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Author Topic: Where are the Tabernacles placed in Oriental Orthodox Churches ?  (Read 5403 times) Average Rating: 0
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Steve Dennehy
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« on: August 08, 2007, 07:00:51 PM »

I have been to Divine Liturgy in an Egyptian (Coptic) Orthodox Church and in an Armenian  Orthodox/Apostolic Church.  In the Egyptian Church, the Tabernacle was very prominent and in the middle of the altar.  In the Armenian Church it was just off to the right side of the altar, in the wall.  Would this be the usual placement in all  Egyptian and Armenian Churches ?  Where would they be in Syrian, Indian and Ethiopian Churches ?
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2007, 07:44:24 PM »

I'm not sure what you mean by "Tabernacle."  Do you mean the Chalice?  In the Armenian Church, prior to the Great Enterance, the Chalice is on a side altar, which is usually a niche in the wall.  During the Great Enterance, it is brought by a deacon to the priest, who puts it on the main altar.
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2007, 10:33:11 PM »

"Tabernacle", in this instance refers to the repository for the reserved Holy Eucharist. In the Armenian Church IME, the tabernacle is of the byzantine type placed on one of the shelves behind the Altar. In one church I attended the Eucharist was reserved inside an extra chalice, again set upon one of the shelves.
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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2007, 03:01:30 AM »

O.K. I think I know what you mean now by "Tabernacle."  I think the Armenian word for it is "kerezman."  If it is what I now think it is, Brigidsboy's description is what I have seen also.
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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2007, 06:16:08 AM »

Depends in the Indian Church I have seen some being kept in the centre of the Altar but it is certainly not unformly done
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« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2007, 02:52:18 PM »

In the Coptic Church there is NO reserved Body and Blood.  All is consumed during the Liturgy.  If the priest is taking Communion to the sick he must leave immediately to do so without greating anyone.  Under no circumstances may Communion be kept over night.  Just like the manna Isreal received in the wilderness, it must be consumed in the same day.

What you saw in a Coptic Church in the middle of the altar is the "ark".  It's a wooden box with icons on it that the chalice rests in during the Liturgy.
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2007, 11:09:58 AM »

Jonathan summed this up rather well however I have seen the ark made of glass rather than wood although it still had very beautiful icons on it and perhaps the edges were wooden but I'm not sure.
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« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2007, 06:42:17 PM »

I have been to Divine Liturgy in an Egyptian (Coptic) Orthodox Church and in an Armenian  Orthodox/Apostolic Church.  In the Egyptian Church, the Tabernacle was very prominent and in the middle of the altar.  In the Armenian Church it was just off to the right side of the altar, in the wall.  Would this be the usual placement in all  Egyptian and Armenian Churches ?  Where would they be in Syrian, Indian and Ethiopian Churches ?

The Ethiopian Church is unique in the fact that it is the caretaker of the true Ark of the Covenant of Israel. As such each church is consecrated with prayers and the placing of a consecrated replica of the tablets of Moses on the Alter. Without this consecrated tablet (we call it Tabot) the church is not sacred. The host is placed on top of this Tabot.
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« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2007, 11:11:24 PM »

When I visited the Coptic church in my city, one of the men told me that the Sacrament was not reserved - there was no tabernacle.
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« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2011, 03:11:52 AM »

Dear readers,
                  I guess this tabernacle corresponds to the "Thablitha" in the Syrian Orthodox churches in India and the Middle East. It is placed in the the Throne on the the altar where the Holy Mysteries are celebrated.

Apu jose
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« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2011, 03:21:16 AM »

Welcome to the forum!   Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2011, 12:52:40 AM »

I guess this tabernacle corresponds to the "Thablitha" in the Syrian Orthodox churches in India and the Middle East. It is placed in the the Throne on the the altar where the Holy Mysteries are celebrated.
Dear Apu,
Welcome to this forum.
The tabernacle does not correspond to the Thablitha palaka. In most Syriac Orthodox Churches we dont have a tabernacle, because as a practice we dont reserve the Body and Blood. Our practice is very much the same as what Jonathan has described for the Coptic Church. In India you can see a tabernacle in the Syro Malabar Roman Catholic Eastern Rite. They call it 'sakrali'.

