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Question: Transmission of viruses
viral contamination - 3 (30%)
method of communion - 7 (70%)
Total Voters: 10

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Will of God
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« on: December 16, 2010, 04:46:21 PM »

As one cognizant of the transmittal of viruses via shared utensils, observing the method of the  common spoon/cup for communion in Orthodox services is more than disturbing. It actually horrifies me! I am not blasphemously denying the reality of the real presence, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Nor am I implying that the body and blood of Christ could be a vehicle for the transmission of viruses. What I am indicating, however, is that the spoon and cup, as vehicles of dispensation are certainly subject to viral contamination. The amount of alcohol in the wine is not sufficient to prevent this, nor is it efficacious to assert that extra vigilance is taken not to touch the communicant's lips/tongue. Even a drop of saliva from a person suffering from hepatitis C, the flu, fibromyalgia, mononucleosis, et al, is enough to transmit disease.
This is the "sticking point" for me that prevents me from entering into full communion with orthodoxy.  Does anyone have a suggestion how this issue can be resolved and not be the stumbling block that it is for me?
In Christ,
Will of God
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« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2010, 04:59:27 PM »

The Communion cup is emptied by Priest in the end of the Liturgy. Sometimes there are several hundreds of communicants (on feasts) and statistically in that amount there can be people suffering from everything. I have never heard of any Priest getting ill.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 05:04:16 PM by Michał Kalina » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2010, 05:07:50 PM »

Nor am I implying that the body and blood of Christ could be a vehicle for the transmission of viruses.

But you are saying that God would allow his faithful to be contaminated by communing. If the eucharist can cleanse our rotten souls it can certainly render safe the golden chalice and spoon.

As Michal says, the priest consumes the holy gifts at the end of every liturgy.

If this is really all that is keeping you from Orthodoxy, then you need to recognize it as a ruse of Satan, a neurosis implanted to keep you out of Christ's Church.
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« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2010, 05:08:53 PM »

Does anyone have a suggestion how this issue can be resolved and not be the stumbling block that it is for me?

Faith, science, history, and statistics.

Faith, because the Holy Gifts are the very Body and Blood of Christ our God, and nothing harmful can be communicated through Them by the grace of Him Who said of those who believe in Him, "They shall tread on serpents and on scorpions, and if they drink any deadly think, it will not harm them."

Science, because alcohol and precious metals create a chemical reaction which is antiseptic. Also, many diseases are just as likely to be caught through personal  contact.

History, because the Orthodox have been communing from a common cup for 2,000 years, even in times of plague.

Statistics, because Orthodox Christians do not have a higher incidence of communicable disease than anyone else.

Therefore, the position that Holy Communion from a single spoon and chalice communicates disease is untenable. The main stumbling block, then, would be listening to the excuses the devil gives for not joining the Church.
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« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2010, 05:10:12 PM »

The only incident of sickness coming from communion I'm aware of is when King Pap poisoned the lamb (Eucharist before consecration) of Catholicos Sahak of Armenia.
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« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2010, 05:13:53 PM »


It's a non-issue.

I have never felt the least bit of hesitation to approach, due to fear of "catching" something.

I might catch a cold from the sick person while I am standing in line next to them, but, I will NEVER catch anything detrimental to me from Holy Communion - unless I partake unprepared, to the detriment of my soul.

If someone is afraid of "catching" something from the Eucharist, it stands to reason that they do not fully believe and have faith that the wine and bread they see with their mortal eyes, is truly the blood and body of Christ.

The Eucharist "is" the body and blood of Christ.  How can you believe that, and at the same time be afraid you will get sick from Him?  Christ healed people, He didn't spread sickness.

 



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« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2010, 05:19:46 PM »

In Roman Catholic parishes where Communion in both kinds is administered, communicants actually drink from the chalice themselves. What is less known is that the priest must drink whatever is left in the chalice after all the people have received. That sounds disgusting, and it can sometimes be (a friend of mine witnessed a communicant actually vomit in a chalice, and the priest dutifully drank all the contents).

But never have I heard of a priest getting sick from this weekly practice.
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« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2010, 05:25:09 PM »

A GOA bishop I know when a deacon used to serve Holy Communion to patients in the TB hospital. Neither he nor any of the other priests who consumed the rest of the Holy Gifts after communing the patients developed TB - or any other ill effects either.

I have seen various studies on this and remember one in particular that indicated people who share a common cup for Communion don't get sick more often than those who don't.

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« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2010, 05:27:28 PM »

"They shall tread on serpents and on scorpions, and if they drink any deadly think, it will not harm them."


Although, I'm perfectly willing to admit that my faith is not strong enought to let me be in the same room with a serpent, much less tread on one. Wink
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« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2010, 05:31:23 PM »

As one cognizant of the transmittal of viruses via shared utensils, observing the method of the  common spoon/cup for communion in Orthodox services is more than disturbing. It actually horrifies me! I am not blasphemously denying the reality of the real presence, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Nor am I implying that the body and blood of Christ could be a vehicle for the transmission of viruses. What I am indicating, however, is that the spoon and cup, as vehicles of dispensation are certainly subject to viral contamination. The amount of alcohol in the wine is not sufficient to prevent this, nor is it efficacious to assert that extra vigilance is taken not to touch the communicant's lips/tongue. Even a drop of saliva from a person suffering from hepatitis C, the flu, fibromyalgia, mononucleosis, et al, is enough to transmit disease.
This is the "sticking point" for me that prevents me from entering into full communion with orthodoxy.  Does anyone have a suggestion how this issue can be resolved and not be the stumbling block that it is for me?
In Christ,
Will of God

First, I'll suggest you look up (I don't have the relevant link where I thought I did) the "Bishop's Taskforce on AIDS" from Chicago (I think it was convened in the 80's).  It was convened at a time when people ("popularly," not "scholarly") were still unsure as to whether AIDS could be transmitted in other, non-blood and non-sexual, means, and were thus unsure as to the safety of reception of communion.  The taskforce, IIRC, tackled the larger issue of transmission of disease via communion, chalice, and spoon, and found that disease was extremely unlikely to be passed due to the addition of many factors together, including alcohol, the hot water, natural antiseptic properties of gold and silver, and the like.

