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BeeDeePee
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« on: January 12, 2012, 10:39:33 AM »

...do you participate in the Holy Eucharist?
In the first centuries, the Eucharist was in the center of life of every christian. It was a manner on which every of them confirmed that he is a member of the Body of Christ.
How about us today? Do we realize that, or the Liturgy is just 'one of the seven sacraments'?
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2012, 10:49:40 AM »

While I never feel worthy of receiving, I do try to receive every Sunday unless I feel I committed a particular sin that should keep me from communing.  If that's the case I go to confession.  Although sometimes I will wake up and be so tired and have to have coffee so I can pay attention during Liturgy; of course I don't receive then either. 
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2012, 10:52:24 AM »

...do you participate in the Holy Eucharist?
In the first centuries, the Eucharist was in the center of life of every christian. It was a manner on which every of them confirmed that he is a member of the Body of Christ.
How about us today? Do we realize that, or the Liturgy is just 'one of the seven sacraments'?

This really is a very personal question and varies from individual to individual.

St. Paul tells us that we are not to approach the Eucharist without examining ourselves first, and that those who do so without careful examination, bring judgment upon themselves. (1 Corinthians 11:28-29)

For some, their Spiritual Father may have told them not to receive the Eucharist for a while. For others, perhaps they are taking for granted the body and blood of Christ.

I really find it kind of rude to expect people to answer on a forum for the world to see how often they partake of the Eucharist.

Frankly, it's none of your business.
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2012, 12:29:31 PM »

...do you participate in the Holy Eucharist?
In the first centuries, the Eucharist was in the center of life of every christian. It was a manner on which every of them confirmed that he is a member of the Body of Christ.
How about us today? Do we realize that, or the Liturgy is just 'one of the seven sacraments'?

This really is a very personal question and varies from individual to individual.

St. Paul tells us that we are not to approach the Eucharist without examining ourselves first, and that those who do so without careful examination, bring judgment upon themselves. (1 Corinthians 11:28-29)

For some, their Spiritual Father may have told them not to receive the Eucharist for a while. For others, perhaps they are taking for granted the body and blood of Christ.

I really find it kind of rude to expect people to answer on a forum for the world to see how often they partake of the Eucharist.

Frankly, it's none of your business.

I know it is personal issue, but I don't mind to share it with other people. My intention is to talk about the Eucharist and its importance for our life in Christ, because I can see every day in my Church that the holy communion is neglected. Also, I think that the same situation you can see in other autocephalous Churches. For many people ascetism is everything. For them, eucharistic communion is irrelevant or even worthless. That's the point. We need to reassess our understanding of the Eucharist.
If someone doesn't want to to speak about his privacy-okay.
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2012, 01:19:18 PM »

My inconsistency with the Eucharist is not worthy of sharing, but as one who has attended a great variety of parishes due to relocating several times, I will share an observation. Shortly before I was received into the Greek Orthodox Church, I asked my priest why so few people communed regularly. He said most of his parishioners saw the Eucharist as something to only approach when one is fully prepared and that to overdo it would make it lose some of its importance (I paraphrase). Yet when I began attending a church in a different jurisdiction, practically everyone in attendance would line up for the Body and Blood on a weekly basis, and the priest urged me to do the same. So I think it is a very personal thing, between oneself and one's priest (and God, of course), and the general attitude towards participation in the Eucharist will vary from parish to parish and jurisdiction to jurisdiction as well.
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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2012, 01:28:27 PM »

I was brought up to believe one should receive Communion as often as possible, and if there is a sin which prevents you, then go to Confession. This was before I started to attend an Orthodox Church. However, if I am chrismated (God willing), I think I would like to do the same. The Lord feeds us physically and spiritually. I am so much in need of the grace of God, I had better go partake as much as I am able. Although I won't interfere with another person's decision, I hold to mine.
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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2012, 01:32:44 PM »

I know it is personal issue, but I don't mind to share it with other people. My intention is to talk about the Eucharist and its importance for our life in Christ, because I can see every day in my Church that the holy communion is neglected. Also, I think that the same situation you can see in other autocephalous Churches. For many people ascetism is everything. For them, eucharistic communion is irrelevant or even worthless. That's the point. We need to reassess our understanding of the Eucharist.
If someone doesn't want to to speak about his privacy-okay.


