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Author Topic: Who is allowed to receive the Holy Eucharist in the Coptic Church?  (Read 9098 times) Average Rating: 0
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Gorazd
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« on: October 18, 2009, 11:05:52 AM »

Hi all,

I did try to the forum search and there was some discussion of receiving the Eucharist in the "other family", but I did not find an answer to my specific question:
Who is allowed to take communion in the Coptic Church?

I also found this link:
http://www.catholicchampion.com/page27/page27.html

It does say that Roman Catholics and Protestants are not allowed to take communion in the Coptic Church, but it makes no mention of other Orthodox at all. Also, the 2001 Pastoral agreement explicitely permits EOs married to Copts to receive all sacraments.

I have heard that EOs are welcome to receive the Holy Eucharist if they have been baptized EO, but not if they have been baptized Protestant and only received by chrismation. Is that correct? Does anyone have further information that topic?
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2009, 11:41:26 AM »

Welcome to the forum!

I'm pretty sure this has been discussed before, but I can't recall where.  I'm pretty sure the Coptic Church will only commune those who are Oriental Orthodox.  In other words, an EO would have to convert first, before he could commune.  The Armenian Church, on the other hand, will commune EO's without them converting.  An EO who communes in an OO Church, however, may be excommunicating himself from the EO Church.
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2009, 12:13:26 PM »

Any of the family of Oriental Orthodox members are allowed to take communion in the Coptic Church.  If you live in Egypt, and you're an Eastern Orthodox, you're also allowed to take communion in the Coptic Church (according to a recent talk in 2005 by HE Metropolitan Bishoy, so no longer restricted to just intermarriages).  If you are in the "Archdiocese" of North America (NJ, NY, PA, CT, Canada), the general bishop there did not allow Syrian Malankara Orthodox members for communion, and he's the only bishop I know that does that.

There is no set rule in the US for Orthodox intermarriage and the Eucharist that I have heard of.  Any concession made was only between the two Orthodox churches in Egypt and the two Orthodox churches in Syria.  It depends on the bishops. 

Priests will generally tell you that you need to be chrismated in the Coptic Church in order for you to partake of the Eucharist (the Coptic Church has made it official that the only baptism other than the OO Church we accept is the EO Church's baptism).  I have heard of some priests who are quite lenient to this issue, but this is not in regard to what the bishops officially ordered.

God bless.
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2009, 12:38:45 PM »

There is no set rule in the US for Orthodox intermarriage and the Eucharist that I have heard of.  Any concession made was only between the two Orthodox churches in Egypt and the two Orthodox churches in Syria.  It depends on the bishops. 

The above mentioned general bishop of North America told me any agreement made in Egypt would also be honoured elsewhere. So a Coptic-EO marriage would not be allowed in America, but if such a marriage was performed in Egypt, the EO (and any kids - even if baptised EO) would be allowed to commune in a Coptic church in America.
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2009, 02:32:07 AM »

the Coptic Church has made it official that the only baptism other than the OO Church we accept is the EO Church's baptism.

What about those who were baptised in a Heterodox church but who are chrismated as an EO? Do you consider them as non-baptised?
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2009, 04:04:35 AM »

Welcome to the forum!
Thank you so much!

I'm pretty sure this has been discussed before, but I can't recall where. 
I found similar discussions, but not exactly of this question. If you find something, please post the link.

An EO who communes in an OO Church, however, may be excommunicating himself from the EO Church.
Which EO church would do that? Antioch would not, I think. What about the Moscow Patriarchate for example? What do they do if a Russian receives the Eucharist in an Armenian church?


