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Author Topic: Communion in the Syriac Church  (Read 2000 times) Average Rating: 5
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Severian
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« on: October 08, 2011, 11:21:21 PM »

How does one commune in the Syriac Church? Is the Holy body separated from the Holy blood, like in the Coptic tradition? Or are they mixed like in the EO Churches? How does one approach the Holy Eucharist in the Syriac Church?

In the Coptic Tradition, a Deacon or another Server will hand the communicant a napkin and the Priest places the Body in the communicant's mouth where the communicant places the napkin over his/her mouth until the body is consumed. The communicant will then approach the chalice where he sips the spoon containing the blood, he will then go off to receive the water after communing.

How does one partake of the Eucharist in the Syrian Church?
« Last Edit: October 08, 2011, 11:23:12 PM by Severian » Logged

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Severian
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2011, 10:01:06 AM »

--bump--
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Jonathan
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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2011, 02:55:18 PM »

Are you sure that is *the* Coptic tradition and not just one way it's done in the churches?

The tradition I'm familiar with is an old man shoves a cloth at you, another rips it from your hands moments after the priest places the Body in your mouth and shoves you out to keep the line moving, and then a third scolds you for not having the cloth held to your mouth until you finished swallowing...A very spiritual exercise devised by the holy fathers to instruct us in patience and long-suffering.

In all seriousness though, this tradition is interesting because of it's origin. In the first centuries in the Coptic Church, Communion was received in the hand. The cloths originated out of respect, with the communicant placing the cloth over the hand (with the left hand cupped behind the right hand), the priest placing the Body on the cloth in the hand, and the Communicant reverently lifted the Body to their mouth. People were also advised to place their finger on their lips while still moist from receiving the Blood and anoint the eyes with it. Practices that are certainly not allowed today.

Today the priest places the Body in the mouth (obviously the change came about do to abuses), and the person places the cloth over the mouth. The story has originated that this is to prevent any particle from falling. But this is just a story. It is quite unnecessary to hold a cloth over one's mouth to keep food from falling out, we do it at every meal. In fact, if we really though the cloth was being used to hold the Body in we would treat it with much more respect and have the priest wash it and dispose properly of the water in a garden or by drinking since it would have touched the Body. No, the cloth is just a very long-living hold-over from the more ancient practice, an echo of receiving Communion in the had that has lasted for all these centuries.

When the priests commune, they do not hold cloths over their mouth (since they touch the Body with their hand, and don't need to place a cloth over it to receive in the hand). It is not necessary to use a cloth. It is not required in any canon or rubric. It is just a pious custom, a I wish it were regarded as such rather than being regarded as a core tenant of Coptic Tradition.

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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2011, 08:47:06 PM »

Are you sure that is *the* Coptic tradition and not just one way it's done in the churches?

The tradition I'm familiar with is an old man shoves a cloth at you, another rips it from your hands moments after the priest places the Body in your mouth and shoves you out to keep the line moving, and then a third scolds you for not having the cloth held to your mouth until you finished swallowing...A very spiritual exercise devised by the holy fathers to instruct us in patience and long-suffering.
LOL.
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Severian
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« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2011, 08:49:24 PM »

^Interestingly enough, I experience the very same tradition in my own parish.
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Shanghaiski
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« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2011, 11:45:31 PM »

Are there two priests? Does a deacon hold the chalice? Does the priest juggle both? I've only received sans spoon in a Western Rite church and I think the priest had a special way of holding the chalice and patten. We received by the priest dipping the body into the blood and putting it on our tongues.
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« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2011, 09:41:30 AM »

Are there two priests? Does a deacon hold the chalice? Does the priest juggle both? I've only received sans spoon in a Western Rite church and I think the priest had a special way of holding the chalice and patten. We received by the priest dipping the body into the blood and putting it on our tongues.

If there is one priest, He first gives the Body to the "deacons", then the men, then the women, then gives the Blood in the same order.

If there are two priests (or a priest and a real deacon, not just someone who thinks he's a deacon), one gives the Body and the other stands a little ways off and gives the Blood immediately afterwards.

If there are three, one gives the Body on the men's side, another gives the Body in on the women's side, and the third can stand in the middle and give the Blood to both.

If there are four, the Body and Blood may be given at the same time on each side.
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Severian
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« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2011, 08:00:10 PM »

How does one partake of the Eucharist in the Syrian Church?
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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2011, 09:31:36 PM »

How does one partake of the Eucharist in the Syrian Church?


During the fraction the priest breaks the Body of Christ into particles and then carefully intincts them on the paten with the Blood of Christ using a golden spoon. At communion time the Holy Body and Blood are thus placed in the mouth of the communicants by the hand of the priest.

If full deacons are present they receive the Body and Blood together on the spoon, as do the priests. Everyone else receives in the manner described above.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2011, 09:34:41 PM by Brigidsboy » Logged

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Severian
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« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2011, 08:36:49 PM »

^Thank you very much. Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2011, 12:01:45 AM »

so does that mean the syriacs receive communion in the same way as the copts?
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Andrew Crook
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« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2011, 12:36:58 AM »

Are you sure that is *the* Coptic tradition and not just one way it's done in the churches?

The tradition I'm familiar with is an old man shoves a cloth at you, another rips it from your hands moments after the priest places the Body in your mouth and shoves you out to keep the line moving, and then a third scolds you for not having the cloth held to your mouth until you finished swallowing...A very spiritual exercise devised by the holy fathers to instruct us in patience and long-suffering.


ROFL!   Cheesy Cheesy laugh laugh
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« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2011, 12:38:23 AM »

jonathan,
interesting account  Grin
was that in egypt?
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« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2011, 01:55:58 AM »

so does that mean the syriacs receive communion in the same way as the copts?


No. The Syriac Orthodox receive the Body and Blood together. In the Coptic Church they are given separately.
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« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2011, 02:03:25 AM »

can someone outline the significance of this difference, or the historical reasons behind it?
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« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2011, 02:19:42 AM »

can someone outline the significance of this difference, or the historical reasons behind it?


For that information I think you would need to ask a liturgical historian. I am reporting actual practices. It is not always clear why they have developed into what we find today.
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« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2011, 09:10:13 AM »

can someone outline the significance of this difference, or the historical reasons behind it?


I don't know the details of the difference, but in many cases the Coptic Church exhibits more primitive practices. One explanation is that due to early and persisted persecution and separation from the rest of Christianity, the Copts clung more closely to old ways and allowed less change over time. So while most other churches moved to intinction to save time, the Coptic Church just never has. There are some exceptions though: when Communion is taken to the sick for example.
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Severian
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« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2012, 08:31:05 PM »

NVM!
« Last Edit: August 06, 2012, 08:40:47 PM by Severian » Logged

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -Jesus Christ

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