The equivalent of Thablitha in the Byzantine (Eastern) Orthodox Churches is the Antimension.

Useful links:
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Antimension
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_tabernacle
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thabilitho
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 12:54:55 AM by dhinuus » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2011, 09:01:43 AM »

Dear Salphy and Dhinuus,
                                  Thank you for replying . Salphy , since you are an Armenian orthodox , I will try to give some info regarding Armenian Orthodox in India . They have around 7 churches at present in India(4 in and around Kolkata of which 2 are functioning, 1 in Chennai, 1 in Mumbai and 1 small chapel in New Delhi ). Only active community is in Kolkata. I have visited one of their church.The community in Mumbai has dwindled down to 3 people (including one non practising but baptised Hindi film actress).There are 3 families in Bangalore . One Australian family is said to be planning to settle in Chennai. The Chapel in N Delhi is said to be the oldest church in N Delhi (info from William Dalrymple book The Last Moghul). It is the only Church that was not destroyed by the 1857 Revolution (known as The first War of Indian Independence(it was primarily an anti christian war)).This Chapel at present is almost in ruins. Whenever the Syriac Orthodox metropolitans who used to come to South India or when they are going back they used to stay in the Armenian Church of Mumbai (Bombay). Many Syriac Orthodox saints and metropolitans  buried in India have stayed in the Bombay Armenian church(like St Gregorius Geevarghese of Parumala, St Koorilose Yuyakkim of Mulamthuruthy etc.)
It is interesting to note that the Armenian Orthodox were said to be the first Christian community to settle in North India.
Mr Dhinuus, the said Tabernacle , I think I have seen it in the the St Marys Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Cathedral, Manarkad and in the St George Syrian Orthodox Patriarchal Church in Puthupally . They have a small church like structure in the Madbaha where they store the Holy Qurbana which is used during the Holy Anointment of the sick. I may be mistaken . Please do correct me if you know more.

Apu Jose(Thomas)
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« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2011, 11:31:35 AM »

.. the said Tabernacle , I think I have seen it in the the St Marys Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Cathedral, Manarkad and in the St George Syrian Orthodox Patriarchal Church in Puthupally . They have a small church like structure in the Madbaha where they store the Holy Qurbana which is used during the Holy Anointment of the sick.

Dear Apu,
Yes. What you are referring to the Tabernacle is correct. In my previous posting I was trying to clarify that the tabernacle is not the tablitha. And you are right, very few , may be 4 or 5 churches in the Syriac tradition in India have tabernacles. Most churches don't, as the practice of saving the Body and Blood of Christ for later use is not a common thing as it is in the Coptic tradition, due to the reasons explained by Jonathan.
If the priest is taking Communion to the sick he must leave immediately to do so without greating anyone.  Under no circumstances may Communion be kept over night.  Just like the manna Isreal received in the wilderness, it must be consumed in the same day.
Where ever they are saving it especially in churches close to big hospitals, should be seen as economia.
Mathew G M

By the way, my name is Mathew.. dhinuus is just a internet user id.
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« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2011, 03:50:13 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!



Our Ethiopian Altars as so thoroughly consecrated that only Ordained clergy can enter in. The Churches are divided into three distinct structures, and the inner Altar, or the Qidus Qidusan (holy of holies) is where our sacred Altar slab (Tabot) is placed and where the Divine Liturgy must occur, no Tabot no Liturgy, even a Baptism.

We venerate the entire building and kiss the walls and floors because of the sacredness of the Altar, it is the center of the physicality of our worship life.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2011, 04:50:46 PM »

The Coptic Church stopped reserving the sacrament many centuries ago. Likewise the Syrian Church. There were a variety of reasons why this change took place.
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« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2011, 04:54:18 PM »

The Coptic Church stopped reserving the sacrament many centuries ago. Likewise the Syrian Church. There were a variety of reasons why this change took place.

Interesting.  Can you give us an overview or point to an online essay of sorts on this?
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« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2011, 05:14:44 PM »

I've just got back from a week's holiday, so I'm too tired tonight, but I'll try to post some comments tomorrow.

