Author Topic: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?  (Read 36873 times)

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Offline PeterTheAleut

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For Holy Communion,you need abstain any food or drink from midnight;and abstain from oil,wine,dairy produce,egg,meat for a period of time(can be 40days,7days,3days,1day even only from saturday noon,lie on your local tradition and your spiritual father).
This practice is stricter than any I've ever known.  I can see how this would arise in a culture where Communion is received maybe once a year, but I just don't see how it would even be possible for those who receive Communion weekly and on feasts.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2009, 07:11:54 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline Monk Vasyl

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2009, 05:19:41 PM »
For Holy Communion,you need abstain any food or drink from midnight;and abstain from oil,wine,dairy produce,egg,meat for a period of time(can be 40days,7days,3days,1day even only from saturday noon,lie on your local tradition and your spiritual father).
This practice is stricter than any I've ever known.  I can see how this would arise in a culture where Communion is received maybe once a year, but I just don't see how it would even be possible for those who receive Communion weekly and on feasts.

I was told, by a priest, that these long periods of fasting and preparation were for people who only received once or twice a year.  A weekly communicate would need to fast, at least from midnight, and depending on the priest, confession either once a month (unless there was a serious sin).  At St. Tikhon's Monastery, confession was required before each time a person received.
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2009, 10:31:25 PM »
For Holy Communion,you need abstain any food or drink from midnight;and abstain from oil,wine,dairy produce,egg,meat for a period of time(can be 40days,7days,3days,1day even only from saturday noon,lie on your local tradition and your spiritual father).
This practice is stricter than any I've ever known.  I can see how this would arise in a culture where Communion is received maybe once a year, but I just don't see how it would even be possible for those who receive Communion weekly and on feasts.

I've had it pointed out that the more frequent the communion, the less necessary the strictness of the fast.  For one thing, it gets to the point of the fast preventing communion, which defeats the purpose.
Like I saw on another thread a long time ago, if we have to abstain from meat for a week before receiving the Holy Mysteries, weekly reception of the Mysteries would turn us into vegans.  Who can do that?  Of course, this is a good subject for another thread, and I'm not particularly in the mood to have to split a thread right now, if you get my drift. ;)
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Offline Elpidophoros

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2009, 01:54:04 PM »
Quote
Like I saw on another thread a long time ago, if we have to abstain from meat for a week before receiving the Holy Mysteries, weekly reception of the Mysteries would turn us into vegans.  Who can do that?  Of course, this is a good subject for another thread, and I'm not particularly in the mood to have to split a thread right now, if you get my drift.
Yes,there were and still are fathers to abstain from even oil for whole life,so they can serve liturgy almost daily.(If you eat more than once saturday,sunday and feasts,but abstain from oil,wine,fish......whole life,you do not break any canon.The canon forbid 'no eating or once eating fasting'on saturday,sunday and feasts,but no canon say orthodox cannot be vegans.)
So,if the weekly reception of the Mysteries make more orthodox vegans,it would be great! At least very very good for our poor environment.

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2009, 04:34:09 PM »
The canon forbid 'no eating or once eating fasting'on saturday,sunday and feasts,but no canon say orthodox cannot be vegans.)
What canons?

So,if the weekly reception of the Mysteries make more orthodox vegans,it would be great! At least very very good for our poor environment.
1.  Since when are we supposed to base how we prepare for reception of the Holy Mysteries on an environmentalism that draws many of its precepts from sources other than the Faith?
2.  I'm not aware of any canon that requires us non-monastics to never eat meat.  So why insist upon such a practice that makes sense--if it makes sense at all--only for those who receive Communion once or twice per year?  Why insist upon a practice that virtually no one has the strength to follow year round?
« Last Edit: January 31, 2009, 04:35:51 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline Elpidophoros

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2009, 05:59:55 PM »
Quote
What canons?

FASTING:
On Saturdays and Sundaj s (except Greai Sai.) "Such is a Christ-killer." St. Ignatios . . . . . . .P 112 FN
Prohibited on Saturdays and Sundays, Si, Epiphanies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PI 12 FN
We cease Casting on Saturdays and Sundays to rest, St, John Chnsosiotn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PI 12 FN

Peischa, New Week. no fasting permitted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P123 FN
Pentecost Week, no Fasting permiUed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P123 FN
Christmas toEpiphany Eve, no faslingpemiilted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P123FN
Pope Innocent illegally abolished Wednesday, establishing Saturday in its place . . . . . . . . . . PI 12 FN
Never allowed Saturday or Sunday. except on the Great and Holy Saturday . . . . . . . . . . . . . PI10 C64

Sunday is the day of Resurrectioq thus we do not fast or kneel on this day . . . . . . . . . . . . .P 755 INT


I copy above from pedalion(SUPPLEMENTARY INDEX THE RUDDER;page 20)

So canons and fathers forbad the "non-eating" or "once-eating"fasting on sundays saturdays and some feasts.

But no canon say you cannnot be vegans,if you eat more than once on those days,you are OK.


Quote
1.  Since when are we supposed to base how we prepare for reception of the Holy Mysteries on an environmentalism that draws many of its precepts from sources other than the Faith?
The benefit for environment is a byproduct of fasting not the main aim.

Quote
I'm not aware of any canon that requires us non-monastics to never eat meat. 
There is no any.

Quote
So why insist upon such a practice that makes sense--if it makes sense at all--only for those who receive Communion once or twice per year? 

Why it's "only for those who receive Communion once or twice per year?"
If any one's SF request him to keep trimeron fasting,and he has strength and willing to obey,then what's problem?

Quote
Why insist upon a practice that virtually no one has the strength to follow year round?
Why no one has the strength to follow it?
If some one has no such strength,then why he insist so much on "weekly reception of the Mysteries"? There is any canon requires us to do so?

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2009, 06:31:34 PM »
Quote
What canons?

FASTING:
On Saturdays and Sundaj s (except Greai Sai.) "Such is a Christ-killer." St. Ignatios . . . . . . .P 112 FN
Prohibited on Saturdays and Sundays, Si, Epiphanies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PI 12 FN
We cease Casting on Saturdays and Sundays to rest, St, John Chnsosiotn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PI 12 FN

Peischa, New Week. no fasting permitted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P123 FN
Pentecost Week, no Fasting permiUed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P123 FN
Christmas toEpiphany Eve, no faslingpemiilted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P123FN
Pope Innocent illegally abolished Wednesday, establishing Saturday in its place . . . . . . . . . . PI 12 FN
Never allowed Saturday or Sunday. except on the Great and Holy Saturday . . . . . . . . . . . . . PI10 C64

Sunday is the day of Resurrectioq thus we do not fast or kneel on this day . . . . . . . . . . . . .P 755 INT


I copy above from pedalion(SUPPLEMENTARY INDEX THE RUDDER;page 20)

So canons and fathers forbad the "non-eating" or "once-eating"fasting on sundays saturdays and some feasts.
Okay, I misunderstood you then.  Please forgive me.  I thought earlier that you were actually saying that the canons require us to fast on Saturdays, which I know to be false.

Quote
I'm not aware of any canon that requires us non-monastics to never eat meat. 
There is no any.

Quote
So why insist upon such a practice that makes sense--if it makes sense at all--only for those who receive Communion once or twice per year? 

Why it's "only for those who receive Communion once or twice per year?"
If any one's SF request him to keep trimeron fasting,and he has strength and willing to obey,then what's problem?
The problem is that I find very troubling the idea that any spiritual father would require such asceticism of a non-monastic.

Quote
Why insist upon a practice that virtually no one has the strength to follow year round?
Why no one has the strength to follow it?
What world do you live in?  It sounds to me as if the only people you know are monastics.  Most of the rest of us, though, live in a world where family and career responsibilities don't allow us to pray anywhere near as much as monks and nuns do.  This alone deprives us of the strength needed to undergo such feats of asceticism as you advocate.

If some one has no such strength,then why he insist so much on "weekly reception of the Mysteries"?
Because the Holy Eucharist is our life, not fasting.

There is any canon requires us to do so?
Are you not aware that weekly reception of Communion was the earliest Christian practice and that the shift over time to mere annual reception is a deviation from this earliest practice?
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2009, 07:09:14 PM »
A couple of good threads to read on this subject:

Jurisdictional Difference?

Confession before Communion
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Offline Ebor

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2009, 07:26:01 PM »
So,if the weekly reception of the Mysteries make more orthodox vegans,it would be great! At least very very good for our poor environment.

Or it could seriously reduce the number of EO since there are many parts of the world where the people may not have the luxury or ability to be vegan.  It is relatively easy in places with grocery stores and refrigeration and fruits and vegetables available year round. But there are lots places where some form of animal product is what there is to eat much of the time.  There are herding people in Africa whose cattle are a major supplier of food; or as a friend of mine has said "Cows are how people eat grass."    The Inuit and other groups in Arctic regions don't have resources for growing lots of grains and legumes.  They survived since time immemorial by hunting and gathering as did the Native Americans.  In India milk and cheese are important sources of nutrition for some people again from cattle. 

While it is true that in many parts of Asia, there was little or no use of dairy products there were still other sources of protein with fish or meats.  Tofu and other soy bean products can be good, but those are still processed and created foods and some people do not react well to soy.  Just eating plant foods without some balance such as combining different items to get complete proteins is going to lead to health problems.

I'm sorry, but I hardly think that the point of EO is to make lots of vegans.

With respect,

Ebor
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2009, 05:03:57 PM »
This is why we should keep the "idealist superfluous severe practice of  Preparation for Communion" so let almost no one can fulfill them perfectly even literally.
Holy Communion is the medicine of immortality that gives us life and the strength to resist sin.  Why make it so impossible to receive that which will give us this strength?  Why deprive the faithful of their life-giving Food?
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Offline Elpidophoros

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2009, 05:47:23 PM »
So,if the weekly reception of the Mysteries make more orthodox vegans,it would be great! At least very very good for our poor environment.

Or it could seriously reduce the number of EO since there are many parts of the world where the people may not have the luxury or ability to be vegan.  It is relatively easy in places with grocery stores and refrigeration and fruits and vegetables available year round. But there are lots places where some form of animal product is what there is to eat much of the time.  There are herding people in Africa whose cattle are a major supplier of food; or as a friend of mine has said "Cows are how people eat grass."    The Inuit and other groups in Arctic regions don't have resources for growing lots of grains and legumes.  They survived since time immemorial by hunting and gathering as did the Native Americans.  In India milk and cheese are important sources of nutrition for some people again from cattle. 

While it is true that in many parts of Asia, there was little or no use of dairy products there were still other sources of protein with fish or meats.  Tofu and other soy bean products can be good, but those are still processed and created foods and some people do not react well to soy.  Just eating plant foods without some balance such as combining different items to get complete proteins is going to lead to health problems.

I'm sorry, but I hardly think that the point of EO is to make lots of vegans.

With respect,

Ebor

Did I say we should reject any kind of oikonomia?Why you think that I intend to afflict our poor indian african eskimo...brothers by extreme akrebeia?

I just said,if someone(monastic or not)
a,Has such strength.
b,Has such will.
c,Be blessed by his SF.
Want to follow a more strict rule(in someone's view) of preparation for Mysteries.And such rule really exist in our tradition,not someting non-canonical or bad or crazy or cult-like .....then let him to do so.

Why it's so inacceptable for some guys,I do not see the point.

Why someones do believe that such practice inevitably cause:
a,pride
b,self-conceit
c,judging others
d,abandoning the Mysteries

In fact ,what ever practice you follow(more preparation,less,not at all...)you still can fall in those sins....

Offline Basil 320

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2009, 07:36:59 PM »
I don't have the direct link off hand, but "goarch.org" has a generally recommended year round summary of fasting guidelines approved by the Holy Eparchial (Provincial) Synod of Bishops of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.  (The fasting for a week from meat prior to receiving Holy Communion rule, is not included therein.)
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Offline Irish Hermit

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Re:
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2009, 12:59:19 AM »

Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?

Are there people who don't?   :o

Offline LBK

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Re:
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2009, 01:45:05 AM »

Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?

Are there people who don't?   :o

Perhaps a case could be made to allow meat-eating for those communing the week after Easter, or the week after any other great feast where that week is "fast-free". But only if your priest says it's OK.
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2009, 01:47:36 AM »

Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?

Are there people who don't?   :o



Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?

Are there people who don't?   :o

Perhaps a case could be made to allow meat-eating for those communing the week after Easter, or the week after any other great feast where that week is "fast-free". But only if your priest says it's OK.


Are you two serious?


BTW, Fr. Ambrose, you apparently CUT and pasted the title of this thread into your post, which could explain the absence of a title. ;)
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Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2009, 02:16:22 AM »
Are you two serious?

I have spent most of my life in the Orthodox Church of Serbia.  A one week fast is always required.  But I do not know how this may have changed in the States.

I have also spent a great portion of my life on secondment to parishes of the Russian Church Abroad, where all the parishioners have always observed a one week fast.  (It is six days really since the fasting starts on Monday and ends with Sunday communion.)

This has been the normal preparation for communion in all the Orthodox Churches for hundreds of years.

BUT over the last decades, and especially among Western converts, there has been a move to more frequent communion and so the fasting period has been cut down, to faciliate approaching the Chalice more frequently.

In my parish BOTH systems operate side by side, according to individual preference.  One week is the majority practice.

Quote
BTW, Fr. Ambrose, you apparently CUT and pasted the title of this thread into your post, which could explain the absence of a title. ;)

Is that where it went to.   :laugh:
« Last Edit: February 02, 2009, 02:17:32 AM by Irish Hermit »

Offline Elpidophoros

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Re:
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2009, 04:42:01 PM »

Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?

Are there people who don't?   :o

Perhaps a case could be made to allow meat-eating for those communing the week after Easter, or the week after any other great feast where that week is "fast-free". But only if your priest says it's OK.

Good point! I think this is why in many parishes the Nativity be considered as a Communion day,but Theophany not.
Since many people feel the "one day fasting"is not enough for Holy Communion,but good enough for the great holy water....

Offline Anastasios

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2009, 04:53:14 PM »
The time of fasting before communion has waxed and waned for centuries.  It was often a 40 day fast, and no one hardly ever went to communion, and it was St Nicodemos the Hagiorite that started the trend to cut it down by introducing a three day fast so that most people would begin to go at least once a month (although he wanted people to commune weekly).

Among most Orthodox I know in the United States from ROCOR, there was no fasting before communion (although canons and akathists were required as well as attendance at the full Vigil).  Amongst the Greek Old Calendarists, a three day fast is most common, although I do not believe someone keeping the canonical fasts every week and during the four periods, confessing regularly, doing prostrations, etc, should be required to keep this fast.  It is of course a personal matter for the spiritual father.  And of course, if someone WANTS to keep this fast (or the optional Monday fast, or obstain from meat for life) I would not object!

Here's St Nicodemos's book on the topic:
http://uncutmountain.com/index.php/uncut/headbig/new_book_fall_2006_concern_frequent_communion_by_saint_nikodemos_the_hagior/
« Last Edit: February 04, 2009, 04:56:17 PM by Fr. Anastasios »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2009, 12:30:10 PM »
I have spent most of my life in the Orthodox Church of Serbia.  A one week fast is always required. 

Really Father?  If I asked his Holiness Patriarch Pavle of this, would he say that such a fast is "required", as you put it?
And "required" for whom?  It seems to me that deacons, priests and bishops are obliged to partake of communion at every liturgy they attend.  Does this mean that the entire clergy of the Serbian Church are vegetarians who fast rigourously on a continual basis?

Quote
This has been the normal preparation for communion in all the Orthodox Churches for hundreds of years.

The passage of time does not mean that such a degenerate practice that is not consistent with the Patristic vision or praxis needs to be held up as the "norm".

Quote
BUT over the last decades, and especially among Western converts, there has been a move to more frequent communion and so the fasting period has been cut down, to faciliate approaching the Chalice more frequently.

Forgive me, but the fact that this movement stems from Western converts is irrelevant.  Frequent communion is not an abberation, but the reverse certainly is such a thing.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2009, 12:36:02 PM by Pravoslavbob »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2009, 01:18:05 PM »

Really Father?  If I asked his Holiness Patriarch Pavle of this, would he say that such a fast is "required", as you put it?

I expect that he would see it as the norm.  All the priests coming out of seminary are taught it.   The ones who arrive in this country usually are surprised that we permit Communion more than four times a year, maximum, during the four fasting periods.

Quote
It seems to me that deacons, priests and bishops are obliged to partake of communion at every liturgy they attend.  Does this mean that the entire clergy of the Serbian Church are vegetarians who fast rigourously on a continual basis?

The clergy are exempt from this fasting and fast only from midnight or, if it is their custom, from after the Vespers or Vigil on the preceding evening.

Quote
The passage of time does not mean that such a degenerate practice that is not consistent with the Patristic vision or praxis needs to be held up as the "norm".

It is not a happy thing to call "degenerate" a practice which has been followed by hundreds if not thousands of Saints.

Quote
Frequent communion is not an abberation, but the reverse certainly is such a thing.

Again.... I don't see how an aberration could have produced so many Saints, and in the case of the Churches which bore the brunt of Communist persecution, so many holy martyrs.

As I mentioned, both practices can be found in my parish and I can respect both of them.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2009, 01:19:51 PM by Irish Hermit »

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2009, 01:40:40 PM »
I don't have the direct link off hand, but "goarch.org" has a generally recommended year round summary of fasting guidelines approved by the Holy Eparchial (Provincial) Synod of Bishops of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.  (The fasting for a week from meat prior to receiving Holy Communion rule, is not included therein.)

The article in question is here. It prescribes a "morning of" fast.

As far as those western converts are concerned, the reason why Anglican converts expect weekly communion is because the Anglican churches have largely suppressed the medieval innovation of watching communion rather than taking communion.

Offline stashko

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2009, 03:18:40 PM »
In the serbian church we had to fast for a week for Holy Communion...thats how i was brought up..Fr.Ambrose is correct in this ....Oce Blagoslovi.....
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Offline Pravoslavbob

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #22 on: February 05, 2009, 03:24:38 PM »
I expect that he would see it as the norm. 

Answer the question please.  Would he tell me that it is required.

Quote
All the priests coming out of seminary are taught it. 

Are you sure about that?  They are taught that it is a requirement for laity before partaking of the chalice?

Quote
The clergy are exempt from this fasting and fast only from midnight or, if it is their custom, from after the Vespers or Vigil on the preceding evening.

In other words, the clergy receive some kind of mysterious blagodatz once they are ordained deacon that the laity do not have in order to be "allowed" to waive this "requirement."  I would call this clericalism of the worst kind.

Quote
It is not a happy thing to call "degenerate" a practice which has been followed by hundreds if not thousands of Saints.

It is not a happy thing to laud implicitly a practice which has produced thousands of saints in spite of its implementation, and not because of the said practice. 

Many saints have argued passionately for the revival of the Patristic practice.   Fr Anastasios has referenced one of them.

Quote
As I mentioned, both practices can be found in my parish and I can respect both of them.

It seems to me from your posts that you have a marked preference for infrequent lay communion.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2009, 08:59:42 PM by Pravoslavbob »
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Offline Elpidophoros

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #23 on: February 05, 2009, 04:28:21 PM »
Quote
I expect that he would see it as the norm. 
Answer the question please.  Would he tell me that it is required.
The reality is the one week fasting is standard in serbian church,but still has room for oikonomia.
I think His Beatitude would say that the one week fasting is normal but everyone should discuss with his SF for his/her own status.
What else answer we can expect from His Beatitude?Tell us the reality is not real and try to get nirvana?


Quote
Quote
All the priests coming out of seminary are taught it. 
Are you sure about that?  They are taught that it is a requirement for laity before partaking of the chalice?
So you want to say priests did not learn this ,but invent this by themselves?
If here word "requirement" means "a standard practice should be followed",YES it is.
If means "a coercive rule without any exception" NO it is not, oikonomia always exist,in every historical period.


Quote
Quote
The clergy are exempt from this fasting and fast only from midnight or, if it is their custom, from after the Vespers or Vigil on the preceding evening.
In other words, the clergy receive some kind of mysterious blagodatz once they are ordained deacon that the laity do not have in order to be "allowed" to waive this "requirement."  I would call this clericalism of the worst kind.
The answer for your question here is heard  thousands times in catechetical class:
The fasting is not the only way of preparation for Holy Communion,and according to anyone's possibolity ,some kind of "exchange" of methods is allowed.
For example,if you are srong but analphabetic,you can chose more strict fasting than reading(canons,prayers,spiritual readings and so on)by the blessing of your SF——vice versa is same....
In the case of the clergy,they at least serve matins and vespers daily,if any layman do the same ,I think he can get blessing easily to keep fasting just like the clergy and to receive Mysterion.

« Last Edit: February 05, 2009, 04:29:23 PM by Elpidophoros »

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #24 on: February 05, 2009, 05:18:48 PM »
In the serbian church we had to fast for a week for Holy Communion...thats how i was brought up..Fr.Ambrose is correct in this ....Oce Blagoslovi.....
So does this mean the Serbian Church discourages people from receiving Holy Communion weekly since it would mean perpetually fasting?
I find this strange that a Church should encourage people to Commune less frequently.
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #25 on: February 05, 2009, 06:31:18 PM »
This thread quite acutely demonstrates the varying traditions along the two major lines in Orthodoxy (Roman/Greek-influenced and Slav influenced).