But have you spoken to individuals to come to this conclusion, or are you basing this strictly on observation?

There are many Greeks and Russians (in particular) who were taught and raised to only go to communion twice a year.

Others have been raised to go weekly.

Some were raised that you must go to confession the Saturday before receiving communion on Sunday.

Others were raised to go to confession during Lent, and communion whenever one has said the pre-communion prayers.

My point is that there are many variables that play into a person's communion habits, and your judgment shouldn't be one of them.
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« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2012, 01:50:28 PM »

Observation from a complete ignoramus on this issue but i would have thought there would be at least a minimum/maximum rule given the importance of what it means to receive it.

When i first considered what the Eucharist meant to Orthodox Christians, i wondered how many times a person had to receive it to benefit from its salvific effects. Wouldn't people need to receive it often?
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« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2012, 01:56:50 PM »

Observation from a complete ignoramus on this issue but i would have thought there would be at least a minimum/maximum rule given the importance of what it means to receive it.

Minimum: yearly, maximum: daily.
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« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2012, 01:57:26 PM »

Met. Saba (Esber) on Preparing for Communion

Some Words about Going up to Receive


Forty years ago, the predominate custom was for the faithful to go forward to partake of mystery of the Eucharist infrequently, since the predominate understanding said that one should only partake of the Eucharist a few times each year, such as on major feasts... In my childhood, I would hear the grown-ups say that the maximum permissible number of times that the faithful could partake of the holy things was once every forty days, while following a number of requirements.


They based this on man's being unworthy of this dreadful mystery. Without a doubt, for them this conviction stemmed from great honor given to the divine mystery and a realization of their own sins, which required the faithful to prepare with total sincerity in order to partake of the holy mystery. Since the faithful were not able to undertake this preparation continually, they refrained from approaching the holy chalice rather than approaching without having prepared as they should.


I remember that my grandmother would bathe on the Sunday in which she would receive the holy things, after having visited the homes of all her neighbors, asking their forgiveness if she had sinned against them. I likewise know a very faithful man who is not absent from the Divine Liturgy unless he is extremely ill and bedridden. He did not go up to partake at all during the time he practiced his career. His argument was that his job required him to lie constantly, since he worked in real estate. He was convinced that he was unworthy as long as he was going to go back and lie the next day.

In addition to what we have briefly mentioned is ignorance about the mystery of the Eucharist and its place in the life of the believer and his spiritual advancement, as well as ignorance about the concept of the Church and the communion of believers.

With the beginning of the revival that occurred within the See of Antioch after the middle of the twentieth century, the concept changed under the influence of the teaching and preaching of the clergy, especially those who studied theology in institutions of higher education. We came to witness a concern for partaking, and regularly approaching a regular feature among the faithful. However, we also came to witness great negligence in preparing for the great mystery on all levels, to the point that many of those who arrive at church very late approach the chalice without scruple. As for fasting, abstaining from food and drink before partaking, it was left by the wayside.


There is no doubt that the path of moving people from one practice to an opposite practice required the expenditure of enormous effort, but it unfortunately did not give the same importance to the issue of the necessary preparation and worthiness. Unfortunately, emphasis was put on the Church's proper understanding of frequent partaking without giving personal preparation the preaching, education, and effort that it deserves. The new teaching gave all concern to the theological side and to witness to the necessity of frequently partaking and not refraining from it, on the basis of Eucharistic theology and the texts of the divine liturgy themselves, which announce that the sacrifice has been undertaken for the sake of all those present. As for the life of repentance, it was ignored and this is what has brought us to a situation where we see thousands going forward to partake at every Divine Liturgy they attend, while the great majority of them do not practice the mystery of repentance and confession at all, not even once a year.


There is a great distinction between correct theoretical teaching and the pedagogical path that leads to living it in its fullness. Possessing intellectual knowledge of a given matter does not mean living that matter or having experience with it on an existential level. For me to know, for example, the Gospel's view of forgiveness does not mean that I have experience with that forgiveness. This is the case for all the other virtues. So I must be trained gradually in order to arrive at the level of Christian forgiveness.