Briefly, St Severus composed either the earliest Pre-Sanctified liturgy, or one of the earliest, therefore the practice of reservation, which was certainly previously known to the monastics in his jurisdiction, was extended to the wider community, especially where priests (in a time of persecution) were not so readily available.

There are Coptic texts which show that the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy was known in Egypt. Indeed the Ark may well have been first used as a Tabernacle for the reserved sacrament. The danger of desecration of the sacrament by Muslims was very real, and in Egypt, with a ready availability of priests, it seems that people tended to feel if you were going to celebrate a eucharistic rite you might as well celebrate the Liturgy proper.

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« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2011, 09:00:45 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I've just got back from a week's holiday, so I'm too tired tonight, but I'll try to post some comments tomorrow.

Briefly, St Severus composed either the earliest Pre-Sanctified liturgy, or one of the earliest, therefore the practice of reservation, which was certainly previously known to the monastics in his jurisdiction, was extended to the wider community, especially where priests (in a time of persecution) were not so readily available.

There are Coptic texts which show that the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy was known in Egypt. Indeed the Ark may well have been first used as a Tabernacle for the reserved sacrament. The danger of desecration of the sacrament by Muslims was very real, and in Egypt, with a ready availability of priests, it seems that people tended to feel if you were going to celebrate a eucharistic rite you might as well celebrate the Liturgy proper.

Father Peter

True, but many Oriental Orthodox also either phased out (or chose not to phase in) Pre-Sanctified Gifts including the Ethiopians to my understanding.  So perhaps there is a more underlying theological or religious sentiment which has guided our jurisdictions this way where as the EO and especially the RC use the concept quite frequently. After all, there is also the RC "Eucharistic Adoration" which we do not share in Orthodox, we share the concept of adoring the Eucharist at Liturgy, but not separated.  Realistically, isn't this also what can separate the Unction of the Sick from the so-called "Last Rites" of the RC tradition (where priests bring pre-Sanctified Gifts for the dying)? Inn Ethiopia, we just basically Chrismate (sans Communion) for the Unction service.  Further, the Orthodox (at least Ethiopian) conception of the Unction of the Sick is not necessarily aiming towards a miraculous physical healing so much as preparing the person for the potential of mortality in illness and praying for the Grace of God one way or the other.  This functions as our "Last Rites" in our jurisdiction by this conception, where as I understand that in the RC tradition pre-Sanctified gifts (even among the common theology of the people not just the lofty theologians) are an essential aspect of peoples' deaths.  While the RCs and the Orthodox both have the Unction Sacrament (which is not the Last Rites) within Ethiopia at least we feel the Unction is enough and the pre-Sanctified Gifts/Last Rites are not sought after.  Of course we couldn't if folks wanted to because such Gifts do not exist in our tradition Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2011, 04:01:47 PM »

There is no need for a liturgy of the pre-sancitified where there are ready opportunities for a full liturgy. I think that this, together with the Muslim invasion is the reason it became less common in the Coptic and Syrian traditions.

If St Severus introduced the rite then I do not believe that there is any other theological reason for it being phased out. St Severus is almost more important than any other fathers. I don't think he made a mistake.

I have no problems with a pre-sanctified rite, or with the reservation of the sacrament. But it is not presently the Coptic tradition and there is no great need for the restoration of these aspects of the tradition. There might be value in the pastoral care of the sick and the shut-in. It is no longer the case that all faithful live within 200 metres of a Church with a daily liturgy and it is not practical for a priest to serve all those who might wish to receive communion and cannot attend Church by visiting them all after one liturgy. Indeed from Coptic sources we know that it was this pastoral need which was one of the drivers of the reservation of the sacrament.
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« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2011, 08:57:51 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I have no problems with a pre-sanctified rite, or with the reservation of the sacrament. But it is not presently the Coptic tradition and there is no great need for the restoration of these aspects of the tradition. There might be value in the pastoral care of the sick and the shut-in. It is no longer the case that all faithful live within 200 metres of a Church with a daily liturgy and it is not practical for a priest to serve all those who might wish to receive communion and cannot attend Church by visiting them all after one liturgy. Indeed from Coptic sources we know that it was this pastoral need which was one of the drivers of the reservation of the sacrament.