In the Roman/Greek practice, the "requirement" is regular participation in the sacramental life of the Church and keeping the prescribed fasts (i.e. fasting on each Wed and Fri, keeping the periodic fasts, confessing a regular number of times per year - 2, 4, 6 times, etc. - thus living a full life in the Church), then you're generally prepared.  Do not eat after Supper on Saturday, say some prayers of preparation, and voila.  In our tradition, if a Priest were celebrating the Liturgy with a minimal congregation (> just one or two) and went from "With the Fear of God, with Faith and Love..." straight to "Save O Lord your people..." without bringing the chalice out, he'd be censured by the Bishop.  Different mindset - not better or worse, IMO.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #26 on: February 05, 2009, 07:42:00 PM »
In the serbian church we had to fast for a week for Holy Communion...thats how i was brought up..Fr.Ambrose is correct in this ....Oce Blagoslovi.....
So does this mean the Serbian Church discourages people from receiving Holy Communion weekly since it would mean perpetually fasting?
I find this strange that a Church should encourage people to Commune less frequently.

Not really my own Late mother did all the fasts including the Wednesday and Friday weekly fasts...she would prepare herself for holy communion on all the major great feast day's......
fast for the nativity 40 day receive holy communion..pasca 40 some day's holy communion...Dormitian of the holy virgin receive communion....and the other red letter holy days...and by the way, God blessed her that she lived to be 96 yrs old even though she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure early in life...why im mentioning this is when she fasted we all had to fast she did all the cooking,,,,,
« Last Edit: February 05, 2009, 08:15:30 PM by stashko »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #27 on: February 05, 2009, 08:25:04 PM »
The reality is the one week fasting is standard in serbian church,but still has room for oikonomia.
I think His Beatitude would say that the one week fasting is normal but everyone should discuss with his SF for his/her own status.
What else answer we can expect from His Beatitude?Tell us the reality is not real and try to get nirvana?

Yeah, but I'm not asking you what you think.  I think I have a fair grasp of your opinions on the matter already.  I am addressing my question to Irish Hermit.  And I have no idea what you mean by the last above quoted sentence, nor am I sure that I want to know.  

« Last Edit: February 05, 2009, 08:45:52 PM by Pravoslavbob »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #28 on: February 05, 2009, 08:28:20 PM »
In the serbian church we had to fast for a week for Holy Communion...thats how i was brought up..Fr.Ambrose is correct in this ....Oce Blagoslovi.....

No one is asking your opinion concerning popular practice.  I am asking Irish Hermit (not you) if he thinks that His Holiness Patriarch Pavle would consider such fasting a requirement before going to communion.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2009, 08:40:02 PM by Pravoslavbob »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2009, 08:36:17 PM »
  Different mindset - not better or worse, IMO.

I'm sorry Cleveland, I have to profoundly disagree with you here.   The two mindsets are not compatible.   How can you possibly justify the idea that laity should only be admitted to the chalice once or twice a year in light of all the evidence to the contrary that we have passed down to us from the early church and the Patristic period?   It is simply indefensible, and a great abuse.  You have seen that Irish Hermit did not reply that the Patriarch would tell me that such a burdensome fasting regimen is a requirement.  This is because he knows full well that His Holiness would not take such a position.  And if my sources are correct, the Serbs (in Serbia) are finally beginning to realise once again that frequent lay communion is an essential component of the Orthodox faith.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2009, 08:58:05 PM by Pravoslavbob »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #30 on: February 05, 2009, 09:01:07 PM »
What are you talking about once or twice a year...How many major feast day's a year does orthodoxy have...thats the time most of the orthodox  fast and partake of holy communion.....it more than once or twice a year...
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #31 on: February 05, 2009, 09:05:29 PM »
In the serbian church we had to fast for a week for Holy Communion...thats how i was brought up..Fr.Ambrose is correct in this ....Oce Blagoslovi.....

No one is asking your opinion concerning popular practice.  I am asking Irish Hermit (not you) if he thinks that His Holiness Patriarch Pavle would consider such fasting a requirement before going to communion.

i didn't see your name in the quote box im sure i was responding to george...
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Offline SakranMM

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #32 on: February 05, 2009, 09:50:47 PM »
We've been discussing the history of this sort of thing in liturgical theology classes at seminary.  I think it can be safely assumed that people in the early church communed very often; Basil the Great speaks of communing 4x a week.  After the conversion of Constantine, the frequency of communion was greatly reduced because of 1)  Adult converts were mostly nominal (being Christian was the "pc" thing to do); 2) A strict penitential discipline that forced people to abstain from the chalice for years at a time; 3) A common practice of delaying baptism until the end of one's life.

This kind of thing led to very legalistic requirements to prepare for communion, because people saw communion itself as a sort of vehicle of grace for their individual sanctification, rather than a participation of union with God and other Christians - the very thing that makes the Body of Christ what it is.  So, when people began only communing once a year, it of course followed that a lengthy thing like a week-long fast from meat would precede (as if not eating meat for a week, going to confession, and saying a few prayers made one "worthy" of communion, then immediately after partaking, they go back to their usual "state" until the next year's communion [ala' Fr. Alexander Schmemann] )

The best preparation for communion, as was implied in an earlier post, is living a Christian life, period.  Preparation from communion shouldn't involve separation from normal life (i.e. excessive fasting and prayer) - now, with that said, I'm not saying that one shouldn't prepare to receive the Mysteries - it is indeed an awesome and dread thing, and I wouldn't dream of partaking without at least fasting from midnight and reciting the pre-communion prayers; but I think the main point is that communion (and indeed all the sacraments) are intended to sanctify life, not separate us from it.  Fasting and prayers aren't magic keys to communion; Life in Christ is what leads us to communion, period.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #33 on: February 05, 2009, 10:36:12 PM »
I'm coming to a conclusion that the new calendar followers brag that they fast less and take communion regularly and some probably are not preparing themselves correctly,,and take communion because its something to do every Sunday...and they become lax ..now the old calendar people like me and others would prepare them self for a week knowing that not to prepare correctly can be dangerous....doesn't the catholic church have this problem receiving communion regularly and not preparing correctly..i read this on there own forum...God forbid we start imatating the catholic's and lose the awe and fear in recieving Holy Communion unprepared....
ГОСПОДЕ ГОСПОДЕ ,ПОГЛЕДАЈ СА НЕБА ,ДОЂИ И ПОСЕТИ ТВОЈ ВИНОГРАД ТВОЈА ДЕСНИЦА ПОСАДИЛА АМИН АМИН.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #34 on: February 05, 2009, 11:16:12 PM »
I'm coming to a conclusion that the new calendar followers brag that they fast less and take communion regularly and some probably are not preparing themselves correctly,,and take communion because its something to do every Sunday...and they become lax ..now the old calendar people like me and others would prepare them self for a week knowing that not to prepare correctly can be dangerous....doesn't the catholic church have this problem receiving communion regularly and not preparing correctly..i read this on there own forum...God forbid we start imatating the catholic's and lose the awe and fear in recieving Holy Communion unprepared....

 ::)

I'm coming to the conclusion that the more I ignore your posts, the better chance I have for intelligent discussion on this forum.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2009, 11:17:29 PM by Pravoslavbob »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #35 on: February 05, 2009, 11:23:08 PM »
We've been discussing the history of this sort of thing in liturgical theology classes at seminary.  I think it can be safely assumed that people in the early church communed very often; Basil the Great speaks of communing 4x a week.  After the conversion of Constantine, the frequency of communion was greatly reduced because of 1)  Adult converts were mostly nominal (being Christian was the "pc" thing to do); 2) A strict penitential discipline that forced people to abstain from the chalice for years at a time; 3) A common practice of delaying baptism until the end of one's life.

I think you make a lot of good points here.  I think there are quite a few other things to consider as well.  One might be the rise of popular erroneous beliefs about the nature of the Church and the liturgy.    One such erroneous belief was that one did not need to go to communion, because the liturgy is the re-enactment of Jesus's life on earth.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2009, 11:23:56 PM by Pravoslavbob »
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Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #36 on: February 06, 2009, 12:17:46 AM »
I expect that he would see it as the norm. 

Answer the question please.  Would he tell me that it is required.


It is imposible to reduce preparation for Communion to a matter of "what is required" since every individual may have different advice from his or her spiritual father.    In the "diaspora" and among converts the "one size fits all" has long gone.  Preparation requirements fluctuate widely in the West.   In Serbia and other European Orthodox countries, there is much more homogeneity on this matter and it is still basically "one size fits all."   For example, during the time I was a young monk in Serbia, in a monastery with 27 monastics we were permitted to go to Communion four times a year (during the four Fast) and on our Nameday.   Preparatory fasting was a week.   It was the same in every parish which I knew.

Quote
Are you sure about that?  They are taught that it is a requirement for laity before partaking of the chalice?

Checked with a young priest who graduated three years ago.  The answer is, Yes.  That is the expected norm.  But he has authority to vary it for individual parishioners.

Quote
The clergy are exempt from this fasting and fast only from midnight or, if it is their custom, from after the Vespers or Vigil on the preceding evening.
Quote
In other words, the clergy receive some kind of mysterious blagodatz once they are ordained deacon that the laity do not have in order to be "allowed" to waive this "requirement."  I would call this clericalism of the worst kind.

That's the way you would call it?  Unfortunate, but you have the right to see it as you like.   It has been the practice of all the Orthodox Churches for centuries past though.


Quote
As I mentioned, both practices can be found in my parish and I can respect both of them.
Quote
It seems to me from your posts that you have a marked preference for infrequent lay communion.

Frequent communion, every three or four weeks, is the norm for our converts.  They fast about 3 days.  I encourage them to do this and not to follow the ways of the "ethnic" parishioners.  But our Russians and Serbs choose to fast for the whole week.    Do you find something inherently wrong or un-christian about people who *want* to keep the fast a bit longer?  I really don't understand that.  As for frequency - obviously our Saints did not suffer any loss of grace from coming to communion four or five or six times a year.   I don't understand the emphasis on frequency!   Are you communing once a day yourself?  I remember that a woman (in Russia) wanted daily communion and it was ruled out by the late Patriarch Alexey (Memory Eternal!)

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #37 on: February 06, 2009, 12:20:22 AM »
In the serbian church we had to fast for a week for Holy Communion...thats how i was brought up..Fr.Ambrose is correct in this ....Oce Blagoslovi.....
Thank you, Stashko.   It really surprises me that people in the West are not aware of the traditions which are practised in the "home countries" of Orthodoxy.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #38 on: February 06, 2009, 12:30:24 AM »
[You have seen that Irish Hermit did not reply that the Patriarch would tell me that such a burdensome fasting regimen is a requirement.  This is because he knows full well that His Holiness would not take such a position. 
 

Your assesment of the reason for my response time is wrong!  Don't be impatient!   :)

1.  I live in a time zone which is about 16 hours ahead of yours.  Our sleep times and active times are out of whack.

2.  There *are* other things to do in the day than play with the computer (although I enjoy that immensely.)

and 3,  you will see that I have now replied, up above. 

Elpidophorus expressed it very well:

"The reality is the one week fasting is standard in serbian church,but still has room for oikonomia.
I think His Beatitude would say that the one week fasting is normal but everyone should discuss with his SF for his/her own status."

Offline filipinopilgrim

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #39 on: February 06, 2009, 03:28:43 AM »
doesn't the catholic church have this problem receiving communion regularly and not preparing correctly..i read this on there own forum...God forbid we start imatating the catholic's and lose the awe and fear in recieving Holy Communion unprepared....

Correct. From ancient times until 1953, Catholics were required to fast (NO food or drink) from midnight. By 1957 this had been reduced to 3 hours abstention from food before Communion and 1 hour abstention from drink. In 1964, Pope Paul VI allowed that the fast from water be entirely dropped (which is why it is permitted for priests to have a glass of water during Holy Mass -- I MC'ed a Pontifical Mass last year and the bishop had a glass of water in the middle of the Mass), and reduced the fast from both food and beverages other than water to just one hour before communion. Since communion typically takes place 40-45 minutes into the Mass, this means that Catholics need only to abstain from food for 15-20 minutes before Mass. In practice, a lot of Catholics don't even bother to do this (in the Catholic school where I graduated from "high school", the pupils were allowed to chew gum during Mass).

In many devout Catholic circles, the 1964 "reform" of the Eucharistic fast is held to be an unmitigated disaster. As a Catholic who sees in every Mass, people going to communion with absolutely no preparation, I am horrified at the numberless sacrileges thus committed. Unfortunately, some Orthodox are absolutely willing to do as we have done. God forbid. May God grant that the Orthodox hierarchs NEVER relax their traditions with regard to Eucharistic fasting.

If you think infrequent communion was bad, try mindless, sacrilegious communions. Infrequent communion never prevented holiness, but sacrilegious communions are a barrier to salvation. Period.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #40 on: February 06, 2009, 04:03:32 AM »
If you think infrequent communion was bad, try mindless, sacrilegious communions. Infrequent communion never prevented holiness, but sacrilegious communions are a barrier to salvation. Period.
So you think frequent reception of Communion is itself a sacrilege? ???

Yes, the fact that many people were made holy despite receiving the Holy Mysteries no more than four times per year is evidence that God can truly work in exceptional ways to bring people to salvation, but weekly Communion was the norm established by the Church of the first three centuries.  So how can such a deviation from this norm, such as the infrequent Communion we see in many churches today, be salvific for the vast majority of us, who don't have the special blessing from God to receive infrequently?
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 04:03:59 AM by PeterTheAleut »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #41 on: February 06, 2009, 04:10:55 AM »
doesn't the catholic church have this problem receiving communion regularly and not preparing correctly..i read this on there own forum...God forbid we start imatating the catholic's and lose the awe and fear in recieving Holy Communion unprepared....

Correct. From ancient times until 1953, Catholics were required to fast (NO food or drink) from midnight. By 1957 this had been reduced to 3 hours abstention from food before Communion and 1 hour abstention from drink. In 1964, Pope Paul VI allowed that the fast from water be entirely dropped (which is why it is permitted for priests to have a glass of water during Holy Mass -- I MC'ed a Pontifical Mass last year and the bishop had a glass of water in the middle of the Mass), and reduced the fast from both food and beverages other than water to just one hour before communion. Since communion typically takes place 40-45 minutes into the Mass, this means that Catholics need only to abstain from food for 15-20 minutes before Mass. In practice, a lot of Catholics don't even bother to do this (in the Catholic school where I graduated from "high school", the pupils were allowed to chew gum during Mass).

In many devout Catholic circles, the 1964 "reform" of the Eucharistic fast is held to be an unmitigated disaster. As a Catholic who sees in every Mass, people going to communion with absolutely no preparation, I am horrified at the numberless sacrileges thus committed. Unfortunately, some Orthodox are absolutely willing to do as we have done. God forbid. May God grant that the Orthodox hierarchs NEVER relax their traditions with regard to Eucharistic fasting.

If you think infrequent communion was bad, try mindless, sacrilegious communions. Infrequent communion never prevented holiness, but sacrilegious communions are a barrier to salvation. Period.


thank you very much for your reply..the moderator here think's im stupid...i do read the catholic forum ....
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #42 on: February 06, 2009, 04:44:53 AM »
thank you very much for your reply..the moderator here think's im stupid...i do read the catholic forum ....
Well, do you want to offer anything intelligent, or are you satisfied to just sit in judgment on all practices outside of your own?
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 04:50:28 AM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #43 on: February 06, 2009, 04:56:54 AM »
This kind of thing led to very legalistic requirements to prepare for communion, because people saw communion itself as a sort of vehicle of grace for their individual sanctification, rather than a participation of union with God and other Christians - the very thing that makes the Body of Christ what it is.  So, when people began only communing once a year, it of course followed that a lengthy thing like a week-long fast from meat would precede (as if not eating meat for a week, going to confession, and saying a few prayers made one "worthy" of communion, then immediately after partaking, they go back to their usual "state" until the next year's communion [ala' Fr. Alexander Schmemann] )

Hello Sakran,

I am not sure if we can encapsulate our history so easily and then simply throw it away.

From around 350 AD to around 1950 AD the Orthodox Churches followed a certain pattern of preparation for Holy Communion.

In other words we are looking at a 1,600 old tradition.  This is virtually the entire span of the existence of the Church.

We cannot just throw it away so glibly.

I do not see how a tradition which has spanned the life of the Church can be labelled "degenerate" or "a deviation" or erroneous"  as people have labelled it here.

We have seen the fruits of this pattern of receiving Communion - the thousands upon thousands of Saints in our holy Church.

The new practice of weekly Communion is only a few decades old.  It is too early to see what the final fruits of it will be. 

Those who want to follow the new ways should not lash out at those who adhere to the old ways or think of them as stupid or uneducated or "behind the times."     They *are* the ones in tune with all their ancestors and the Saints.   

Someone said that the two ways are incompatible.  If that is true and we are forced to choose just one way then let us continue to adhere to the authentic tradition of our Church.   

« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 04:58:34 AM by Irish Hermit »

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #44 on: February 06, 2009, 05:45:44 AM »
At the risk of sounding like an uneducated bafoon, what are the "risks" of partaking of the gifts weekly?

As the gifts are healing for both soul and body, I would think that as long as one received them in the proper manner (having fasted as per Spiritual father's instructions, repented of any sins, said pre-communion prayers, etc) that it would be okay to receive them frequently.

Are there any writings that suggest otherwise?
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #45 on: February 06, 2009, 06:43:45 AM »
At the risk of sounding like an uneducated bafoon, what are the "risks" of partaking of the gifts weekly?

I think that we need a deeper investigation of why all the Orthodox observed a particular pattern of receiving Communion for 1,600 years. 

What "risks" do you see involved with Communion four or five times a year?   The proof of the pudding is in the eating and we can point to thousands of Saints who observed this pattern of communing.  In fact, apart from the first 300 years of martyrdom, it has been the ONLY pattern of communing.   

Why do people wish to abandon it in the 21st century?  What "evil" effects were associated with communing four times a year?   Was this not the period when the Church established itself in many countries,  brought entire nations to Christ, created thousands of monasteries whch gave us holy men and women in numbers which today we cannot even dream of.

Quote
Are there any writings that suggest otherwise?

Well, yes, you can run through books which speak of communing once a year.  You can find booklets from Athos from around 1900 which direct both monks and laity to commune once a year.

But above all, we have the unwavering tradition.  This is the greatest and most compelling of "writings."

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #46 on: February 06, 2009, 07:03:29 AM »
Quote
Are there any writings that suggest otherwise?

Quote
Well, yes, you can run through books which speak of communing once a year.  You can find booklets from Athos from around 1900 which direct both monks and laity to commune once a year.

Well,, this is something I never expected to find on the Internet!  An Athonite leaflet on communion from Saint Panteleimon's monastery in 1905.  It mentions that Christians generally go to communion once a year and it is encouraging more frequent reception.

http://www.roca.org/OA/151/151c.htm

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #47 on: February 06, 2009, 07:07:41 AM »
At the risk of sounding like an uneducated bafoon, what are the "risks" of partaking of the gifts weekly?
Theosis.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #48 on: February 06, 2009, 07:14:08 AM »

Are there any writings that suggest otherwise?


Perhaps we should look at the practices of the Ancient Church.
For example, why does the Orthodox Church have Liturgies of the Presanctified Gifts in the middle of the week during Lent?
Why the need for these Liturgies if people were expected to Commune only "Four or five times a year"?
The First Christians (among whom are countless Saints if we want to gauge orthopraxis by that) Communed DAILY, and when the Divine Liturgy stopped being celebrated on the weekdays of Lent, the Presanctified Liturgy replaced it so that we could continue to Commune on weekdays. We have still kept the practice of the Presanctified Liturgies on weekdays of Lent as a witness to the time when Christians Communed daily. Clearly then, infrequent Communion is an innovation and not in keeping with the ancient tradition of the Church- a tradition which, ironically, the Anglicans have maintained better than some Orthodox who abstain from Communion out of a misguided (plani) "piety":
As far as those western converts are concerned, the reason why Anglican converts expect weekly communion is because the Anglican churches have largely suppressed the medieval innovation of watching communion rather than taking communion.

Communion is a Medicine, not a homeopathy. We need to take frequent, full doses, not infrequent homeopathic (diluted) doses.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 07:53:45 AM by ozgeorge »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #49 on: February 06, 2009, 08:30:45 AM »
At the risk of sounding like an uneducated bafoon, what are the "risks" of partaking of the gifts weekly?
Theosis.

The answer puzzles me.   Our greatest Saints, the men and women whom we venerate today,  attained to a high level of theosis during their earthly life while receiving Communion infrequently.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #50 on: February 06, 2009, 08:45:04 AM »
Communion is a Medicine, not a homeopathy. We need to take frequent, full doses, not infrequent homeopathic (diluted) doses.

The bolded part raises questions.  Many contemporary Orthodox state it as if it is some sort of infallible and unquestionable statement and if someone questions it they are looked at with pity or ridicule.  Against this statement we need to balance the centuries old praxis of the Church, of ALL the Orthodox Churches,  which shows that the Church did NOT believe that frequent 'doses' were needed.

They say that comparisons are odious, but from experience I can say that the grannies and elderly men in the parish who receive Communion only a few times a year and with intensive preparation seem to have many of the fruits and signs of an advanced spiritual life, more so than the younger people (mainly converts) who want Communion much more frequently.   It is this kind of practical and hands-on experience which makes me draw back from demanding frequent Communion for all (although it was, I have to admit, a frequent topic of my sermons when I was a young priest!)

