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Author Topic: Decline in confession, but no decline in Eucharist receivers  (Read 14597 times) Average Rating: 1
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #90 on: February 23, 2009, 09:41:33 PM »

Why should I let you dodge ozgeorge's and my questions with your motion for a return to the OP when it was you (see Reply #1) who turned this discussion into yet another debate focused solely on the strict Confession=Communion connection? 

That is not so.  It was the OP who introduced this topic into the thread with the words "a legalistic trap here where one confession=one eucharist or something absurd along those lines."

I really felt honour bound to say something in defence of a practice which is the majority Orthodox practice and was deeply wounded to see it called absurd. It is the practice of hundreds of bishops and thousands of priests and millions of the faithful around the world.
I'm not talking about who it was that introduced the topic (i.e., Scamandrius); I'm talking about the person who ran with the topic and asked that Scamandrius and we address it specifically (i.e., you).

Now as regards your repeated appeal to popular practice, I have already addressed and refuted that for the logical fallacy it is.
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« Reply #91 on: February 23, 2009, 09:41:38 PM »

I don't get why Fr. Ambrose's answer to the original question has received the sort of attacks it has? I don't agree that one confession=one Eucharist because it does lead to legalism. That does not take away that Fr. Ambrose gave his thoughts and that's what the original poster asked for.
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« Reply #92 on: February 23, 2009, 09:44:34 PM »

I notice you and Peter are putting a lot of emphasis on the amount of minutes the confession takes.  I can't understand how that matters.  To me, that would seem like a legalism.  Who are you to say a very sincere penitent can't express himself in a short amount of time?  Especially when the confession happens often, I would think the amount of time for each confession could be less.  I don't know.  I just think that is a judgement best left to the person's spiritual father.
The length of one's confession by itself is not what I'm arguing against.  My problem is with rushing through a confession for the sole purpose of being made prepared for Communion.  It is this reason for Confession that I decry as making a 30-second or 3-minute Confession legalistic.
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« Reply #93 on: February 23, 2009, 09:45:34 PM »

I really felt honour bound to say something in defence of a practice which is the majority Orthodox practice and was deeply wounded to see it called absurd.

IMHO, your personal feelings on the issue have nothing to do with the matter.  Worse still, it seems to me that you may be using them in order to make an emotional appeal in order to detract from the main thrust of argument on the thread and to appeal to impressionable people to take your side.  I would call this quite irresponsible, if true.

Quote
...the practice of hundreds of bishops and thousands of priests and millions of the faithful around the world.

I guess you thought you would try recycling this argument just one more time, even though it has already been discussed before.   Roll Eyes

Now as regards your repeated appeal to popular practice, I have already addressed and refuted that for the logical fallacy it is.

I rest my case. 
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« Reply #94 on: February 23, 2009, 09:46:31 PM »

I don't get why Fr. Ambrose's answer to the original question has received the sort of attacks it has? I don't agree that one confession=one Eucharist because it does lead to legalism. That does not take away that Fr. Ambrose gave his thoughts and that's what the original poster asked for.

I totally agree...

I can't believe the treatment he has received from some senior posters...

All the people reading this thread please don't be mislead to think us Orthodox Christains disrespect our clergy as some posters have chosen to do, on the contrary we have up most respect for them...

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Fr Chris and Fr Anastasios would like to reiterate the following points:

1) Our moderators are doing a good job, and will be shown respect. They will not be called out in public

2) We discuss all moderation requests as a team in private.

3) No one is ganging up or picking on Fr Ambrose.  Fr Ambrose has expressed himself in direct ways and has participated in controversial threads (which is fine; that is what this forum is for).  Some posters have taken issue with what he states (which is fine; that is what a discussion forum is for).  However, at no time has anyone ganged up on Fr Ambrose or used his or her moderatorial powers to silence Fr Ambrose.  Any warnings or moderations of Fr Ambrose are solely due to breach of procedure (source issues and bringing moderation into the public) and not in any way an attempt to keep him from expressing his views.

4) Any appeal or complaint about a moderator must follow the proper chain of responsibility and no further out-of-chain requests for intervention will be entertained, nor will public references to moderation be tolerated. Proper procedure will be followed.

The forum is being distracted by this issue and it is time to put it to rest again with the above points in mind.

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« Reply #95 on: February 23, 2009, 09:50:54 PM »

But the subject of this thread is NOT the person of Fr. Schmemann and whether he can be called a revisionist.  The subject of this thread regards our understanding of the tight connection between Confession and Communion and whether this is really Orthodox.  The fact that you would rather pick on Fr. Schmemann the priest and refuse to engage the core substance of what he had to say is evidence to me that you really don't want to discuss any arguments anyone may level against your position.

BTW, it's patently clear to me that you and orthodoxlurker ARE INDEED trying to discredit Fr. Schmemann, regardless of how you've tried to spin this.