True, but this is where I think the Unction (at least in my own Ethiopian jurisdiction) Mystery has taken prominence, both for the dying and extremely ill folks, to bring the Mysteries to folks who are unable to attend a full Divine Liturgy.  Realistically, at the core of our theology, is not simply ONE reception of Holy Communion enough to cover all of Eternal Life? So really, we do not NEED to receive it often for Salvation, so much as the theosis and healing in our day to day life.  However, really, isn't this frequent reception of the Mysteries just a rejuvenation and perpetuation of the continual, eternal saving Grace which we receive in our complete cycle of the unified Mysteries, that is having been once Baptized and Chrismated, having received the Holy Communion, having Repented and been Reconciled, either getting Married or perhaps even receiving Unction for the Sick in the face of grave illness, all by the hands of Ordained Clergy we are in the eternal process of Salvation. Each time we receive Holy Communion is it not reaffirming the reality and renewal of all of the Mysteries together?  The Mysteries don't function in pieces, they cooperate and renew themselves mutually, so really again, folks I suppose don't theologically NEED the receive a Eucharistic Last Rites in the same theological sense which it is so emphasized in the Catholic tradition.

My understanding is that this is what explains the complete disregard to the need for any kind of pre-Sanctified Gifts in the Ethiopian tradition.  We do not desire Them because we believe that even the once we received at Baptism/Chrismation/First Communion is enough for the sake of our eternal souls, even at the face of death, and so rather we perform the Unction of Sick for such very ill, disabled, elderly, or dying folks.  This should not diminish the significance and importance of the Holy Communion, rather we keep the Communion SO important in our tradition that it could never be separated from the Liturgy even for a moment.  Further, our Mysteries are interpreted really as equal in Divine Grace, so in actuality the Unction Mystery is quite satisfactory to our Ethiopian theology as the Last Rites concept is in the Catholic tradition or the pre-Sanctified Gifts for the sick and disabled in the Byzantine tradition. 

Great discussion by the way, I really enjoy obscure theology Smiley
Stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2011, 04:11:41 AM »

I would say that it was wrong to suggest that regular reception of the eucharist is not necessary for the Christian life, and that it is necessary to receive communion only once.

This is not what I think the Fathers teach.

Regular communion with true faith and devotion is necessary for continued spiritual growth and theosis.
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« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2011, 02:56:28 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
I would say that it was wrong to suggest that regular reception of the eucharist is not necessary for the Christian life, and that it is necessary to receive communion only once.

This is not what I think the Fathers teach.

Regular communion with true faith and devotion is necessary for continued spiritual growth and theosis.

Please, you misunderstand me Father.  I didn't say not necessary for the Christian life, I said for Eternal Life.  Christian day to day life is a matter of theosis and the sanctifying Grace of God we receive in the Mysteries, where as Eternal Life is a gift of God given by virtue of the Sacraments.  In our Ethiopian theology, once is enough for the Grace of Eternal life, and once an infant is Baptized, Chrismated, and receives the first Holy Communion (all in that same day) then they are part of the Kingdom of God, forever irrevocably in God's Grace.  So we do not teach that folks receive the Holy Communion regularly for Eternal Life, rather for the healing Grace in our day to day lives.  However, for those folks nearing death in illness, the Catholic theology of pre-Sanctified Gifts is that folks NEED to receive the Holy Communion one last time before Death, and this is foreign to Ethiopian fathers.  Again, in regards to Eternal Life and Salvation, once is enough.  To receive Communion regularly is to rejuvenate, renew, and reestablish ourselves in this Grace through Theosis, but it does gain us any more or take away from our Eternal Life, which was sealed with our Baptism Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2011, 04:47:24 AM »

But the Fathers do not teach us that we cannot lose the grace of Baptism?

They surely teach us that we CAN lose the grace of Baptism and that a life lived without a constant seeking after God, even if a person has been baptised, is no guarantee of salvation?

How is there any need to live the Christian life at all in the model you describe? How is it different to the Protestant 'once saved, always saved'?