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #51 on: February 06, 2009, 09:07:58 AM »
They say that comparisons are odious, but from experience I can say that the grannies and elderly men in the parish who receive Communion only a few times a year and with intensive preparation seem to have many of the fruits and signs of an advanced spiritual life,

How does one judge people like this? How does one know who is "spiritually advanced" in Orthodoxy which is the hidden life?  How is parading piety a sign of "spiritual advancement"?
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #52 on: February 06, 2009, 09:09:04 AM »
If you think infrequent communion was bad, try mindless, sacrilegious communions. Infrequent communion never prevented holiness, but sacrilegious communions are a barrier to salvation. Period.
So you think frequent reception of Communion is itself a sacrilege? ???

Yes, the fact that many people were made holy despite receiving the Holy Mysteries no more than four times per year is evidence that God can truly work in exceptional ways to bring people to salvation, but weekly Communion was the norm established by the Church of the first three centuries.  So how can such a deviation from this norm, such as the infrequent Communion we see in many churches today, be salvific for the vast majority of us, who don't have the special blessing from God to receive infrequently?

I NEVER said that frequent reception of Communion is a sacrilege. Frequent communion with proper preparation is certainly the ideal.

But frequent Communion WITHOUT PREPARATION is a sacrilege, even by Catholic standards. And if push comes to shove, I think that infrequent communion is better than sinful and sacrilegious communions, because the former does not directly endanger one's salvation but the latter is definitely a path to eternal damnation. Of course, BOTH options are not ideal. The ideal is frequent communion with preparation.

For the record, I am not against frequent Communion. I myself am a frequent communicant. However, what I cannot understand is the idea that frequent Communion is always good, regardless of the personal preparation of the communicants. Even the Catholic Church officially condemns that idea, although the practice is sadly different (and is deplored by good, devout Catholics).  

« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 09:10:42 AM by filipinopilgrim »

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #53 on: February 06, 2009, 09:10:11 AM »
Our greatest Saints, the men and women whom we venerate today,  attained to a high level of theosis during their earthly life while receiving Communion infrequently.

The First Christians (among whom are countless Saints if we want to gauge orthopraxis by that) Communed DAILY, and when the Divine Liturgy stopped being celebrated on the weekdays of Lent, the Presanctified Liturgy replaced it so that we could continue to Commune on weekdays. We have still kept the practice of the Presanctified Liturgies on weekdays of Lent as a witness to the time when Christians Communed daily. Clearly then, infrequent Communion is an innovation and not in keeping with the ancient tradition of the Church- a tradition which, ironically, the Anglicans have maintained better than some Orthodox who abstain from Communion out of a misguided (plani) "piety":
As far as those western converts are concerned, the reason why Anglican converts expect weekly communion is because the Anglican churches have largely suppressed the medieval innovation of watching communion rather than taking communion.

Communion is a Medicine, not a homeopathy. We need to take frequent, full doses, not infrequent homeopathic (diluted) doses.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #54 on: February 06, 2009, 09:13:57 AM »
I NEVER said that frequent reception of Communion is a sacrilege. Frequent communion with proper preparation is certainly the ideal.

I'm afraid this doesn't work in Orthodoxy.
In the Divine Liturgy, just before Communion, the Priest lifts the Gifts and intones: "The Holies are for the Holy". To which we respond "One is Holy, One is the Lord Jesus Christ to the Glory of God the Father Amen." In other words we are admitting that we are not holy.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #55 on: February 06, 2009, 09:14:40 AM »
At the risk of sounding like an uneducated bafoon, what are the "risks" of partaking of the gifts weekly?
Theosis.

ONLY when there is preparation. With preparation, go ahead, commune daily!

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #56 on: February 06, 2009, 09:17:50 AM »
I NEVER said that frequent reception of Communion is a sacrilege. Frequent communion with proper preparation is certainly the ideal.

I'm afraid this doesn't work in Orthodoxy.
In the Divine Liturgy, just before Communion, the Priest lifts the Gifts and intones: "The Holies are for the Holy". To which we respond "One is Holy, One is the Lord Jesus Christ to the Glory of God the Father Amen." In other words we are admitting that we are not holy.

Should I remind you of I Corinthians 11: 27-32? I'm not going to quote it here for you. Please read it for yourself.


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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #57 on: February 06, 2009, 09:20:31 AM »
They say that comparisons are odious, but from experience I can say that the grannies and elderly men in the parish who receive Communion only a few times a year and with intensive preparation seem to have many of the fruits and signs of an advanced spiritual life,

How does one judge people like this? How does one know who is "spiritually advanced" in Orthodoxy which is the hidden life?  How is parading piety a sign of "spiritual advancement"?

"By their fruits thou shalt know them..."

Sounds pretty explicit to me.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #58 on: February 06, 2009, 09:21:21 AM »
ONLY when there is preparation. With preparation, go ahead, commune daily!

I can agree with this. But I cannot agree that we must be "good and holy" as you suggested earlier in order to receive Communion. If we waited until we were "good and holy" we would never Commune! Communion is a medicine for not being good and holy. The Priest says when he gives us Communion: "The Servant of God (name) Communes to the forgiveness of sin and Eternal Life." Communion is for the forgiveness of sin, not a "reward" for being "sinlesss".
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #59 on: February 06, 2009, 09:31:08 AM »
"By their fruits thou shalt know them..."
You are mistaken if you think this is how we are to pass judgement on others. Our Lord says these words in the context of how we are to discern the false prophets and false teachers, not as a means of judging people generally:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.Therefore by their fruits you will know them."  (Matthew 7:15-20).
For example, if a "teacher" is causing strife and division in the Church, their fruit is bad and they are a false teacher. If you look at the beginning of the same chapter of Matthew, Our Lord explicitly commands us all not to judge anyone:
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." (Matthew 7:1-6)
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 09:43:02 AM by ozgeorge »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #60 on: February 06, 2009, 09:57:53 AM »
The new practice of weekly Communion is only a few decades old.  It is too early to see what the final fruits of it will be. 
New? I seem to remember St. Paul saying, "As often as you meet together." Now, perhaps you want to argue that people did not meet together weekly before 1950. Even if that were true (and I'm not convinced it is), communing weekly would still not be a new practice, because then people have always communed as often as they met together. The only thing which has changed is that automobile ownership has allowed many more people to come to church and commune more frequently.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #61 on: February 06, 2009, 10:15:14 AM »
^ And again, why did the Church introduce the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts on weekdays during Lent?
Clearly we not only Communed weekly, we Communed daily.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #62 on: February 06, 2009, 10:27:57 AM »
For a normal week, I honour the fast on Wednesday and Friday and from after vespers Saturday until after reception of Communion. I prepare as best I can with prayer and examination of conscience. I go to confession weekly.

I feel blessed to receive the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ every week because I am a wretched sinner.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #63 on: February 06, 2009, 11:10:01 AM »
ONLY when there is preparation. With preparation, go ahead, commune daily!

I can agree with this. But I cannot agree that we must be "good and holy" as you suggested earlier in order to receive Communion. If we waited until we were "good and holy" we would never Commune! Communion is a medicine for not being good and holy. The Priest says when he gives us Communion: "The Servant of God (name) Communes to the forgiveness of sin and Eternal Life." Communion is for the forgiveness of sin, not a "reward" for being "sinlesss".

Excellent distinction.

This problem is of long standing: I recall St. Ambrose complaining of infrequent communion, and St. Augustine speaks of his mother's daily communion.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #64 on: February 06, 2009, 11:16:39 AM »
They say that comparisons are odious, but from experience I can say that the grannies and elderly men in the parish who receive Communion only a few times a year and with intensive preparation seem to have many of the fruits and signs of an advanced spiritual life,

How does one judge people like this? How does one know who is "spiritually advanced" in Orthodoxy which is the hidden life?  How is parading piety a sign of "spiritual advancement"?
George,

You get a feel for things. I've been a priest for 30 years.  Over time you get to know the people in your parish quite well. 
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 11:19:10 AM by Irish Hermit »

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #65 on: February 06, 2009, 11:21:58 AM »
I'm coming to a conclusion that the new calendar followers brag that they fast less and take communion regularly and some probably are not preparing themselves correctly,,and take communion because its something to do every Sunday...and they become lax ..now the old calendar people like me and others would prepare them self for a week knowing that not to prepare correctly can be dangerous....doesn't the catholic church have this problem receiving communion regularly and not preparing correctly..i read this on there own forum...God forbid we start imatating the catholic's and lose the awe and fear in recieving Holy Communion unprepared....

It would seem that those receiving frequently would have to be more diligent in preparing for communion than those receiving only occasionally.  After all, infrequent communion preceded by a week of fasting requires one to be vigilant and to prepare only occasionally.  Adequately preparing for frequent communion requires the observance of the regular weekly fasts week in and week out throughout the year.

Finally, what does what the Catholics do have to do with what we do?  Our practices should be driven by our goal of attaining theosis, not differing from Catholics out of vitriol and spite.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #66 on: February 06, 2009, 11:25:23 AM »
I would like this thread to stay on the theoretical and not turn personal, thanks. This is a general request for all parties.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #67 on: February 06, 2009, 11:26:11 AM »
At the risk of sounding like an uneducated bafoon, what are the "risks" of partaking of the gifts weekly?

I think that we need a deeper investigation of why all the Orthodox observed a particular pattern of receiving Communion for 1,600 years. 

What "risks" do you see involved with Communion four or five times a year?   The proof of the pudding is in the eating and we can point to thousands of Saints who observed this pattern of communing.  In fact, apart from the first 300 years of martyrdom, it has been the ONLY pattern of communing.   

Why do people wish to abandon it in the 21st century?  What "evil" effects were associated with communing four times a year?   Was this not the period when the Church established itself in many countries,  brought entire nations to Christ, created thousands of monasteries whch gave us holy men and women in numbers which today we cannot even dream of.

Quote
Are there any writings that suggest otherwise?

Well, yes, you can run through books which speak of communing once a year.  You can find booklets from Athos from around 1900 which direct both monks and laity to commune once a year.

But above all, we have the unwavering tradition.  This is the greatest and most compelling of "writings."

Father, what is DL if no one is communing?

I remember going up in one parish and being told that it was a "no communion Sunday."  What was meaning then of, that "Send down Thy Holy Spirit upon us and these Gifts spread forth," that "In faith and love draw near."  And why did we sing "Let our mouths be filled with Thy praise O Lord,....For Thou hast made us worthy to partake of Thy holy, divine, immortal and life-creating Mysteries....?"

I've heard worse: someone told me of assisting at DL where no gifts were offered.

I would submit too, Father, that the nominalism that St. Simeon the New Theologian fought has a lot to do with this "praxis."  Does he speak of the frequency of communion?
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 11:27:39 AM by ialmisry »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #68 on: February 06, 2009, 11:34:57 AM »
The new practice of weekly Communion is only a few decades old.  It is too early to see what the final fruits of it will be. 
New? I seem to remember St. Paul saying, "As often as you meet together." Now, perhaps you want to argue that people did not meet together weekly before 1950. Even if that were true (and I'm not convinced it is), communing weekly would still not be a new practice, because then people have always communed as often as they met together. The only thing which has changed is that automobile ownership has allowed many more people to come to church and commune more frequently.

It's a different world in Europe.  Serbia is the country which I know.   Communion only a few times a year turns it into a very deep communal event.

One of THE major days when all the Church receives Communion is the first Saturday of the Great Fast.   People have fasted and prepared during the first week and been to Confession.  On the Saturday morning (I am thinking of our monastery) all the huge chalices have been brought out and and cleaned.  Some hold almost 2 litres.   People begin to arrive. Soon it turns into a torrent,  as people come down from the hills and surrounding villages.   Even the monastery's hermits who live in small dwellings in the nearby hills and commune infrequently make an appearance.  All the priests in the monastery are exhausted from hearing so many Confessions and weary also from the rigours of the first week of fasting.  Many have not eaten the entire week.  All of them must assist in distributing Holy Communion.

One of the wonderful things about these experiences is the strong sense of spiritual community it generates.... we all know that we had fasted together through the previous week and then we were all united to Christ and we felt, kind of tangibly almost, that we were united to one another through Holy Communion.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #69 on: February 06, 2009, 11:39:42 AM »
I recall St. Ambrose complaining of infrequent communion, and St. Augustine speaks of his mother's daily communion.

Exactly! This was the practice of the Ancient Church, and is the reason we have the Liturgy of the Presanctified during weekdays of Lent.
Infrequent Communion is misguided and based on a patently false piety. To abstain from Communion means that we are not properly prepared for it- wouldn't true Orthodox piety mean that we should be always ready to receive Communion? Infrequent Communion therefore is not piety, but a mark of impiety.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #70 on: February 06, 2009, 11:39:48 AM »
It is imposible to reduce preparation for Communion to a matter of "what is required" since every individual may have different advice from his or her spiritual father. 

So you will not answer the question directly.  I think I have proved my point.

Quote
Checked with a young priest who graduated three years ago.  The answer is, Yes.  That is the expected norm.  But he has authority to vary it for individual parishioners.

In other words, it is not a "requirement".  

Quote
In other words, the clergy receive some kind of mysterious blagodatz once they are ordained deacon that the laity do not have in order to be "allowed" to waive this "requirement."  I would call this clericalism of the worst kind.

Quote
That's the way you would call it?  Unfortunate, but you have the right to see it as you like.   It has been the practice of all the Orthodox Churches for centuries past though.

This is exactly what it is.  Clericalism, pure and simple.  This is not Christian.  The clergy do not have some kind of special grace that "allows" them to commune at every liturgy, wheras the lesser beings known as laity must commune only between once and four times a year.  Your fuzzy "oh what a shame it is that you see it this way" answer is no answer at all.  Neither is your oft-repeated mantra that it has been the practice for years.  Case closed.

Quote
Frequent communion, every three or four weeks, is the norm for our converts. 

I would see communing once every three weeks as a bare minimum for laity to strive for, not "frequent communion", as you call it.

« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 11:45:45 AM by Pravoslavbob »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #71 on: February 06, 2009, 11:58:50 AM »
This problem is of long standing: I recall St. Ambrose complaining of infrequent communion, and St. Augustine speaks of his mother's daily communion.

I don't have the source, but I remember reading something by St. Basil the Great that encouraged people to receive at least twice a week.

Then there's also that canon (don't have time to look it up right now), which calls for the excommunication of anyone who does not Commune for a period of three weeks.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #72 on: February 06, 2009, 11:59:03 AM »
[You have seen that Irish Hermit did not reply that the Patriarch would tell me that such a burdensome fasting regimen is a requirement.  This is because he knows full well that His Holiness would not take such a position. 
 

Your assesment of the reason for my response time is wrong!  Don't be impatient!   :)

1.  I live in a time zone which is about 16 hours ahead of yours.  Our sleep times and active times are out of whack.

2.  There *are* other things to do in the day than play with the computer (although I enjoy that immensely.)

and 3,  you will see that I have now replied, up above. 

Wrong.  I received your first obfuscating answer and then made these comments.

Quote
Elpidophorus expressed it very well:

"The reality is the one week fasting is standard in serbian church,but still has room for oikonomia.
I think His Beatitude would say that the one week fasting is normal but everyone should discuss with his SF for his/her own status."

You are intentionally muddying the waters by introducing this fabrication of "oikonomia" and the red herring of  pastoral sensitivity elsewhere in your posts.  You cannot give dispensation to do something that was and is the normal practice!  The dispensation should be given for the reverse, ie, to go to communion only four times a year!
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 11:59:39 AM by Pravoslavbob »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #73 on: February 06, 2009, 12:03:28 PM »
It is imposible to reduce preparation for Communion to a matter of "what is required" since every individual may have different advice from his or her spiritual father. 

So you will not answer the question directly.  I think I have proved my point.

Your question is:  "If I asked his Holiness Patriarch Pavle of this, would he say that such a fast is "required", as you put it?"

I cannot read the mind of His Holiness but I believe he would.

Why do I believe this?

1. The entire country observes such a fast and has done so for centuries

2.  It is taught in the seminary/faculty in Belgrade close to His Holiness' residence.

3.  It is taught to the seminarians at the Prizren seminary where His Holiness used to be bishop.

4.  If His Holiness wished to change this ancient manner of his people preparing for Holy Communion, he would have done something about it, especially with the seminary training of young priests.

 

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #74 on: February 06, 2009, 12:08:27 PM »
It is imposible to reduce preparation for Communion to a matter of "what is required" since every individual may have different advice from his or her spiritual father. 

So you will not answer the question directly.  I think I have proved my point.

Quote
Checked with a young priest who graduated three years ago.  The answer is, Yes.  That is the expected norm.  But he has authority to vary it for individual parishioners.

In other words, it is not a "requirement".  

Quote
In other words, the clergy receive some kind of mysterious blagodatz once they are ordained deacon that the laity do not have in order to be "allowed" to waive this "requirement."  I would call this clericalism of the worst kind.

Quote
That's the way you would call it?  Unfortunate, but you have the right to see it as you like.   It has been the practice of all the Orthodox Churches for centuries past though.

This is exactly what it is.  Clericalism, pure and simple.  This is not Christian.  The clergy do not have some kind of special grace that "allows" them to commune at every liturgy, wheras the lesser beings known as laity must commune only between once and four times a year.  Your fuzzy "oh what a shame it is that you see it this way" answer is no answer at all.  Neither is your oft-repeated mantra that it has been the practice for years.  Case closed.

Quote
Frequent communion, every three or four weeks, is the norm for our converts. 

I would see communing once every three weeks as a bare minimum for laity to strive for, not "frequent communion", as you call it.



Pravoslavbob,

I cannot reply to the rest of your message.  I see that we live in two different worlds.  I can repect those who practise frequent Communion (although I do not see it as a necessity) but you have nothing but scorn for those who wish to maintain the older tradition of the Church which has guided her for hundreds of years.  I cannot deal with this level of contempt for the Church's tradition.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #75 on: February 06, 2009, 12:11:22 PM »
but you have nothing but scorn for those who wish to maintain the older tradition of the Church which has guided her for hundreds of years.  I cannot deal with this level of contempt for the Church's tradition.

The "Older Tradition" of the Church is daily Communion (as repeatedly evidenced by various posters in this thread), not infrequent Communion. Infrequent Communion is an innovation.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #76 on: February 06, 2009, 12:13:21 PM »
[You have seen that Irish Hermit did not reply that the Patriarch would tell me that such a burdensome fasting regimen is a requirement.  This is because he knows full well that His Holiness would not take such a position. 
 

Your assesment of the reason for my response time is wrong!  Don't be impatient!   :)

1.  I live in a time zone which is about 16 hours ahead of yours.  Our sleep times and active times are out of whack.

2.  There *are* other things to do in the day than play with the computer (although I enjoy that immensely.)

and 3,  you will see that I have now replied, up above. 

Wrong.  I received your first obfuscating answer and then made these comments.

How very insulting you can be!  I made no "obfuscating" answer.   My entire purpose in this thread has been an attempt to explain things and not to cause obfuscation.

Why is there this level of anger and umbrage among those who desire to force weekly or daily Communion on the Church?    Does infrequent Communion threaten you in some way?  I just do not understand. 

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #77 on: February 06, 2009, 12:17:53 PM »
Does infrequent Communion threaten you in some way?  I just do not understand. 

No one is condemning anyone for practicing infrequent Communion, but teaching that it is a "requirement" or "tradition" of the Orthodox Church is heresy and misleading.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #78 on: February 06, 2009, 12:22:58 PM »
All posters are reminded of this post by the administrator of the forum:

I would like this thread to stay on the theoretical and not turn personal, thanks. This is a general request for all parties.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #79 on: February 06, 2009, 12:24:06 PM »
The "Older Tradition" of the Church is daily Communion (as repeatedly evidenced by various posters in this thread), not infrequent Communion. Infrequent Communion is an innovation.

That's not quite accurate , you know.  The older tradition of the Church was that believers gathered to break bread ansd listen to the apostolic teaching ONCE a week, on a Saturday night or early Sunday morning (Sunday being a regular work day in those days.)

We have no evidence that, for example, the Christians in Jerusalem or Rome gathered every morning to celebrate the Eucharist and commune.  We know that in some places, where persecution made gathering especially dangerous, Christians would take Communion home from the eucharistic gatherings but where is the evidence that they made use of this every day?

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #80 on: February 06, 2009, 12:26:08 PM »
Why is there this level of anger and umbrage among those who desire to force weekly or daily Communion on the Church?    Does infrequent Communion threaten you in some way?  I just do not understand. 
Bless Father,

I must admit--when I was a catechumen, I attended a Church (in America) which practices the 1-4 times per year tradition. When the priest opened the Royal Doors and approached with the chalice, no one came forward. I was devastated! But I now understand that there are different traditions. I appreciate that you respect the practice of those who commune frequently and infrequently. I also have noticed a level of anger and umbrage on this forum as of late (especially geared toward you) and I am greatly saddened to see it.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #81 on: February 06, 2009, 12:32:55 PM »
I am not sure if we can encapsulate our history so easily and then simply throw it away.

From around 350 AD to around 1950 AD the Orthodox Churches followed a certain pattern of preparation for Holy Communion.

In other words we are looking at a 1,600 old tradition.  This is virtually the entire span of the existence of the Church.

We cannot just throw it away so glibly.

I do not see how a tradition which has spanned the life of the Church can be labelled "degenerate" or "a deviation" or erroneous"  as people have labelled it here.

We have seen the fruits of this pattern of receiving Communion - the thousands upon thousands of Saints in our holy Church.

The new practice of weekly Communion is only a few decades old.  It is too early to see what the final fruits of it will be. 