Second, if you'll accept it, is the observed reality that the priests - who must clean the spoon, and receive all the remaining unconsumed communion, and then clean the chalice, with both "cleanings" done via hot water that is consumed - are not getting sick from the various maladies listed and not which are communicable by air and saliva.  If anyone should get ill, it should be the priest, who is exposed via his final consumption to the germs of dozens or hundreds (depending on the parish) of people every Sunday.

Third, and final, is then the belief, firmly held, that Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ, and thus cannot be physically poisonous to us - He is the bread of life.  Yes, He is a fire that consumes the unworthy, but that is spiritual fire, not physical fire, and if you were to be struck dead by the Lord for your sins (which He tends not to do), it would happen in an unambiguous way.
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« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2010, 06:18:32 PM »

As one cognizant of the transmittal of viruses via shared utensils, observing the method of the  common spoon/cup for communion in Orthodox services is more than disturbing. It actually horrifies me! I am not blasphemously denying the reality of the real presence, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Nor am I implying that the body and blood of Christ could be a vehicle for the transmission of viruses. What I am indicating, however, is that the spoon and cup, as vehicles of dispensation are certainly subject to viral contamination. The amount of alcohol in the wine is not sufficient to prevent this, nor is it efficacious to assert that extra vigilance is taken not to touch the communicant's lips/tongue. Even a drop of saliva from a person suffering from hepatitis C, the flu, fibromyalgia, mononucleosis, et al, is enough to transmit disease.
This is the "sticking point" for me that prevents me from entering into full communion with orthodoxy.  Does anyone have a suggestion how this issue can be resolved and not be the stumbling block that it is for me?
In Christ,
Will of God

Yeah. Get over it. You wont get ill.

if you need a scientific explanation, wine and hot water mixed together has powerful anti-viral effects.. Next time you get a cold dry drinking Wine and Hot water at home.

 
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« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2010, 09:02:05 PM »

I think I'm going to go in a little different direction with this. . .as I had no clue as to whether I'd get sick or not from the community spoon - my thought was that I am with my FAMILY. . .and we all have the same germs, anyway - so if we get sick, at least we'll do it TOGETHER.  And simply put, NOTHING would be worth my passing up receiving Him. . .He's worth dying for.

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« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2010, 09:27:01 PM »

As one cognizant of the transmittal of viruses via shared utensils, observing the method of the  common spoon/cup for communion in Orthodox services is more than disturbing. It actually horrifies me! I am not blasphemously denying the reality of the real presence, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Nor am I implying that the body and blood of Christ could be a vehicle for the transmission of viruses. What I am indicating, however, is that the spoon and cup, as vehicles of dispensation are certainly subject to viral contamination. The amount of alcohol in the wine is not sufficient to prevent this, nor is it efficacious to assert that extra vigilance is taken not to touch the communicant's lips/tongue. Even a drop of saliva from a person suffering from hepatitis C, the flu, fibromyalgia, mononucleosis, et al, is enough to transmit disease.
This is the "sticking point" for me that prevents me from entering into full communion with orthodoxy.  Does anyone have a suggestion how this issue can be resolved and not be the stumbling block that it is for me?
In Christ,
Will of God

Yeah. Get over it. You wont get ill.

if you need a scientific explanation, wine and hot water mixed together has powerful anti-viral effects.. Next time you get a cold dry drinking Wine and Hot water at home.

 

Do you think this is one of the reasons that the hot water is added?
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« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2010, 09:31:55 PM »


Faith, because the Holy Gifts are the very Body and Blood of Christ our God, and nothing harmful can be communicated through Them by the grace of Him Who said of those who believe in Him, "They shall tread on serpents and on scorpions, and if they drink any deadly think, it will not harm them."


I've heard that this passage isn't in the earliest manuscripts.
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« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2010, 09:35:55 PM »

And simply put, NOTHING would be worth my passing up receiving Him. . .He's worth dying for.

I was thinking of something along those lines myself.
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« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2010, 09:36:06 PM »

As one cognizant of the transmittal of viruses via shared utensils, observing the method of the  common spoon/cup for communion in Orthodox services is more than disturbing. It actually horrifies me! I am not blasphemously denying the reality of the real presence, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Nor am I implying that the body and blood of Christ could be a vehicle for the transmission of viruses. What I am indicating, however, is that the spoon and cup, as vehicles of dispensation are certainly subject to viral contamination. The amount of alcohol in the wine is not sufficient to prevent this, nor is it efficacious to assert that extra vigilance is taken not to touch the communicant's lips/tongue. Even a drop of saliva from a person suffering from hepatitis C, the flu, fibromyalgia, mononucleosis, et al, is enough to transmit disease.
This is the "sticking point" for me that prevents me from entering into full communion with orthodoxy.  Does anyone have a suggestion how this issue can be resolved and not be the stumbling block that it is for me?
In Christ,
Will of God

Yeah. Get over it. You wont get ill.

if you need a scientific explanation, wine and hot water mixed together has powerful anti-viral effects.. Next time you get a cold dry drinking Wine and Hot water at home.

 

Do you think this is one of the reasons that the hot water is added?

I really couldn't say but at the least it is one of those amazing coincidences
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« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2010, 10:08:33 PM »

This coming Jan. 28th will be my 5th anniversary of ordination as a deacon, and in all these years of cleaning the chalice and also catching portions of the Lamb that have fallen onto the communion cloth, I have never become sick.  Surprisingly, where I work at a college, my fellow workers are catching some bug and praise God, I am still in perfect health.  So there is nothing to worry about.  No bishop, priest or deacon has died from any illnesses associated with cleaning the chalice. 
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« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2010, 12:36:29 AM »

ne of the reasons that the hot water is added?