Do you have some patristic documentation in English from the Ethopian tradition to allow me to understand what you are suggesting better?
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« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2011, 07:56:49 AM »

Christ is Risen!
Selam everyone Smiley

As if a Christian could exist without The Eucharist!
304 AD North Africa: about seventeen hundred years ago in 304 AD officers of the Roman Court prepared a charge sheet in Abitina,North Africa. It opened with these words:
“These persons, being Christians, have held an assembly for the Eucharist, contrary to the edict of the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian”
The record of the trial continues with the interrogation of the first prisoner by the Roman proconsul, Annulinus, in Carthage:
“What is your rank?’’
“I am a senator” replied Dativus.
“Were you present in the assembly?”
“I am a Christian and I was present in the assembly.”
The proconsul immediately suspended the senator on the rack and his body was torn by the barbed hooks. The senator’s Priest, Saturninus, was next. Standing before the bar of Roman justice the cold steel of determination and the burning fire of faith was evident in his eyes, as the proconsul demanded:
“Did you, contrary to the orders of the emperors, arrange for these persons to hold an assembly?”
Pastor Santurinus replied with simple courage in a steady voice:
“Certainly: We celebrated the Eucharist.”
The procounsul’s next question rings across the centuries.
“Why?”
The Pastor’s response ought to reverberate in the ears of every Christian who claims the name of Christ!
“Because the Eucharist cannot be abandoned.”
Without further appeal the pastor joined the senator.
Felix, the pastor’s son, stepped into the breech, his mind and heart ready for battle. The proconsul with a sense of frustration evident in his voice pointed his question with succinct clarity:
“I am not asking you if you are a Christian. You can hold your peace about that! But were you one of the assembly; and do you possess copies of the Scriptures?”
The offense was not in what men thought or ‘felt’ but what they did about it. The offense was to assemble for the Eucharist. Young Felix’s answer speaks to the grave importance of the Eucharist to early Christians:
‘As if a Christian could exist without the Eucharist, or the Eucharist be celebrated without a Christian! Don’t you know that a Christian is constituted by the Eucharist, and the Eucharist by a Christian? Neither avails without the other. We celebrated our assembly right gloriously.”
Fire leaped from the proconsul’s lip and Felix was beaten with clubs…
The pastor’s younger son, Hilarion was brought forward having full view of both the proceedings and his father and friends:
“will you follow your father and your brothers?”
The voice of but a boy responded:
“I am a Christian. Of my own free will I joined the assembly with my father and brothers.”
Lent reality by the vivid events of the past few moments, a grizzly threat followed:
“I shall cut off your hair and your nose and your ears , and then let you go.”
The procounsul was pitilessly unaware of the forces arrayed against him, God and His holy martyrs constituted by (in the words of Felix) the Eucharist:
“Do what you please. I am a Christian.”

