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Author Topic: Decline in confession, but no decline in Eucharist receivers  (Read 15580 times) Average Rating: 1
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« Reply #135 on: February 24, 2009, 02:04:32 PM »

What Ozgeorge has provided is a partial quote from the prayer read after the confession of sins.  The full prayer (as translated by Fr. Evagoras Constantinides in his book, "The Priest's Service Book," 2nd ed. 1994, pg. 148-149):

After the confession the Confessor says to the penitent the following:

Priest:
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; but trusting in the divinely spoken words that were addressed to the Apostles after the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, which said: <<If you pronounce forgiven the sins of any, they are forgiven to them; and if you pronounce unforgiven the sins of any, they remain unforgiven>>, we are bold to say: Whatever you have related to my humble and lowly person, and whatever you have failed to say either from ignorance or forgetfulness, whatever it may be, may God forgive you in this present age and in the age to come.


Then, the prayer is followed up by the prayer of Absolution, thus (pages 148-151):

Then the priest asks the penitent to kneel, places his epitrahilion (stole) and his hand over his (her) head, and recites the following prayer of absolution:

Priest:
May God who, through Nathan the Prophet forgave David when he confessed his sins, and Peter, when he wept bitterly for his denial; and the harlot who shed tears upon his feet; and the Publican; and the Prodigal; may this same God forgive you, through me a sinner, everything, both in this present age and in the age to come, and may he make you stand uncondemned before his dread Judgment Seat.  As for the sins that you have confessed, have no further anxiety about them; go in peace.
The grace of the Holy Spirit, through my insignificance, has you loosened and forgiven.
Through the prayers of our holy Fathers....
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« Reply #136 on: February 24, 2009, 02:15:12 PM »

And what about geneal confession? When I was in the oca we had it most every month outside of Lent.
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« Reply #137 on: February 24, 2009, 02:32:51 PM »

And what about general confession? When I was in the oca we had it most every month outside of Lent.

I've been in the OCA for 11 years and have never seen or herd of a "general" confession. I really don't think this is a standard practice.
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« Reply #138 on: February 24, 2009, 02:58:24 PM »

What Ozgeorge has provided is a partial quote from the prayer read after the confession of sins.  The full prayer (as translated by Fr. Evagoras Constantinides in his book, "The Priest's Service Book," 2nd ed. 1994, pg. 148-149):

After the confession the Confessor says to the penitent the following:

Priest:
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; but trusting in the divinely spoken words that were addressed to the Apostles after the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, which said: <<If you pronounce forgiven the sins of any, they are forgiven to them; and if you pronounce unforgiven the sins of any, they remain unforgiven>>, we are bold to say: Whatever you have related to my humble and lowly person, and whatever you have failed to say either from ignorance or forgetfulness, whatever it may be, may God forgive you in this present age and in the age to come.


Then, the prayer is followed up by the prayer of Absolution, thus (pages 148-151):

Then the priest asks the penitent to kneel, places his epitrahilion (stole) and his hand over his (her) head, and recites the following prayer of absolution:

Priest:
May God who, through Nathan the Prophet forgave David when he confessed his sins, and Peter, when he wept bitterly for his denial; and the harlot who shed tears upon his feet; and the Publican; and the Prodigal; may this same God forgive you, through me a sinner, everything, both in this present age and in the age to come, and may he make you stand uncondemned before his dread Judgment Seat.  As for the sins that you have confessed, have no further anxiety about them; go in peace.
The grace of the Holy Spirit, through my insignificance, has you loosened and forgiven.
Through the prayers of our holy Fathers....

Thank you Cleveland!  I knew what Ozgeorge was doing was just quoting a partial response.  For no Greek Orthodox priest would leave it at what he was claiming.  As for why he purposedly did it - well, no comment.

Any how, once again, thanks for your response.  My faith in Greek Orthodoxy has been restored!

Orthodoc
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« Reply #139 on: February 24, 2009, 03:17:41 PM »

Thank you Cleveland!  I knew what Ozgeorge was doing was just quoting a partial response.  For no Greek Orthodox priest would leave it at what he was claiming.  As for why he purposedly did it - well, no comment.

Any how, once again, thanks for your response.  My faith in Greek Orthodoxy has been restored!

I personally tend to tread lightly when discussing the issue.  On the one hand, Christ's words are pretty clear in the Gospel - man has been given authority to loose and bind sins; on the other hand, the interpretation of those statements (which, I think, leads to the wording in the prayer) may best be seen as "I (the Lord) will bind and loose sins based on your pronouncement, my disciples."  In either case, it is best that the clergy make the (hopefully humble) pronouncement that they too are sinners and acknowledge that they, like the rest of us, are unworthy of the gifts God has bestowed upon them, and yet they hope that He will keep His promise (to bind and loose sins through their pronouncement) just as He always has kept His promises to His faithful servants.