Those who want to follow the new ways should not lash out at those who adhere to the old ways or think of them as stupid or uneducated or "behind the times."     They *are* the ones in tune with all their ancestors and the Saints.   

Someone said that the two ways are incompatible.  If that is true and we are forced to choose just one way then let us continue to adhere to the authentic tradition of our Church.   


Your kind of thinking represents the worst kind of traditionalist posturing current in the Orthodox Church today.  (And believe me, I know that there are problems on the other end of the Orthodox spectrum, so please don't use this as a way to deflect the thrust of my argument.)  It is anti-intellectual, anti-historical, and obtusely incorrigible in its unwillingness to admit that the traditions of men can poison the Church.  You seem ready to deem any bizarre practice to be "holy" if it has been practiced for a certain amount of time, no matter what the evidence to the contrary might be.   (Myself and many others have posted ample evidence here, so I will not repeat it.)   You elevate the corrupt practices of men to the status of Holy Tradition and dress them up with all kinds of pious words about how revered these practices are.  This is indefensible.  

Your oft-repeated claims that the practice of infreqent communion has created many thousands of saints is not substantiated by any evidence.  Any saints that were deacons, priests, hieromonks, hierodeacons, or bishops were sure to have communed frequently.   As for the others, thank God that His Grace is at work in the Church despite the best efforts of men to destroy the very fabric of the Church Herself.   If it were up to men, the Church would have been destroyed eons ago.  But thank God that He has promised that the gates of Hell will not prevail against Her.  What a travesty it is that the very great Mystery that constitutes the Church, that makes Her what She is, is denied to Her members weekly around the globe!

You have disingenuously mixed up pastoral sensitivity in your argument as to why infrequent communion should be considered a pious practice.  This has nothing to do with it.  The pastoral thing to do would be to gently encourage people to commune more frequently, and to gently and lovingly integrate this return to genuine Christian practice over a period of time.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 12:46:44 PM by Pravoslavbob »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #82 on: February 06, 2009, 12:33:56 PM »
Does infrequent Communion threaten you in some way?  I just do not understand. 

No one is condemning anyone for practicing infrequent Communion, but teaching that it is a "requirement" or "tradition" of the Orthodox Church is heresy and misleading.

In that case, much of Orthodoxy has been in heresy for many centuries.

My own spiritual father would be a heretic since he would never allow the monks to go to communion more than a maximum of five times a year (once during each fast, and once on your Nameday.)

In particular you are, unwittingly I am sure, accusing the holy Serbian Church of being in heresy.   Very few priests will give Communion to people outside of the four annual fasting periods.  There are a few exceptions in some city parishes.

I heartily recommend that people take the opportunity to visit the home countries of Orthodoxy and see at first hand the traditional ways of preparing for Holy Communion.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #83 on: February 06, 2009, 12:37:16 PM »
That's not quite accurate , you know.  The older tradition of the Church was that believers gathered to break bread ansd listen to the apostolic teaching ONCE a week, on a Saturday night or early Sunday morning (Sunday being a regular work day in those days.)

We have no evidence that, for example, the Christians in Jerusalem or Rome gathered every morning to celebrate the Eucharist and commune.  We know that in some places, where persecution made gathering especially dangerous, Christians would take Communion home from the eucharistic gatherings but where is the evidence that they made use of this every day?

This is incorrect.
We have plenty of evidence that the Church originally practiced daily Communion.
In his Confessions, St. Augustine states that his mother (St. Monica) practiced daily Communion (a fact mentioned on this thread). We also have the witness of the fact that the Liturgy of the Presanctified was appointed to be celebrated on the weekdays of Lent so that the Faithful could Commune on days when the Divine Liturgy was not celebrated (a fact mentioned twice on this thread).
Also, St. Symeon the New Theologian tried to bring back the Ancient Tradition of daily Communion in the Church (Source)
Infrequent Communion is therefore an innovation and the ancient practice of the Orthodox Church was daily (not weekly) Communion.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #84 on: February 06, 2009, 12:54:37 PM »
Does infrequent Communion threaten you in some way?  I just do not understand. 

No one is condemning anyone for practicing infrequent Communion, but teaching that it is a "requirement" or "tradition" of the Orthodox Church is heresy and misleading.

In that case, much of Orthodoxy has been in heresy for many centuries.

My own spiritual father would be a heretic since he would never allow the monks to go to communion more than a maximum of five times a year (once during each fast, and once on your Nameday.)

No disrespect intended, Father, but then did he have Typikon services outside the Fasting periods?

Quote
In particular you are, unwittingly I am sure, accusing the holy Serbian Church of being in heresy.   Very few priests will give Communion to people outside of the four annual fasting periods.  There are a few exceptions in some city parishes.

I can't see the justification of this if a Divine Liturgy of Basil or more so St. John is being celebrated.

Quote
I heartily recommend that people take the opportunity to visit the home countries of Orthodoxy and see at first hand the traditional ways of preparing for Holy Communion.

I seem to recall in Egypt and Palestine that Communion was given every DL.  In Syria usually you had to go and as for it after DL.  But then, these are areas where Sunday is a workday and going to Church can get you killed.

That's not quite accurate , you know.  The older tradition of the Church was that believers gathered to break bread ansd listen to the apostolic teaching ONCE a week, on a Saturday night or early Sunday morning (Sunday being a regular work day in those days.)

We have no evidence that, for example, the Christians in Jerusalem or Rome gathered every morning to celebrate the Eucharist and commune.  We know that in some places, where persecution made gathering especially dangerous, Christians would take Communion home from the eucharistic gatherings but where is the evidence that they made use of this every day?

This is incorrect.
We have plenty of evidence that the Church originally practiced daily Communion.
In his Confessions, St. Augustine states that his mother (St. Monica) practiced daily Communion (a fact mentioned on this thread). We also have the witness of the fact that the Liturgy of the Presanctified was appointed to be celebrated on the weekdays of Lent so that the Faithful could Commune on days when the Divine Liturgy was not celebrated (a fact mentioned twice on this thread).
Also, St. Symeon the New Theologian tried to bring back the Ancient Tradition of daily Communion in the Church (Source)
Infrequent Communion is therefore an innovation and the ancient practice of the Orthodox Church was daily (not weekly) Communion.

I would point also to the origin of the antidoron: people used to be given the Eucharist to take home and consume during the week.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 12:56:56 PM by ialmisry »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #85 on: February 06, 2009, 01:01:34 PM »
Here is a quote from Heiromonk Patapios of the Holy Mountain:

"‘There is no difference between someone not being born at all and someone dying of hunger after being born.’ For the authors of an eighteenth-century treatise on frequent communion – the translation of which forms the major part of this volume – the then, as now, widespread practice of infrequent communion was largely a matter of ‘superstitions and prejudices’. To abstain from Holy Communion, whether out of piety or laxity, was an evil and pernicious custom, one which in effect negates our baptism and separates us from what should be (but generally is not) our ‘daily bread’, the very Body and Blood of the Lord. ‘When one partakes of Divine Communion, the entire God-Man enters like a sun and becomes intermingled and blended with the entire man. He illumines, brightens, and sanctifies all the powers and senses of man’s soul and body, and transforms him from corruption into incorruption.’ To cut oneself off voluntarily from such deifying grace must, surely, be seen as both incomprehensible and indefensible."


"Manna from Athos: The Issue of Frequent Communion on the Holy Mountain in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries". By Hieromonk Patapios and Archbishop Chrysostomos. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2006. p187
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #86 on: February 06, 2009, 01:01:45 PM »
We have plenty of evidence that the Church originally practiced daily Communion.

This was a practice of the Church in Carthage but it was not the universal practice there either.  It was not the practice of either Rome or the East (the Greeks.)

Quote
In his Confessions, St. Augustine states that his mother (St. Monica) practiced daily Communion

St. Augustine's letter to Januarius, giving the custom of the Church of Carthage...

"Some receive daily the Body and Blood of the Lord, others receive it on certain days; in some places no day is omitted in the offering of the Holy Sacrifice, in others it is offered only on Saturday and Sunday, or even only on Sunday; and as to other such differences as may be noted, there is freedom in all these matters, and there is no better rule for the earnest and prudent Christian than to act as he sees the Church act wherever he is staying."


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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #87 on: February 06, 2009, 01:06:12 PM »
"Some receive daily the Body and Blood of the Lord, others receive it on certain days; in some places no day is omitted in the offering of the Holy Sacrifice, in others it is offered only on Saturday and Sunday, or even only on Sunday; and as to other such differences as may be noted, there is freedom in all these matters, and there is no better rule for the earnest and prudent Christian than to act as he sees the Church act wherever he is staying."

You seem to miss the point.
St. Augustine is talking about the frequency of the offering of the Divine Liturgy. He says in some places it is daily, in others only on weekends. But the assumption is that all Christians will Commune at the Divine Liturgy when it is offered.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #88 on: February 06, 2009, 01:10:59 PM »
My own spiritual father would be a heretic since he would never allow the monks to go to communion more than a maximum of five times a year (once during each fast, and once on your Nameday.)

Quote
No disrespect intended, Father, but then did he have Typikon services outside the Fasting periods?.

Liturgy was served every day in the monastery,  The officiating priest communed.

Likewise in the bishop's church in the nearby city of Kraljevo, Liturgy was served every day.  Most usually only the officiating priest communed.  Ditto for those parishes which have a daily Liturgy.

It is the same in the Athonite monasteries - Liturgy is served every day whether or not there are any other communicants beside the officiating priest (and deacon.)

I was altarbor for Bishop (Patriarch) Pavle in the cathedral at Prizren for two weeks during the Great Fast.  Presanctified was served every weekday by His Holiness himself.  It was attended by all 40 of the seminary students every morning.  Nobody communed.  Only Bishop Pavle and any priests serving with him.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #89 on: February 06, 2009, 01:11:48 PM »
But I now understand that there are different traditions.

The ancient tradition of the Orthodox Church is frequent Communion and nothing else. There is no room for "variety of practice" in this. A Christian should Commune frequently. Period.

"To abstain from Holy Communion, whether out of piety or laxity, was an evil and pernicious custom, one which in effect negates our baptism and separates us from what should be (but generally is not) our ‘daily bread’, the very Body and Blood of the Lord."(source)
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #90 on: February 06, 2009, 01:17:40 PM »
"Some receive daily the Body and Blood of the Lord, others receive it on certain days; in some places no day is omitted in the offering of the Holy Sacrifice, in others it is offered only on Saturday and Sunday, or even only on Sunday; and as to other such differences as may be noted, there is freedom in all these matters, and there is no better rule for the earnest and prudent Christian than to act as he sees the Church act wherever he is staying."

You seem to miss the point.
St. Augustine is talking about the frequency of the offering of the Divine Liturgy. He says in some places it is daily, in others only on weekends. But the assumption is that all Christians will Commune at the Divine Liturgy when it is offered.


"Frequent, even daily communion, was customary in the churches of Africa, but not in the Eastern-Greek speaking churches."

http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=nbKIBZ3iq40C&pg=PA82&lpg=PA82&dq=monica+%22daily+communion%22&source=bl&ots=fZ0eV1_Q3m&sig=QMitBEIHgV6-txVXkMAr2F8yLEk&hl=en&ei=bWqMScnfHsnWkAXSnaWzDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=4&ct=result#PPA82,M1

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #91 on: February 06, 2009, 01:19:28 PM »
"Frequent, even daily communion, was customary in the churches of Africa, but not in the Eastern-Greek speaking churches."

So should we make the customs of men the Commandments of God?
Should the whole Church adopt Greek practices?

I repeat:
The ancient tradition of the Orthodox Church is frequent Communion and nothing else. There is no room for "variety of practice" in this. A Christian should Commune frequently. Period.

"To abstain from Holy Communion, whether out of piety or laxity, was an evil and pernicious custom, one which in effect negates our baptism and separates us from what should be (but generally is not) our ‘daily bread’, the very Body and Blood of the Lord."(source)

« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 01:20:18 PM by ozgeorge »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #92 on: February 06, 2009, 01:23:28 PM »
But I now understand that there are different traditions.

The ancient tradition of the Orthodox Church is frequent Communion and nothing else. There is no room for "variety of practice" in this. A Christian should Commune frequently. Period.

"To abstain from Holy Communion, whether out of piety or laxity, was an evil and pernicious custom, one which in effect negates our baptism and separates us from what should be (but generally is not) our ‘daily bread’, the very Body and Blood of the Lord."(source)



i rather take Holy communion Once or twice or four times a year worthily than approach every sunday unworthily.....some orthodox churches are following the latin example of monthly confession as well  .....people can fall into a trap thinking there sins are tiny minor and they approach holy communion unconfessed....
ГОСПОДЕ ГОСПОДЕ ,ПОГЛЕДАЈ СА НЕБА ,ДОЂИ И ПОСЕТИ ТВОЈ ВИНОГРАД ТВОЈА ДЕСНИЦА ПОСАДИЛА АМИН АМИН.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #93 on: February 06, 2009, 01:29:28 PM »
My own spiritual father would be a heretic since he would never allow the monks to go to communion more than a maximum of five times a year (once during each fast, and once on your Nameday.)

Quote
No disrespect intended, Father, but then did he have Typikon services outside the Fasting periods?.

Liturgy was served every day in the monastery,  The officiating priest communed.

Likewise in the bishop's church in the nearby city of Kraljevo, Liturgy was served every day.  Most usually only the officiating priest communed.  Ditto for those parishes which have a daily Liturgy.

It is the same in the Athonite monasteries - Liturgy is served every day whether or not there are any other communicants beside the officiating priest (and deacon.)

I was altarbor for Bishop (Patriarch) Pavle in the cathedral at Prizren for two weeks during the Great Fast.  Presanctified was served every weekday by His Holiness himself.  It was attended by all 40 of the seminary students every morning.  Nobody communed.  Only Bishop Pavle and any priests serving with him.

If I recall my DL correctly, the priests commune before the priest comes out and exclaims "In faith and in love draw near."  Who would they be speaking to, if only the officiating priest communed?
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #94 on: February 06, 2009, 01:30:16 PM »
i rather take Holy communion Once or twice or four times a year worthily than approach every sunday unworthily.....some orthodox churches are following the latin example of monthly confession as well  .....people can fall into a trap thinking there sins are tiny minor and they approach holy communion unconfessed....

You seem to miss the point also. No one is suggesting that we receive Communion unprepared. What we are discussing here is what is the ancient tradition of the Orthodox Church, and the ancient tradition of the Orthodox Church is frequent Communion.
bstaining from Communion is not a "pious" practice, but a superstition which damages our spiritual health.

I repeat:
"To abstain from Holy Communion, whether out of piety or laxity, was an evil and pernicious custom, one which in effect negates our baptism and separates us from what should be (but generally is not) our ‘daily bread’, the very Body and Blood of the Lord."(source)[/i]

The Fathers of the Holy Mountain have tried to reintroduce this ancient tradition:
" Indeed, the Kollyvades  Fathers, who advocated a return to frequent communion, were regarded as dangerous innovators in the face of such unenlightened customs passing as tradition, when in fact they were simply pleading for a restoration of the age-old practice of the Church."
Source "A Traditionalist Critique of The Orthodox Church"- Heromonk Patapios

It is not "Orthodox" to abstain from Communion.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #95 on: February 06, 2009, 01:36:27 PM »
If I recall my DL correctly, the priests commune before the priest comes out and exclaims "In faith and in love draw near."  Who would they be speaking to, if only the officiating priest communed?

Of whom is the priest speaking when he asks the congregation to pray for the catechumens when there are no catechumens?

To whom is the priest speaking when he orders the catechumens to depart even though there is no catechumen in the church?

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #96 on: February 06, 2009, 01:38:15 PM »
Of whom is the priest speaking when he asks the congregation to pray for the catechumens when there are no catechumens?

To whom is the priest speaking when he orders the catechumens to depart even though there is no catechumen in the church?

He is addressing the catechumens. I don't understand your point.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #97 on: February 06, 2009, 01:39:22 PM »
i rather take Holy communion Once or twice or four times a year worthily than approach every sunday unworthily.....some orthodox churches are following the latin example of monthly confession as well  .....people can fall into a trap thinking there sins are tiny minor and they approach holy communion unconfessed....

You seem to miss the point also. No one is suggesting that we receive Communion unprepared. What we are discussing here is what is the ancient tradition of the Orthodox Church, and the ancient tradition of the Orthodox Church is frequent Communion.
bstaining from Communion is not a "pious" practice, but a superstition which damages our spiritual health.

I repeat:
"To abstain from Holy Communion, whether out of piety or laxity, was an evil and pernicious custom, one which in effect negates our baptism and separates us from what should be (but generally is not) our ‘daily bread’, the very Body and Blood of the Lord."(source)[/i]

The Fathers of the Holy Mountain have tried to reintroduce this ancient tradition:
" Indeed, the Kollyvades  Fathers, who advocated a return to frequent communion, were regarded as dangerous innovators in the face of such unenlightened customs passing as tradition, when in fact they were simply pleading for a restoration of the age-old practice of the Church."
Source "A Traditionalist Critique of The Orthodox Church"- Heromonk Patapios

It is not "Orthodox" to abstain from Communion.



I don't know if superstition is the correct word.  After all, it is a frightful thing to commune the Lord of All.  We all believe, or should believe, that.  The question is being Pharisees about it.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #98 on: February 06, 2009, 01:39:47 PM »
It is not "Orthodox" to abstain from Communion.



That's a bit unrealistic.  How can I say that the 90% of parishioners who are at Sunday Liturgy but do not commune are "not Orthodox."

What would be the percentage of communicants in your Greek parish on any given Sunday?  Do all of them go up for Communion?   50% of them?

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #99 on: February 06, 2009, 01:42:02 PM »
If I recall my DL correctly, the priests commune before the priest comes out and exclaims "In faith and in love draw near."  Who would they be speaking to, if only the officiating priest communed?

Of whom is the priest speaking when he asks the congregation to pray for the catechumens when there are no catechumens?

Until the World is converted, the Church had better have catechumen always.

Quote
To whom is the priest speaking when he orders the catechumens to depart even though there is no catechumen in the church?
Our priests don't: it's been dropped from Antioch and Alexandrian (and for all I know, Constantinople/Greek) usage for the reason you are suggesting.

Of whom is the priest speaking when he asks the congregation to pray for the catechumens when there are no catechumens?

To whom is the priest speaking when he orders the catechumens to depart even though there is no catechumen in the church?

He is addressing the catechumens. I don't understand your point.

Father is saying why say it if there are no catechumens.

Let me further illustrate the problem: I've been told by a number of priests of how some people will come to confession, recite the preliminary prayers and then, when it comes to confess the specific offenses, say "I've nothing to confess."

Some praise St. John of Kronestadt for contracting a "spritual marriage" with his wife, and treat her like a sister, according to their account.  Did the priest who married them leave out the references to children ("spiritual marriages" don't beget any), references to wedding them into one flesh, etc.?  (a gay Orthodox told me of a pseudo Orthodox priest who "adapted" the wedding rite for gays.  According to him, he had to gut the whole thing with its references to children etc.).

Atheists who baptize their children.  In whose Faith are they baptized?

The text of the Divine Liturgy presupposes communicants.  It is a problem if there are none.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 01:49:40 PM by ialmisry »
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Offline stashko

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #100 on: February 06, 2009, 01:42:31 PM »
i rather take Holy communion Once or twice or four times a year worthily than approach every sunday unworthily.....some orthodox churches are following the latin example of monthly confession as well  .....people can fall into a trap thinking there sins are tiny minor and they approach holy communion unconfessed....

You seem to miss the point also. No one is suggesting that we receive Communion unprepared. What we are discussing here is what is the ancient tradition of the Orthodox Church, and the ancient tradition of the Orthodox Church is frequent Communion.
bstaining from Communion is not a "pious" practice, but a superstition which damages our spiritual health.

I repeat:
"To abstain from Holy Communion, whether out of piety or laxity, was an evil and pernicious custom, one which in effect negates our baptism and separates us from what should be (but generally is not) our ‘daily bread’, the very Body and Blood of the Lord."(source)[/i]

The Fathers of the Holy Mountain have tried to reintroduce this ancient tradition:
" Indeed, the Kollyvades  Fathers, who advocated a return to frequent communion, were regarded as dangerous innovators in the face of such unenlightened customs passing as tradition, when in fact they were simply pleading for a restoration of the age-old practice of the Church."
Source "A Traditionalist Critique of The Orthodox Church"- Heromonk Patapios

It is not "Orthodox" to abstain from Communion.



Of course it pious when you fear to approach unworthily...Christ can be a consuming fire for those who do ...What about the desert fathers how about st.mary of egypt and others that took communion some only once in there life....i rather be on the safe side and stick with serbian ancient tradition weekly fast ,,,communion on the great and holy feast days... 4 or 5 times a year...
ГОСПОДЕ ГОСПОДЕ ,ПОГЛЕДАЈ СА НЕБА ,ДОЂИ И ПОСЕТИ ТВОЈ ВИНОГРАД ТВОЈА ДЕСНИЦА ПОСАДИЛА АМИН АМИН.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #101 on: February 06, 2009, 01:47:08 PM »
"To abstain from Holy Communion, whether out of piety or laxity, was an evil and pernicious custom,

What is the size of an average Sunday congregation at your Greek Church?  What percentage of them go to Communion?   

How frequently would the parishioners of your parish receive Holy Communion?

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #102 on: February 06, 2009, 01:50:38 PM »
I don't know if superstition is the correct word.  After all, it is a frightful thing to commune the Lord of All.  We all believe, or should believe, that.  The question is being Pharisees about it.