Was it Fr. Ambrose who brought up Fr. Schmemann to begin with?  If you think bringing up Fr. Schmemann's point of view was a distraction from the OP, go after the guy who brought him into the discussion in the first place.  If you think that bringing Fr. Schmemann into the discussion was OK, then don't blame someone else for trying to discuss and discredit his point of view.  That's what people do when discussing a source.

Lighten up, you guys.
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« Reply #96 on: February 23, 2009, 09:51:16 PM »

I notice you and Peter are putting a lot of emphasis on the amount of minutes the confession takes.  I can't understand how that matters.
Not at all!  
What I am calling "legalistic" is:

1) The belief that Confession is a requirement before each Communion (refuted by the example of St. Mary of Egypt noted above).

2) The idea that is "requirement" is fulfilled without an actual Confession of one's sins (something along the lines of the Roman Catholic "Third Rite of Reconciliation").

Both of these ideas are Latin, legalistic innovations.
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« Reply #97 on: February 23, 2009, 09:52:16 PM »

I can't believe the treatment he has received from some senior posters...

All the people reading this thread please don't be mislead to think us Orthodox Christains disrespect our clergy as some posters have chosen to do, on the contrary we have up most respect for them...
How is genuine disagreement with the substance of a priest's doctrine and praxis the same as disrespect for our clergy?  Have you somehow failed to notice that the primary text cited to counter Fr. Ambrose's arguments was written by a priest, Fr. Alexander Schmemann?
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« Reply #98 on: February 23, 2009, 09:58:04 PM »

I can't believe the treatment he has received from some senior posters...

All the people reading this thread please don't be mislead to think us Orthodox Christains disrespect our clergy as some posters have chosen to do, on the contrary we have up most respect for them...
How is genuine disagreement with the substance of a priest's doctrine and praxis the same as disrespect for our clergy?  Have you somehow failed to notice that the primary text cited to counter Fr. Ambrose's arguments was written by a priest, Fr. Alexander Schmemann?

Like I said in my post its not that Fr. Ambrose is right or wrong (I do not believe in one confession=one Eucharist, and I believe Fr. Schmemann was right) its about the tone. It seems like one point was taken as a que for a pile on.
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« Reply #99 on: February 23, 2009, 10:05:09 PM »

Now as regards your repeated appeal to popular practice, I have already addressed and refuted that for the logical fallacy it is.

Was it refuted?

Since when does a 1,600 year old tradition of the Church get dismissed as meaningless?

Since when too does the position of the majority of bishops get so easily dismissed?  What are they?  Chopped liver?

The overwhelming majority of Orthodoxy's bishops have a "Confession before Communion" stance as their default position.

An appeal to them cannot be demolished by calling it an argumentum ad populum.  It is, as I've mentioned, an appeal to the teaching authority of the episcopate. 
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« Reply #100 on: February 23, 2009, 10:10:42 PM »

Like I said in my post its not that Fr. Ambrose is right or wrong (I do not believe in one confession=one Eucharist, and I believe Fr. Schmemann was right) its about the tone. It seems like one point was taken as a que for a pile on.

That's because it is insisted by Irish Hermit (see above) as being the consensus of the Orthodox Church, and a "1600 year old tradition" which it is not, and which has been pointed out to him in this and other threads.

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« Reply #101 on: February 23, 2009, 10:17:44 PM »

Like I said in my post its not that Fr. Ambrose is right or wrong (I do not believe in one confession=one Eucharist, and I believe Fr. Schmemann was right) its about the tone. It seems like one point was taken as a que for a pile on.

That's because it is insisted by Irish Hermit (see above) as being the consensus of the Orthodox Church, and a "1600 year old tradition" which it is not, and which has been pointed out to him in this and other threads.



And he is wrong! I'm not disputing that at all. The OP asked for the Priests here opinions and Fr. Ambrose gave it. I'm curios to hear the other Priests take on this and to see if the same reactions happen.   
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« Reply #102 on: February 23, 2009, 10:20:58 PM »

IMHO, your personal feelings on the issue have nothing to do with the matter.  Worse still, it seems to me that you may be using them in order to make an emotional appeal in order to detract from the main thrust of argument on the thread and to appeal to impressionable people to take your side.  I would call this quite irresponsible, if true.

Let me assure you that there is no irresponsibility on my side.  I am acutely aware that this topic is a very sensitive one on the Forum and I am not treating it lightlightedly.

Quote
Now as regards your repeated appeal to popular practice, I have already addressed and refuted that for the logical fallacy it is.


I rest my case. 


I don't think that you have the luxury of resting your case... not until you have convinced hundreds of Orthodox bishops around the world that they are wrong.  The default position of the great majority of bishops is that one must include Confession in the preparation for Communion.  Now I rest *my* case.   Smiley
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« Reply #103 on: February 23, 2009, 10:21:38 PM »

And he is wrong!
And that is all I'm saying too, and explaining why it is wrong. It has nothing to do with "a pile on", it has to do with differing points of view and defending them.
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« Reply #104 on: February 23, 2009, 10:27:24 PM »

I don't think that you have the luxury of resting your case... not until you have convinced hundreds of Orthodox bishops around the world that they are wrong.