I'm glad this has helped your faith in Greek Orthodoxy.  And I appreciated your story from before - what a wonderful example of a full practice of forgiveness and repentance, both on the personal and communal levels!
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« Reply #140 on: February 24, 2009, 04:25:23 PM »

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?
I've not seen anyone on this forum advocating repentance without confession, but I have seen what could be called advocating confession without repentance.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2009, 04:25:58 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #141 on: February 24, 2009, 05:25:17 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....."


^^^^
Are you being serious?Huh?? Huh

You are on your on here george.

I cannot relate to this at all and I am from Australia,  please people do not generalise on behave of this big dis creptency outlined above. In Melbourne we are more in tune with correct Orthodox practices of confession.

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« Reply #142 on: February 24, 2009, 05:33:48 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....."


^^^^
Are you being serious?Huh?? Huh

You are on your on here george.

I cannot relate to this at all and I am from Australia,  please people do not generalise on behave of this big dis creptency outlined above. In Melbourne we are more in tune with correct Orthodox practices of confession.


And what is the basis for your judgment that your Confession practices are more correct?
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« Reply #143 on: February 24, 2009, 05:59:57 PM »

I've not seen anyone on this forum advocating repentance without confession,
but I have seen what could be called advocating confession without repentance.

Surely you are pulling our legs!   Grin

I have not noticed anybody advocating confession without repentance.   That would be nonsensical.  I can't imagine people going to confession to *boast* of their sins instead of going in a spirit of sorrow and repentance.
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« Reply #144 on: February 24, 2009, 06:15:22 PM »


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).

On the basis of what Orthodoc has quoted above, I see no reason for the Greek Orthodox to have qualms about the Russian-Slav absolution forumula.  It is quite in line with this Greek explanation and with the quoted words of our Saviour to His Apostles when he gave them authority to forgive or retain sins.

It says, quite clearly, that the priest is exercising his authority to forgive sin on the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This is perfectly in line with the answer above.

Also, I think Cleveland wrote that the priest should make mention of his own sinfulness and this too is covered by the Slav formula:


"May our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, through His grace and
compassion and love for mankind, forgive thee my child (Name) all thy sins
(so far it is deprecative but now it becomes indicative)

"and I an unworthy priest, through the authority given unto me by Him,
do forgive and absolve thee from all thy sins, in the Name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

So, at least to my eyes, the Slav formula conforms to the necessary elements mentioned in the Greek Orthodox statement of Constantine Platis and it should assuage any Greek worries?




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« Reply #145 on: February 24, 2009, 06:18:30 PM »

I've not seen anyone on this forum advocating repentance without confession,
but I have seen what could be called advocating confession without repentance.

Surely you are pulling our legs!   Grin

I have not noticed anybody advocating confession without repentance.   That would be nonsensical.  I can't imagine people going to confession to *boast* of their sins instead of going in a spirit of sorrow and repentance.

I do not think his point was that people will go to boast; but ISTM his point is rather that, if done too frequently or if merely seen as a necessary tool for receiving communion, that confession would become devalued, and people will confess in a rote manner, without the intention of trying to "sin no more" - i.e. improving their lives, not repeating their old sins, etc.
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« Reply #146 on: February 24, 2009, 06:23:22 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....."


^^^^
Are you being serious?Huh?? Huh

You are on your on here george.

I cannot relate to this at all and I am from Australia,  please people do not generalise on behave of this big dis creptency outlined above. In Melbourne we are more in tune with correct Orthodox practices of confession.


And what is the basis for your judgment that your Confession practices are more correct?

^^^^
The basis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia...




"May our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, through His grace and
compassion and love for mankind, forgive thee your servant (Name) all thy sins
(so far it is deprecative but now it becomes indicative)

"and I an unworthy priest, through the authority given unto me by Him,
do forgive and absolve thee from all thy sins, in the Name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

« Last Edit: February 24, 2009, 06:29:08 PM by Byzantine2008 » Logged

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« Reply #147 on: February 24, 2009, 06:26:22 PM »

I personally tend to tread lightly when discussing the issue.  On the one hand, Christ's words are pretty clear in the Gospel - man has been given authority to loose and bind sins; on the other hand, the interpretation of those statements (which, I think, leads to the wording in the prayer) may best be seen as "I (the Lord) will bind and loose sins based on your pronouncement, my disciples."  In either case, it is best that the clergy make the (hopefully humble) pronouncement that they too are sinners and acknowledge that they, like the rest of us, are unworthy of the gifts God has bestowed upon them, and yet they hope that He will keep His promise (to bind and loose sins through their pronouncement) just as He always has kept His promises to His faithful servants.

to Cleveland!

Youv'e done a spot-on and succinct summary of it all.
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« Reply #148 on: February 24, 2009, 06:37:21 PM »

Thank you Cleveland!  I knew what Ozgeorge was doing was just quoting a partial response.  For no Greek Orthodox priest would leave it at what he was claiming.  As for why he purposedly did it - well, no comment.