Actually, I think "superstition" is the correct word, at least in the case of Greek Churches.
At our monastery, the Hegumen after Divine Liturgy one day called out to a "yia yia" who attended DL weekly but had not Communed since Pascha (it was now August). He asked if she had fasted, and she replied "yes". He asked if she had Confessed, and she said "yes". He asked if her Spiritual Father had told her to abstain from Communion as an epitemia, and she said "no", so he asked her why she didn't Commune, and she replied "Out of respect for the Holy Gifts". The Hegumen said that this was "superstitious nonsense which comes from demons" and then went back into the Sancturary and retrieved the Chalice and ordered her to come forward and Communed her.

Superstition is a false belief often mistaken for piety. Examples are the glass "blue eye" bead worn by some Greeks around their necks with their Crosses to "ward off the evil eye". In some cases I have even seen Crosses with blue eyes in them. These superstitions are believed to be "traditions of the Church" by some misguided Greeks.


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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #103 on: February 06, 2009, 01:55:17 PM »
What is the size of an average Sunday congregation at your Greek Church?  What percentage of them go to Communion?   

How frequently would the parishioners of your parish receive Holy Communion?

I attend Liturgy at the Holy Monastery of St. George in the Blue Mountains.
Our regular congregation (those who live locally) is around 70, and most of these Commune every Sunday (thanks to the insistence of our Hegumen). Some Commune on Saturday as well.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 01:59:30 PM by ozgeorge »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #104 on: February 06, 2009, 02:03:58 PM »
I don't know if superstition is the correct word.  After all, it is a frightful thing to commune the Lord of All.  We all believe, or should believe, that.  The question is being Pharisees about it.

Actually, I think "superstition" is the correct word, at least in the case of Greek Churches.
At our monastery, the Hegumen after Divine Liturgy one day called out to a "yia yia" who attended DL weekly but had not Communed since Pascha (it was now August). He asked if she had fasted, and she replied "yes". He asked if she had Confessed, and she said "yes". He asked if her Spiritual Father had told her to abstain from Communion as an epitemia, and she said "no", so he asked her why she didn't Commune, and she replied "Out of respect for the Holy Gifts". The Hegumen said that this was "superstitious nonsense which comes from demons" and then went back into the Sancturary and retrieved the Chalice and ordered her to come forward and Communed her.

That would be superstitition.

I recall being told of a priest who, when no one came to commune, put the chalice down and proceded to upbraid the congregation, asking that if they had invited him to dinner and when he came he didn't eat what would they think.  I know a priest who, on a weekday holiday where only the retirees were present (workday), he asked if anyone was going to commune.  When they said no, he served a Typika service instead.

Quote
Superstition is a false belief often mistaken for piety. Examples are the glass "blue eye" bead worn by some Greeks around their necks with their Crosses to "ward off the evil eye". In some cases I have even seen Crosses with blue eyes in them. These superstitions are believed to be "traditions of the Church" by some misguided Greeks.

OH HOW I HATE THAT.  I remember severely upbraiding someone in Egypt for dressing their son as a girl (to ward off the evil eye, a common practice) in addition to him wearing a cross.  They had no response to my question "the Cross of Christ isn't strong enough?"
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 02:05:26 PM by ialmisry »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #105 on: February 06, 2009, 02:15:45 PM »
A Christian should Commune frequently. Period.
Myself and my family certainly do--when properly prepared. But I do not want to pass judgement on someone who receives infrequently.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 02:16:42 PM by Mickey »

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #106 on: February 06, 2009, 02:19:26 PM »
A Christian should Commune frequently. Period.
Myself and my family certainly do--when properly prepared. But I do not want to pass judgement on someone who receives infrequently.

No one is passing judgement on those who Commune infrequently. What is being discussed here is the teaching of the Church and whether infrequent Communion is orthopraxis or misguided.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #107 on: February 06, 2009, 02:25:44 PM »
I'm coming to a conclusion that the new calendar followers brag that they fast less and take communion regularly and some probably are not preparing themselves correctly,,and take communion because its something to do every Sunday...and they become lax ..now the old calendar people like me and others would prepare them self for a week knowing that not to prepare correctly can be dangerous....doesn't the catholic church have this problem receiving communion regularly and not preparing correctly..i read this on there own forum...God forbid we start imatating the catholic's and lose the awe and fear in recieving Holy Communion unprepared....

This is a ridiculous, ludicrous red herring aimed at both New Calendarists AND Catholics.

I must say I'm impressed that one can manage to insult both in a completely baseless, overly generalized, and tangential post on a thread which has NOTHING to do with either the calendars or Catholics!

It also disturbs me terribly to read on this thread a lot of harsh things aimed at converts (just one example of which was someone saying frequent communion was invented by the converts who think they know better than the cradles...).  This is more baseless over generalizing with no evidence to back it up.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #108 on: February 06, 2009, 02:30:09 PM »
i rather be on the safe side and stick with serbian ancient tradition weekly fast ,,,communion on the great and holy feast days... 4 or 5 times a year...
This is not the "safe side", this is a dangerous practice. It's like anorexia. You are starving yourself of the Bread of Life.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #109 on: February 06, 2009, 02:31:24 PM »
Irish Hermit,

Father, bless!

May I sincerely and respectfully ask what you make of the canon (I can't cite the exact one right now, as I have not loaded the Church Fathers onto my new computer yet and thus don't have it at hand... maybe someone could help me here) that states that anyone who abstains from communion more than three times in a row is excommunicated?  And, for clarity, I believe that the canon is not speaking in terms of weeks (three weeks in a row), but rather when communion is offered (in other words, if it is offered daily, they are excommunicated after not receiving three DAYS in a row).  What is your stance on that, since it is a formal declaration accepted by the Church universally?  Someone mentioned this earlier, but I don't recall a response to it.  

I would also be interested to read your interpretation of the point that ozgeorge made about the Presanctified Liturgy (my husband's specialty is Liturgics and teliturgics, I find both quite interesting).  It is specifically to be celebrated during the week, and is the MOST ancient Liturgy in existence, thus attesting to the fact that more than 1600 years ago, the tradition of the Church was frequent, daily communion.  What would be your response to that?

Again, I ask sincerely and respectfully, not with anger or judgment.

May our Lord remember your Holy Priesthood in His kingdom!

Presbytera Mari
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #110 on: February 06, 2009, 02:31:53 PM »
(just one example of which was someone saying frequent communion was invented by the converts who think they know better than the cradles...).  This is more baseless over generalizing with no evidence to back it up.


This was the way it worked out in the UK among the Russians. Metropolitan Anthony Bloom said that it was the example of the English converts who wanted more frequent Communion which, over trhe years, moved the Russians themselves to more frequent Communion.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #111 on: February 06, 2009, 02:33:44 PM »
i rather be on the safe side and stick with serbian ancient tradition weekly fast ,,,communion on the great and holy feast days... 4 or 5 times a year...
This is not the "safe side", this is a dangerous practice. It's like anorexia. You are starving yourself of the Bread of Life.

George,

I REALLY like this!!!!  My Sunday Schoolers have a problem wherein they don't go to Liturgy but come to Sunday School instead.  I frequently stress the importance of receiving the Eucharist in an effort to overcome this issue (and it is, by God's grace, slowly changing, as they are beginning to attend Liturgy more often).  May I have your permission to repeat this to them during our lessons?  I think it speaks to them in terms they can understand.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #112 on: February 06, 2009, 02:36:24 PM »
the canon.... that states that anyone who abstains from communion more than three times in a row is excommunicated?
Actually, the Canon says that a Christian who misses Church (not Communion) on 3 consecutive Sundays with no good reason is excommunicated. (Canon LXXX of the Qintisext)
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #113 on: February 06, 2009, 02:37:14 PM »
(just one example of which was someone saying frequent communion was invented by the converts who think they know better than the cradles...).  This is more baseless over generalizing with no evidence to back it up.


This was the way it worked out in the UK among the Russians. Metropolitan Anthony Bloom said that it was the example of the English converts who wanted more frequent Communion which, over trhe years, moved the Russians themselves to more frequent Communion.

I appreciate the example of one specific case.  However, I would counter by saying that this does not explain the stress put upon frequent communion by the saints (as has been frequently mentioned in this thread).  Nor does it explain the rest of the Orthodox world (such as the US, for instance).  This is why I say it is generalization and baseless.  I would say, IMHO, that the one specific case does not prove that "converts" are single-handedly responsible for the stress on frequent communion in the ENTIRE rest of the world.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #114 on: February 06, 2009, 02:38:06 PM »
No one is passing judgement on those who Commune infrequently. What is being discussed here is the teaching of the Church and whether infrequent Communion is orthopraxis or misguided.
I enjoyed your monastery story. But when we begin accusatory implications about "superstition" we are getting close to the line which must not be crossed.

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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #115 on: February 06, 2009, 02:41:12 PM »
No one is passing judgement on those who Commune infrequently. What is being discussed here is the teaching of the Church and whether infrequent Communion is orthopraxis or misguided.
I enjoyed your monastery story. But when we begin accusatory implications about "superstition" we are getting close to the line which must not be crossed.

We are not heart readers.
Would "heresy" be a better word? Because that is what the teaching of a "pious" abstinence from Communion is.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #116 on: February 06, 2009, 02:42:36 PM »
It is the same in the Athonite monasteries - Liturgy is served every day whether or not there are any other communicants beside the officiating priest (and deacon.)

When I visited Athos in 2005, it seemed that the practice of monks communing every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday outside of the fasts (i.e after every fast day in addition to Sunday).  During Lent they communed everyday.  This practice has its roots in St. Nikodemos.   He and St. Makarios of Korinthos wrote extensively on the topic of reviving the practice of frequent communion for the laity.  I'd also be wary of invoking an argument from inertia (it was this way for 1600 years, ergo the practice ought to continue).  Afterall, it's been a good thousand years since any real missionary efforts have been launched save a few priests running around the fringes of the Russian empire.  Therefore, should one conclude that it is in any way acceptable to not engage in missionary work?  

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #117 on: February 06, 2009, 02:46:20 PM »
I would counter by saying that this does not explain the stress put upon frequent communion by the saints
I have the book titled, "Concerning Frequent Communion", by St Nikodemos the Hagiorite. It is a wonderful read and makes a very good case for frequent communion.
 

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #118 on: February 06, 2009, 02:47:32 PM »
Would "heresy" be a better word?
Are you sure it is a heresy?

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #119 on: February 06, 2009, 02:51:20 PM »
May I sincerely and respectfully ask what you make of the canon (I can't cite the exact one right now, as I have not loaded the Church Fathers onto my new computer yet and thus don't have it at hand... maybe someone could help me here) that states that anyone who abstains from communion more than three times in a row is excommunicated?  And, for clarity, I believe that the canon is not speaking in terms of weeks (three weeks in a row), but rather when communion is offered (in other words, if it is offered daily, they are excommunicated after not receiving three DAYS in a row).  What is your stance on that, since it is a formal declaration accepted by the Church universally?  Someone mentioned this earlier, but I don't recall a response to it.

Dear Presbytera,  

The canon is observed in the breach, else we would have millions of excommunicated Orthodox all around the world.  :)

One thing about the canons (which many folks don't realise) is that they are not firecrackers or landmines which will explode in your face when you step on one.  The canon needs to be "activated" or "applied" by the competent church authority before it comes into force.  To my knowledge, no church authorities in any Orthodox Church apply that canon today.

Quote
I would also be interested to read your interpretation of the point that ozgeorge made about the Presanctified Liturgy (my husband's specialty is Liturgics and teliturgics, I find both quite interesting).  It is specifically to be celebrated during the week, and is the MOST ancient Liturgy in existence, thus attesting to the fact that more than 1600 years ago, the tradition of the Church was frequent, daily communion.  What would be your response to that?

It is probably a question which your husband has more knowledge of than I do.   My "folk" understanding is that the Presanctified comes to us from Pope Saint Gregory the Great of Rome, the Dialogist.  His life spans the 6th century so I have assumed (not that I have actually thought about this particular point very much) that the Presanctified is a work of that century.    

Of course, if the attribution to Saint Gregory is mistaken or if he simply put the "finishing touches" on an older existing Presanctified....?

It would be interesting to hear what your husband thinks.

Quote
Again, I ask sincerely and respectfully, not with anger or judgment.

Those words are like pure oil poured into my wounds.  Thank you, very sincerely.  I am feeling as if  I have been pilloried and scourged on the Forum -like an "Old Believer" in Tsarist Russia.

Quote
May our Lord remember your Holy Priesthood in His kingdom!

And may He remember that of your husband and especially your own service of sacrifice for the holy Church as a presbytera.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 03:02:47 PM by Irish Hermit »

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #120 on: February 06, 2009, 02:54:45 PM »
Would "heresy" be a better word?
Are you sure it is a heresy?
Well, as has been demonstarated, the practice of the Ancient Church was frequent Communion, the Fathers of Athos encourage frequent Communion, St. Symeon the Theologian encouraged the revival of this ancient practice.
To pray for our "daily bread" and then refuse to eat it when the Bread of Life makes Himself available for us is not only heresy, it's blasphemy.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 02:55:17 PM by ozgeorge »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #121 on: February 06, 2009, 02:59:12 PM »
[No one is passing judgement on those who Commune infrequently. What is being discussed here is the teaching of the Church and whether infrequent Communion is orthopraxis or misguided.
Quote
.... when we begin accusatory implications about "superstition" we are getting close to the line which must not be crossed.
We are not heart readers.
Quote
Would "heresy" be a better word? Because that is what the teaching of a "pious" abstinence from Communion is.
Dear George,

It is not really common practice for people to label this or that as heresy.  It requires some judgement from some ecclesiastical authority, although perhaps there are some things so egregious that we don't need to wait for a synodical condemnation (such as that Mary is the fourth hypostasis of the Trinity.)

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #122 on: February 06, 2009, 03:00:53 PM »
To pray for our "daily bread" and then refuse to eat it when the Bread of Life makes Himself available for us is not only heresy, it's blasphemy.
So you are saying that someone who communes infrequently for reasons of either piety or laxity---is a blasphemous heretic?


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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #123 on: February 06, 2009, 03:01:39 PM »
It is not really common practice for people to label this or that as heresy.  It requires some judgement from some ecclesiastical authority, although perhaps there are some things so egregious that we don't need to wait for a synodical condemnation (such as that Mary is the fourth hypostasis of the Trinity.)

If something is the opposite of the ancient teaching of the Church is it Orthodox teaching or cacodox teaching?
Teaching infrequent Communion is a cacodox teaching leading to cacopraxis, therefore it is heresy.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #124 on: February 06, 2009, 03:05:49 PM »
So you are saying that someone who communes infrequently for reasons of either piety or laxity---is a blasphemous heretic?
No. I am saying that someone who teaches people to "piously" abstain from Communion if they are prepared for it is teaching heresy and misguiding people. Those who practice this heresy are practicing superstition and cacopraxis- whether they realise it or not.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 03:06:12 PM by ozgeorge »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #125 on: February 06, 2009, 03:09:52 PM »
If anyone can produce anything from the Orthodox Fathers which teaches that the Faithful who are prepared for Communion should refrain from it out of piety, I will gladly withdraw my claim that this teaching is heresy.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #126 on: February 06, 2009, 03:31:12 PM »
May I sincerely and respectfully ask what you make of the canon (I can't cite the exact one right now, as I have not loaded the Church Fathers onto my new computer yet and thus don't have it at hand... maybe someone could help me here) that states that anyone who abstains from communion more than three times in a row is excommunicated?  And, for clarity, I believe that the canon is not speaking in terms of weeks (three weeks in a row), but rather when communion is offered (in other words, if it is offered daily, they are excommunicated after not receiving three DAYS in a row).  What is your stance on that, since it is a formal declaration accepted by the Church universally?  Someone mentioned this earlier, but I don't recall a response to it.

Dear Presbytera,  

The canon is observed in the breach, else we would have millions of excommunicated Orthodox all around the world.  :)

One thing about the canons (which many folks don't realise) is that they are not firecrackers or landmines which will explode in your face when you step on one.  The canon needs to be "activated" or "applied" by the competent church authority before it comes into force.  To my knowledge, no church authorities in any Orthodox Church apply that canon today.

Thank you for your kind reply, Father.  I realize that the canon is not enforced, to do so would be nearly impossible, and not in the best interests of the faithful (IMHO).  My point, actually, in bringing it up was not the canon itself, but the fact that it is an indicator that the intent of the Church, and the tradition, is that of frequent communion.  Had the fathers not intended for us to receive frequently, they would not have made this canon.  Would you agree?

I would personally say (and again, this is just my opinion), that, considering all the evidence (patristic, canonical, etc) points to the Church encouraging frequent communion, that the practice of infrequent communion is, indeed, an innovation, even if it is as old as 1600 years ago.  Again, though, this is just my opinion, and I don't say it with scourn or judgment.  It is not my business how frequently an individual believer receives.  That is between him (or her) and their spiritual father.  Speaking in the theoretical, and from my limited knowledge and experience, this is my opinion, respectfully.


Quote
Quote
I would also be interested to read your interpretation of the point that ozgeorge made about the Presanctified Liturgy (my husband's specialty is Liturgics and teliturgics, I find both quite interesting).  It is specifically to be celebrated during the week, and is the MOST ancient Liturgy in existence, thus attesting to the fact that more than 1600 years ago, the tradition of the Church was frequent, daily communion.  What would be your response to that?

It is probably a question which your husband has more knowledge of than I do.   My "folk" understanding is that the Presanctified comes to us from Pope Saint Gregory the Great of Rome, the Dialogist.  His life spans the 6th century so I have assumed (not that I have actually thought about this particular point very much) that the Presanctified is a work of that century.    

Of course, if the attribution to Saint Gregory is mistaken or if he simply put the "finishing touches" on an older existing Presanctified....?

It would be interesting to hear what your husband thinks.

You are correct that it was Pope St. Gregory the Diologist, of the 6th century.  However, it is believed that he penned what was already the practice in Constantinople (put the finishing touches, as you said).  This makes the Presanctified Liturgy and the practice of daily communion at least as old, if not older than the 1600 years which you have provided as the time span where infrequent communion is the practice.  Even if it does NOT predate the 1600 year tradition which you have alleged (and I don't mean that with negative connotation, I just can't think of a better word.  Sorry! :-[ ), I would say (IMHO) that either way, the Presanctified Liturgy was a formal, public, and extremely important institution of frequent communion.  In other words, the Church very publicly and formally instituted frequent communion and expected everyone to partake.  Do you agree or disagree?

I keep trying to get my husband to join the forum.  He just doesn't have time, unfortunately (we have over 1000 families and only two priests in our parish).  I will ask him for more details about the Presanctified Liturgy, though.


Quote
Quote
Again, I ask sincerely and respectfully, not with anger or judgment.

Those words are like pure oil poured into my wounds.  Thank you, very sincerely.  I am feeling as if  I have been pilloried and scourged on the Forum -like an "Old Believer" in Tsarist Russia.
I'm sorry that you feel that way, Father!  I think it is admirable that we all are so passionate about our faith and adhering to the correct application of that faith.  But it is, indeed, sad and unfortunate that we sometimes expressed in a way that makes others feel badly.  

Quote
Quote
May our Lord remember your Holy Priesthood in His kingdom!

And may He remember that of your husband and especially your own service of sacrifice for the holy Church as a presbytera.

Glory to God!  Thank you for your prayers.  Please continue to pray for us.  And if I might ask, on a personal note, Father, for you to pray for my Papou (his name is Angelo), who fell asleep in the Lord last night.  I would be very grateful.

In Christ's Love,
Presbytera Mari
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Matthew 18:5

Offline SakranMM

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #127 on: February 06, 2009, 04:58:11 PM »
The new practice of weekly Communion is only a few decades old

Irish Hermit:

I have to respectfully disagree with you here.  In all of the early texts - Acts, and the Didache, for example, weekly communion (at least 1x per week) is the absolute norm.

This practice of communion 4x a year or less is the more recent development, and I consider it to be a departure from early tradition, due to the factors I alluded to in my earlier post.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #128 on: February 06, 2009, 05:13:13 PM »
People should take weekly communion, but only if they are repenting of and confessing their sins.  The Orthodox should strive to maintain the balance between reverential fear of the cup, as well as the necessary life giving properties of the cup.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #129 on: February 06, 2009, 05:32:50 PM »
I respect deeply those who keep one week xerophagy for agion potirion .
I should to confess that ,the " One Week Xerophagy"is not the normal pactice in my jurisdiction. We learnt that the standard requirement is "trimeron xerophagy(three days)". We were taught that this is the tradition of kolyvades fathers——it's proved in the post of Fr.Athanasios.
So,for the people who want receive weekly on sunday:he should keep xerophagy on Thursday Friday and Saturday.Friday is fast day anyway.So every week he keep two days xerophagy more. If he chose to receive on Saturday,he keep xerophagy on WednesdayThursday Friday,only one day xerophagy more.
I think this is why those who want more frequent communion usually partake on Saturday.(other reason: saturday liturgy is more early and short,so they can break their fast early——somebody could get problem without water till midday).