It symbolizes the reunification of body and spirit in the risen Christ. It could also be more of an act of Jesus turning water into wine. Also the hot water signifies the Holy Spirit (one of the mysteries which transforms the wine into the actual blood of Christ).
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« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2010, 12:58:28 AM »

I Believe the hot water is meant to signify the water that flowed from the wound of Christ from the cross after being pierced by the lance.
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« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2010, 03:51:46 AM »

I Believe the hot water is meant to signify the water that flowed from the wound of Christ from the cross after being pierced by the lance.

Actually, before the Liturgy begins, during the Proskomedia, the Priest pierces the side of the lamb with the spear and says: "One of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith there came out blood and water. And he that saw it bore record, and his record is true", he then says: "Blessed is the union of Thy Holy Ones, always, now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages.  Amen." and then he pours the water and the wine into the chalice together...
This is the part that signifies the blood and water pouring forth from Christ's side at the Cross.

Then later, after the proclamation "The Holy Things are for the Holy"... The curtains are shut and the Priest breaks the lamb into four pieces, he then places one piece of the lamb into the chalice. He then takes warm water and pours it in the chalice saying "The fervour of faith, full of the Holy Spirit. Amen.".

So water is poured in more than once, first is during the Proskomedia, and the second time is just before communion.
I have been told that the reason for the warm water is because it is the body and blood of our Lord, therefore it needs to be warm.
(It also has practical sides as well)

Also, I would ask the OP, why then are the faithful across the world not contracting anything? I saw the Paschal Liturgy in Moscow at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior (it was being broadcast on RT.com) and the chalice they had was very large in order to commune the hundreds of faithful there. Yet, no one died because of anything that was contracted (because nothing was contracted). This is also the case in hundreds of other Orthodox Cathedrals and Churches where hundreds might be communing.
I used to attend a Church that would have 100-150 a Sunday, and probably 80-90% of them would go up for communion, yet I never got sick from it, and I doubt anyone else did either.
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« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2010, 03:25:54 PM »

I thank everyone who took the time to reply to my inquiry. However, not one of the replies indicates any scientific, statistical, verifiable validity.  The majority of viruses silently replicate for 5-10 years after initial contact before manifesting as disease. Therefore, considering the number of years intervening between initial contact and overt signs of illness, saying that "no one every got sick" is absolutely falacious.  I have known some RC priests who have adopted the practice of NOT consuming the left overs in the communion cup after administering en masse to the congregation. Instead, they are disposed of in accordance with the dispensatory rules.  Furthermore, in one orthodox liturgy that I recently attended, the crumbs left over on the table were unceremoniously scooped up by hand and then deposited in the mouth of the scouper upper! Each crumb is the sacred body and blood of Our Lord...needless to say, not all the crumbs landed in the scouper-uppers mouth. Several fell to the floor later to be trampled by whatever feet heedlessly trekked in the area.
For me, this is a very serious, perplexing issue. I have been a vegan for over 45 years and oriented toward the maintenance of my health, not out of a quest generated by worldly vanity---but to maintain a fitting temple for my soul. 
Again, I thank all who so generously responded. God bless!
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« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2010, 03:28:52 PM »

Furthermore, in one orthodox liturgy that I recently attended, the crumbs left over on the table were unceremoniously scooped up by hand and then deposited in the mouth of the scouper upper! Each crumb is the sacred body and blood of Our Lord...needless to say, not all the crumbs landed in the scouper-uppers mouth. Several fell to the floor later to be trampled by whatever feet heedlessly trekked in the area.

That most likely was not Communion but antidorion (normal bread).
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« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2010, 03:37:24 PM »

I thank everyone who took the time to reply to my inquiry. However, not one of the replies indicates any scientific, statistical, verifiable validity.

We are Christians, not materialists. You'll have to decide whether your faith is in God or the "Enlightenment".
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« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2010, 03:41:33 PM »

I thank everyone who took the time to reply to my inquiry. However, not one of the replies indicates any scientific, statistical, verifiable validity.  The majority of viruses silently replicate for 5-10 years after initial contact before manifesting as disease. Therefore, considering the number of years intervening between initial contact and overt signs of illness, saying that "no one every got sick" is absolutely falacious.  I have known some RC priests who have adopted the practice of NOT consuming the left overs in the communion cup after administering en masse to the congregation. Instead, they are disposed of in accordance with the dispensatory rules.  Furthermore, in one orthodox liturgy that I recently attended, the crumbs left over on the table were unceremoniously scooped up by hand and then deposited in the mouth of the scouper upper! Each crumb is the sacred body and blood of Our Lord...needless to say, not all the crumbs landed in the scouper-uppers mouth. Several fell to the floor later to be trampled by whatever feet heedlessly trekked in the area.
For me, this is a very serious, perplexing issue. I have been a vegan for over 45 years and oriented toward the maintenance of my health, not out of a quest generated by worldly vanity---but to maintain a fitting temple for my soul. 
Again, I thank all who so generously responded. God bless!

My patron saint consumed the Body and Blood of Our Lord after it was spat out by a rabies infected patient. He suffered no ill effects. All the science, statistics, and verifiability mean diddly squat. It is either the Body and Blood of the Risen Lord or it isn't.
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« Reply #24 on: December 23, 2010, 05:30:28 PM »

Will of God,

I read the responses to your post and felt that there were reasonable but maybe insufficient to address your concern. Given that this issue is important in your conversion, take a pragmatic approach. For instance, you could ask the priest the "drop" the blood and flesh of our Lord in your mouth (ie, don't have to take the communion from the spoon). Second, consider sitting closer to the front and be among the first to take communion. Talk to the priest ahead of time, the suggestions should temper your concerns enough to keep the eye on the ball - becoming Chrismated and living the Faith.

peace   
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« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2010, 06:04:59 PM »

I think it's worth noting that the practice of using a common spoon is not new to the Church. It's not like we just started this last Sunday, and the NIH and CDC need to come in and do a study to track the amount of viruses spread from one communicant to another.