Uh, given that he ended the quote with "..." it was evident up front that he was providing a partial quote.  It's not as if he gave it a full stop and tried to pass it off as the entirety of it.  You're just trying to find deception where none is offered.
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« Reply #149 on: February 24, 2009, 07:51:27 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....."


^^^^
Are you being serious?Huh?? Huh

You are on your on here george.

I cannot relate to this at all and I am from Australia,  please people do not generalise on behave of this big dis creptency outlined above. In Melbourne we are more in tune with correct Orthodox practices of confession.


And what is the basis for your judgment that your Confession practices are more correct?

^^^^
The basis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia...
So, you mean to elevate the local practice of a particular archdiocese to the level of correct Orthodox practice--i.e., correct practice for ALL Orthodox Christians wherever they may be in the world?
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« Reply #150 on: February 24, 2009, 08:17:22 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....."


^^^^
Are you being serious?Huh?? Huh

You are on your on here george.

I cannot relate to this at all and I am from Australia,  please people do not generalise on behave of this big dis creptency outlined above. In Melbourne we are more in tune with correct Orthodox practices of confession.


And what is the basis for your judgment that your Confession practices are more correct?

^^^^
The basis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia...
So, you mean to elevate the local practice of a particular archdiocese to the level of correct Orthodox practice--i.e., correct practice for ALL Orthodox Christians wherever they may be in the world?

Please read carefully before making outlandish assumptions.

And if you can understand after that, then read again until you do understand.

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« Reply #151 on: February 24, 2009, 09:01:59 PM »

And what is the basis for your judgment that your Confession practices are more correct?

^^^^
The basis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia...
So, you mean to elevate the local practice of a particular archdiocese to the level of correct Orthodox practice--i.e., correct practice for ALL Orthodox Christians wherever they may be in the world?

Please read carefully before making outlandish assumptions.

And if you can understand after that, then read again until you do understand.
Outlandish assumption? Huh  You answered my question as to how you know your Confession practices are "more in line with correct Orthodox practice" with an extremely succinct, one lined statement: "The basis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia...".  What else is there to read in this that I need to be more careful how I read it?  Do you want me to read your mind?  I'm not telepathic.  So I ask you to clarify what you mean with a question that brings out the logic I see your statements asserting--do notice the question mark (?) I used to end my "outlandish assumption".

Now, back to your assertion:  You state very clearly that you see the practice of the GOA of Australia as the basis for your belief that your practice is "more in line with correct Orthodox practice" than ozgeorge's.  What does "correct Orthodox practice" mean, except that whatever is "correct Orthodox practice" is the practice that must be followed by all Orthodox Christians around the world, lest we be incorrect and un-Orthodox?  Then you assert that your local practice is the basis for this "correct Orthodox practice".  Logically, what this says is that we should model our Confession practice on the model provided by your local archdiocese.

So I ask again:  Do you mean to elevate the local practice of a particular archdiocese to the level of correct Orthodox practice--i.e., correct practice for ALL Orthodox Christians wherever they may be in the world?  Or do you mean to say simply that there is a standard of correct Orthodox practice that is much more universal than your archdiocesan practice and that your archdiocese is in line with this universal practice?  In short, is the basis for correctness found outside or inside the GOA of Australia?
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« Reply #152 on: February 24, 2009, 09:18:18 PM »

And what is the basis for your judgment that your Confession practices are more correct?

^^^^
The basis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia...
So, you mean to elevate the local practice of a particular archdiocese to the level of correct Orthodox practice--i.e., correct practice for ALL Orthodox Christians wherever they may be in the world?

Please read carefully before making outlandish assumptions.

And if you can understand after that, then read again until you do understand.
Outlandish assumption? Huh  You answered my question as to how you know your Confession practices are "more in line with correct Orthodox practice" with an extremely succinct, one lined statement: "The basis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia...".  What else is there to read in this that I need to be more careful how I read it?  Do you want me to read your mind?  I'm not telepathic.  So I ask you to clarify what you mean with a question that brings out the logic I see your statements asserting--do notice the question mark (?) I used to end my "outlandish assumption".

Now, back to your assertion:  You state very clearly that you see the practice of the GOA of Australia as the basis for your belief that your practice is "more in line with correct Orthodox practice" than ozgeorge's.  What does "correct Orthodox practice" mean, except that whatever is "correct Orthodox practice" is the practice that must be followed by all Orthodox Christians around the world, lest we be incorrect and un-Orthodox?  Then you assert that your local practice is the basis for this "correct Orthodox practice".  Logically, what this says is that we should model our Confession practice on the model provided by your local archdiocese.