So,in our humble local traditon,the requirements for Holy Communion are:
1,Blessing from SF
2,Awareness of the efimerios(he should be informed at least in order to cut the amnos in proper size)
3,Trimeron-xerophagy(three days to Abstain from oil and wine etc....)
4,Metaleipseos prayer(3psalms+1canon+10prayers)
5,Fasting(from any food or water)from midnight

These are "normal requirements ". No confession be required everytime, but the blessing of SF figures that the one be blessed to receive is in a healthy spiritual status according to his SF.
Of course the  "normal requirements "are flexible. For instance: use Jesus Prayer in the place of metaleipseos; Make more prostrations instead of one or two days' xerophagy......depends on SF and personal situation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I did not get point of some advocators of "frequent reception".
Abandon Mysteries is bad,yes ,we agree.....
Frequent reception is good ,yes,we agree....

Then? How about preparation? If you guys think ebdomo-xerophagy is too much,Ok,let's keep trimeron.If you say trimeron also is too much as a general rule,then I got hamenos totally.So how do we prepare? Deep breathing and get relax???
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 05:38:32 PM by Elpidophoros »

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #130 on: February 06, 2009, 05:59:08 PM »
Then? How about preparation?
This has been addressed many times if you read the thread.
No one is advocating taking Communion unprepared.
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Offline Elpidophoros

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #131 on: February 06, 2009, 06:08:54 PM »
Then? How about preparation?
This has been addressed many times if you read the thread.
No one is advocating taking Communion unprepared.
Yes ,no one is advocating taking Communion unprepared.
So what is this thread for?
Someone thinks ebdomo-xerophagy is too much ,then opened this thread to argue,isn't it? ???
My question is:if they think 7days is too much,so how about 3days(which is the tradition of kolyvades).
If 3days also too much...then what? 2days? 1day? nothing?
We do not oppose the use of oikonomia;but an established rule is necessary anyway.... :(
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 06:09:49 PM by Elpidophoros »

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #132 on: February 06, 2009, 06:14:06 PM »
Quote
We do not oppose the use of oikonomia;but an established rule is necessary anyway....

The question is what, exactly, preparation (and therefore the "established rule") entails.

It seems obvious to me that, ultimately, it is one's spiritual father who sets an individual's rule.  Period.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #133 on: February 06, 2009, 08:10:43 PM »
I have to respectfully disagree with you here.  In all of the early texts - Acts, and the Didache, for example, weekly communion (at least 1x per week) is the absolute norm.

This practice of communion 4x a year or less is the more recent development, and I consider it to be a departure from early tradition, due to the factors I alluded to in my earlier post.[/color]

Is is still hard to believe that people here have no real appreciation for Church tradition but want to ignore what their Church has been doing for centuries and jump back to what they imagine was happening in the first century  -  where?  in Rome? Jerusalem?  Athens?  Antioch?  This is the kind of revisionism which we find in Fr Schmemman - let's get rid of our church vestments and wear our street clothes in the Altar because this is what the Apostles and the clergy of the first century Church were wearing.

I see you are from Antioch, dear Sakran.    Do you know what your people were doing in the 20th century with their preparation for Holy Communion?  What about in the 19th century?  the 18th centiry, the 17th century?    Were they communing weekly?  Daily?   The 16th, 15th, 14th, 13th, 12th, 11th, 10th, 9th, 8th......centuries?


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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #134 on: February 06, 2009, 08:20:01 PM »
St Nicodemos deals skillfully with every possible objection to frequent communion in his book.

Not all ancient customs are traditions. Some are just old problems that won't go away.

As much as I dislike Fr Alexander Schmemman's theology, he never suggested nor would have supported doing liturgies in street clothes, or anything that extreme, at least what I can tell from his writings.

I personally would agree that many people go to communion unprepared too often in America, but at the same time, if people are prepared, they should go as often as they are prepared.

Those who would attack any kind of fasting before communion, however, would as Fr Ambrose points out, be ignoring basically the entire Orthodox world's practices for the last few centuries.  If we understand fasting before communion as a pastoral tool though, it should not be too controversial.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #135 on: February 06, 2009, 08:28:42 PM »
Thank you, Elpidophoros, it is useful to know the actual practices (3 days fast) of the parish to which you belong?    I guess it is a Greek parish?

Also thanks for pointing out that the Kolyvades want a 3 day fast before Communion.  This had completely slipped my mind in the hurly burly of the thread.



I respect deeply those who keep one week xerophagy for agion potirion .
I should to confess that ,the " One Week Xerophagy"is not the normal pactice in my jurisdiction. We learnt that the standard requirement is "trimeron xerophagy(three days)". We were taught that this is the tradition of kolyvades fathers——it's proved in the post of Fr.Athanasios.
So,for the people who want receive weekly on sunday:he should keep xerophagy on Thursday Friday and Saturday.Friday is fast day anyway.So every week he keep two days xerophagy more. If he chose to receive on Saturday,he keep xerophagy on WednesdayThursday Friday,only one day xerophagy more.
I think this is why those who want more frequent communion usually partake on Saturday.(other reason: saturday liturgy is more early and short,so they can break their fast early——somebody could get problem without water till midday).

So,in our humble local traditon,the requirements for Holy Communion are:
1,Blessing from SF
2,Awareness of the efimerios(he should be informed at least in order to cut the amnos in proper size)
3,Trimeron-xerophagy(three days to Abstain from oil and wine etc....)
4,Metaleipseos prayer(3psalms+1canon+10prayers)
5,Fasting(from any food or water)from midnight

These are "normal requirements ". No confession be required everytime, but the blessing of SF figures that the one be blessed to receive is in a healthy spiritual status according to his SF.
Of course the  "normal requirements "are flexible. For instance: use Jesus Prayer in the place of metaleipseos; Make more prostrations instead of one or two days' xerophagy......depends on SF and personal situation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I did not get point of some advocators of "frequent reception".
Abandon Mysteries is bad,yes ,we agree.....
Frequent reception is good ,yes,we agree....

Then? How about preparation? If you guys think ebdomo-xerophagy is too much,Ok,let's keep trimeron.If you say trimeron also is too much as a general rule,then I got hamenos totally.So how do we prepare? Deep breathing and get relax???


Offline SakranMM

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #136 on: February 06, 2009, 08:32:23 PM »
Irish Hermit:

We can't pretend that we're in 16th century Moscow or 11th century Constantinople.  The Church is not stagnant.  With that said, it's not revisionism I'm advocating - if anything, those that only communion once, twice, or four times a year are the revisionists.  Communing this infrequently demands extensive preparation, like a one-week fast.

Just because the Russian or Serbian church has been fasting a week before communion for three or four centuries doesn't make it right!  How in the world does fasting from meat for a week, a 3-4 minute confession, then saying a few prayers, make you worthy of communion?  As if anything makes you worthy!  This kind of thing is "yia-yia-ology"...old women passing this kind of thing on to their kids without having any clue why the church does it, other than that's what their yia-yia taught them.

If you noticed in my original post, I don't advocate minimalist preparation.  Yes, fasting is essential.  Prayer is essential.  But you absolutely cannot separate communion from normal life.  Communion is meant to sanctify life, not separate us from it.

In terms of Eucharistic participation, until the 4th cent., the presupposition was that all baptized Christians were worthy to receive communion, and everybody would receive unless they were under penitential restriction.  Just read the text of the liturgy - it presupposes that everyone present will commune.  It's the saddest thing in the world when the priest brings the chalice out, and no one approaches.

After the 4th century, the above supposition is turned on its head, and the Christian was seen as unworthy to receive communion; this was especially strong in monastic circles.


I can't speak for what every single individual Christian was doing in Antioch, Moscow, or Constantinople for that matter.  But what I can say is that this excessive kind of preparation is linked directly to the reasons which I gave before.  It's a result of people beginning to see communion as simply a means of individual grace and sanctification instead of linking directly with corporate membership in the Church as understood in the New Testament.

This kind of thinking isn't "Schmemannite" or "modern."  This line of thinking is in continuation with the tradition of the Church, the text of the liturgy, and the Holy Fathers.  The abuse is abstaining from communion all year, fasting for a week and going to a 3 minute confession, declaring yourself worthy to commune, then going back to your original unworthy state 2 seconds later.  This is not what Christ intended. This is not what the liturgy presupposes.  Read the texts of it.

True preparation is continual Christian life.  Excessive preparation leads one to spiritual pride, thinking that what they do makes them worthy, rather than simply the mercy of God.  Prepare for communion - yes.  Do so with spiritual pride - no.

« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 08:38:14 PM by SakranMM »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #137 on: February 06, 2009, 08:40:32 PM »
The problem with citing the 3rd century practice is that these people were living under persecution, were a focused community, etc.  The move away from frequent communion coincided with the influx of the masses.  It was not something that happened as late as the 11th or 16th centuries.

Again, if someone is keeping all the fasts, their prayer rule, etc., along with reading the prescribed communion prayers and attending the Vespers/Vigil, then fine, I think they can and should receive communion often without keeping the 3 day fast....

...But I'd have to say in my experience many if not most people are not doing this regularly.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #138 on: February 06, 2009, 09:15:57 PM »
I have to respectfully disagree with you here.  In all of the early texts - Acts, and the Didache, for example, weekly communion (at least 1x per week) is the absolute norm.

This practice of communion 4x a year or less is the more recent development, and I consider it to be a departure from early tradition, due to the factors I alluded to in my earlier post.[/color]

Is is still hard to believe that people here have no real appreciation for Church tradition but want to ignore what their Church has been doing for centuries and jump back to what they imagine was happening in the first century  -  where?  in Rome? Jerusalem?  Athens?  Antioch?  This is the kind of revisionism which we find in Fr Schmemman - let's get rid of our church vestments and wear our street clothes in the Altar because this is what the Apostles and the clergy of the first century Church were wearing.


Dear Father, Please see my post above (Reply #126 in response to yours), as I would hesitate to think that I imagined those things which I put forward as points for your consideration.

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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #139 on: February 06, 2009, 10:54:05 PM »
I respect deeply those who keep one week xerophagy for agion potirion .
I should to confess that ,the " One Week Xerophagy"is not the normal pactice in my jurisdiction. We learnt that the standard requirement is "trimeron xerophagy(three days)". We were taught that this is the tradition of kolyvades fathers——it's proved in the post of Fr.Athanasios.
So,for the people who want receive weekly on sunday:he should keep xerophagy on Thursday Friday and Saturday.Friday is fast day anyway.So every week he keep two days xerophagy more. If he chose to receive on Saturday,he keep xerophagy on WednesdayThursday Friday,only one day xerophagy more.
I think this is why those who want more frequent communion usually partake on Saturday.(other reason: saturday liturgy is more early and short,so they can break their fast early——somebody could get problem without water till midday).

So,in our humble local traditon,the requirements for Holy Communion are:
1,Blessing from SF
2,Awareness of the efimerios(he should be informed at least in order to cut the amnos in proper size)
3,Trimeron-xerophagy(three days to Abstain from oil and wine etc....)
4,Metaleipseos prayer(3psalms+1canon+10prayers)
5,Fasting(from any food or water)from midnight

These are "normal requirements ". No confession be required everytime, but the blessing of SF figures that the one be blessed to receive is in a healthy spiritual status according to his SF.
Of course the  "normal requirements "are flexible. For instance: use Jesus Prayer in the place of metaleipseos; Make more prostrations instead of one or two days' xerophagy......depends on SF and personal situation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I did not get point of some advocators of "frequent reception".
Abandon Mysteries is bad,yes ,we agree.....
Frequent reception is good ,yes,we agree....

Then? How about preparation? If you guys think ebdomo-xerophagy is too much,Ok,let's keep trimeron.If you say trimeron also is too much as a general rule,then I got hamenos totally.So how do we prepare? Deep breathing and get relax???


Just as a side question, where are you, Elpidophoros?  For someone Chinese, you use an awful lot of Greek in your English.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #140 on: February 07, 2009, 01:00:38 AM »
Why doesn't everybody just ask their own priest?


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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #141 on: February 07, 2009, 01:19:31 AM »
Why doesn't everybody just ask their own priest?



Thank you Salpy!  Amen!! 

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #142 on: February 07, 2009, 03:40:50 AM »
I haven't read all of these posts, but I will try to eventually. Being new to Orthodoxy, I am very interested to know more about preparation and protocol for Communion. When I asked my Priest why most people at the Church did not take Communion, he said that this was a problem. He said that in our Ethiopian Orthodox Church there is too much fear about judgment coming to those who take Communion but still have some sin in their life. So, who of us is without sin, and thus Ethiopians abstain from the sacraments out of a paralyzing fear. At least this is what the Priest told me, and he viewed it as a problem that needed to be corrected. But I told him that it was better to have that problem than to have the people casually receive the sacraments without self-examination and repentance (as is the case in many Protestant Churches.) But to my understanding, the Archdeacon told me that I must fast from midnight in order to recive Communion, and that I must attend the entire Liturgy from 7:00 a.m. We only make it to the Church a few times a year, because it is seven hours away.  So, I do observe this rule because I definitely desire to receive the Mysteries if I travel that far. But this is all I know so far.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #143 on: February 07, 2009, 06:13:08 AM »
i rather take Holy communion Once or twice or four times a year worthily than approach every sunday unworthily.....some orthodox churches are following the latin example of monthly confession as well  .....people can fall into a trap thinking there sins are tiny minor and they approach holy communion unconfessed....

You seem to miss the point also. No one is suggesting that we receive Communion unprepared. What we are discussing here is what is the ancient tradition of the Orthodox Church, and the ancient tradition of the Orthodox Church is frequent Communion.
bstaining from Communion is not a "pious" practice, but a superstition which damages our spiritual health.

I repeat:
"To abstain from Holy Communion, whether out of piety or laxity, was an evil and pernicious custom, one which in effect negates our baptism and separates us from what should be (but generally is not) our ‘daily bread’, the very Body and Blood of the Lord."(source)[/i]

The Fathers of the Holy Mountain have tried to reintroduce this ancient tradition:
" Indeed, the Kollyvades  Fathers, who advocated a return to frequent communion, were regarded as dangerous innovators in the face of such unenlightened customs passing as tradition, when in fact they were simply pleading for a restoration of the age-old practice of the Church."
Source "A Traditionalist Critique of The Orthodox Church"- Heromonk Patapios

It is not "Orthodox" to abstain from Communion.



I understand exactly what your saying but in my mind i can't seperate frequent and recieving unprepared ....im used to week preperation for the Holy Gifts maybe 4 or 5 times a year..that how i was raised...taught
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #144 on: February 07, 2009, 09:28:07 AM »
I understand exactly what your saying but in my mind i can't seperate frequent and recieving unprepared ....im used to week preperation for the Holy Gifts maybe 4 or 5 times a year..that how i was raised...taught

Those of us who support frequent communion are trying to get to the point where people are living their lives as best they can, always being prepared not only for communion, but for the dread Judgment Day.  We're striving for general holiness, not an intense burst a few times per year; we want to try and be holy just as He is Holy, asking Him to perfect our imperfect actions and intentions, and pleading that He accept our meager sacrifice as worthy of Him out of His compassion and mercy for us, not out of the inherent worthiness (which is zero) of the offering.

Supporting the fasts of the Church, praying, giving alms, asking forgiveness of those whom we may have wronged - this should be a regular practice of all Christians at all times; seeing a spiritual father regularly (2-6 times a year, maybe more, depending on your relationship; one should not feel totally 'independent,' but at the same time one should not be 'mindlessly dependent,' either) should happen regardless of frequency of reception of the Holy Mysteries.  Saying the prayers of preparation the evening before and morning of are useful and beneficial; but they'll be even more effective if they're part of a regular prayer routine.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #145 on: February 07, 2009, 10:59:18 AM »
Thank you, Elpidophoros, it is useful to know the actual practices (3 days fast) of the parish to which you belong?    I guess it is a Greek parish?
Father bless!
I saw here some people have a morbid prejudice toward certain traditions,so I'll not reveal my parish and make it target of attack.
Our jurisdiction is EP, and I want to say that,as far as I saw,the"trimeron xerophagy" is a standard teaching in most parishes in the Church of Greece and Cyprus.
Maybe someone want to argue with me about that.Yes I know in many "greek parishes" do not observe it strictly.But it's oikonomia or barely bad habit.Just like many "greek papades" omit all litanies and prayers between evangelion and cheroubikon(some read them secretly during apostolos or even trisagion).Yes,they do this,by good word it's "oikonomia" ;by bad word,you can say it's a liturgical abuse.But even the same priests who do this,dare not call this practice standard or official.
In Hellas and Cyprus even in the most "lax" parish in which the same folk and papas who do not keep trimeron xerophagy ,dare not claim that the trimeron or metaleipseos are excrescent ,unnecessary or optional.They will tell you that for some reasons they do not follow it exactly,but dare not treat the established rule and traditon as stupid things or even cacodoxy......
« Last Edit: February 07, 2009, 11:06:36 AM by Elpidophoros »

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #146 on: February 07, 2009, 11:03:26 AM »
For someone Chinese, you use an awful lot of Greek in your English.

Those words are "ecclesiastical" rather than "greek",right?( like 'epitrachelion','phelonion'...klp...)

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #147 on: February 07, 2009, 11:19:21 AM »
The new practice of weekly Communion is only a few decades old.  It is too early to see what the final fruits of it will be. 
New? I seem to remember St. Paul saying, "As often as you meet together." Now, perhaps you want to argue that people did not meet together weekly before 1950. Even if that were true (and I'm not convinced it is), communing weekly would still not be a new practice, because then people have always communed as often as they met together. The only thing which has changed is that automobile ownership has allowed many more people to come to church and commune more frequently.

Historically the obligation was to attend church every week, no matter what church. Even if one didn't partake, one attended; and from medieval times on, most people came, but most people didn't partake. In other words, most people came to seem communion offered. One even finds RC manuals stating that the job of the laity in the liturgy was to watch.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #148 on: February 07, 2009, 11:41:47 AM »
For someone Chinese, you use an awful lot of Greek in your English.

Those words are "ecclesiastical" rather than "greek",right?( like 'epitrachelion','phelonion'...klp...)
Well, isn't the word "ecclesiastical" itself a Greek word?  Derived from εκκλησία (ekklesia), which is Greek for "church".  I imagine, then, that most of the words we deem ecclesiastical are Greek in origin. ;)
« Last Edit: February 07, 2009, 11:47:09 AM by PeterTheAleut »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #149 on: February 07, 2009, 07:28:01 PM »
I thought you had to have approval from your priest and approval of the priest at the parish you visit in order to have communion. If that is the case wouldn't you ask what the requirements are for a given parish and follow them? It seems like an issue of respect to me. I don't take off my shoes as I enter my house. But I have friends that do so at their homes. So when I visit their house I take off my shoes as I enter. But that doesn't mean that I have to change my practice at my own home.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #150 on: February 07, 2009, 07:43:16 PM »
For someone Chinese, you use an awful lot of Greek in your English.

Those words are "ecclesiastical" rather than "greek",right?( like 'epitrachelion','phelonion'...klp...)

They're ecclesiastical if there's no English word that's equivalent or refers to the same thing; they're Greek if there is.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #151 on: February 07, 2009, 08:19:05 PM »
Here's a translation from an American born Greek speaker, but not literate in Greek, of the Greek phonetics in Reply # 145.  All the terms are ecclesiastical terminology which does translate into the English language.

"trimeron xerophagy"  The 3 day (dry) fast.  (My note:  A GOAA priest taught that this practice emanates from when the Kolivades movement was taking place in Greece, they preached following the annual guide to fasting (lenten periods, Wed. & Fri., other special fast days called for on the ecclesiastical calendar) and receipt of Communion at every Liturgy; weekly attendance.  In order to address the practice they confronted of fasting and communing 4 times annually, they recommended fasting, once, for 3 days, prior to returning to weekly communal participation.)

"oikonomia,"  economy.

"papdes," priests

"evangelio,"  The Gospel Reading

"cheroubikon," The Cherubic Hymn

"metalepseos"  I'm not sure about the exact translation, but it refers to the receipt of Communion.  It is used in the formal name of the "Communion of the Apostles" Icon.

"cocodoxy" This is not a term I've ever encountered, but "caco"="bad" (Orthodoxy) "glory," seems to be what the writer may be attempting to refer to.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2009, 08:25:51 PM by Basil 320 »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #152 on: February 08, 2009, 09:40:58 AM »
Those of us who support frequent communion are trying to get to the point where people are living their lives as best they can, always being prepared not only for communion, but for the dread Judgment Day. 
Exactly. If we are not prepared for Holy Communion, then we are not prepared to face the Dreadful Judgement Seat of Christ either.

I thought you had to have approval from your priest and approval of the priest at the parish you visit in order to have communion. If that is the case wouldn't you ask what the requirements are for a given parish and follow them? It seems like an issue of respect to me. I don't take off my shoes as I enter my house. But I have friends that do so at their homes. So when I visit their house I take off my shoes as I enter. But that doesn't mean that I have to change my practice at my own home.
I don't think it's as simple as that. This is not about "different practices" which no doubt obviously exist, what it is about is: "what is the teaching of the Orthodox Church? Does the Church advocate frequent Communion or infrequent Communion?" If a week's fasting is a "requirement" then clearly, to Commune weekly would require the Faithful to perpetualy fast (which is actually forbidden by the Church). Such practices as requiring a week of fasting before Communion are innovations and not the original practice of the Orthodox Church.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #153 on: February 08, 2009, 04:52:48 PM »
For someone Chinese, you use an awful lot of Greek in your English.

Those words are "ecclesiastical" rather than "greek",right?( like 'epitrachelion','phelonion'...klp...)

Actually, no.  For example:

Hellas.  It's Greece in English, nothing ecclesiastical about that.

Kata lathos.  It's by mistake in English.  Kata lathos is jargon in English. 