FWIW, I have been a communicant in the Orthodox Church since I was two months old. I am now 31. I (along with other life-long members of the Church) can testify that we have never suffered from any disease due to communion.

Think about the lyrics of the hymns sung during communion "Receive the body of Christ/Taste the fountain of immortality." It's not "Come get some bread and wine and a cold."

You said you believe in the Real Presence. Wouldn't it stand to reason that if through the grace of the Holy Spirit that the elements could become the body and blood of our Lord, that same Holy Spirit would also protect us from any illness that may be spread?

Are there any "Scientific" studies to back up my statements? No. Just 2,000 years of Church Testimony.

May the Lord guide you on your journey.
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« Reply #26 on: December 24, 2010, 01:12:30 AM »

I'm rather perplexed that 'viral contamination' has so few votes...
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« Reply #27 on: December 24, 2010, 04:51:39 AM »

The only incident of sickness coming from communion I'm aware of is when King Pap poisoned the lamb (Eucharist before consecration) of Catholicos Sahak of Armenia.

I think you got the story a little mixed up.  It was Pap's mother, the wicked queen Parandzem, who bribed a corrupt priest to kill someone through poisoning the Eucharist.  Pap did later poison a catholicos, but it was St. Nerses, who was the father of St. Sahak, and it was with a cup of ordinary wine at a banquet.

I'm kind of surprised you know the story at all.  It's one of those juicy, gossipy stories you find in history, but it's so obscure that almost no one hears of it.

The way I heard the story, Queen Parandzem didn't start out wicked.  She was more of a victim at the beginning.  She was the very beautiful wife of a nobleman, and the nobleman's cousin wanted her.  The cousin told lies about Parandzem's husband to the king, so the king would kill him and the cousin could take her.  After the king killed Parandzem's husband, however, he saw Parandzem and decided to take her for himself. 

Parandzem hated the king and did everything she could to make him miserable after he married her.  So he took a second wife, a Greek princess named Olympia.  (This was in the 300's, when Christianity was still new in Armenia.  It took a couple of generations for polygamy to fall out of use.)  Parandzem hated Olympia and bribed a corrupt priest to murder Olympia by poisoning the Eucharist.  That was the horrible deed that made Queen Parandzem go down in history as one of the most wicked queens ever.

Later, the Persians invaded Armenia and Queen Parandzem was brutally raped and killed by Persian soldiers.  Her son, Pap, was out of the country and safe at the time. 

Later, when Pap became king he was himself a very wicked ruler.  The Catholicos St. Nerses the Great reprimanded Pap a number of times for his behavior, which made Pap resent St. Nerses.  So he invited the saint to a banquet and gave him a poisoned cup of wine.  When St. Nerses drank the wine, he realized he had been poisoned and before dying he praised God for allowing him to be a martyr.  He also asked God to forgive Pap.

This was the event that resulted in the Armenian Church being an independent Church from Caesarea.  When Pap picked a replacement for St. Nerses and sent him to Caesarea to be consecrated, St. Basil, who was the patriarch there, refused.



Anyway, I always wondered how Olympia could have been poisoned through the Eucharist.  Perhaps the corrupt priest did not properly consecrate it, so it wasn't really the Body and Blood of Christ?  It's a horrible story, but I think it was written down not too long after it happened by a historian (Moses Khorenatsi maybe?) so I don't think scholars doubt that it happened.  It's just that I'm wondering how it could have happened.
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« Reply #28 on: December 24, 2010, 04:54:07 AM »

The Holy Communion spoon thur my experience doesn't touch the mouth ....It's not like everybody closed their mouth over the spoon or licks the spoon taking Holy Communion...The precious Blood and Body is Poured from the spoon in ones mouth..... Huh When i approach Holy Communion the Priest  says the servant of God [stashko] and then ,open wide lean your head back and he pours from the spoon.... Grin
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« Reply #29 on: December 24, 2010, 01:15:51 PM »

Do they usually address you by your patron saint or by your real name when giving you communion?
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« Reply #30 on: December 24, 2010, 02:26:46 PM »

Do they usually address you by your patron saint or by your real name when giving you communion?

If the Priest Doesn't Know You ,He asks for your Name,
the name you give him thats the name he uses
and says the servant of God plus the name.........
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« Reply #31 on: December 24, 2010, 04:33:59 PM »

The Holy Communion spoon thur my experience doesn't touch the mouth ....It's not like everybody closed their mouth over the spoon or licks the spoon taking Holy Communion...The precious Blood and Body is Poured from the spoon in ones mouth..... Huh When i approach Holy Communion the Priest  says the servant of God [stashko] and then ,open wide lean your head back and he pours from the spoon.... Grin

Not in any of the many Orthodox churches I've ever been to over several decades, stashko. In all of them, the communicants close their mouth over the spoon, as do I, without hesitation. After all have communed, the priest himself takes the spoon in his mouth and removes any traces of Holy Communion which may be on it, before returning to the altar with the chalice.
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« Reply #32 on: December 24, 2010, 04:37:09 PM »

The Holy Communion spoon thur my experience doesn't touch the mouth ....It's not like everybody closed their mouth over the spoon or licks the spoon taking Holy Communion...The precious Blood and Body is Poured from the spoon in ones mouth..... Huh When i approach Holy Communion the Priest  says the servant of God [stashko] and then ,open wide lean your head back and he pours from the spoon.... Grin

Not in any of the many Orthodox churches I've ever been to over several decades, stashko. In all of them, the communicants close their mouth over the spoon, as do I, without hesitation. After all have communed, the priest himself takes the spoon in his mouth and removes any traces of Holy Communion which may be on it, before returning to the altar with the chalice.