If you live in Egypt, and you're an Eastern Orthodox, you're also allowed to take communion in the Coptic Church (according to a recent talk in 2005 by HE Metropolitan Bishoy, so no longer restricted to just intermarriages). 
That's great. Is there a transcript of that talk available?
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2009, 10:12:50 AM »

Good question.  I'm sure the Coptic Church is aware of these instances, but I'm not sure how the Coptic Church handles it.  I don't want to venture any guesses, but if someone goes to the Coptic Church and shows that he's from the Eastern Orthodox Church, and wants to commune in the Coptic Church, he would be chrismated under the assumption that he was baptized by the Eastern Orthodox Church.  If you want to disclose fully the situation in your entrance to the EO Church, then the priest would most probably call his bishop to ask what to do in this situation.

As for the transcript...as soon as I find it, I'll get a hold of it for you.  There's a website that seems to have removed it, but in the forums of this website (coptichymns.net), it was translated for us a synopsis of what the talk was about, which was the recent ecumenical talks with various churches and the Coptic Church, and the fruits of these talks today.
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2009, 10:48:14 AM »

he would be chrismated under the assumption that he was baptized by the Eastern Orthodox Church.  If you want to disclose fully the situation in your entrance to the EO Church, then the priest would most probably call his bishop to ask what to do in this situation.
Well, I am somewhat sure that an EO priest or bishop wouldn't be happy if someone from his church had been chrismated into OO. But would there be a problem if an EO had received the Eucharist at an OO church (Coptic in this case) without chrismation, for example on visiting Egypt?

As for the transcript...as soon as I find it, I'll get a hold of it for you.  There's a website that seems to have removed it, but in the forums of this website (coptichymns.net), it was translated for us a synopsis of what the talk was about, which was the recent ecumenical talks with various churches and the Coptic Church, and the fruits of these talks today.
I'd be fine with the original Arabic text, since I would use it to ask the local Coptic hierarchy whether it applies.
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« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2009, 11:25:46 AM »


An EO who communes in an OO Church, however, may be excommunicating himself from the EO Church.
Which EO church would do that? Antioch would not, I think. What about the Moscow Patriarchate for example? What do they do if a Russian receives the Eucharist in an Armenian church?

Each including Church of Antioch unless it was done in Syrian Church in Middle East.
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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2009, 01:19:12 AM »

As for the transcript...as soon as I find it, I'll get a hold of it for you.  There's a website that seems to have removed it, but in the forums of this website (coptichymns.net), it was translated for us a synopsis of what the talk was about, which was the recent ecumenical talks with various churches and the Coptic Church, and the fruits of these talks today.
I'd be fine with the original Arabic text, since I would use it to ask the local Coptic hierarchy whether it applies.

I am at a kindergarten level of reading Arabic, so I can't help you much with an Arabic google search.  And I posted on the thread in coptichymns.net asking for the audio to be put back up online.

Until I can get the audio for you, there is another possibility where you can read these agreements.  It's been understood that before agreeing with the other church, the Holy Synod had to agree together first.  Therefore, the decisions of the Coptic Holy Synod, which are in Arabic can be found in this website:

http://www.theholysynod.copticpope.org/aspect01.htm

God bless.
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« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2009, 08:41:27 PM »

What about those who were baptised in a Heterodox church but who are chrismated as an EO? Do you consider them as non-baptised?

Pretty much.
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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2009, 09:10:56 PM »

But would there be a problem if an EO had received the Eucharist at an OO church (Coptic in this case) without chrismation, for example on visiting Egypt?

Yes, absolutely.  There is an EO Pope in Alexandria.  You should attend liturgy at one of his churches and receive communion there if you are in Egypt.  As much as many of us want unity, it simply isn't the reality right now.
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« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2009, 08:14:44 PM »

In Mexico, it's my understanding that the Coptic church allows Eastern Orthodox to partake in the Eucharist.

Before they had their church, the Antiochian Orthodox would allow Copts to communicate in their churches.

Catholics are not admitted to communion. However I must say that here no Catholic would approach for communion because the RC bishops explicitly forbide their faithful to commune in non-Catholic churches and their priests would also refuse to commune Non-Catholics.

Regarding Baptism, the Copts receive local converts (who were previously nominally Catholic) through Baptism. This is not because they believe the RC baptism to be graceless or the RC not to be an Apostolic Church but because the canons of their Church explicitly state only tripple inmersion baptism can be accepted.