Arabic, unlike English, has linguistic constraints that impede wholescale adoption of Greek.  Chinese likewise has constraints too (though not the same ones), so I was just suprised to see so much Greek.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #154 on: February 08, 2009, 06:25:25 PM »
Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?

Would it be useful to now make some sort of summation which answers the question posed?

There are three ways of abstaining from meat before Communion...

1.  Abstaining from meat for one week before Communion

2.  Abstaining from meat for three days before Communion

3.  Abstaining from meat from the Saturday midnight before Communion.


What should I do personally in the matter of how long to abstain from meat?

1.  If you live in one of the "home countries" of Orthodoxy there will be an already established praxis in your parish or your monastery.  In humility and obedience, simply abide by that.  If you believe your circumstances warrant something different, go to your spiritual father and seek his direction and blessing.   You can always return to him if you believe it needs adjusting later.

2.  If you live in the "diaspora" and there is no clear-cut praxis in your parish, then you need to seek out your parish priest or spiritual father and ask him for his direction and blessing.  In all cases one should strive to act obediently and with humility.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2009, 06:40:55 PM by Irish Hermit »

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #155 on: February 08, 2009, 07:10:50 PM »
Actually, xerophagia (literally; dry eating) means more than abstaining from meat. It means observing the entire fasting discipline, abstaining from meat, fish, eggs, dairy, wine and oil.

We might also consider Our Lord's own words addressed to us in every Liturgy:

Piete ex aftou, pantes   .... Piite ot neia, Vsii.......Drink of this, All of you

Note:`  Our Lord said   "All of You"   not some of you !

The fact is that until later centuries, those who did not commune were required to leave the church with the penitents and catachumens. From the most ancient times, regular participation (koinonia) has been the rule, not the exception.

The fact is that many of the customs received from the Synodal period of the Russian church are defective, and were due to the civil government interference in the life of the church. Peter the Great abolished the Patriarchate, closed nearly all the monasteries, and made the clergy into government employees. The rules for extensive preparation for communion (it's called "goveniye" in Russian) date from this time, when the laity only came to communion once a year, in order to fulfill a legal requirement. In those times, very few of the laity observed the church's appointed fasts, and only confessed once a year; and so special preparation was necessary.

As Christians, we must remember that Our Lord's commandments are more important than any custom invented by men. Even so, all of us should prepare for participation in the Eucharist according to the directions of our spiritual father and the parish priest who is serving the Liturgy.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #156 on: February 08, 2009, 07:21:46 PM »
Actually, xerophagia (literally; dry eating) means more than abstaining from meat. It means observing the entire fasting discipline, abstaining from meat, fish, eggs, dairy, wine and oil.

Yes, it is understood that when we say "abstaining from meat" it includes all the foods which are lower on the Fasting triangle.


1.  Meat, milk, eggs

2.  Fish

3.  Wine and oil



Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #157 on: February 08, 2009, 07:52:22 PM »
The fact is that many of the customs received from the Synodal period of the Russian church are defective, and were due to the civil government interference in the life of the church.

These were not customs which resulted from the Synodal period in Russia. Russia simply shared the universal customs of the Orthodox Churches.

For example at the time of Peter the Great these Russian customs were also the norm throughout Greece and Mount Athos and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  I don't know about Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch but since they came within the Greek sphere of influence these customs probably applied there too.

The Kollyvades movement coincides roughly with Peter's reign.  Their desire to introduce frequent communion caused uproar and division on the Holy Mountain.  It was so disruptive that several Patriarchs tried to intervene and pour oil on troubled waters.

For example there is this from Patriarch Theodosius II to the Athonite monks
in about 1770:

"He wrote to the monks of Athos saying that the early Christians
received Holy Communion every Sunday, while those of the subsequent
period received it every forty days, after penance; he advised
that whoever felt himself prepared should follow the former, whereas
if he did not he should follow the latter."

http://www.synodinresistance.org/pdfs/2008/11/29/20081129bMannafromAthos.pdf
« Last Edit: February 08, 2009, 08:00:55 PM by Irish Hermit »

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #158 on: February 08, 2009, 07:59:21 PM »
We might also consider Our Lord's own words addressed to us in every Liturgy:

Piete ex aftou, pantes   .... Piite ot neia, Vsii.......Drink of this, All of you

Note:`  Our Lord said   "All of You"   not some of you !

The fact is that until later centuries, those who did not commune were required to leave the church with the penitents and catachumens.


Not sure how that would be implemented?  During the period when I was a young monk I attended Liturgy every day.   Likewise many people,  especially the retired people, came to daily Liturgy at the monastery or at the parish churches.  It seems a bit mean to have asked these pious daily attenders (not to mention the monks and nuns, and the bishop in attendance in the Altar every morning) to leave the church at the start of the Anaphora!!

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #159 on: February 08, 2009, 07:59:47 PM »
Actually, xerophagia (literally; dry eating) means more than abstaining from meat. It means observing the entire fasting discipline, abstaining from meat, fish, eggs, dairy, wine and oil.

Yes, it is understood that when we say "abstaining from meat" it includes all the foods which are lower on the Fasting triangle.


1.  Meat, milk, eggs

2.  Fish

3.  Wine and oil



I thought wine and oil is allowed on Saturday in observance of the sabbath. ???

Offline Veniamin

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #160 on: February 08, 2009, 08:00:24 PM »
Actually, xerophagia (literally; dry eating) means more than abstaining from meat. It means observing the entire fasting discipline, abstaining from meat, fish, eggs, dairy, wine and oil.

Yes, it is understood that when we say "abstaining from meat" it includes all the foods which are lower on the Fasting triangle.


1.  Meat, milk, eggs

2.  Fish

3.  Wine and oil

It's not "understood" that you mean that unless you're trying to twist plain words beyond all recognition.  Why would abstaining from meat, the lowest and least restrictive degree of fasting, be "understood" to include more severe degrees of fasting?
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #161 on: February 08, 2009, 08:07:52 PM »
Actually, xerophagia (literally; dry eating) means more than abstaining from meat. It means observing the entire fasting discipline, abstaining from meat, fish, eggs, dairy, wine and oil.

Yes, it is understood that when we say "abstaining from meat" it includes all the foods which are lower on the Fasting triangle.


1.  Meat, milk, eggs

2.  Fish

3.  Wine and oil

It's not "understood" that you mean that unless you're trying to twist plain words beyond all recognition.  Why would abstaining from meat, the lowest and least restrictive degree of fasting, be "understood" to include more severe degrees of fasting?

Dear Veniamin,

I confess that you have lost me.  It is just the opposite to what you say.  Meat is NOT the "lowest and least restrictive level of fasting."  It is the highest and the most restrictive.   No matter how much the fast may be relaxed on a special Feastday, meat and milk and eggs are NEVER permitted. 

Btw, please do not accuse me of "trying to twist plain words beyond all recognition."  I spoke the truth and do not deserve to be addressed so scornfully.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2009, 08:08:34 PM by Irish Hermit »

Offline Veniamin

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #162 on: February 08, 2009, 08:22:34 PM »
I confess that you have lost me.  It is just the opposite to what you say.  Meat is NOT the "lowest and least restrictive level of fasting."  It is the highest and the most restrictive.   No matter how much the fast may be relaxed on a special Feastday, meat and milk and eggs are NEVER permitted.

See, you contradict yourself even within the same statement!  How is abstaining from meat the most restrictive form of fasting?  During Cheesefare Week, we must abstain from meat, yet are allowed milk and eggs and fish and wine and oil.  How then is abstaining from meat the most restrictive form of fasting?  Abstaining from wine and oil is the most restrictive because it is the one that requires us to also abstain from fish, and dairy, and meat.

Quote
Btw, please do not accuse me of "trying to twist plain words beyond all recognition."  I spoke the truth and do not deserve to be addressed so scornfully.

As you have already been quite in an outright lie concerning your allegations that the Pope was commemorated during the Divine Liturgy in Constantinople, I am quite entitled to mistrust every single word from you until its validity is proven.
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Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #163 on: February 08, 2009, 08:24:50 PM »
Yes, it is understood that when we say "abstaining from meat" it includes all the foods which are lower on the Fasting triangle.


1.  Meat, milk, eggs

2.  Fish

3.  Wine and oil



I thought wine and oil is allowed on Saturday in observance of the sabbath. ???

Yes indeed.  The only exception is Great and Holy Saturday.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #164 on: February 08, 2009, 08:48:29 PM »
I confess that you have lost me.  It is just the opposite to what you say.  Meat is NOT the "lowest and least restrictive level of fasting."  It is the highest and the most restrictive.   No matter how much the fast may be relaxed on a special Feastday, meat and milk and eggs are NEVER permitted.

See, you contradict yourself even within the same statement!  How is abstaining from meat the most restrictive form of fasting?  During Cheesefare Week, we must abstain from meat, yet are allowed milk and eggs and fish and wine and oil.  How then is abstaining from meat the most restrictive form of fasting?  Abstaining from wine and oil is the most restrictive because it is the one that requires us to also abstain from fish, and dairy, and meat.
Again, you have lost me.  We seem to be working with upside down triangles!  We see  meat as the most restrictive because it is the one level of fasting which cannot be broken.  For example, the great feast of Annunciation falls always in the Great Fast and while fish and wine and oil are allowed, meat (and milk and eggs) never can be.

Quote
Btw, please do not accuse me of "trying to twist plain words beyond all recognition."  I spoke the truth and do not deserve to be addressed so scornfully.

Quote
As you have already been quite in an outright lie concerning your allegations that the Pope was commemorated during the Divine Liturgy in Constantinople, I am quite entitled to mistrust every single word from you until its validity is proven.
 
I am not guilty of lying.  I may be mistaken as any mortal man may be, but I do not resort to lying.  That is a very very nasty allegation. I see you are a Section Moderator; as such you should not be accusing Forum members in this manner.  Forum members are entitled to be treated with the respect laid out in the Rules.  If you have a genuine complaint please follow the Rules and refer it to a Moderator.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #165 on: February 08, 2009, 09:04:34 PM »
I confess that you have lost me.  It is just the opposite to what you say.  Meat is NOT the "lowest and least restrictive level of fasting."  It is the highest and the most restrictive.   No matter how much the fast may be relaxed on a special Feastday, meat and milk and eggs are NEVER permitted.

See, you contradict yourself even within the same statement!  How is abstaining from meat the most restrictive form of fasting?  During Cheesefare Week, we must abstain from meat, yet are allowed milk and eggs and fish and wine and oil.  How then is abstaining from meat the most restrictive form of fasting?  Abstaining from wine and oil is the most restrictive because it is the one that requires us to also abstain from fish, and dairy, and meat.
Again, you have lost me.  We seem to be working with upside down triangles!  We see  meat as the most restrictive because it is the one level of fasting which cannot be broken.  For example, the great feast of Annunciation falls always in the Great Fast and while fish and wine and oil are allowed, meat (and milk and eggs) never can be.

From dictionary.reference.com:

Quote
Restrictive
Re*strict"ive\, a. [Cf. F. restrictif.]

1. Serving or tending to restrict; limiting; as, a restrictive particle; restrictive laws of trade.
(empasis mine).

So, once again, how is fasting from meat the most "limiting," when it allows for consumption of all other foods and there are levels of fasting that are more "limiting" than that of abstaining from meat alone?

Quote
Btw, please do not accuse me of "trying to twist plain words beyond all recognition."  I spoke the truth and do not deserve to be addressed so scornfully.

Quote
Quote
As you have already been quite in an outright lie concerning your allegations that the Pope was commemorated during the Divine Liturgy in Constantinople, I am quite entitled to mistrust every single word from you until its validity is proven.
 
I am not guilty of lying.  I may be mistaken as any mortal man may be, but I do not resort to lying.  That is a very very nasty allegation. I see you are a Section Moderator; as such you should not be accusing Forum members in this manner.  Forum members are entitled to be treated with the respect laid out in the Rules.  If you have a genuine complaint please follow the Rules and refer it to a Moderator.

Last time I checked, we couldn't warn anyone for lying.  However, since your accusation was publicly made and publicly demonstrated to be false, I am entitled to treat your statements as I would anyone who perjured himself on the stand.
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Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #166 on: February 08, 2009, 09:34:38 PM »
Last time I checked, we couldn't warn anyone for lying.  However, since your accusation was publicly made and publicly demonstrated to be false, I am entitled to treat your statements as I would anyone who perjured himself on the stand.
It has not been demonstrated to be false.  It has merely been *alleged* to be false by one person.  I have suggested to two Moderators who speak Greek that they contact Athos directly and ask what the 20 Abbots and 20 monastery representatives meant by their letter to the Ecumenical Patriarch in December 2006.

Talk of lying and perjury is really offensive but since one Moderator has already made such outrageous allegations, three times and in public, I suppose that you, or any of us for that matter, are free to do so of other Forum members.   What is the world coming to?  Why are you making these allegations in public?  This is just deflecting from the purposes of the Forum.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #167 on: February 09, 2009, 12:37:02 AM »
Yes, it is understood that when we say "abstaining from meat" it includes all the foods which are lower on the Fasting triangle.


1.  Meat, milk, eggs

2.  Fish

3.  Wine and oil



I thought wine and oil is allowed on Saturday in observance of the sabbath. ???

Yes indeed.  The only exception is Great and Holy Saturday.

I think I can see your reasoning father, but the word restrictive is misleading in that some including me for a moment misunderstood it for intensity of the fast rather than restrictive as in the least intensive.

Offline Mickey

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #168 on: February 09, 2009, 12:24:24 PM »
When I was in the Latin Catholic Church, I saw the fasting requirements relax to one hour before receiving. As a child and young man I remembered waiting for long periods of time in long confession lines and then as an adult---no confession lines at all. I would see virtually everyone recieve Communion at every Mass--even when some of them that I knew would tell me that they no longer go to confession. I would even see visiting protestants go up to receive, usually at weddings but not exclusively.

After my conversion to Holy Orthodoxy, I noticed the opposite--very few receiving Holy Communion except for 1-4 times per year. I was in shock!

What is the common denominator? ----I think it is aversion to the sacrament of Confession. It seemed to me that in the Latin Church---few went to confession but all received Communion. And it seems in the
Orthodox Church---few go to Confession and few go to Communion.

I think both are wrong. But if someone finds it difficult to prepare by prayer and fasting and Confession---and so only receives seldomly, they are honest with themselves and can grow into a deeper understanding.

But on the Latin side, how can a person grow when they are just going out of habit or because "everyone else is going"?

I do not mean this to be sweeping judgement on my behalf. I know there are exceptions on both sides, but these are observations that I have had.

Should someone go infrequently out of pious respect for the Holy Gifts? That does not make sense to me. The Holy Gifts are for our healing and salvation.

Should someone go infrequently because that is what they have learned? No. They should be taught differently.

Should someone go frequently when they are not properly prepared? No. We can point them to 1 Corinthians chapter 11. They must be prepared.

Should someone go infrequently because, in their human frailty, they find it difficult to fast and pray and humble themselves for Confession? This individual must go as often as they can while trying to grow into a deeper understanding and participation of the Sacrament.

I apologize if this wretched sinner has offended anyone. These are observations that are on my mind.

Mickey
« Last Edit: February 09, 2009, 12:26:20 PM by Mickey »

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #169 on: February 09, 2009, 01:32:19 PM »
What is the common denominator? ----I think it is aversion to the sacrament of Confession. It seemed to me that in the Latin Church---few went to confession but all received Communion. And it seems in the
Orthodox Church---few go to Confession and few go to Communion.

One has to be careful when linking the Mysteries of confession and communion.  (I'm not sure if you are suggesting here that they are somehow inextricably linked, but I have seen this suggestion come up before, perhaps on this thread.)  Confession is seen as a Mystery that returns the penitent to their original state of baptismal grace.  Regular confession should of course be a part of someone's spiritual discipline when approaching the chalice on a frequent basis, partly because of this, but also largely because it is how most of us receive our spiritual direction nowadays.  However, the idea of linking the two sacraments so strongly has largely come about because of the practice of communing infrequently.  If one rarely receives communion, then of course one should go to confession every time before receiving the Gifts.  But if one is communing regularly, one should be able to go to confession as often as seems good to you and your spriitual father.  For some, this may be once every six weeks, others may go every month, still others may go less frequently if their spiritual father deems it a good practice.   If you and your spiritual father are comfortable with a weekly confession, of course this is fine too.  I just don't think that anyone should feel that this is "required" or make too much of linking confession and communion. Remember that when communion is given, the priest says "the servant of God N. receives....the....Body and Blood...for the remission of sins and unto life everlasting."
« Last Edit: February 09, 2009, 01:40:18 PM by Pravoslavbob »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #170 on: February 09, 2009, 02:08:46 PM »
One has to be careful when linking the Mysteries of confession and communion. 
But there is a connection. If you do not go to confession periodically (in my case it is every week), you cannot receive Communion frequently--am I incorrect?


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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #171 on: February 09, 2009, 02:39:06 PM »
I thought you had to have approval from your priest and approval of the priest at the parish you visit in order to have communion. If that is the case wouldn't you ask what the requirements are for a given parish and follow them? It seems like an issue of respect to me. I don't take off my shoes as I enter my house. But I have friends that do so at their homes. So when I visit their house I take off my shoes as I enter. But that doesn't mean that I have to change my practice at my own home.

I've gone to many a different parish in my day (even around the world) and I've never once been asked anything other than, "What parish do you go to?" Never once have I been refused communion. I think it depends which church you go to and which customs you follow during the liturgy. For example, if you cross yourself right to left, bow at the appropriate times, present an aura of being Orthodox, most priests will take notice of that and if you provide them with a parish they will not question providing the sacraments. Of course I'm sure that each individual situation is different and its always best to check with the priest before you come up to receive.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #172 on: February 09, 2009, 02:51:08 PM »
One has to be careful when linking the Mysteries of confession and communion. 
But there is a connection. If you do not go to confession periodically (in my case it is every week), you cannot receive Communion frequently--am I incorrect?



In same cases if you are a weekly communicate, you must go at least 4 times a year, during the fasting periods.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #173 on: February 09, 2009, 03:02:25 PM »
Seems to me latinazation is creeping into Holy Orthodoxy God save us from that ...to recieve Holy Communion One has to go to confession each time...this is how i was raised.....not to approach unfasted or unconfessed.....

What is going on with some part's of orthodoxy it's becoming lax fast's are shortened approach regularly no confessions or maybe once a month or twice a month or maybe not at all.......

I wonder if the smoke of satan has entered part's of the orthodox church as well ,,as the roman pope proclaimed that it's entered the catholic church.............

« Last Edit: February 09, 2009, 03:03:09 PM by stashko »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #174 on: February 09, 2009, 03:10:18 PM »
Seems to me latinazation is creeping into Holy Orthodoxy God save us from that ...to recieve Holy Communion One has to go to confession each time...
Stashko, the linking of the Mysterion of Confession to the Mysterion of Communion is a Latinization.
They are separate Mysterions in Orthodoxy and each stands alone. One does not "have" to go to Confession each time before Communion.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2009, 03:10:46 PM by ozgeorge »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #175 on: February 09, 2009, 03:12:16 PM »
Seems to me latinazation is creeping into Holy Orthodoxy God save us from that ...to recieve Holy Communion One has to go to confession each time...
Stashko, the linking of the Mysterion of Confession to the Mysterion of Communion is a Latinization.
They are separate Mysterions in Orthodoxy and each stands alone. One does not "have" to go to Confession each time before Communion.

Indeed, even amongst us Greek Old Calendarists there is no requirement linking the two. How could there be, when the prayers before communion make it clear that Communion itself forgives various sins?

Of course, regular communion does imply a regular relationship with a spiritual father. And for pastoral reasons, many times people are confessing before every communion. But I have to point out that is a pastoral situation, and not doctrine, as the two keep getting confused in this thread.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2009, 03:13:03 PM by Fr. Anastasios »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #176 on: February 09, 2009, 03:16:20 PM »

Stashko, the linking of the Mysterion of Confession to the Mysterion of Communion is a Latinization.
They are separate Mysterions in Orthodoxy and each stands alone. One does not "have" to go to Confession each time before Communion.

Are there some sources to back up your claim, or we should just rely on your opinion?

Particularly I'm asking for the referrence relating "prepared for communion" viz "confession" viz "sinfull state of man after the fall".

Thank you in advance.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #177 on: February 09, 2009, 03:19:24 PM »
Seems to me latinazation is creeping into Holy Orthodoxy God save us from that


We Serbs do have certain advantage of seeing that.

We don't need "arguments" of "orthodox" internet "theologians" to explain how it is actually the other way around, and that linking communion with confession is latinization.

We do have a saying, do you know it brother?

"Од воље му као Шокцу пост".

All the arguments of "orthodox" internet "theologians" falls apart against that.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #178 on: February 09, 2009, 03:22:27 PM »
One has to be careful when linking the Mysteries of confession and communion. 
But there is a connection. If you do not go to confession periodically (in my case it is every week), you cannot receive Communion frequently--am I incorrect?

Mickey we had this exact discussion with our Wednesday evening inquiry group meetings after Vespers and the parish is simply divided on this. One asked the question "are we ever truly prepared or worthy" to receive Communion. When we look at this in such a like the answer ultimately leads to laxity or scrupulosity....

What is the real answer?
St Basil the Great (330-379 A.D.): “I think then that the one goal of all who are really and truly serving the Lord ought to be to bring back to union the churches who have at different times and in diverse manners divided from one another.”