Yes, the standard practice nearly everywhere I've been so far is to close your mouth over the spoon. If you don't and the Eucharist doesn't fall off, then the Priest basically has to tap the spoon against your teeth, which is not good at all... Not to mention that it's a lot more likely for the Eucharist to fall out should someone not close their lips around the spoon.
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« Reply #33 on: December 24, 2010, 04:42:11 PM »

The Holy Communion spoon thur my experience doesn't touch the mouth ....It's not like everybody closed their mouth over the spoon or licks the spoon taking Holy Communion...The precious Blood and Body is Poured from the spoon in ones mouth..... Huh When i approach Holy Communion the Priest  says the servant of God [stashko] and then ,open wide lean your head back and he pours from the spoon.... Grin

Not in any of the many Orthodox churches I've ever been to over several decades, stashko. In all of them, the communicants close their mouth over the spoon, as do I, without hesitation. After all have communed, the priest himself takes the spoon in his mouth and removes any traces of Holy Communion which may be on it, before returning to the altar with the chalice.
I've actually seen both practices exercised simultaneously by two different priests in my parish. One priest, the parish rector, encourages the faithful receiving from him to close their mouths around the spoon, while the other priest, a cleric on loan to our parish from the Ukrainian Church in Canada while he's here studying at a local college, requires that those receiving from him DON'T close their mouths around the spoon but receive as stashko describes. He uses a spoon with a short handle, and he values his fingers.
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« Reply #34 on: December 24, 2010, 05:37:35 PM »

The Late Serbian Metropolitan Christopher about a Year before he past away ,communed my brother, it was a feast day ,he told my brother to turn his neck Tilt head back ,open wide,it gave my brother a crick in the neck that bothered him for a few days .. My Brother copmplained to me about it.... Grin

So i'm not speaking for all the Orthodox Churches just thur my experience at the serbian Orthodox  Monastery Church ....
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« Reply #35 on: December 24, 2010, 08:17:29 PM »

My own anecdotal experience: I've never become ill from the common spoon/cup. This past week I caught a really horrible cold, and maybe I would have thought to suspect the common cup but I hadn't received the Eucharist for almost 2 weeks (I unfortunately missed out the previous week due to pregnancy-related sickness). So yeah, I don't worry about it.

Disclaimer: I am very much NOT a germaphobe. And I value the Eucharist over germs, anyway. Smiley
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« Reply #36 on: December 24, 2010, 09:55:19 PM »

I thank everyone who took the time to reply to my inquiry. However, not one of the replies indicates any scientific, statistical, verifiable validity.  The majority of viruses silently replicate for 5-10 years after initial contact before manifesting as disease. Therefore, considering the number of years intervening between initial contact and overt signs of illness, saying that "no one every got sick" is absolutely falacious. 

You didn't see the proof because you decided not to look, and to close your eyes when it was placed in front of you.  You want scientific, statistical, verifiable validity, go and find what I directed you to.  If you choose not to seek out the information that will, IMO, answer your question, then don't claim that we offered you nothing.
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« Reply #37 on: December 24, 2010, 10:20:31 PM »

The Holy Communion spoon thur my experience doesn't touch the mouth ....It's not like everybody closed their mouth over the spoon or licks the spoon taking Holy Communion...The precious Blood and Body is Poured from the spoon in ones mouth..... Huh When i approach Holy Communion the Priest  says the servant of God [stashko] and then ,open wide lean your head back and he pours from the spoon.... Grin

Not in any of the many Orthodox churches I've ever been to over several decades, stashko. In all of them, the communicants close their mouth over the spoon, as do I, without hesitation. After all have communed, the priest himself takes the spoon in his mouth and removes any traces of Holy Communion which may be on it, before returning to the altar with the chalice.

Since I Alter Serve and often hold the Napkin I can tell you that people receive both ways. Some have it dropped and some close their mouths over the spoon. If you hold you head and mouth in a certain way, he will understand to drop the the precious body and blood on to your tongue.
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« Reply #38 on: December 25, 2010, 01:27:19 AM »

The Holy Communion spoon thur my experience doesn't touch the mouth ....It's not like everybody closed their mouth over the spoon or licks the spoon taking Holy Communion...The precious Blood and Body is Poured from the spoon in ones mouth..... Huh When i approach Holy Communion the Priest  says the servant of God [stashko] and then ,open wide lean your head back and he pours from the spoon.... Grin

Not in any of the many Orthodox churches I've ever been to over several decades, stashko. In all of them, the communicants close their mouth over the spoon, as do I, without hesitation. After all have communed, the priest himself takes the spoon in his mouth and removes any traces of Holy Communion which may be on it, before returning to the altar with the chalice.

Since I Alter Serve and often hold the Napkin I can tell you that people receive both ways. Some have it dropped and some close their mouths over the spoon. If you hold you head and mouth in a certain way, he will understand to drop the the precious body and blood on to your tongue.

Same here, I've actually seen it both ways, but the consensus seems to be that you should close your lips. The only ones I really see that prefer to have it dropped are from (or are in a family from) one of the Mediterranean countries. So this might be a "Greek" tradition.
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« Reply #39 on: December 25, 2010, 02:15:52 AM »

"No episode of disease attributable to the shared communion cup has ever been reported. Currently available data do not provide any support for suggesting that the practice of sharing a common communion cup should be abandoned because it might spread infection."  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3284951
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« Reply #40 on: December 25, 2010, 02:29:32 AM »

I have always done what stashko describes (not touching the spoon), in my case at OCA and ROCOR parishes.  The OCA website seems to describe this method:

"If one receives Communion in the proper manner, one would tilt one's head back and open one's mouth as wide as possible, thereby allowing the priest to simply drop the Body and Blood of Christ into the communicant's mouth without ever coming into contact with the spoon."


The above is from a response to a question at:  http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=105&SID=3

The germ issue is probably a more common concern than most people realize, though.  Some people are very uncomfortable with sharing food and drinks in normal circumstances, and it can be hard to see the difference.  I think the only way to approach it is to realize that there is a difference, but ultimately, we aren't going to find it in medical journals.
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« Reply #41 on: December 25, 2010, 02:37:49 AM »

I would say the ones that close there mouths over the spoon ,want to be pampered baby fed ...... Grin Kidding....
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« Reply #42 on: December 25, 2010, 02:38:49 AM »

It's done with wine, right? Even if you take out the supernatural aspect of the sacrament, the wine has alcohol in it. Just don't lick a slice of bread and pass that on. Swish with the blood.
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« Reply #43 on: December 25, 2010, 09:07:11 AM »

It's done with wine, right? Even if you take out the supernatural aspect of the sacrament, the wine has alcohol in it. Just don't lick a slice of bread and pass that on. Swish with the blood.