So I ask again:  Do you mean to elevate the local practice of a particular archdiocese to the level of correct Orthodox practice--i.e., correct practice for ALL Orthodox Christians wherever they may be in the world?  Or do you mean to say simply that there is a standard of correct Orthodox practice that is much more universal than your archdiocesan practice and that your archdiocese is in line with this universal practice?  In short, is the basis for correctness found outside or inside the GOA of Australia?

"Or do you mean to say simply that there is a standard of correct Orthodox practice that is much more universal than your archdiocesan practice and that your archdiocese is in line with this universal practice."

The above is what I meant. Grin
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« Reply #153 on: February 24, 2009, 09:42:51 PM »

And what is the basis for your judgment that your Confession practices are more correct?

^^^^
The basis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia...
So, you mean to elevate the local practice of a particular archdiocese to the level of correct Orthodox practice--i.e., correct practice for ALL Orthodox Christians wherever they may be in the world?

Please read carefully before making outlandish assumptions.

And if you can understand after that, then read again until you do understand.
Outlandish assumption? Huh  You answered my question as to how you know your Confession practices are "more in line with correct Orthodox practice" with an extremely succinct, one lined statement: "The basis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia...".  What else is there to read in this that I need to be more careful how I read it?  Do you want me to read your mind?  I'm not telepathic.  So I ask you to clarify what you mean with a question that brings out the logic I see your statements asserting--do notice the question mark (?) I used to end my "outlandish assumption".

Now, back to your assertion:  You state very clearly that you see the practice of the GOA of Australia as the basis for your belief that your practice is "more in line with correct Orthodox practice" than ozgeorge's.  What does "correct Orthodox practice" mean, except that whatever is "correct Orthodox practice" is the practice that must be followed by all Orthodox Christians around the world, lest we be incorrect and un-Orthodox?  Then you assert that your local practice is the basis for this "correct Orthodox practice".  Logically, what this says is that we should model our Confession practice on the model provided by your local archdiocese.

So I ask again:  Do you mean to elevate the local practice of a particular archdiocese to the level of correct Orthodox practice--i.e., correct practice for ALL Orthodox Christians wherever they may be in the world?  Or do you mean to say simply that there is a standard of correct Orthodox practice that is much more universal than your archdiocesan practice and that your archdiocese is in line with this universal practice?  In short, is the basis for correctness found outside or inside the GOA of Australia?

"Or do you mean to say simply that there is a standard of correct Orthodox practice that is much more universal than your archdiocesan practice and that your archdiocese is in line with this universal practice."

The above is what I meant. Grin
Cool! Cool  Now for my next question:  Is there such a thing as one universal Confession practice that you can say is the correct practice?
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« Reply #154 on: February 24, 2009, 09:50:06 PM »

You are on your on here george.

Am I?

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=ySkh6Pt0Bi8C&pg=PA55

http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/outreach/greatlent/brochures/Confession.pdf (p2)

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/liturgics/bassoline_confession_bible.htm

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« Reply #155 on: February 25, 2009, 12:09:10 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. 

The Mysterion of Holy Unction in fact does include the forgiveness of sins. The Apostles themselves taught this:
"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."  (James 5:14-15)
Isn't this an Apostolic Teaching?


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« Reply #156 on: February 25, 2009, 12:30:49 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. 

The Mysterion of Holy Unction in fact does include the forgiveness of sins. The Apostles themselves taught this:
"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."  (James 5:14-15)
Isn't this an Apostolic Teaching?

I don't think I have the full service of Unction in front of me, but I do have a Priest's Prayer Book (the one I referenced earlier), and it has an Unction Service "for the home" (i.e. abbreviated).  In it, at the prayer of the sanctification of the oil, it asks (pp. 172-173):

"... send down your Holy Spirit and sanctify this oil; and may it convey upon your servant(s) (N), who is (are) anointed with it, complete deliverance from his (her) (their) sins, and the inheritance of the Kingdom of heaven."

Then, in the Prayer of Anointing the Sick person (pp. 174-177) it says:

"Holy Father... heal your servant(s) (N) from his (her) (their) bodily and spiritual sickness, and restore him (her) (them) by the grace of your Christ; through the intercessions..."

Finally, he includes a Prayer of Forgiveness, similar to that found in the sacrament of Holy Confession (similar in substance, with a statement about holding the open Gospel Book over their head instead of laying on hands).

======================

On the GOARCH website they have the prayer of Blessing the Oil from the sacrament of Holy Unction,:
http://lent.goarch.org/holy_wednesday/learn/

"Prayer of the Oil
O Lord who, in thy mercies and bounties, healest the disorders of our souls and bodies, do Thou, the same Master, sanctify this Oil, that it may be effectual for those who shall be anointed therewith, unto healing, and unto relief from every passion, every malady of the flesh and of the spirit, and every ill; and that therein may be glorified Thy most Holy Name, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen."