I don't believe that these bishops actually believe this.  I believe that they enforce the practice only because the faithful rarely approach the chalice.  In this case, of course it makes sense to insist on confession before communion.  I completely disagree with your insistence that you make in your first post to the OP that such a practice is "obligatory" for 70 % of the Orthodox population.  In a related matter, this is why I insisted that you provide documented proof to me of the Patriarch of Serbia's insistence on strict fasting practice as a "requirement" before communion in the other thread.
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« Reply #105 on: February 23, 2009, 10:32:33 PM »

Like I said in my post its not that Fr. Ambrose is right or wrong (I do not believe in one confession=one Eucharist, and I believe Fr. Schmemann was right) its about the tone. It seems like one point was taken as a que for a pile on.

That's because it is insisted by Irish Hermit (see above) as being the consensus of the Orthodox Church, and a "1600 year old tradition" which it is not, and which has been pointed out to him in this and other threads.



And he is wrong! I'm not disputing that at all. The OP asked for the Priests here opinions and Fr. Ambrose gave it. I'm curios to hear the other Priests take on this and to see if the same reactions happen.   

Don't worry, people who disagree with me don't usually hesitate to go at it with me on the forum Wink

To answer your question, I do not believe there is a one to one correspondence of confession and communion. Going to confession is a good thing and should be done regularly, but the communion prayers are explicit that communion itself forgives sins. Therefore, if one were communing twice in a short period of time (say Holy Thursday and then again on Pascha) there would not necessarily be a need to confess again.
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« Reply #106 on: February 23, 2009, 11:51:16 PM »

. Therefore, if one were communing twice in a short period of time (say Holy Thursday and then again on Pascha) there would not necessarily be a need to confess again.

Indeed, yes, the same for us, if you went to Confession on Holy Thursday you would not necessarily need to go to Confession again for Pascha midnight Liturgy Communion.

Also for us during Bright Week we may all go to Communion every day, with no Confession and with no fasting (only the fast from midnight) - but of course that is a very very special and holy Week.

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« Reply #107 on: February 23, 2009, 11:55:22 PM »

Like I said in my post its not that Fr. Ambrose is right or wrong (I do not believe in one confession=one Eucharist, and I believe Fr. Schmemann was right) its about the tone. It seems like one point was taken as a que for a pile on.

That's because it is insisted by Irish Hermit (see above) as being the consensus of the Orthodox Church, and a "1600 year old tradition" which it is not, and which has been pointed out to him in this and other threads.

I haven't posted anything on here in a long, long time... but I stumbled back upon the forum and have been reading this thread and wonder if I might ask a sincere question to Fr. Anastasios as well as everyone else... how grave a sin or what nature of sin would you consider one might commit that


And he is wrong! I'm not disputing that at all. The OP asked for the Priests here opinions and Fr. Ambrose gave it. I'm curios to hear the other Priests take on this and to see if the same reactions happen.   

Don't worry, people who disagree with me don't usually hesitate to go at it with me on the forum Wink

To answer your question, I do not believe there is a one to one correspondence of confession and communion. Going to confession is a good thing and should be done regularly, but the communion prayers are explicit that communion itself forgives sins. Therefore, if one were communing twice in a short period of time (say Holy Thursday and then again on Pascha) there would not necessarily be a need to confess again.

I haven't posted anything on here in a long, long time... but I stumbled back upon the forum and have been reading this thread and wonder if I might ask a sincere question to Fr. Anastasios as well as everyone else... how grave a sin or what nature of sin would you consider one might commit that would require one to confess before approaching the chalice? What sins does communion forgive? Does it forgive all sins, and if so is there ever a reason to not approach the chalice aside from not fasting properly? I'm really not baiting... just curious.
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« Reply #108 on: February 24, 2009, 12:01:05 AM »

I completely disagree with your insistence that you make in your first post to the OP that such a practice is "obligatory" for 70 % of the Orthodox population. 

I wrote:  "It is still obligatory for the faithful of the Russian and Serbian Churches to go to Confession before they receive Communion."

I stand by those words. 

The Serbs who are here on the Forum have spoken up and said that it is correct for the Serbian Church.  I don't know if we have any Russians from Russia to add their evidence?

May God bless everybody, no matter what tradition they follow about this.

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« Reply #109 on: February 24, 2009, 12:22:40 AM »



I haven't posted anything on here in a long, long time... but I stumbled back upon the forum and have been reading this thread and wonder if I might ask a sincere question to Fr. Anastasios as well as everyone else... how grave a sin or what nature of sin would you consider one might commit that would require one to confess before approaching the chalice? What sins does communion forgive? Does it forgive all sins, and if so is there ever a reason to not approach the chalice aside from not fasting properly? I'm really not baiting... just curious.


Oh, I definitely think there are plenty of sins that would prevent someone from communing without confessing.