Well, the wine doesn't have enough alcohol in it to be truly antiseptic, but there are other factors involved also.
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« Reply #44 on: December 25, 2010, 06:13:32 PM »

Furthermore, in one orthodox liturgy that I recently attended, the crumbs left over on the table were unceremoniously scooped up by hand and then deposited in the mouth of the scouper upper! Each crumb is the sacred body and blood of Our Lord...needless to say, not all the crumbs landed in the scouper-uppers mouth. Several fell to the floor later to be trampled by whatever feet heedlessly trekked in the area.

That most likely was not Communion but antidorion (normal bread).

At our OCA parish, we not only receive by tilting our heads or by closing our lips on the spoon, we go straight from the chalice to the hospitality table with the antidoron and silver bowls of warm red wine where we take sips directly from the bowl used by the person in front of us.

And all the little kids with runny noses and dirty fingers have sipped as well -- and played pawed around in the bread morsels.  Nobody worries.  Many of our members are very old -- upper 80s -- and they have celebrated the Eucharist in this manner all their lives. 
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« Reply #45 on: December 29, 2010, 08:08:29 AM »

In regard the OP, you mention fibromyalgia. I do not believe this is a communicable condition. 

On another note, my experience with receiving communion in the Eastern Catholic Church is limited but for me it has always been dropped in my mouth, and the spoon has never touched my tongue or lips. As a matter of fact, instructions were to avoid placing your tongue or mouth to the spoon. From what some of the other posters have indicated it sounds like putting your mouth and tongue around the spoon is encouragedi n some churches. Is this correct?

Since you have indicated that you are Catholic, I assume  when you normally receive communion you either have the host placed on your tongue by the priest or given to you in your hand.  If your concern is germs, receiving by hand might actually be less sanitary. The priest basically touches everyones hands when he gives them the host. Hands are notorious for carrying germs.  However, as many others have already said, since what you are receiving is the body and blood of Christ, and if you believe it to be so, how could you possibly receive anything bad from it? I never worry about it when I receive communion.
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« Reply #46 on: December 29, 2010, 10:56:50 AM »

A priest that I know has an anaphalaxic reaction to gluten, but yet he consumes the body of Christ every Sunday with no ill effects. Obviously this has to signify the presence of our Lord. If it were merely bread, would this priest not fall over and die immediately at the altar?


-Nick
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« Reply #47 on: December 29, 2010, 12:40:42 PM »

A priest that I know has an anaphalaxic reaction to gluten, but yet he consumes the body of Christ every Sunday with no ill effects. Obviously this has to signify the presence of our Lord. If it were merely bread, would this priest not fall over and die immediately at the altar?


-Nick

Also, alcoholics don't appear to have trouble with relapsing after taking the communion wine/blood of Christ.

Not that the Russian Church has any alcoholics...but if we did   Grin
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« Reply #48 on: December 29, 2010, 02:23:46 PM »

Some articles that either report evidence directly (i.e. abstracts), or which have compiled references from elsewhere:

http://kotaraang.angelfire.com/Sharing.pdf
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+effects+of+receiving+Holy+Communion+on+health.-a019736122

And the aforementioned:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3284951

All these articles were easily found during a cursory search of the internet.
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« Reply #49 on: January 04, 2011, 03:10:26 PM »

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&expIds=17259&sugexp=ldymls&xhr=t&q=communion+and+viruses&cp=19&pf=p&sclient=psy&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=communion+and+viruses&gs_rfai=&pbx=1&fp=c341562a61b59af3
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« Reply #50 on: January 04, 2011, 03:19:53 PM »


These are not about Orthodox Churches.
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« Reply #51 on: January 04, 2011, 03:27:38 PM »

As we enter the age of immune-deficiency diseases we need
to be aware that certain diseases may be transferred via lip
sputum, with far-reaching consequences to immunecompromised
patients such as those with diabetes, cancer
patients on chemotherapy, HIV patients or those who are ill
and debilitated. Transferable diseases include: (i) herpes
simplex (winter sore); (ii) herpes zoster (shingles); (iii)
diarrhoea (viral); (iv) cholera; (v) Salmonella (typhoid
diarrhoea); (vi) Shigella (dysentery); (vii) hepatitis A (infective
jaundice); (viii) flu and other respiratory (lung) viruses; (ix)
viral encephalitis; (x) bacterial meningitis; (xi) Streptococcus
group A (sore throat); (xii) Staphylococcus aureus (diarrhoea and
food poisoning); and (xiii) TB (sputum transfer – all organs
may be infected).
A sputum-contaminated chalice requires medical sterilisation
in an autoclave to eradicate the possibility of disease transfer.
If individuals feel strongly that they should use the common
chalice, they should be made aware of the above possibilities.
The church has a moral and ethical obligation to inform
participants of the potential risks involved in using the
communal chalice.
To be on the safe side, an individual challicle should be used
by each participant.
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« Reply #52 on: January 04, 2011, 03:38:42 PM »

"Ye of little faith"
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« Reply #53 on: January 04, 2011, 03:41:55 PM »

As I think I said earlier, it is a matter of faith vs. doubt. "With the fear of God, with faith and with love, draw near," the priest says before the communion of the faithful. In the mystery of Holy Communion, we have a physical manifestation of reliance on God that we carry to every other part of our lives. If you stay away from the chalice because you're afraid of getting sick, and you believe that in the chalice is the very body and blood of Christ, the healer and physician of souls and bodies, you have a very big problem, spiritually speaking. How will you ever trust God to take care of you in anything--and even to save your soul? If He can't give you His body and blood without letting harm come to you, then He can't really do anything for you.
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« Reply #54 on: January 04, 2011, 03:46:49 PM »

As I think I said earlier, it is a matter of faith vs. doubt. "With the fear of God, with faith and with love, draw near," the priest says before the communion of the faithful. In the mystery of Holy Communion, we have a physical manifestation of reliance on God that we carry to every other part of our lives. If you stay away from the chalice because you're afraid of getting sick, and you believe that in the chalice is the very body and blood of Christ, the healer and physician of souls and bodies, you have a very big problem, spiritually speaking. How will you ever trust God to take care of you in anything--and even to save your soul? If He can't give you His body and blood without letting harm come to you, then He can't really do anything for you.