The Armenian Church does admit Eastern Orthodox and even Roman Catholics for communion (I don't know if this is a general rule, but some do).

 

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« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2009, 05:17:27 AM »

I'm surprised that Catholic ban their people from receiving Eucharist from us, and our people from receiving Eucharist from them. I thought they allow such things.

I'm not surprised that Coptic Church allows for EOCs to take Eucharist from them. On the other hand we aren't allowed to do such from our Hierarchs and that's the most important thing.
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« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2009, 12:58:04 PM »

I'm surprised that Catholic ban their people from receiving Eucharist from us, and our people from receiving Eucharist from them. I thought they allow such things.

I'm not surprised that Coptic Church allows for EOCs to take Eucharist from them. On the other hand we aren't allowed to do such from our Hierarchs and that's the most important thing.

Who says?  An Antiochian priest told me that if he can give me the Eucharist, he would, and his bishop allows it.  It's my bishop who doesn't.

So I don't know where you're getting the idea that "your heirarchs aren't allowed to do such," when in fact, I was given the "okay" by your heirarchs to do so.

So while Mexican Copts might allow it, in general US Copts aren't.  And "Mexican" just told you that Antiochians did commune Copts.
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« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2009, 01:16:07 PM »

Receiving Eucharist in the other one Orthodox communion is not like receiving Eucharist by a Russian in a Greek Church. It requires approvals from two bishops EO and OO and there hes to be a really serious purpose.
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« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2009, 01:18:55 PM »

Receiving Eucharist in the other one Orthodox communion is not like receiving Eucharist by a Russian in a Greek Church. It requires approvals from two bishops EO and OO and there hes to be a really serious purpose.

Yes, but you didn't say that.  You said "you're not surprised" our church takes in people for communion whereas your heirarchs don't.  What you said is not true.  You make it look like as if our church is liberal and your's isn't.

I hope one day you'd be surprised to see how many Coptic priests reject you for communion.
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« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2009, 07:36:17 PM »

He may have been confusing the Coptic Church with the Armenians.  The Armenians are more liberal and do allow EO's to commune without converting first.  The Coptic Church, as you pointed out, is much more strict.

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« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2009, 07:48:35 PM »

I'm surprised that Catholic ban their people from receiving Eucharist from us, and our people from receiving Eucharist from them. I thought they allow such things.

I'm not surprised that Coptic Church allows for EOCs to take Eucharist from them. On the other hand we aren't allowed to do such from our Hierarchs and that's the most important thing.
Catholics are permitted to recieve Sacraments from the Eastern Orthodox or Oriental Orthodox Churches provided that there is no Catholic priest available and the Eastern Orthodox priest/bishop allows it. I wonder how many Orthodox priests would be willing to give viatacum to Catholic on his or her deathbed if no Catholic priest were available.
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« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2009, 09:32:40 PM »

I'm surprised that Catholic ban their people from receiving Eucharist from us, and our people from receiving Eucharist from them. I thought they allow such things.

I'm not surprised that Coptic Church allows for EOCs to take Eucharist from them. On the other hand we aren't allowed to do such from our Hierarchs and that's the most important thing.
Catholics are permitted to recieve Sacraments from the Eastern Orthodox or Oriental Orthodox Churches provided that there is no Catholic priest available and the Eastern Orthodox priest/bishop allows it. I wonder how many Orthodox priests would be willing to give viatacum to Catholic on his or her deathbed if no Catholic priest were available.
I saw this happen at a the hospital I work at in Richmond, VA during a bad ice storm when the RC priest couldn't get here. It was a GOA priest who came and gave Communion and anointing to an RC pt who was dying.
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« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2009, 09:45:05 PM »

Any of the family of Oriental Orthodox members are allowed to take communion in the Coptic Church.  If you live in Egypt, and you're an Eastern Orthodox, you're also allowed to take communion in the Coptic Church (according to a recent talk in 2005 by HE Metropolitan Bishoy, so no longer restricted to just intermarriages).  If you are in the "Archdiocese" of North America (NJ, NY, PA, CT, Canada), the general bishop there did not allow Syrian Malankara Orthodox members for communion, and he's the only bishop I know that does that.