Ultimately, I would assume that if a person is in a regular confessing relationship with his spiritual father, that it would become obvious what is necessary to confess and what might not be before the next communion.

I really don't have a problem with someone going to confession every week--I think most of us need to confess quite regularly--I am only speaking against the attitude that say someone really can't think of any sin they have committed because they just went to confession a week ago, so they rack their brain to find something to confess like, "I was lazy" or "I thought a bad thought" just so they can meet the requirement to confess before communing.  Confession can become rote, etc.  That is my concern.  Receiving communion itself burns away our imperfections and our character flaws, but I would think that if we did something willfully and premeditated, and our conscience pricks us, that that would be a time to abstain.

Ultimately all sins, whether big or small, are damaging to our soul, and a regular confessing relationship is necessary for our spiritual progress.
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« Reply #110 on: February 24, 2009, 12:26:18 AM »

. Therefore, if one were communing twice in a short period of time (say Holy Thursday and then again on Pascha) there would not necessarily be a need to confess again.

Indeed, yes, the same for us, if you went to Confession on Holy Thursday you would not necessarily need to go to Confession again for Pascha midnight Liturgy Communion.

Also for us during Bright Week we may all go to Communion every day, with no Confession and with no fasting (only the fast from midnight) - but of course that is a very very special and holy Week.



I'm glad to see we have a point of agreement.
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« Reply #111 on: February 24, 2009, 12:27:16 AM »

how grave a sin or what nature of sin would you consider one might commit that would require one to confess before approaching the chalice? What sins does communion forgive? Does it forgive all sins, and if so is there ever a reason to not approach the chalice aside from not fasting properly? I'm really not baiting... just curious.
The wording of this question, I think, is the problem with why this issue is so difficult to agree on.
There are sins for which the epitimia ("therapeutic correction") is that we abstain from Communion for a period of time even after Confessing them. I should know, because I have confessed such sins. If I have Confessed a sin and had the prayer of absolution offered in the Mysterion of Confession, how is it that I must still abstain from the Holy Gifts until my Confessor gives me permission to receive them? Is my sin not forgiven?
No. That is not what it is about.
Holy Communion is not a reward for being sinless. Holy Communion is a completely seperate Mysterion to the Mysterion of Confession.
All sin requires Repentance, whether or not one intends to receive Holy Communion next Liturgy they attend. We don't repent of sin simply so that we can Commune. The Mysterion of Confession is a healing Mysterion of the Church, whereby our repentance is witnessed by the Church in the person of the Priest. But is this the only way our sins are forgiven? Every time we make a bow in the presence of the Church, the Church is witnessing our repentance, in fact, a "bow" is called a "metanoia" ("repentance") in Koine. Every time we say the Lord's Prayer, we are asking forgiveness for our sins on the condition that we forgive those who have sinned against us. The gravity of our sin is not the question, but rather, the sincerity of our repentance. Confessing our sins before another person who acts on behalf of the Church is a sign of the sincerity of our Repentance. It is our repentance which attains our forgiveness, not some magic words pronounced over us. The "prayer of absolution" has no "magic power" to forgive sins we have not repented of.
St. Mary of Egypt Communed in the Church of St. John the Baptist on the banks of the river Jordan on the day she repented of a lifetime of fornication, harlotry and leading others to sin, and she Confessed her sin to a Priest 47 years later, and Communed again. So the question is not "how grave a sin", but rather, "how sincere the repentance". For us who are not Saints but are striving to become Saints, a good guage of our repentance of our sins is our willingness to confess them to the Church. If we hold back from Confessing a sin to our Confessor, how sincere is our repentance of it?
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« Reply #112 on: February 24, 2009, 12:37:22 AM »

Thanks for bringing up the point about someone being asked to abstain from communion as a corrective measure, George. That is a good point.

In fact, I know of at least one case where someone returned to the Church after several years of wandering.  The sins he committed resulted in him being given several months if not a year of no communing. However, since it was right before a major feast, as a type of "provision for the journey" and in view of the feast, he was allowed to commune on the feast, and then the penance began.  This seems to be similar to St Mary of Egypt's situation.
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« Reply #113 on: February 24, 2009, 12:42:50 AM »


Ultimately all sins, whether big or small, are damaging to our soul, and a regular confessing relationship is necessary for our spiritual progress.

The "small" sins maybe more, since these are the sins most people tend to "let slide" and not worry as much about. They tend to be habitual, just my $0.02
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« Reply #114 on: February 24, 2009, 01:11:34 AM »



You can go to confession whenever you have a need to go.
If someone chooses to go to confession once a week or before he/she wants to commune then why try forbid them to do so.
Confession is beneficial to us, then why make up arguments not to make use of it.
It should be encouraged amongst us Christians not discouraged as some are doing here. Sad
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« Reply #115 on: February 24, 2009, 01:12:36 AM »



You can go to confession whenever you have a need to go.
If someone chooses to go to confession once a week or before he/she wants to commune then why try forbid them to do so.
Confession is beneficial to us, then why make up arguments not to make use of it.
It should be encouraged amongst us Christians not discouraged as some are doing here. Sad

Who is discouraging people from going to confession?
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« Reply #116 on: February 24, 2009, 01:17:33 AM »



You can go to confession whenever you have a need to go.
If someone chooses to go to confession once a week or before he/she wants to commune then why try forbid them to do so.
Confession is beneficial to us, then why make up arguments not to make use of it.
It should be encouraged amongst us Christians not discouraged as some are doing here. Sad

Who is discouraging people from going to confession?