I've been taught that it doesn't matter if you doubt it or not, it's still the Body and Blood of Christ, you are still receiving God himself, and thus, even if you doubt, it's still his Body and Blood, and it cannot carry any virus or illness.

So I agree...
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« Reply #55 on: January 04, 2011, 03:48:43 PM »

Shanghaiski - well said.
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« Reply #56 on: January 04, 2011, 03:54:49 PM »

As I think I said earlier, it is a matter of faith vs. doubt. "With the fear of God, with faith and with love, draw near," the priest says before the communion of the faithful. In the mystery of Holy Communion, we have a physical manifestation of reliance on God that we carry to every other part of our lives. If you stay away from the chalice because you're afraid of getting sick, and you believe that in the chalice is the very body and blood of Christ, the healer and physician of souls and bodies, you have a very big problem, spiritually speaking. How will you ever trust God to take care of you in anything--and even to save your soul? If He can't give you His body and blood without letting harm come to you, then He can't really do anything for you.

I've been taught that it doesn't matter if you doubt it or not, it's still the Body and Blood of Christ, you are still receiving God himself, and thus, even if you doubt, it's still his Body and Blood, and it cannot carry any virus or illness.

So I agree...

I would hope that this doesn't mean that people are encouraged to commune if they doubt that the Holy Gifts are the body and blood of Christ.
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« Reply #57 on: January 04, 2011, 04:01:50 PM »

As I think I said earlier, it is a matter of faith vs. doubt. "With the fear of God, with faith and with love, draw near," the priest says before the communion of the faithful. In the mystery of Holy Communion, we have a physical manifestation of reliance on God that we carry to every other part of our lives. If you stay away from the chalice because you're afraid of getting sick, and you believe that in the chalice is the very body and blood of Christ, the healer and physician of souls and bodies, you have a very big problem, spiritually speaking. How will you ever trust God to take care of you in anything--and even to save your soul? If He can't give you His body and blood without letting harm come to you, then He can't really do anything for you.

I've been taught that it doesn't matter if you doubt it or not, it's still the Body and Blood of Christ, you are still receiving God himself, and thus, even if you doubt, it's still his Body and Blood, and it cannot carry any virus or illness.

So I agree...

I would hope that this doesn't mean that people are encouraged to commune if they doubt that the Holy Gifts are the body and blood of Christ.

Oh no, definitely not...
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« Reply #58 on: January 06, 2011, 10:32:23 PM »

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-01-03/us/new.york.hepatitis.a_1_communion-offering-vaccines-hepatitis?_s=PM:US

Quote
Hepatitis A warning issued after Christmas communion on Long Island
Hundreds of people might have been exposed to hepatitis A while receiving communion on Christmas Day, Long Island officials said Monday.

The Nassau County Department of Health is offering vaccines to those who attended two services at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Massapequa Park in Long Island, New York, according to Nassau County Department of Health spokeswoman Mary Ellen Laurain.


Edited for the news posting policy - Michał Kalina
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« Reply #59 on: January 07, 2011, 12:44:32 AM »

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-01-03/us/new.york.hepatitis.a_1_communion-offering-vaccines-hepatitis?_s=PM:US

Quote
Hepatitis A warning issued after Christmas communion on Long Island
Hundreds of people might have been exposed to hepatitis A while receiving communion on Christmas Day, Long Island officials said Monday.

The Nassau County Department of Health is offering vaccines to those who attended two services at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Massapequa Park in Long Island, New York, according to Nassau County Department of Health spokeswoman Mary Ellen Laurain.

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Your point being... Huh
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« Reply #60 on: February 09, 2011, 01:52:19 PM »

Thank you everyone who took the time to explain the unbreakable goodness of Communion. However I will essentially as the original question from another perspective. If I feel myself coming down with a cold, let alone know that I have a full blown head cold, should I not avoid communal cups?
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« Reply #61 on: February 09, 2011, 02:34:21 PM »

If I feel myself coming down with a cold, let alone know that I have a full blown head cold, should I not avoid communal cups?

I would probably only receive the Body and Blood if I was aware of how sick I was and not drink the communal cup of wine afterwards.
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« Reply #62 on: February 09, 2011, 02:50:37 PM »

Thank you everyone who took the time to explain the unbreakable goodness of Communion. However I will essentially as the original question from another perspective. If I feel myself coming down with a cold, let alone know that I have a full blown head cold, should I not avoid communal cups?

Absolutely not! Of course you should commune. Christ is the Great Physician of our "souls and bodies." If you trust the Eucharist to save your soul, should you not trust it to heal your sniffles? This doesn't mean it will without question, but we have already stated that no harm can come from the Chalice and that we partake for our salvation. What reason is left not to commune?
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« Reply #63 on: February 09, 2011, 03:25:22 PM »

Maybe I was unclear with how my church serves the Body and Blood, which is via common spoon. How could I partake  without sharing germs? As for Ben's comment, I want to avoid making anyone else sick, not myself worse.


Are there any jurisdictions that serve the Body and Blood in separate cups like some Protestant churches do?
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« Reply #64 on: February 09, 2011, 04:12:57 PM »

Maybe I was unclear with how my church serves the Body and Blood, which is via common spoon.

We know

Quote
How could I partake  without sharing germs?

As usual.

Quote
As for Ben's comment, I want to avoid making anyone else sick, not myself worse.

You can't.

Quote
Are there any jurisdictions that serve the Body and Blood in separate cups like some Protestant churches do?