Offline Tzimis

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #179 on: February 09, 2009, 03:46:14 PM »
I'm going to agree with Fr. Anastasios on this because the sacrament of confession is a separate sacrament in my church. It could also relate to the way Greeks differ slightly to the practices of the Slavic traditions. Our church often uses the our father prayer before receiving communion. We pray this as a community. Now if there are specific sins one my have that will affect there communion with the church then one should non approach the Eucharist in a sinful state.

Offline Mickey

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #180 on: February 09, 2009, 03:54:16 PM »
"are we ever truly prepared or worthy" to receive Communion.

The answer is no.

But that is why we must receive--because we are wretched sinners.

That does not mean there is no need for fasting, prayer, and confession as a form of preparation.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #181 on: February 09, 2009, 03:54:48 PM »
Seems to me latinazation is creeping into Holy Orthodoxy God save us from that


We Serbs do have certain advantage of seeing that.

We don't need "arguments" of "orthodox" internet "theologians" to explain how it is actually the other way around, and that linking communion with confession is latinization.

We do have a saying, do you know it brother?

"Од воље му као Шокцу пост".

All the arguments of "orthodox" internet "theologians" falls apart against that.

What advantage is that, friend?  Could you please explain more clearly what you mean?

And for us lowly, non-Serbian Orthodox, could you please translate that?
Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 18:5

Offline Tzimis

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #182 on: February 09, 2009, 03:56:23 PM »
I will also add that the priest is not the one who forgives sins. It's Christ himself. That is why we confess to the Icon of Christ. The priest is there as a witness and a spiritual guide. When the church prays as a whole at the liturgy the same sacrament is relieved only as a church rather than an individual. It's a communal prayer and confession.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #183 on: February 09, 2009, 03:58:35 PM »
I thought you had to have approval from your priest and approval of the priest at the parish you visit in order to have communion. If that is the case wouldn't you ask what the requirements are for a given parish and follow them? It seems like an issue of respect to me. I don't take off my shoes as I enter my house. But I have friends that do so at their homes. So when I visit their house I take off my shoes as I enter. But that doesn't mean that I have to change my practice at my own home.

I've gone to many a different parish in my day (even around the world) and I've never once been asked anything other than, "What parish do you go to?" Never once have I been refused communion. I think it depends which church you go to and which customs you follow during the liturgy. For example, if you cross yourself right to left, bow at the appropriate times, present an aura of being Orthodox, most priests will take notice of that and if you provide them with a parish they will not question providing the sacraments. Of course I'm sure that each individual situation is different and its always best to check with the priest before you come up to receive.

-Nick
Our instructions from our priest is that you contact the priest of the parish you are visiting and give them our home parish information (priest's name, parish, location, phone number) say you are an Orthodox Christian in good standing and that you would like to receive when you attend DL. Then ask about any differences there might be so that you can observe them. Most women don't wear headcoverings in our parish. When they visit parishes that require it (or monastery's that do) they will wear a headcovering.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2009, 03:59:04 PM by Quinault »

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #184 on: February 09, 2009, 04:02:04 PM »
Seems to me latinazation is creeping into Holy Orthodoxy God save us from that


We Serbs do have certain advantage of seeing that.

We don't need "arguments" of "orthodox" internet "theologians" to explain how it is actually the other way around, and that linking communion with confession is latinization.

We do have a saying, do you know it brother?

"Од воље му као Шокцу пост".

All the arguments of "orthodox" internet "theologians" falls apart against that.

What advantage is that, friend?  Could you please explain more clearly what you mean?

And for us lowly, non-Serbian Orthodox, could you please translate that?

The advantage is the heritage of centuries of contacts/living with Roman Catholics.

The saying goes:

"It is at his will/disposal, the same as is the fast to a Sokac*".

*Sokac(s), Sokci (pl)=the group of Serbs whom became Roman Catholics during 18th and 19th century in the Hungarian areas of Austria-Hungary, but before Vatican policy of creating Croatian nation out of Orthodox Serb converts to Roman Catholicisam was applied consistently, so they picked a distinct name, since they haven't become Croats, but couldn't remain Serbs.

It pictures clearly the differences towards fast (consequently, and confession and communion) between Orthodox and "Latin" (or whatever name you want to pertain to Christians "in communion with the Pope of Rome") as any expression of any nation in the World, since all of them say the collective experience in a few words.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #185 on: February 09, 2009, 04:02:39 PM »
I'm going to agree with Fr. Anastasios on this because the sacrament of confession is a separate sacrament in my church. It could also relate to the way Greeks differ slightly to the practices of the Slavic traditions. Our church often uses the our father prayer before receiving communion. We pray this as a community. Now if there are specific sins one my have that will affect there communion with the church then one should non approach the Eucharist in a sinful state.
Please understand that I am not trying to start an arguement but just trying to pin down what the Orthodox understanding of this is. I was under the impression that there was no difference in sins (venial vs. mortal) in the Eastern Orthodox Church yet here you seem to be suggesting that there are a difference in sins: those that don't affect one's communion with the church (venial) and those that do (mortal). What is the Eastern Orthodox position on this matter. If the moderators feel that this question needs to be moved to another subforum, I totally understand. I just didn't want to forget to ask this question after seeing this post.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #186 on: February 09, 2009, 04:03:34 PM »
We Serbs do have certain advantage of seeing that.

We don't need "arguments" of "orthodox" internet "theologians" to explain how it is actually the other way around, and that linking communion with confession is latinization.

We do have a saying, do you know it brother?

"Од воље му као Шокцу пост".

All the arguments of "orthodox" internet "theologians" falls apart against that.
Slava Isusu Christu!

How are you my brother in Christ!?!

I can only add this: When I fast and pray and confess before each Holy Communion, there is a healing involved that I cannot put into words. No one can tell me that Confession and Communion are not linked. Confession heals the wound and Holy Communion covers it with a soothing balm. I Confess my sins to God and then receive the Body and Blood Jesus Christ.

I would not have it any other way.  :)

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #187 on: February 09, 2009, 04:05:46 PM »
Please understand that I am not trying to start an arguement but just trying to pin down what the Orthodox understanding of this is. I was under the impression that there was no difference in sins (venial vs. mortal) in the Eastern Orthodox Church yet here you seem to be suggesting that there are a difference in sins: those that don't affect one's communion with the church (venial) and those that do (mortal). What is the Eastern Orthodox position on this matter. If the moderators feel that this question needs to be moved to another subforum, I totally understand. I just didn't want to forget to ask this question after seeing this post.

It's a good question - here's the answer.  In Orthodoxy, some sins are treated with a severing of communion not because of an understanding of a different eternal consequence, but rather because those sins affect the community in a specific way - so the temporary severing of communion is for the healing of the individual, their reconciliation to the community, the healing of those harmed and those affected within the community, and a straightening of the penitent's behavior to again be acceptable and safe for community life.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #188 on: February 09, 2009, 04:16:31 PM »

Stashko, the linking of the Mysterion of Confession to the Mysterion of Communion is a Latinization.
They are separate Mysterions in Orthodoxy and each stands alone. One does not "have" to go to Confession each time before Communion.

Are there some sources to back up your claim, or we should just rely on your opinion?
Particularly I'm asking for the referrence relating "prepared for communion" viz "confession" viz "sinfull state of man after the fall".

Thank you in advance.
Well, the main source is the witness of the fact that Communion itself is for the forgiveness of sin according to the Liturgical Practice of the Orthodox Church:
"The Servant of God, N., Communes of the Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sin and Eternal Life."

And, as Fr. Anastasios points out, the prayers before Communion also make this clear:
Indeed, even amongst us Greek Old Calendarists there is no requirement linking the two. How could there be, when the prayers before communion make it clear that Communion itself forgives various sins?
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #189 on: February 09, 2009, 04:22:29 PM »
This thread has become a painful reminder that, though I purchased it a year ago, I still haven't gotten around to reading St. Nikodemos' "Concerning Frequent Communion of the Immaculate Mysteries of Christ."  In it, St. Nikodemos argues that frequent communion was indeed the prevailing practice of the Church in ancient days, and that it should still be; however, if I had read it, I would know if he says anything regarding confession as well.

Has anyone here read this volume, and/or know if it mentions regular or 1:1 confession:communion in it?
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #190 on: February 09, 2009, 04:22:54 PM »
I'm going to agree with Fr. Anastasios on this because the sacrament of confession is a separate sacrament in my church. It could also relate to the way Greeks differ slightly to the practices of the Slavic traditions. Our church often uses the our father prayer before receiving communion. We pray this as a community. Now if there are specific sins one my have that will affect there communion with the church then one should non approach the Eucharist in a sinful state.

A sinful state? Aren't we all in a perpetual state of error or woundedness? Do Orthodox actually try and determine a particular 'degree' that shouldn't be crossed and receive communion?  :-\
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #191 on: February 09, 2009, 04:40:01 PM »

Stashko, the linking of the Mysterion of Confession to the Mysterion of Communion is a Latinization.
They are separate Mysterions in Orthodoxy and each stands alone. One does not "have" to go to Confession each time before Communion.

Are there some sources to back up your claim, or we should just rely on your opinion?

Particularly I'm asking for the referrence relating "prepared for communion" viz "confession" viz "sinfull state of man after the fall".

Thank you in advance.
The topic of the "unbreakability" of the link between Confession and Communion has been discussed here before.  You may even find some sources there to satisfy your request.

Confession before Communion

Communion, Confession, Confusion
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #192 on: February 09, 2009, 04:43:28 PM »
Please understand that I am not trying to start an arguement but just trying to pin down what the Orthodox understanding of this is. I was under the impression that there was no difference in sins (venial vs. mortal) in the Eastern Orthodox Church yet here you seem to be suggesting that there are a difference in sins: those that don't affect one's communion with the church (venial) and those that do (mortal). What is the Eastern Orthodox position on this matter. If the moderators feel that this question needs to be moved to another subforum, I totally understand. I just didn't want to forget to ask this question after seeing this post.

It's a good question - here's the answer.  In Orthodoxy, some sins are treated with a severing of communion not because of an understanding of a different eternal consequence, but rather because those sins affect the community in a specific way - so the temporary severing of communion is for the healing of the individual, their reconciliation to the community, the healing of those harmed and those affected within the community, and a straightening of the penitent's behavior to again be acceptable and safe for community life.
Thank you so much. That is a very clear and concise answer. Is there a specific way that this is determined or is more up to the person and his or her conscience/spiritual father?
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #193 on: February 09, 2009, 04:46:22 PM »
I'm going to agree with Fr. Anastasios on this because the sacrament of confession is a separate sacrament in my church. It could also relate to the way Greeks differ slightly to the practices of the Slavic traditions.

In the Slav Churches (those that I know first hand the Serbian and the Russian) Confesion and Communion aere tightly linked, so much so that people will commonly say, "I want to confess on Saturday" and you know that they are telling you they will be at Communion also.

Confession without Communion takes place, of course, especially when a heavy sin needs to be confessd.

This linkage of the two Mysteries has ensured that Confession remains a normal and accepted part of church life for the faithful and does not become such an irregular event that people begin to think that it is something only for Catholics.   ;)

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #194 on: February 09, 2009, 05:07:10 PM »
We Serbs do have certain advantage of seeing that.

We don't need "arguments" of "orthodox" internet "theologians" to explain how it is actually the other way around, and that linking communion with confession is latinization.

We do have a saying, do you know it brother?

"Од воље му као Шокцу пост".

All the arguments of "orthodox" internet "theologians" falls apart against that.
Slava Isusu Christu!

How are you my brother in Christ!?!

I can only add this: When I fast and pray and confess before each Holy Communion, there is a healing involved that I cannot put into words. No one can tell me that Confession and Communion are not linked. Confession heals the wound and Holy Communion covers it with a soothing balm. I Confess my sins to God and then receive the Body and Blood Jesus Christ.

I would not have it any other way.  :)

 ::)  That's right, both of you.  Don't ever let rational argument get in the way of how you "feel" about something.  No matter what.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2009, 05:11:58 PM by Pravoslavbob »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #195 on: February 09, 2009, 05:51:48 PM »
Seems to me latinazation is creeping into Holy Orthodoxy God save us from that


We Serbs do have certain advantage of seeing that.

We don't need "arguments" of "orthodox" internet "theologians" to explain how it is actually the other way around, and that linking communion with confession is latinization.

We do have a saying, do you know it brother?

"Од воље му као Шокцу пост".

All the arguments of "orthodox" internet "theologians" falls apart against that.


"Од воље му као Шокцу пост". .......нисам знао ову причу а сада знам.....Нисам рођен тамо .........Хвала Брате....     thank you Brother...
ГОСПОДЕ ГОСПОДЕ ,ПОГЛЕДАЈ СА НЕБА ,ДОЂИ И ПОСЕТИ ТВОЈ ВИНОГРАД ТВОЈА ДЕСНИЦА ПОСАДИЛА АМИН АМИН.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #196 on: February 09, 2009, 05:53:06 PM »
We Serbs do have certain advantage of seeing that.

We don't need "arguments" of "orthodox" internet "theologians" to explain how it is actually the other way around, and that linking communion with confession is latinization.

We do have a saying, do you know it brother?

"Од воље му као Шокцу пост".

All the arguments of "orthodox" internet "theologians" falls apart against that.
Slava Isusu Christu!

How are you my brother in Christ!?!

I can only add this: When I fast and pray and confess before each Holy Communion, there is a healing involved that I cannot put into words. No one can tell me that Confession and Communion are not linked. Confession heals the wound and Holy Communion covers it with a soothing balm. I Confess my sins to God and then receive the Body and Blood Jesus Christ.

I would not have it any other way.  :)

Exactly, bro.

I hope you and yours are well.

Me, I'm in usual struggle.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #197 on: February 09, 2009, 05:59:48 PM »

Stashko, the linking of the Mysterion of Confession to the Mysterion of Communion is a Latinization.
They are separate Mysterions in Orthodoxy and each stands alone. One does not "have" to go to Confession each time before Communion.

Are there some sources to back up your claim, or we should just rely on your opinion?
Particularly I'm asking for the referrence relating "prepared for communion" viz "confession" viz "sinfull state of man after the fall".

Thank you in advance.
Well, the main source is the witness of the fact that Communion itself is for the forgiveness of sin according to the Liturgical Practice of the Orthodox Church:
"The Servant of God, N., Communes of the Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sin and Eternal Life."

And, as Fr. Anastasios points out, the prayers before Communion also make this clear:
Indeed, even amongst us Greek Old Calendarists there is no requirement linking the two. How could there be, when the prayers before communion make it clear that Communion itself forgives various sins?


If you don't mind, I'd prefer sticking with the warning of St. Paul, notwithstanding the authority of the Greek Old Calendarists and the book of unknown author you recommend.

Not to mention I'll be simultaneously in compliance with the advice of St. GoldenMouth (or was it St. Gregory the Theologian?) about not taking the communion unprepared, that is expressed in wishes we say to each other after the communion: "May it be for your salvation, and not for your sentence!"
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #198 on: February 09, 2009, 06:03:27 PM »
Forget the fact that I am an Old Calendarist. I mention it because our practices are often more strict and less modernized and most people know that--it is important data for when comparing various national traditions and practices--but since you have a problem with it, forget it.

Address the fact that the communion prayers themselves say that Communion forgives sins (and that we should in fact be receiving communion frequently [Prayer 3 in particular].
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #199 on: February 09, 2009, 06:05:13 PM »
As far as the ad hominem against "internet theologians"--this teaching that linking one confession to one communion is a Latinization was taught to me at St Vladimir's Seminary (OCA) by the professor of liturgics.

Again, my perspective is simple: I think that confession before communion is a pastoral situation applicable to most.  But, it is not Orthodox doctrine.
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #200 on: February 09, 2009, 06:05:24 PM »
It's a good question - here's the answer.  In Orthodoxy, some sins are treated with a severing of communion not because of an understanding of a different eternal consequence, but rather because those sins affect the community in a specific way - so the temporary severing of communion is for the healing of the individual, their reconciliation to the community, the healing of those harmed and those affected within the community, and a straightening of the penitent's behavior to again be acceptable and safe for community life.
Thank you so much. That is a very clear and concise answer. Is there a specific way that this is determined or is more up to the person and his or her conscience/spiritual father?

Both.  There are guidelines, in confessor's manuels and the canons of the Ecumenical Councils and the saints; but, as always, there is allowance, from Canon 103 of Trullo/Quintisext, which leaves room for pastoral consideration in the application of the canons (not implying laxity, however, just deviation from exactness).
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #201 on: February 09, 2009, 06:05:25 PM »
If you don't mind, I'd prefer sticking with the warning of St. Paul, notwithstanding the authority of the Greek Old Calendarists and the book of unknown author you recommend.

Well if you won't listen to a Monk of Mount Athos, will Fr. Alexander Schmemann do?
Quote
This practice, natural and self-evident in the case of infrequent, once-a-year, communion, led to the appearance in the Church of a theory according to which the communion of laity, different in this from the communion of clergy, is impossible without the Sacrament of Penance, so that confession is an obligatory condition - always and in all cases - for communion.  I dare to affirm that this theory (which spread mainly in the Russian Church) not only has no foundation in Tradition, but openly contradicts the Orthodox doctrine of the Church, of the Sacrament of Communion and of that of Penance.
Source.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2009, 06:11:07 PM by ozgeorge »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #202 on: February 09, 2009, 06:09:47 PM »
Seems to me latinazation is creeping into Holy Orthodoxy God save us from that


We Serbs do have certain advantage of seeing that.

We don't need "arguments" of "orthodox" internet "theologians" to explain how it is actually the other way around, and that linking communion with confession is latinization.

We do have a saying, do you know it brother?

"Од воље му као Шокцу пост".

All the arguments of "orthodox" internet "theologians" falls apart against that.


"Од воље му као Шокцу пост". .......нисам знао ову причу а сада знам.....Нисам рођен тамо .........Хвала Брате....     thank you Brother...

Could I get an English translation of this, please?
Not all who wander are lost.

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #203 on: February 09, 2009, 06:12:51 PM »

Stashko, the linking of the Mysterion of Confession to the Mysterion of Communion is a Latinization.
They are separate Mysterions in Orthodoxy and each stands alone. One does not "have" to go to Confession each time before Communion.

Are there some sources to back up your claim, or we should just rely on your opinion?
Particularly I'm asking for the referrence relating "prepared for communion" viz "confession" viz "sinfull state of man after the fall".

Thank you in advance.
Well, the main source is the witness of the fact that Communion itself is for the forgiveness of sin according to the Liturgical Practice of the Orthodox Church:
"The Servant of God, N., Communes of the Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sin and Eternal Life."

And, as Fr. Anastasios points out, the prayers before Communion also make this clear:
Indeed, even amongst us Greek Old Calendarists there is no requirement linking the two. How could there be, when the prayers before communion make it clear that Communion itself forgives various sins?


If you don't mind, I'd prefer sticking with the warning of St. Paul, notwithstanding the authority of the Greek Old Calendarists and the book of unknown author you recommend.

Not to mention I'll be simultaneously in compliance with the advice of St. GoldenMouth (or was it St. Gregory the Theologian?) about not taking the communion unprepared, that is expressed in wishes we say to each other after the communion: "May it be for your salvation, and not for your sentence!"
To my knowledge, neither St. Paul nor St. John Chrysostom speak of the sacramental rite of Confession (as we know the rite today) as necessary to one's preparation for Communion.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2009, 06:14:33 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #204 on: February 09, 2009, 06:20:25 PM »
Dear folks,

I am no theologian and I don't want to take sides, but let me just share this observation that in Ukraine, people generally do not imagine going to the Chalice without confessing their sins to the priest first. After the Anaphora and Epiklesis, a prist would even say out loud, "now please, THOSE WHO HAVE PREPARED THEMSELVES (meaning, those who just had their sins confessed to me an hour ago, or yesterday night), please form the line here." Last summer, when I was in Ukraine, I, being "spoiled" by our local US custom of not going to Confession directly before the Eucharist, went to the Chalice during a DL, and the celebrating priest looked at me and asked, straightforwardly, "have you prepared yourself?" When I mumbled something like, "well, I haven't eaten anything today and I just confessed my sins together with everybody else in the church, saying, "I believe, Lord, and confess that You are verily the Christ..." - he just made a gesture, telling me, "go away. Next." That's how strict it is over there (BTW, in all jurisdictions, canonical as well as non(yet)canonical.)

On the other hand, because there exists this custom of confessing sins directly prior to the DL, there is always a long line of penitents before the start of the DL, around 8:30-9:30 a.m., and it usually takes the priest some 5-6 minutes to go over the whole Holy Mystery, almost never longer than that.
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Offline SakranMM

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Re: Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?
« Reply #205 on: February 09, 2009, 09:04:04 PM »
I agree with those who say that confession and communion should not be linked - i.e. as in a "one-to-one" relationship (one confession = one communion.)  That's just theologically incorrect.

But at the same time, I don't think we can separate confession from the Eucharist in the sense that it is fulfilled in the Eucharist.  Penance is meant, as noted in an earlier post, to restore us to our baptismal grace.  But more than that, it is to reconcile us to the community of the Church, and that reconciliation is actualized and fulfilled in the reception of the Eucharist.

These things have to be linked in the ecclesiological sense:  Penance and Eucharist, Eucharist and Church, Penance and Church.  They can't be separated in that sense.  Because then the sacraments/mysteries just become a means of individual grace and sanctification as in the West, and they lose their connection to the Eucharist, which is THE Mystery, par excellence, and makes the Church what it is - the Body of Christ.

"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us..."

Offline Tzimis

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