……………………………………………..>>…………………………………..
I got the above story from the book Right Glory ‘The Orthodox’ by Fr. David H. Jolly Priest of the Oriental Orthodox Church. published by The Oriental Orthodox Press 5224 North Post Spokane WA 99205.  The direct quotes are in quotation marks while the descriptive narrative in between are his own.
The reason why I chose to quote the above story is to emphasize how fundamental the Holy Eucharist to the Christian life is. In the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, everyday just at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy a grave proclamation is sung and it goes like this:
“Halleluiah! If there be any one of the faithful that has entered the Church at the time of the Divine Liturgy and has not heard the Holy Scriptures, and has not waited until they finish they prayers of the Divine Liturgy, and has not received the Holy Eucharist, let him be driven out of the Church!: for he has violated the Law of God and disdained to Stand before the Heavenly King, the King of Body and Spirit. This, the Apostles have taught us in their Canons!”
So technically the church teaches that those who attend the Divine Liturgy must attend so they can receive the Holy Eucharist, if that is not so then they have no business being there at that time. The catechumens are asked to leave the church in the second part of the Divine Liturgy for this purpose. A Christian can lose the baptismal grace, for this reason regular confession and receiving the Holy Eucharist are the only way to be restored to that grace. Thus it is customary for those who are communicants not to pass the 40 day limit in partaking of the Holy Eucharist.  As far as I know, the fathers within the church see anyone that has not done so without due reason as spiritually sick if not dead.
 Although it started after the 15 years of Muslim persecution, the Ethiopian orthodox Tewahedo Church greatly suffered especially in the era of the Communists with regards to the very heart of the Church’s: the participation of the faithful in the Holy Eucharist. The regime’s famous threat was ‘we shall make the orthodox church a museum at best and useless for nothing else’ the stricter rules were relaxed in an attempt to hold on to the flock which was bombarded with constant criticism of the church. The faithful that remained were not getting enough education because of the restriction of teaching by the communists.  So the church marriage, that used to be done only with the receiving of the Holy Eucharist was being done for those who come to have a church marriage just by priestly blessing and without the Holy Eucharist; opening the door for many to elect to have their wedding ceremony done without it; even though the canonical way of doing the marriages with the crowning and the partaking of the holy Eucharist was there if they chose to do so. The only ones that were participating in receiving the Holy Eucharist became the clergy, the Monastic, children under the age of 7, and adults above the age of 60 even then the most pious ones, others chose to stay without receiving Holy Eucharist until they are on their death beds. Great opposition was raising within the church fathers especially the monastic community. So in the last days of the communists the church’s Holy Synod banned marriages that were not being done under the cannons of the Church, the Sacrament of Crowning can only be consummated with the receiving of the Holy Eucharist. There was confusion and anger by some by the Church’s going back to the early ways, some said that the church will surely lose whatever faithful she has. Because the piety that is demanded out of those communicants is strict and the era of communism had infected people with ideas that were not conducive to that kind of piety. However the Church trusted in her Lord and continued teaching that no one has life by themselves if they did not partake of the very Body and Blood of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the heart of the Church is the Eucharist, Come she said and receive your Life!, the result was thousands started to flock to the church, the youth started to flock to the nightly vespers and sermons that were being given. The message was one and it was being proclaimed in every parish, at every opportunity, ‘repent often and partake of the Holy Eucharist often so you may have eternal life’  ‘the Christian life is the life of repentance and purity’ this has led to the present condition of the church what most call the resurrection of the orthodox church of Ethiopia.
This of bringing the faithful laity to the life of frequent repentance and partaking of the Holy Eucharist is still work in progress because many have this notion of being not capable enough to live the life of piety it requires and they feel they need to wait until they reach a certain age namely old age. However, among those that do partake of the Holy Eucharist, I am very thankful to say that they do so frequently yet Reverently as the Church encourages them to do.

Reverend Father, I am a lay person, but this I have learnt and this I know to be true within the Church. Please keep me in your prayers.



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Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. St.Ignatius of Antioch.Epistle to the Romans.
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Holy Father Patrick, pray for us


« Reply #25 on: August 04, 2011, 08:03:34 AM »

But the Fathers do not teach us that we cannot lose the grace of Baptism?

They surely teach us that we CAN lose the grace of Baptism and that a life lived without a constant seeking after God, even if a person has been baptised, is no guarantee of salvation?

How is there any need to live the Christian life at all in the model you describe? How is it different to the Protestant 'once saved, always saved'?

Do you have some patristic documentation in English from the Ethopian tradition to allow me to understand what you are suggesting better?

As I was taught, the grace of Baptism, in  other words the Holy Spirit, never leaves a baptized soul completely, no matter how sinful that person may become.  It is only at death when such a soul must descend to hell that the Holy Spirit abandons it.  Baptismal grace and the indwelling of the Spirit is completely voided.

Now that I think of this, I cannot refer you to any teaching of the Holy Fathers but it was certainly what I was taught.

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« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2011, 01:37:21 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Please, folks are seriously misunderstanding me here, I am in no way suggesting folks to stop receiving the Communion or to diminish frequent reception, rather I am talking about the Eternality of Grace.  Grace is Eternal correct? We are not receiving Grace in increments, God is not partitioned is He? The Divine Nature is not segmented correct? So from a purely theological standpoint, ONCE is enough for Eternity.  In this way, continual reception of the Mysteries is as I said rejuvenation, a renewal, a reestablishment in Grace, but not a new source of Grace implying somehow completely lost before.  
Quote
As far as I know, the fathers within the church see anyone that has not done so without due reason as spiritually sick if not dead.