There is no set rule in the US for Orthodox intermarriage and the Eucharist that I have heard of.  Any concession made was only between the two Orthodox churches in Egypt and the two Orthodox churches in Syria.  It depends on the bishops. 

Priests will generally tell you that you need to be chrismated in the Coptic Church in order for you to partake of the Eucharist (the Coptic Church has made it official that the only baptism other than the OO Church we accept is the EO Church's baptism).  I have heard of some priests who are quite lenient to this issue, but this is not in regard to what the bishops officially ordered.

God bless.

could you tell me if these rules are written down somewhere?  I know we have had encyclicals from archbishops and synods and patriarchs in regards to these things, especially about communion.  Does such stuff exist for the coptic church?
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« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2009, 12:13:25 AM »

Any of the family of Oriental Orthodox members are allowed to take communion in the Coptic Church.  If you live in Egypt, and you're an Eastern Orthodox, you're also allowed to take communion in the Coptic Church (according to a recent talk in 2005 by HE Metropolitan Bishoy, so no longer restricted to just intermarriages).  If you are in the "Archdiocese" of North America (NJ, NY, PA, CT, Canada), the general bishop there did not allow Syrian Malankara Orthodox members for communion, and he's the only bishop I know that does that.

There is no set rule in the US for Orthodox intermarriage and the Eucharist that I have heard of.  Any concession made was only between the two Orthodox churches in Egypt and the two Orthodox churches in Syria.  It depends on the bishops. 

Priests will generally tell you that you need to be chrismated in the Coptic Church in order for you to partake of the Eucharist (the Coptic Church has made it official that the only baptism other than the OO Church we accept is the EO Church's baptism).  I have heard of some priests who are quite lenient to this issue, but this is not in regard to what the bishops officially ordered.

God bless.

could you tell me if these rules are written down somewhere?  I know we have had encyclicals from archbishops and synods and patriarchs in regards to these things, especially about communion.  Does such stuff exist for the coptic church?

Well, for one thing, if one can read Arabic, I think it can be posted somewhere in the Coptic Holy Synod's website.  It's a shame that none of that stuff is in English.  It can answer a lot of questions on Coptic practices and canons.  If anyone can read Arabic and find it on the website and translate it, it would be great.  Sodr maybe?

The other thing is that darn audio that's not up in coptichymns.net.  I'll send you the link for the thread though:

http://www.coptichymns.net/PNphpBB2-viewtopic-t-6215-p-69406.html#69406

I don't know why the audio was removed.  If I had access to my old computer, maybe I can find it there, but I'm over a thousand miles away.
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« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2009, 07:32:30 AM »

Receiving Eucharist in the other one Orthodox communion is not like receiving Eucharist by a Russian in a Greek Church. It requires approvals from two bishops EO and OO and there hes to be a really serious purpose.

Yes, but you didn't say that.  You said "you're not surprised" our church takes in people for communion whereas your heirarchs don't.  What you said is not true.  You make it look like as if our church is liberal and your's isn't.

I hope one day you'd be surprised to see how many Coptic priests reject you for communion.

I don't know any OOCs personally, but from the posts on that forum, my impression was that they are.
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« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2009, 03:31:15 PM »

I know of many instances around the world where OO commune in an EO Church and EO commune in an OO Church based on spiritual need, and with the approval of bishops from many different jurisidictions.

There is much of this grass-roots intercommunion which takes place because many bishops and priests do believe that the EO and OO are the same Orthodox Church, and the needs of faithful lay people should perhaps not be subsumed to the problems of ecclesiastical politics.

