedalion. That's probably the most chapter and verse one could find.

Extra-credit to anyone who can satisfactorily explain why the monastic habit of fasting on Saturday in preparation for communion does not violate the ancient canon mandating that Saturday be fast-free.

Hey! If one can explain away Canon 101 of the Sixth Ecumenical Council, one can do anything! Canons only make sense when interpreted with context in mind and applied by the competent ecclesiastical authority. They ain't proof-texts.

That said, I would simply point out that "fasting" and "feasting" in a monastic setting mean something VERY different than they do to most people in the world. Can't remember where, but there's a story in the Gerondikon about a monk who broke the fast with much celebration and laxity by eating 3 olives in addition to his typical crust of hard bread.
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« Reply #77 on: August 10, 2008, 09:09:13 PM »

No difference from what is already posted on this thread already.

After Holy Baptism:

1. Live a life according to the commandments of God. Including prayer and fasting.

2. Confess sins snd short comings as often as needed. The Soul father has a big part in how and when and how often. People are not left to decide this for themselves or to just keep confessing as a prerequisite to communion to ensure that 'confessing' is active in the person.

3. Confer with and obtain giudence form your Soul father (confessor) on a regular basis. This is very important in the Ethiopian and Coptic traditions. Absenece from your Soul fathers guidance for an extended period of time (over one month or more lets say) a person should not take communion until he has talked to and has gotten his Soul fathers guidnace and blessing. This 'may' include confession if needed. The Soul father will decide if confession is needed based on the situation. The person may also simply ask for confession and it will be granted.
 
4. attend the Holy Liturgy ON TIME.
 
5. With a contrite heart take communion.

The Ethiopian Church strictly miantains:
- Communicants must wear white. NO black or dark clothing. Black is allowed if a person is in morning. Such persons usually do not take communion until they are finished morning.

- Shoes must be removed. Actually knowone enters an Ethiopian Church in shoes....no exceptions.

- All communicants must have fasted at minimum from 12 midnight the night before. In Ethiopia many people start fasting at 6 PM Saturday until they take communion the next day. Fasting for communion means the usual no meat or animal products. We believe that covers the stomach only.

So for us we do not watch TV shows, movies, videos, games  etc. Only reading of scripture or maybe a nature show or videos about a bible story if you must. This fasts the eyes.

We do not listen to music or any audio that is regarding entertainment. This fasts the ears. We listen to liturgy or psalms and the like.

We do not attend birthdays or any other kind of party while fasting. It does matter whos birthday it is or what the party is for. This fasts the mind and removes us from temptation.

We refain from idle talk. To fast the mouth and speech. Many Ethiopian faithful once the fast period begins will not talk at all (other than for prayer or an emergency) until they take communion the next day.

Basically the whole body is at a state of fasting; this includes any kind of physical relations.

- Women are required to be covered from head to toe at all times while praying and during the Holy Liturgy. This applies to guests as well. NO exceptions.

- Men are required to be cover from neck to toe. NO skin exposed but from the neck up.

The covering up allows each faithful person to be 'one ' with each other. We are 'one' body. It is wonderful to see the "sea of white" during the Holy Liturgy. You can not tell one person from the other. You can not distinquish rich or poor old or young. We say Tewahado....One nature, One faith, One Baptism, One God. WE coevr up also to remind of that our street cloths are symbols of the world and sin. So we cover our street cloths truly hoping that the Lord will look away from our sins. It is a very ancient practice. Older than Christianity. This covering tradition is national dress in Ethiopia due to the fact of the age of the tradition plus the fact that we are an Christian Orthodox country for over 1600 years.

- When  recieving we use an order: The just Baptised, babies (boys first then girls), girls, boys, men, women.

- We receive on our knees. ("Every knee shall bow")

- We keep our mouths covered until we have masticated and cosumed the mystery.

- We refrain from touching non-communicants until after sun down.

If a person fails to follow the above then they are best to refrain from taking communion.

Just  a small list of our tradition.

I found this very interesting; thanks for this. The Tewahedo Church has some very beautiful traditions.
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« Reply #78 on: August 11, 2008, 08:26:46 PM »

Like I said before, you must give a confession before receiving communion. The exception would be multiple Liturgies in the same week. So for example, if there is a Liturgy on Thursday and you confessed before receiving then ( in most cases that would have been done during Vigil the evening before) you would not be expected to confess again before Sunday unless something comes up and you need to.

This really should not be all that confusing. 

Oh, it isn't, trust me.  What's confusing is how one can come up with a practice that was non-existent in the Early Church, or Middle-Ages Church, such as 1:1 Confession:Communion.  As I said, when it's applied to once-monthly communion, it makes sense.  But if someone wishes to receive once per week and are told to confess once per week, then the direction doesn't match up with the Church's historical practice.
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"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
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Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
Tags: vigil confession communion Ethiopian Orthodox Church 
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