My Apologies Father but if you can't see it then I must be mistaken.

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« Reply #117 on: February 24, 2009, 01:26:34 AM »



You can go to confession whenever you have a need to go.
If someone chooses to go to confession once a week or before he/she wants to commune then why try forbid them to do so.
Confession is beneficial to us, then why make up arguments not to make use of it.
It should be encouraged amongst us Christians not discouraged as some are doing here. Sad

Who is discouraging people from going to confession?

My Apologies Father but if you can't see it then I must be mistaken.

 Cry

I think you are missing the nuance of the arguments being presented here.  People who are objecting to a one-to-one correlation between confession and communion are not doing so because they don't want people to go to confession, but rather precisely because they want confession to be viewed in its own right as a great and necessary spiritual discipline, and not just something we do so we can "get" communion.

The ultimate abuse is when people don't even confess, but just get the absolution prayer read over them--sometimes while in line already for communion--to "take care of anything just in case."

Frequent confession and frequent communion are quite necessary for spiritual growth; but reducing confession to a rote listing off of the usual sins as a gateway to communion, a sort of ritual washing before undertaking a great religious exercise, devalues the great mystery of confession in my opinion.
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« Reply #118 on: February 24, 2009, 01:44:33 AM »


St. Mary of Egypt Communed in the Church of St. John the Baptist on the banks of the river Jordan on the day she repented of a lifetime of fornication, harlotry and leading others to sin, and she Confessed her sin to a Priest 47 years later...

Are we certain that that is the history of it?

If we back up a paragraph from what you quoted we find this:

"Having got as far as the doors which I could not
reach before—as if the same force which had hindered me cleared
the way for me—I now entered without difficulty and found myself
within the holy place. And so it was I saw the lifegiving Cross.
I saw too the Mysteries of God and how the Lord accepts repentance."


So the question is the interpretation of the last sentence.  Does it mean that Saint Mary merely witnessed and watched other people's acceptance in the Mysteries of repentance or did she participate herself before she left the church and later in the day, at evening, made her communion at the church of the Forerunner on the banks of the Jordan?
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« Reply #119 on: February 24, 2009, 01:45:08 AM »

I think you are missing the nuance of the arguments being presented here.  People who are objecting to a one-to-one correlation between confession and communion are not doing so because they don't want people to go to confession, but rather precisely because they want confession to be viewed in its own right as a great and necessary spiritual discipline, and not just something we do so we can "get" communion.

Father, I think you have hit on the crux of the problem in this discussion.

Some people genuinely, but quite erroneously, think that the Russian and Serbian Churches see Confession as "just something we do so we can "get" communion."

I really find it hard that people could see it in such a superficial manner but clearly, judging by what is written in this thread, they do!   

But Confession is not "just something we do so we can "get" communion."  It forms part of the whole pattern of our Communion preparation - more prayers at home, more prayers in Church if possible, more attention to our spiritual life and to our sins,  seeking the forgiveness of people we have offended, fasting for three days or six days, reading the Prayers before Communion and the Canons.

All of these "hang together" and create an atmophere which leads up up to receiving our divine Lord.   None of them can possibly be seen as just something we do so we can "get" Communion.  God forbid.

Anyway, you may have put your finger on the problem  - the incorrect apprehension that people think we are insisting on Confession or fasting or praying as a way that we can "get" Communion.

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« Reply #120 on: February 24, 2009, 01:58:52 AM »

Some people genuinely, but quite erroneously, think that the Russian and Serbian Churches see Confession as "just something we do so we can "get" communion."

In the ideal version of the Russian practice, of course the pre-communion confession should be a meaningful and reflected upon sacrament.  I've seen this abused plenty during my time in the former USSR into an assembly line and rote act just to get communion.  I've seen a quick "Do you repent of your sins" and an answer in the affirmative means the prayer of absolution is immediately read.  Perhaps my experiences were atypical, but I saw this type of thing pretty frequently across a pretty wide geographical swathe.       

On the other hand, I've seen the other practice abused back in my GOA parish in the US - people who flat out have never been to confession and enter liturgy sometime around the Great Entrance waltzing up to communion every Sunday (or rather the Sundays they bother to show up). 


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« Reply #121 on: February 24, 2009, 02:10:00 AM »

And for the sake of a baseline, here is what I would consider to be the optimal practice in jurisdictions like the GOA that officially encourage frequent communion:

Confession four times a year (usually coinciding with the major fasts) a basis and additional as needed. 