This is a good explanation, spiritual sick is the correct explanation, but not Eternally.  If a Baptized and Communing Christian is somehow separated for a time from the Mysteries, the are indeed sick from the effects of Sin and the fracturing influence of human nature.  But this alone should not necessarily be assumed to be able to condemn a person to eternal damnation so much as to suggest that their current life here on earth is in a damnable state of affairs.  We would be specific enough to suggest than again that such persons need frequent reception of the Mysteries but not necessarily for the sake of the Eternal souls so much as for the current state of their spiritual health which is in decline.  We can't honestly speak of post-Judgment Eternity, that is not really the fathers business so much as God's own matters, rather we are reserved to deal with the temporal matters of the era, of the Church militant.  So we should better say then that folks receive the Mysteries for the sake of healing and Theosis in this time, and let the matters of Eternal Life which emanate from our reception of the Mysteries speak for themselves in the due time of their inevitable manifestation in God's Grace.
But the Fathers do not teach us that we cannot lose the grace of Baptism?

They surely teach us that we CAN lose the grace of Baptism and that a life lived without a constant seeking after God, even if a person has been baptised, is no guarantee of salvation?

How is there any need to live the Christian life at all in the model you describe? How is it different to the Protestant 'once saved, always saved'?



I didn't say Baptism alone, I said the Baptism/Chrismation/Holy Communion which at least in the Ethiopian tradition happen to all occur at the same day.  The pain and wages of sin in this life are explanation enough as to the overwhelming, perpetual need for our reception of the Divine Mysteries, but this is not the Eternal Life which the Mysteries inherently grant us.  Yes, this is the depth of what even the universal fathers teach when they speak of the Mysteries being Divine.  A person can surely continue in sin and perhaps risk Grace, but then again the Eternal Grace of God (it being Divine by Nature) has been transmuted upon us in the Mystery, and so in God's Grace He has the Eternal agency to remit any and all sin.  Surely we need to continue in this Christian life and continue to receive them, but again, not necessarily for the concept of Eternity, but rather to bring that Eternal Grace into our current, transitional lives. Our Ethiopian tradition is not the Protestant ethos of "saved once" in their interpretations, we are not giving people a free pass to live in Sin, but we are also not revoking God's Grace from good people because of the cirucmstance of calendars.  Perhaps I was  not clear before, I mean to say that God may give Eternal Life in the Grace of having received the Mysteries even just once, but that the once was enough for this change, where as having never received them at all makes it even more difficult.  

If you disagree with model, explain within your own how a person has to continually chase after Grace and crucify our Lord again and again? If folks can indeed lose the Grace of God from the Mysteries, then do good, Baptized, Communion receiving Christians risk the fires of Hell if they happen to die the Tuesday after receiving Sunday Communion but having inadvertedly sinned Monday without yet Confessing or Communing? See this is EXACTLY what many Roman Catholic theologians, both formal and lay, both the regal mindset and that of common parishioner, have incorporated into the concept of Last Rites. It is also why Catholics have even several overlapping Liturgies a day, where as in Orthodox (at least Ethiopian) we prefer to keep it to Sundays and big holidays, there is truly no need to have Liturgy too often, Grace is not a glib or rushing affair, Eternity has forever.  In this RC mindset, for some folks to not receive the Mysteries RIGHT before Death they risk losing Grace because of the potentiality of Sin, however the Ethiopian fathers disagree.  Much like the doctrines of "Faith of the Parents" which covers an infant before their Baptism proper, our fathers teach that the Eternal Grace of God is immutable from His perspective and prerogative.  He does indeed always have the power to take it way, but surely He also has to power to make it manifest forever.  So if folks pass away "in Sin", that is without Confession or recent Communion, none-the-less their last reception may count forever as much as their first. The key word is of course may, it is always up to God to grant Grace, however some theologians argue the opposite direction overemphasizing how much God might not and in regards to the Sanctifying powers of the Divine Mysteries at least the Ethiopian fathers prefer to give God the benefit of the doubt Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10
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