Fortunately there are not any.
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« Reply #65 on: February 09, 2011, 04:21:30 PM »

Curious...
Are there eastern Orthodox Churches that dip the Body in the Blood,and commune people that way.......
The liturgy of Saint James has both species separate ,when communing the faithful....
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« Reply #66 on: February 09, 2011, 04:22:29 PM »

Sorry, I think I misread your question. I thought you were talking about the communal cup that some churches have where after receiving the Eucharist they wash it down with some extra wine set aside next to the blessed bread. I was saying maybe not to drink from that cup, as it is just regular wine and there might be come potential there for sharing germs, that I don't know.

If you are talking about whether or not to take the Eucharist served from the common cup, then the answer is that yes, you absolutely should take communion, especially if you are sick. You take Him in for the healing of soul and body. To refrain from communion because of "germs" completely betrays one of the core dogmas of Orthodoxy. You should always rush to the chalice for the living water; the fountain of immortality. That is unless, of course, you have not properly prepared yourself by participating in the weekly fasting requirements and the pre-communion fast from the midnight before, saying the pre-communnion prayers and services beforehand at home, and also having confessed any serious sins which have interrupted your peace with God. Of course if you are sick, then it can be acceptable to allow for some laxity in fasting so that your body does not become more sick and weak.
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« Reply #67 on: February 09, 2011, 04:23:47 PM »

Maybe I was unclear with how my church serves the Body and Blood, which is via common spoon.

We know

Quote
How could I partake  without sharing germs?

As usual.

Quote
As for Ben's comment, I want to avoid making anyone else sick, not myself worse.

You can't.

Quote
Are there any jurisdictions that serve the Body and Blood in separate cups like some Protestant churches do?

Fortunately there are not any.

Michał, in short order, pretty much took my reponse. Tongue

My point was not only about receiving health through receiving the Eucharist, but that disease cannot be transmitted through the Eucharist. Do you honestly believe that Christ, who calls us to draw near to Him in love, would allow us to fall ill for following His commandment? That the Author of Life would impart disease?

Quote
Curious...
Are there eastern Orthodox Churches that dip the Body in the Blood,and commune people that way.......
The liturgy of Saint James has both species separate ,when communing the faithful....

No Eastern Orthodox Churches commune the elements separately, or by only "dipping." It is a very, very strong tradition that is universal in the Church. However, I would say that it is not a Tradition. The Eucharist was originally served separately, was most always served that way in the West (pre-schism) and is still served that way by some OO churches. This doesn't bother me, but as a proud Byzantine Rite Christian, I wouldn't easily release our tradition of mixing the elements.
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« Reply #68 on: February 09, 2011, 09:27:58 PM »

Are we sure that he did not share via personal cups?
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« Reply #69 on: February 10, 2011, 09:43:08 AM »

Are we sure that he did not share via personal cups?

Can you rephrase your question? I don't understand it. Sorry, I'm not a native English speaker.
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« Reply #70 on: February 10, 2011, 09:51:38 AM »

Are we sure that he did not share via personal cups?

Can you rephrase your question? I don't understand it. Sorry, I'm not a native English speaker.

Don't feel bad, Michal. I am and can't understand it either.
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« Reply #71 on: February 10, 2011, 09:58:53 AM »

Should we take care not to physically venerate icons if we are contagiously sick?
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« Reply #72 on: February 10, 2011, 10:09:04 AM »

Should we take care not to physically venerate icons if we are contagiously sick?

I would.
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« Reply #73 on: February 10, 2011, 10:30:28 AM »

Should we take care not to physically venerate icons if we are contagiously sick?

If you're that contagiously sick, why not just stay home? You're more likely to spread your germs by coughing or having contact with a crowd than by kissing an icon.
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« Reply #74 on: February 10, 2011, 10:46:12 AM »

Nearly our entire Parish go sick about three weeks ago.

I am not sure if this is any different then when an entire class of school kids get sick all at the same time. We are at close quarters in our Church.

There is no way to tell if it happens due to a common spoon, common wine cup after communion, kissing the Priests hand, or just being around each other....

I think it is not too weird to ask my Priest to use anti-bacterial cleanser on his hands if he is sick or not to get too close during confession or to ask our eight year old alter server  not to serve if we see he is dripping snot and coming down with something.

I was nasty sick and couldnt afford not to work. I have lost some patience about this sort of thing..... as you can see Smiley
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« Reply #75 on: February 10, 2011, 02:50:32 PM »

Should we take care not to physically venerate icons if we are contagiously sick?

If you're that contagiously sick, why not just stay home? You're more likely to spread your germs by coughing or having contact with a crowd than by kissing an icon.
I would recommend staying home or at least carrying hand sanitizer and warning your brethren when in their presence.
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« Reply #76 on: February 10, 2011, 03:24:21 PM »

Should we take care not to physically venerate icons if we are contagiously sick?

If you're that contagiously sick, why not just stay home? You're more likely to spread your germs by coughing or having contact with a crowd than by kissing an icon.

You know, since antiquity, it has been the responsibility of clergy (namely deacons) to carry the mysteries to the ill and commune them. It is sad that this does not seem to happen very often, at least here in the States.
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« Reply #77 on: February 10, 2011, 03:46:46 PM »

You know, since antiquity, it has been the responsibility of clergy (namely deacons) to carry the mysteries to the ill and commune them. It is sad that this does not seem to happen very often, at least here in the States.

The Roman Catholics do it for my grandmother at her assisted living apartment if she has a bad Sunday and can't make it.
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« Reply #78 on: February 10, 2011, 04:33:13 PM »

My priest routinely brings the mysteries to parishioners in hospitals and retirement homes.
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« Reply #79 on: February 16, 2011, 12:05:05 PM »

Should we take care not to physically venerate icons if we are contagiously sick?

If you're that contagiously sick, why not just stay home? You're more likely to spread your germs by coughing or having contact with a crowd than by kissing an icon.

good point...  Cheesy
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