Observance of the fasts. 

Spiritual preparation (i.e pre-communion prayers) 

I think it might be helpful to compare apples to apples in both cases.  If the best case scenario of Russian practice is being spoken of, so ought the best case scenario of GOA practice.  If abuse within either system is spoken of, it should be remember that both have such instances in frustratingly common occurrence. 
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« Reply #122 on: February 24, 2009, 02:32:09 AM »

In the ideal version of the Russian practice, of course the pre-communion confession should be a meaningful and reflected upon sacrament.  I've seen this abused plenty during my time in the former USSR into an assembly line and rote act just to get communion. 

Yes, it can be difficult for Russian priests to hear all the Confessions on major feast days.  Here is something from a letter from a priest friend in Russia, last September.

"We serve evening and morning daily in the cathedral.  Now we have three priests and a deacon.

"Earlier there were four priests and it was easier, since there are so many people.

"On church feasts hundreds and hundreds of people come to confession, and this is really so difficult for the cathedral priests.
"I get tired from this most of all..."


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« Reply #123 on: February 24, 2009, 03:36:02 AM »

Quote
In the mass Confessions which I have seen in some parishes on the evenings of Holy Week, there is not even a two minute consult but just a quick reading of an Absolution prayer over the head of each penitent as they approach the priest one by one after listening all together as a group to the prayers for Confession.  The penitent probably has 20 seconds kneeling in front of the priest.   If such events do not occur during Holy Week in churches in Australia then that is a blessing.

I know that it is common practice in many parts of the world for Athonite monks with the requisite blessing to visit Greek churches of the diaspora during Great Lent, where they are available to act as confessors during this time. This practice takes a very large load off the parish priest's shoulders. Be that as it may, by far the greatest crowds for communion in Greek churches are on Holy Saturday morning, at the vesperal liturgy.

I can also say from my experience that Russians tend to spread out their Lenten communion a little more evenly than do the Greeks. The Sunday of Orthodoxy is particularly popular, as is Palm Sunday, though, of course, good numbers also commune on Holy Saturday morning, and fewer at the Resurrection liturgy.
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« Reply #124 on: February 24, 2009, 04:39:56 AM »


...if one were communing twice in a short period of time (say Holy Thursday and then again on Pascha) there would not necessarily be a need to confess again.

Father, you seem to be saying there would be no need for Confession if Communion were a mere 2 or 3 days apart, as happens in Holy Week.  We would agree with you.

Do we infer from this that for a longer interval, say 7 days, and Confession would be expected of the communicant?

And if I may while I have your attention. a question about fasting before Communion.   I am not aware to which Greek Old Calendar Church you belong, but I was reading an article which says that Greek Old Calendarists are pretty united in requiring a 3 day pre-Communion fast.  Is this the case for your people?  What guidelines do your bishops establish?
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« Reply #125 on: February 24, 2009, 08:07:04 AM »

Quote from: Fr. Anastasios
To answer your question, I do not believe there is a one to one correspondence of confession and communion. Going to confession is a good thing and should be done regularly, but the communion prayers are explicit that communion itself forgives sins. Therefore, if one were communing twice in a short period of time (say Holy Thursday and then again on Pascha) there would not necessarily be a need to confess again.

This is exactly how I've seen it! Also it should be up to your spiritual Father how much he thinks you need to be going to confession. He knows your heart, or should, so he would know if more frequent confession is needed.
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« Reply #126 on: February 24, 2009, 09:12:00 AM »

...Therefore, if one were communing twice in a short period of time (say Holy Thursday and then again on Pascha) there would not necessarily be a need to confess again.

This I see as core of the dispute.

Confession is necessary (not "a requirement") for preparation not because of the time passed between previous confession and receiving, but because of sins committed meanwhile.

Confession itself is not a goal, but the tool for spiritual growth through repentance, purification, theosis. I am yet to hear "the recepy" of repenting without confession, and the proof of theosis as a result of receiving, as advocated on these boards.
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« Reply #127 on: February 24, 2009, 09:40:43 AM »

I am yet to hear "the recepy" of repenting without confession, and the proof of theosis as a result of receiving, as advocated on these boards.
Advocated by whom on these boards?
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« Reply #128 on: February 24, 2009, 10:28:04 AM »

...Therefore, if one were communing twice in a short period of time (say Holy Thursday and then again on Pascha) there would not necessarily be a need to confess again.

This I see as core of the dispute.

Confession is necessary (not "a requirement") for preparation not because of the time passed between previous confession and receiving, but because of sins committed meanwhile.

Confession itself is not a goal, but the tool for spiritual growth through repentance, purification, theosis. I am yet to hear "the recepy" of repenting without confession, and the proof of theosis as a result of receiving, as advocated on these boards.