(In the Greek text, for "malady" they use the word molismou, a derivative of which is used in modern Greek for Pollution....)
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« Reply #157 on: February 25, 2009, 12:33:57 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. 

The Mysterion of Holy Unction in fact does include the forgiveness of sins. The Apostles themselves taught this:
"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."  (James 5:14-15)
Isn't this an Apostolic Teaching?




Yes, but where does it indicate it takes the place of the Sacrament of Confession?  Why hhave it as a separate Sacrament if Holy Unction takes care of it. This is for the sick and the dying.  Not the healthy.

Orthodox
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« Reply #158 on: February 25, 2009, 12:41:36 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. 

The Mysterion of Holy Unction in fact does include the forgiveness of sins. The Apostles themselves taught this:
"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."  (James 5:14-15)
Isn't this an Apostolic Teaching?




Yes, but where does it indicate it takes the place of the Sacrament of Confession?  Why hhave it as a separate Sacrament if Holy Unction takes care of it. This is for the sick and the dying.  Not the healthy.

Orthodox

I don't know if I'd discount the ability of Holy Unction (or Holy Communion, for that matter, even though you haven't included this in your argument) to provide forgiveness of sins; but it cannot replace Holy Confession, which provides the path to the essential command: "Go, and sin no more."  If we do not desire a closer relationship with our God, then we can by all means seek occasional forgiveness from the other sacraments; however, if we desire to journey closer to the Lord, and follow (as closely as we can) His path to Righteousness, then Confession must be included - not just for forgiveness of sins, but for the wisdom and counsel to avoid them altogether in the future.
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« Reply #159 on: February 25, 2009, 12:43:26 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. 

The Mysterion of Holy Unction in fact does include the forgiveness of sins. The Apostles themselves taught this:
"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."  (James 5:14-15)
Isn't this an Apostolic Teaching?

I don't think I have the full service of Unction in front of me, but I do have a Priest's Prayer Book (the one I referenced earlier), and it has an Unction Service "for the home" (i.e. abbreviated).  In it, at the prayer of the sanctification of the oil, it asks (pp. 172-173):

"... send down your Holy Spirit and sanctify this oil; and may it convey upon your servant(s) (N), who is (are) anointed with it, complete deliverance from his (her) (their) sins, and the inheritance of the Kingdom of heaven."

Then, in the Prayer of Anointing the Sick person (pp. 174-177) it says:

"Holy Father... heal your servant(s) (N) from his (her) (their) bodily and spiritual sickness, and restore him (her) (them) by the grace of your Christ; through the intercessions..."

Finally, he includes a Prayer of Forgiveness, similar to that found in the sacrament of Holy Confession (similar in substance, with a statement about holding the open Gospel Book over their head instead of laying on hands).

Which is in complete accordance with Apostolic Teaching.
I don't see the problem.

Yes, but where does it indicate it takes the place of the Sacrament of Confession?  Why hhave it as a separate Sacrament if Holy Unction takes care of it. This is for the sick and the dying.  Not the healthy.
Orthodox
It does not "take the place" of the Mysterion of Confession. They are completely different Mysterions. However, as you agree, it is entirely Apostolic and Orthodox to say that the Mysterion of Holy Unction is for the forgiveness of sins also. Or is it not? Does the Mysterion of Holy Unction not impart the Grace of forgiveness of sins?
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« Reply #160 on: February 25, 2009, 12:52:52 AM »

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....."


But does not the next phrase go on to say:

"... but only through the divinely spoken words of our Lord, who said to His Apostles and disciples after His glorious resurrection, 'Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them; whose sins you do not forgive, they are not forgiven.'"

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/liturgics/bassoline_confession_bible.htm

In other words the priest rightly make a prefatory statement of his own sinfulness as a human BUT (and it is a glorious BUT which turns human logic and human power on its head) he then goes on to claim the authority to pronounce sins forgiven on the authority of Christ.

For a moment he transcends his rightful and self-confessed humility and in a paradox of humility and boldness he boldly exercises the authority given to the Apostles and he says:  

"With this command in mind, we are bold to say..."

-oOo-

   My spiritual child, I, a humble man and also a sinner, do not have power in myself to forgive the sins of men on earth, but only through the divinely spoken words of our Lord, who said to His Apostles and disciples after His glorious resurrection, ‘Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them; whose sins you do not forgive, they are not forgiven.’ With this command in mind, we are bold to say: Whatever you have confessed here or failed to confess out of ignorance or forgetfulness, whatever these things may be, may Christ forgive you them all, both in this world and in His kingdom which is to come.