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« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2009, 04:11:11 PM »

If you are in the "Archdiocese" of North America (NJ, NY, PA, CT, Canada), the general bishop there did not allow Syrian Malankara Orthodox members for communion, and he's the only bishop I know that does that.

Are you saying that one group of OO Christians (members of the Syrian Malankara Orthodox Church) cannot commune in churches of another OO jurisdiction (the Coptic Archdiocese of North America)? Why is it so?
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« Reply #25 on: October 25, 2009, 04:19:15 PM »

Yes, I am also interested in this question.

Though there are problems between the two factions in the Orthodox Church in India I understood that the Coptic Orthodox Church, while respecting the internal problems nevertheless wished to keep apart from being drawn into the problem.

In the UK both the Jacobite and Indian Orthodox are represented on the Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches, and last year the Pan-Orthodox liturgy was held at the Indian Orthodox Church, and Syrian Orthodox clergy concelebrated.

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« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2009, 09:13:34 PM »

It's something in which I personally clashed with HG Bishop David on.  When I was in undergrad, I wanted to do a joint Indian/Coptic liturgy between two priests, since the club I headed was filled mostly with both Indian and Coptic Orthodox.  I was told by my priest that it would be nice to get the blessing of HG first.  When I told HG, he asked me, "Who is their Catholicos?"  At the time it was HH Catholicos Mar Thoma Matthew, and I said that.  He told me that the Syrian Orthodox do not recognize that church, but I replied saying but "we do."  His logic was that since we have very close relations with the Syriac church, we must respect the Syriac church's excommunication.

Angered, I called him back later after finding out the two other bishops in the US recognize communion with the Indian Orthodox.  To my luck, both these bishops were in Egypt for more than a week.  I allegedly left a message in HG Bishop Serapion's cell phone (diocese of California) via HG Bishop David's "connection", and I never received an answer back.  It's as if I said nothing, and I was just ignored or brushed away.  Another Coptic priest told me not to get involved.  He told me, "Not to get involved in the politics of bishops; it's a bad road.  My next door neighbor is an Indian Orthodox priest, and I consider him Orthodox as I am, but I can't do anything against HG Bishop David's ruling.  All you have to do is pray.  If you get involved, you will be in trouble."

I don't know what's in HG's mind.  All I know is that he is indeed very very close with the Syriac churches in NJ area.  We've even had a Syriac Metropolitan come visit our church in Holmdel, NJ, and he lead the liturgy there (and I was amazed to find that he knew some Coptic and the way liturgies are being sung in our church).  The only way you could tell he was a Syriac Metropolitan was his onion-domed hat.

So I listened to the priest and did not question the matter any further.  I must admit, I also held a grudge against HG for ruining the plans of a united Liturgy held out our University, and I never really wanted to talk to him again, or even approach him.

I hope maybe one day, he'll realize his mistakes and change his mind.  Or when I am done with my studies, perhaps, I'll arrange a meeting with him with some research.

God bless.
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« Reply #27 on: October 26, 2009, 02:35:20 AM »

He told me that the Syrian Orthodox do not recognize that church, but I replied saying but "we do."  His logic was that since we have very close relations with the Syriac church, we must respect the Syriac church's excommunication.

So it's even an excommunication? On the EO ground, the GOA, for example, does not recognise the OCA's autocephaly, but there is no excommunication or anything close to it.
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« Reply #28 on: October 26, 2009, 03:36:08 AM »

There are difficulties between the Syrians and Malankara, but here in the UK I think people are trying hard not to export them from India.

Though the other Churches should understand the situation it does not seem to me that any other Churches are required to separate from the Malankara. Our ministry should not be to solidify the situation but to work to bring about reconciliation.

My own bishop, Metropolitan Seraphim, is visiting India in January and will be visiting both sides in the dispute, with the encouragement and agreement of both sides.

And as I said earlier, the Syrians (Syrian and Indians) and Malankara are both part of the Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches here and have concelebrated at joint Liturgies.

Father Peter
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