I don't think anyone is advocating " repenting without confession" on the boards. I think, and I may be wrong, its a debate of structured vs non-structured debate. Should confession be a formula or not is the question being asked. 
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« Reply #129 on: February 24, 2009, 11:24:13 AM »



I remember quite a few years back when I was in that phase of not going to church where my mother played the Russian Baba and reminded me that I hadn't been to confession in three years so if anything happened to me they wouldn't take my body into the church.  There would be just prayers at the funeral home instead.  And, of course put me on the guilt trip about what an embarrassment this would be to the family!  It was during 'Great lent'.

The closest Orthodox Church around at the time was Greek.  So I knocked on the rectory and told the priest my story.  He was kind of amazed at what my mom had said and kind of smiled.  Anyhow, he told me that Confession was very lack amongst his parishioners because they weren't used to it.  This was because of the restrictions the church had over the centuries by the Ottomans.  And that not all priests were allowed to give Confession.  Only those OK'd by the local bishop. So Confession became a lost practice amongst Greeks. 

He went on to say that he did notice that when people did come that they would freeze up as soon as they got in the Church. So, he did Confession a little different.  He explained that we would just sit there in his office and talk.  That I could even smoke if I wanted (he saw the pack of cigs in my pocket).  After we were done he would take me in the church where we would both stand in front of the Iconostasis at the Icon of Christ and pray together and then he would give me Absolution!  I stayed there about an hour just talking and things just flowed out!  I didn't feel rushed & was relaxed and it was probably the best and most thorough Confession I ever had!

According to him most of his people considered the Unction service on Holy Wednesday as a cleansing & healing service and this took the place of a private Confession for them!  I know other Greeks that have implied the same thing.  I also know Greeks & Albanians who do not go to Confession but will fast for up to a week before receiving.  Others, well lets not say.  My priest will refuse you Communion if he smells ciggerate breath on you or if he noticed you arrived after the Gospel reading!   I have seen him do it!

In my parish we have 'General Confession'  once a month in non lenten periods.  The entire parish recites the 'Confession of St Dimitri of Rostov' which is the most thorough confession I ever read.  (I use it to prepare myself for 'Private Confession'.  'Private Confession' only is required in the parish during all Lenten periods.)  There is a part of the prayer by St Dimitri where there is silence where one can utter a private sin.  After it is over, each individual will go up and receive absolution separately by the priest.  Those that want to confess or talk over individual sins will wait to be the last to go up for absolution.

Personally this type of procedure suits my needs.  I also asked both my former priest and present priest if I could write out my sins on a piece of paper when I go for 'Private Confession' and then read them and I have permission to do so.  I do this because I usually examine my conscience for a week before I go. 

I'm sure there will be those who disagree with this but as I said it works for me and seems to work for the entire parish.

Private confessions are done usually after Saturday night Vespers and Sunday before Liturgy with a cut off time of 15 minutes before Liturgy starts.

Orthodoc

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« Reply #130 on: February 24, 2009, 11:36:39 AM »



I remember quite a few years back when I was in that phase of not going to church where my mother played the Russian Baba and reminded me that I hadn't been to confession in three years so if anything happened to me they wouldn't take my body into the church.  There would be just prayers at the funeral home instead.  And, of course put me on the guilt trip about what an embarrassment this would be to the family!  It was during 'Great lent'.

The closest Orthodox Church around at the time was Greek.  So I knocked on the rectory and told the priest my story.  He was kind of amazed at what my mom had said and kind of smiled.  Anyhow, he told me that Confession was very lack amongst his parishioners because they weren't used to it.  This was because of the restrictions the church had over the centuries by the Ottomans.  And that not all priests were allowed to give Confession.  Only those OK'd by the local bishop. So Confession became a lost practice amongst Greeks. 

He went on to say that he did notice that when people did come that they would freeze up as soon as they got in the Church. So, he did Confession a little different.  He explained that we would just sit there in his office and talk.  That I could even smoke if I wanted (he saw the pack of cigs in my pocket).  After we were done he would take me in the church where we would both stand in front of the Iconostasis at the Icon of Christ and pray together and then he would give me Absolution!  I stayed there about an hour just talking and things just flowed out!  I didn't feel rushed & was relaxed and it was probably the best and most thorough Confession I ever had!

According to him most of his people considered the Unction service on Holy Wednesday as a cleansing & healing service and this took the place of a private Confession for them!  I know other Greeks that have implied the same thing.  I also know Greeks & Albanians who do not go to Confession but will fast for up to a week before receiving.  Others, well lets not say.  My priest will refuse you Communion if he smells ciggerate breath on you or if he noticed you arrived after the Gospel reading!   I have seen him do it!

In my parish we have 'General Confession'  once a month in non lenten periods.  The entire parish recites the 'Confession of St Dimitri of Rostov' which is the most thorough confession I ever read.  (I use it to prepare myself for 'Private Confession'.  'Private Confession' only is required in the parish during all Lenten periods.)  There is a part of the prayer by St Dimitri where there is silence where one can utter a private sin.  After it is over, each individual will go up and receive absolution separately by the priest.  Those that want to confess or talk over individual sins will wait to be the last to go up for absolution.