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« Reply #161 on: February 25, 2009, 01:01:49 AM »

In other words the priest rightly make a prefatory statement of his own sinfulness as a human BUT (and it is a glorious BUT which turns human logic and human power on its head) he then goes on to claim the authority to pronounce sins forgiven on the authority of Christ.
Do you recall the reason why I brought this up in the thread? It was because of this:
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.
This prayer is asking the Priest to forgive the sins of the penitent, something which the Priest has no authority to do. As you state, a Priest has the "authority" to pronounce sins remitted by God, but he himself has no authority to forgive sins, therefore, this prayer quoted by Orthodoc has the penitent asking the Priest for something he cannot give.
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« Reply #162 on: February 25, 2009, 01:26:45 AM »

ok is the world going nuts or what?

What ever happened to Tradition? 

If our people dont have the information or training we need to educate them.  In order to be prepared for Holy Communinon one needs to be PREPARED for this.  In Orthodoxy, one needs to fast from midnight, have had confession within a month of communing, fasting from all food or drink from midnight or before and properly prepared (reciting the pre communion prayers before receiving).   Can anything be any simpler than this? 

Reception of the pure Body and Blood of Christ can not and must not be received haphaszardly in a manner unworthy of what is being received.  Too many folks line up to receive without the slightest idea of what is being received.   They do it as a matter of habit. 

It is most important to realize that what is happening at the reception of the actual Body and Blood of Christ.  To do otherwise is a sacrilege. 
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« Reply #163 on: February 25, 2009, 01:38:01 AM »

ok is the world going nuts or what?
Why do you say that?
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« Reply #164 on: February 25, 2009, 01:40:06 AM »

What ever happened to Tradition? ........
In Orthodoxy, one needs to fast from midnight, have had confession within a month of communing, fasting from all food or drink from midnight or before and properly prepared (reciting the pre communion prayers before receiving). 
Can you tell us which Fathers say that you must have confessed within a month of receiving Communion to support your claim that this is Tradition?
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« Reply #165 on: February 25, 2009, 02:48:18 AM »

I've not seen anyone on this forum advocating repentance without confession,
but I have seen what could be called advocating confession without repentance.

Surely you are pulling our legs!   Grin

I have not noticed anybody advocating confession without repentance.   That would be nonsensical.  I can't imagine people going to confession to *boast* of their sins instead of going in a spirit of sorrow and repentance.

1.  Well [to Irish Hermit, but also everyone], my choir director who has traveled near and far, would say otherwise - as said to him by some Russian priest.  The gist was that, one ought to have their list (of things to confess), read it out, rip it up and then let the priest give the advice and absolution - the process shouldn't last anymore than like 10 mins, otherwise it is just bragging.  IMHO, this seems a bit simplistic, but I see the point.

2.  General confession - a couple of years ago, the older (emeritus priest of 55 years and father of the rector - yes father/son priests), read a bunch of stuff at the end of I think our last Presanctified Liturgy on Holy Wed and then people got in line and he said some prayers (seemed similar to the absolution prayers but maybe not identical) and put his epitrachilion on our heads.  I asked the choir director what it was and he said it was a General confession.  This has happened once or twice a year since.

3.  At my OCA parish, priests are available throughout the week to heard confessions (we actually have four, including the retired one - kind of historical circumstances though).  They are usually heard before and after Great Vespers on Saturday (we do Vigil occasionally) and before Liturgy on Sunday, but appointments can be made during the week.  I have had them in various lengths - from an hour or so session (not in an office, but sitting in chairs in the church - more of a "lifetime" type) and some where it was only a couple of minutes.  I have to say though, the two shortest have been with Russian priests (one ROCOR and the other MP), and I didn't really feel that the one with the ROCOR priest (who I know well and was the shortest) was that satisfying (probably not the best choice of words), but I don't question the efficacy of it.  To me, some happy medium works best.

4.  Orthodoc - thanks for your story.  This isn't the first time I've heard about confession with priests of the Greek tradition being longer and more consultative.
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« Reply #166 on: February 25, 2009, 02:57:19 AM »

What ever happened to Tradition? ........
In Orthodoxy, one needs to fast from midnight, have had confession within a month of communing, fasting from all food or drink from midnight or before and properly prepared (reciting the pre communion prayers before receiving). 
Can you tell us which Fathers say that you must have confessed within a month of receiving Communion to support your claim that this is Tradition?

Ditto.  While my own priest (also OCA) may loosely mention this timeframe, you would never get him to quote a distinct Father on this time frame.
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« Reply #167 on: February 25, 2009, 03:27:47 AM »

 I have to say though, the two shortest have been with Russian priests (one ROCOR and the other MP), and I didn't really feel that the one with the ROCOR priest (who I know well and was the shortest) was that satisfying (probably not the best choice of words), but I don't question the efficacy of it.  

Priests will not usually go into detail and offer much advice with penitents coming to Confession who they know have another parish priest or a regular father confessor.  If you, as an OCA person, were visiting a Russian parish, the Russian priest would respect your relationship with your parish priest/spiritual father and expect you to be taking your spiritual direction from him.
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« Reply #168 on: February 25, 2009, 09:20:29 AM »

 I have to say though, the two shortest have been with Russian priests (one ROCOR and the other MP), and I didn't really feel that the one with the ROCOR priest (who I know well and was the shortest) was that satisfying (probably not the best choice of words), but I don't question the efficacy of it.  