The Importance of Education


Many of us have ignored or forgotten the importance of practical education. Here I recall that many have come to say that we are the children of God and that we are free in Christ, and this is a true teaching of the Gospel. But the result is that the love of God of which we speak has not led us to behave like His children. At the same time, fear of God has been banished from our hearts and no defense against sin remains that would prevent it from dominating us. This is why we witness today a decline in morals and a breakdown in homes.


The Apostle Paul says, "When I was a child I ate what was for children, but when I became an adult, I started to eat what is appropriate for adults." Ignoring this basic rule within the Church has led us to formalistic spiritual practices. We have come to talk about virtue, forgetting the difficult training that we must live daily in order to arrive at it.


In education there is a clear progression and no one possesses the virtues simply through theoretical knowledge of them. The life of repentance does not deviate from this rule, since it cannot be lived without it. Hence we must pay attention to the importance of preparing our souls and our bodies for total participation in the mystery of the Eucharist, but in the measure of our preparation and our personal life of repentance. This is something where there is no general rule that is applicable to all the faithful in all places and at all times. Here the mystery of repentance and confession serves for our spiritual progress. It is determined for each believer by a father confessor who has final say in guiding the believer as to when to approach to partake and when to refrain. At times the spiritual father may, in order to discipline the believer, resort to forbidding him from the mystery of the Eucharist, with the goal of raising his spiritual level. These matters cannot be defined in a general essay, but rather through personal confession and guidance, between the believer and the father confessor.


Between Worthiness and Preparedness


There is common a confusion between worthiness and preparedness. One who refrains from the holy chalice on the grounds of being unworthy confuses worthiness and preparedness. No human is worthy for God to dwell within him and to be united to Him. What human is completely pure and spotless and without sin? No human deserves this great grace. God's dwelling among us and within us is only because of his overwhelming mercy and his extreme love and his condescension which cannot be grasped by human reason. This is why there will never come a time when I will be worthy of this great grace, the Eucharist. No, and when I think that I have become worthy I have fallen greatly-- I have fallen pride, the mother of all evils.


As for preparedness, it is the work of preparing myself to receive the Lord. Just as one prepares to receive an important person into his home, by cleaning himself and his home, and by putting on appropriate clothes, so too the believer prepares to receive the Lord within his being. I go forward in the spirit of worthiness and with the conviction that I am a sinner and never worthy. But God's vast mercy causes us to go forward, relying upon Him. Because God is merciful to this degree, I require of myself the preparations that the Church has set down generally, and that my father confessor has set down for me personally. This is so that I do not slacken and take advantage of God's mercy, forgetting my obligation to strive for the salvation of my soul.


The Mystery of Confession and the Service of Preparation for Communion


On the basis of the Gospel's teaching, the Church has set down a number of things that help to prepare for partaking. There is the mystery of confession, the prayer before partaking, making peace with those with whom one has a dispute, and setting right the sins that one has committed, in addition to fasting and refraining from all food and drink from the midnight before the divine liturgy and participating in the divine liturgy from the beginning... Adhering to these teachings is required for approaching the honorable body and blood of the Lord.


The Apostle Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians, "One who has eaten the bread and drank from the cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." So what then should be done? The Apostle responds, "Let a man examine himself and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup" (1 Corinthians 11:27-29).


In some Antiochian churches in America, letters at the top of the first page of the Sunday handout in bold letters there is written a warning that a believer does not have permission to enter the nave of the Church if he arrives during or after the chanting of the trisagion (Holy God, Holy Mighty...) and thus does not have permission to partake. In a country where the faithful travel many miles in order to get to their church on Sunday morning, you constantly see people who arrive late for reasons beyond their control following the liturgy from the narthex, without giving excuses that may very well be valid. Why in the East do we not obey any teachings and create within ourselves superficial emotions of faith?


The Relationship between the Eucharist and Repentance and Confession


As for the relationship between the mysteries of the Eucharist and of repentance and confession, it is not a canonical relationship, but rather a living practical relationship. While some call for no approaching the Eucharist except after confession, some others do not see the necessity of making this connection canonically. For you to continually partake without ever confessing, this is something that is not permitted at all. For you to go for repentance and confession prior to every time you regularly partake, this is something that is not possible outside the life of the monastery. The best way remains for you to go to confession and the Eucharist according to the guidance of your spiritual father.