Personally this type of procedure suits my needs.  I also asked both my former priest and present priest if I could write out my sins on a piece of paper when I go for 'Private Confession' and then read them and I have permission to do so.  I do this because I usually examine my conscience for a week before I go. 

I'm sure there will be those who disagree with this but as I said it works for me and seems to work for the entire parish.

Private confessions are done usually after Saturday night Vespers and Sunday before Liturgy with a cut off time of 15 minutes before Liturgy starts.

Orthodoc



This is the prayer of Confession by St Dimitri we receite at General Confession -

A Brief Confession before One's Spiritual Father

From the Full Confession of St. Dmitri of Rostov

   
    I confess to the Lord my God and before thee, venerable father, all my countless sins, committed by me unto this very day and hour, in deed, word and thought. I sin daily and hourly by mine ingratitude toward God for His great and countless blessings and benevolent providence over me, a sinner.

   
    I have sinned through: idle talking, judging others, stubbornness, pride, hard-heartedness, envy, anger, slander, inattention, negligence concerning my salvation, carelessness, indifference, impertinence, irritability, despondency, rendering evil for evil, bitterness, disobedience, complaining, self-justification, contradicting others, self-will, being reproachful, gossiping, lying, light-mindedness, tempting others, self-love, ambition, gourmandizing, eating and drinking to excess, vanity, laziness, entertaining unclean thoughts, acquisitiveness, impure glances, absence from divine services because of laziness and carelessness, absent-mindedness at prayer both in church and at home; I have sinned in deed, word thought; in sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch and the rest of my mental and physical senses; of all my sins I repent and beg forgiveness.

   
(Here one should mention specifically any other sins which may be burdening the soul.)

    I also repent and ask forgiveness for all those sins that I have not confessed because of their multitude and my forgetfulness.

    Forgive and absolve me, venerable father, and bless me to commune of the holy and life-creating Mysteries of Christ unto the remission of sins and life everlasting.

   

Orthodoc

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« Reply #131 on: February 24, 2009, 11:49:24 AM »


According to him most of his people considered the Unction service on Holy Wednesday as a cleansing & healing service and this took the place of a private Confession for them!  I know other Greeks that have implied the same thing. 


I know of at least one Greek Catholic priest who teaches such a thing, as well (although in the same breath also exhorts in the strongest terms the need for regular private confession).  He was even called into the papal nuncio's office once about it and told to knock it off. 
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« Reply #132 on: February 24, 2009, 11:51:34 AM »


Orthodoc,

Thank you for sharing that prayer.



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« Reply #133 on: February 24, 2009, 12:04:59 PM »

Forgive and absolve me, venerable father, and bless me to commune of the holy and life-creating Mysteries of Christ unto the remission of sins and life everlasting.[/color]
Orthodoc


And here is what every Orthodox Priest I have ever confessed to has said after receiving my Confession:
“My spiritual child, who have made your Confession to my humble person: I, a humble sinner, have no power to forgive sins on earth; only God can do that....."
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« Reply #134 on: February 24, 2009, 01:17:29 PM »

Forgive and absolve me, venerable father, and bless me to commune of the holy and life-creating Mysteries of Christ unto the remission of sins and life everlasting.[/color]
Orthodoc


And here is what every Orthodox Priest I have ever confessed to has said after receiving my Confession:
“My spiritual child, who have made your Confession to my humble person: I, a humble sinner, have no power to forgive sins on earth; only God can do that....."


WOW!  All I can say is that if this is indeed factual then there is a wide discrepancy between the Greek Orthodoxy practiced in Australia and the Greek Orthodoxy practiced elsewhere!

From a book called 'Dance, O Isaiah' - Questions and answers on some differences between Eastern Orthodox Christianity And Other Faiths by Constantine Platis (a Greek Orthodox theologian)

Question:  Why do you confess sins to a priest?  Only God can forgive sins.

Answer:  Only God can forgive sins, but Christ has decided to do this by giving this authority to the Apostles and their successors - the bishops, presbyters (priests) they ordain.  He told the Apostles -

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven, and if you retain the sins of any, they are retained (Jn 20:23)Among other things, Confession is to the Church, not only to Christ.  Our sins offend the fellowship of believers, not only God.  Onerous and persistent sins lead to our excommunication from the church.  Return to the fold requires repentance.  The Church is represented by the priest.  Therefore, confession is made to him for readmission.
Mt. 9:6-8 says that "men" (plural) have received authority from God to forgive sins (not only Christ).  St Paul considered himself to have this authority (1 Cor. 5:1-5) - he excommunicated a certain sinner (placed him outside the church, thereby depriving him of health) in hope that the sinner's soul would be saved at the time of the final judgement.  St Paul says he forgives someone "in the person of Christ" (2 Cor. 2:10).


So my question to you is - What did he say after he said what you just quoted?  If you say nothing then I thnk you better find another bunch of Greek Orthodox priests that are better educated in the faith.

Orthodoc

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