Priests will not usually go into detail and offer much advice with penitents coming to Confession who they know have another parish priest or a regular father confessor.  If you, as an OCA person, were visiting a Russian parish, the Russian priest would respect your relationship with your parish priest/spiritual father and expect you to be taking your spiritual direction from him.

I've had the same experience.  While my confessions with my spiritual father are more like conversations, when I've gone to another priest they've been much less so.
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« Reply #169 on: February 25, 2009, 10:51:47 AM »


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. 

The Mysterion of Holy Unction in fact does include the forgiveness of sins. The Apostles themselves taught this:
"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."  (James 5:14-15)
Isn't this an Apostolic Teaching?


That was his reasoning, as well, and one, I might add, I can't argue with.  As I said, he made sure, in no uncertain terms, that the annual unction service on Holy Wednesday in no way, shape, or form was to trump regular, private confession with one's spiritual father and anyone who was there to just "get a freebie", so to speak, was doing no such thing because by their very actions they were, in effect, saying they did not need to confess anything ever, which, as John pointed out in one of his epistles, made one a liar and, hence, a sinner.

And that was one heck of a runon sentence!
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« Reply #170 on: February 25, 2009, 10:55:45 AM »


1.  Well [to Irish Hermit, but also everyone], my choir director who has traveled near and far, would say otherwise - as said to him by some Russian priest.  The gist was that, one ought to have their list (of things to confess), read it out, rip it up and then let the priest give the advice and absolution - the process shouldn't last anymore than like 10 mins, otherwise it is just bragging.  IMHO, this seems a bit simplistic, but I see the point.


The GC priest I wrote about above said much the same thing, especially if there's a line waiting.  If you are in real need of some solid spiritual direction (ie a confession that takes more than ten minutes), you need to make an appointment with the priest for after the service.  Ever since then, I've kept that in mind and I think it's a good practice to have, but that probably stems from my hatred of waiting in lines, especially if I'm the one holding up for any reason.

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« Reply #171 on: February 25, 2009, 11:06:20 AM »


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?

Dear Father,

I'm sorry to have delayed my response; I have been spending many hours behind the scenes working on a solution to some database errors from the past on this site and have not had much time to respond.

2/3 days vs 7: again, I see this in pastoral terms; realistically speaking, more people would have sinned in the course of a week than in 2-3 days, so I would expect more confessions occurring; however, I have also seen a spiritual father who has a regular schedule of confession with his child that occurs roughly once a month who blesses a communion more than once in this time frame.

Quote
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?

Well, to answer your question, I belong to the *right* one Wink But you knew I would say that, right? hehe. My Synod is that of Archbishop Chrysostomos II (Kiousis).

The 3-day fast is pretty entrenched in our Church, although the bishops and many priests are quite aware that this presents several complications in a situation where we are deliberately trying to increase the frequency of communion, at least as far as I know in the American Metropolis.  For those who commune infrequently, a 3-day fast (or longer) is expected, and for those who commune more frequently, sometimes other arrangements are made.

In Christ,

Fr Anastasios
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« Reply #172 on: February 25, 2009, 11:47:02 AM »

I've not seen anyone on this forum advocating repentance without confession,
but I have seen what could be called advocating confession without repentance.

Surely you are pulling our legs!   Grin

I have not noticed anybody advocating confession without repentance.   That would be nonsensical.  I can't imagine people going to confession to *boast* of their sins instead of going in a spirit of sorrow and repentance.

1.  Well [to Irish Hermit, but also everyone], my choir director who has traveled near and far, would say otherwise - as said to him by some Russian priest.  The gist was that, one ought to have their list (of things to confess), read it out, rip it up and then let the priest give the advice and absolution - the process shouldn't last anymore than like 10 mins, otherwise it is just bragging.  IMHO, this seems a bit simplistic, but I see the point.
2.  General confession - a couple of years ago, the older (emeritus priest of 55 years and father of the rector - yes father/son priests), read a bunch of stuff at the end of I think our last Presanctified Liturgy on Holy Wed and then people got in line and he said some prayers (seemed similar to the absolution prayers but maybe not identical) and put his epitrachilion on our heads.  I asked the choir director what it was and he said it was a General confession.  This has happened once or twice a year since.

3.  At my OCA parish, priests are available throughout the week to heard confessions (we actually have four, including the retired one - kind of historical circumstances though).  They are usually heard before and after Great Vespers on Saturday (we do Vigil occasionally) and before Liturgy on Sunday, but appointments can be made during the week.  I have had them in various lengths - from an hour or so session (not in an office, but sitting in chairs in the church - more of a "lifetime" type) and some where it was only a couple of minutes.  I have to say though, the two shortest have been with Russian priests (one ROCOR and the other MP), and I didn't really feel that the one with the ROCOR priest (who I know well and was the shortest) was that satisfying (probably not the best choice of words), but I don't question the efficacy of it.  To me, some happy medium works best.

4.  Orthodoc - thanks for your story.  This isn't the first time I've heard about confession with priests of the Greek tradition being longer and more consultative.


That's exactly how I do a Private Confession!

Orthodoc
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« Reply #173 on: February 25, 2009, 11:55:02 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. 

The Mysterion of Holy Unction in fact does include the forgiveness of sins. The Apostles themselves taught this:
"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."  (James 5:14-15)
Isn't this an Apostolic Teaching?




Yes, but where does it indicate it takes the place of the Sacrament of Confession?  Why hhave it as a separate Sacrament if Holy Unction takes care of it. This is for the sick and the dying.  Not the healthy.

Orthodox

I don't know if I'd discount the ability of Holy Unction (or Holy Communion, for that matter, even though you haven't included this in your argument) to provide forgiveness of sins; but it cannot replace Holy Confession, which provides the path to the essential command: "Go, and sin no more."  If we do not desire a closer relationship with our God, then we can by all means seek occasional forgiveness from the other sacraments; however, if we desire to journey closer to the Lord, and follow (as closely as we can) His path to Righteousness, then Confession must be included - not just for forgiveness of sins, but for the wisdom and counsel to avoid them altogether in the future.
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Very well said Cleveland.  I totally agree!

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« Reply #174 on: February 25, 2009, 02:54:06 PM »

 I have to say though, the two shortest have been with Russian priests (one ROCOR and the other MP), and I didn't really feel that the one with the ROCOR priest (who I know well and was the shortest) was that satisfying (probably not the best choice of words), but I don't question the efficacy of it.  

Priests will not usually go into detail and offer much advice with penitents coming to Confession who they know have another parish priest or a regular father confessor.  If you, as an OCA person, were visiting a Russian parish, the Russian priest would respect your relationship with your parish priest/spiritual father and expect you to be taking your spiritual direction from him.

Yes, but it seems like everyone in this priest's line goes rather quick.  He seemed to ask the questions you mentioned, but it just seemed, well rushed to me.  Again, not that I'm really questioning the efficacy, but not quite as comfortable to me.
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« Reply #175 on: February 25, 2009, 04:26:11 PM »

The GC priest I wrote about above said much the same thing, especially if there's a line waiting.  If you are in real need of some solid spiritual direction (ie a confession that takes more than ten minutes), you need to make an appointment with the priest for after the service.  Ever since then, I've kept that in mind and I think it's a good practice to have, but that probably stems from my hatred of waiting in lines, especially if I'm the one holding up for any reason.


The Russian and Serbian Service of Confession has these initial words to the person confessing...

"Behold, my child, Christ stands here invisibly present to receive your confession,
and I am but a witness, to bear witness before him...."


Now as a young priest I was taught that my function was indeed that of "but a witness" and I was not there to give the penitent the benefit of my six-month course in pastoral psychology.   Smiley  I was taught that what must happen in Confesion is that the penitent must be given the necessary time to confess his sins (prompted by questions when necessary), and that I was but a witness.  The penitent is supposed to apprehend the love and compassion of God (unhindered by the priest's ability or lack of ability as a spiritual counsellor) and he should depart knowing that under the epitrakhilion the God of mercy has poured out His grace and forgiven his sins.   Period.


If there were to be any additional counselling I was taught to ask the penitent's permission to refer to the Confession outside of Confession and discuss matters with him at a later time, sitting in the church or in the parish office or at home.


I admit that as the years have gone by and experience has piled on experience and I sometimes, by God's grace, believe I have something helpful to say, then I will include that in the Confession.  But I keep in mind that the primary purpose is not counselling but confession and forgiveness.

Are there other priests here who could share how they approach this?

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« Reply #176 on: February 25, 2009, 04:26:12 PM »

2/3 days vs 7: again, I see this in pastoral terms; realistically speaking, more people would have sinned in the course of a week than in 2-3 days, so I would expect more confessions occurring; however, I have also seen a spiritual father who has a regular schedule of confession with his child that occurs roughly once a month who blesses a communion more than once in this time frame.


The 3-day fast is pretty entrenched in our Church, although the bishops and many priests are quite aware that this presents several complications in a situation where we are deliberately trying to increase the frequency of communion, at least as far as I know in the American Metropolis.  For those who commune infrequently, a 3-day fast (or longer) is expected, and for those who commune more frequently, sometimes other arrangements are made.

In Christ,

Fr Anastasios

Thank you for your answer.  I can see how busy you are and I appreciate your taking the time.
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