Do not forget to search your conscience well the night before the Divine Liturgy. This activity will put you on the right track and keep you from falling into a routine of partaking, and keep the flame of love for Christ burning within you.


Approach the divine mysteries with a broken heart, convinced that you are unworthy because you are a sinner. Rely completely on God's mercy, saying "Lord I am not worthy for you to enter into my home, but your expansive mercy compels me to approach you." Approach with fear of God, that fear that is found in lovers so that they do not lose their beloved. The fear of God keeps you in continual communion and closeness with Him. The prayer of preparation before communion says, "If you have resolved, O man, to eat the body of the master, approach with fear lest you be burned, because it is fire. And if you have resolved to drink the divine blood, first make amends with those who have grieved you. Then all mystical nourishment is assured."


Do not forget the words of the Apostle Paul, "He who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment unto himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason many among you are week and sick and many are asleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged" (1 Corinthians 11: 29-31).

"Kalimat fi al-Taqaddum min al-Munawala al-Muqaddasa" by Saba (Esber), Metropolitan of Bosra, Hawran, Jabal al-Arab and the Golan in Majallat al-Nour 67 no. 6, October 2011 pp. 300-303; translated by the blog "Notes on Arab Orthodoxy"
http://araborthodoxy.blogspot.com/2011/10/met-saba-esber-on-preparing-for.html
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« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2012, 01:58:04 PM »

Observation from a complete ignoramus on this issue but i would have thought there would be at least a minimum/maximum rule given the importance of what it means to receive it.

When i first considered what the Eucharist meant to Orthodox Christians, i wondered how many times a person had to receive it to benefit from its salvific effects. Wouldn't people need to receive it often?

A person could receive it once and instantly receive it's salvific effects. Many stories are out there about people being healed instantly upon receiving the Eucharist.

The Orthodox Church is not quick to dogmatize such matters. The Church is a Hospital for Sinners, our Spiritual Fathers are our physicians. Just as my doctor may tell me to take an asprin a day, and your doctor may tell you to only take asprin when you feel pain, so too the frequency of communion varies.

I don't like conversations such as this, as it treads on the relationship a person has with their Spiritual Father. Different people have different practices for different reasons.

I remember hearing stories of Greeks during the Turkish occupation having to travel hundreds of miles to be able to receive Holy Communion once their entire life. (Similarly, I remember hearing stories of people traveling great distances to have their loved ones buried by a priest, as Orthodoxy was oppressed during the 400 year rule of the Turks.)

When the Communists were at their worst in Russia, there were many stories of people having to hide and go to extremes to receive communion.

I know some elderly individuals who, although they attend Liturgy weekly, were raised to only receive communion at Christmas and Easter. Other people I know are in line every week.

Who are we to judge what is right or wrong for a person's soul?
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« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2012, 02:17:41 PM »

For many people ascetism is everything. For them, eucharistic communion is irrelevant or even worthless.

What a strange comment.  I seriously do not think there are "many" for whom "asceticism is everything."  For those who practice asceticism, or who prepare diligently for communion and receive infrequently, it is unthinkable to assume that for such "eucharistic communion is irrelevent or even worthless."  One is not necessarily better or worse off based on their frequency of communion alone, and to either praise or condemn frequency or infrequency as if one or the other is always good or bad is not spiritually beneficial and leads to judging others.  To stand in church and judge others is the easiest way to cut yourself off from the grace of God and to prepare for your own condemnation.  This is especially true if one thinks highly of themselves for their frequency or infrequency of communion while judging others who do differently. 

Communion is the body and blood of Christ, and as such it is inherently divine, holy, good, and deifying.  Yet, to partake of the deifying body and blood of the Lord is not necessarily good depending on the state of one's soul.  If infrequent communion has become problematic at your parish, I would say frequent communion without preparation is a problem at a parish near me where the priest insists that everyone communes every week, without ever encouraging people to come to confession and without any admonition regarding proper preparation.  We have to keep before us the Kolyvades fathers and their admonitions regarding frequent communion (including St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain, without ignoring his words concerning confession and penance as found in his Exomologetarion), but we also have to remember the many saints (St. Seraphim of Sarov, the Optina Elders, and many others) who lived at times and in monasteries where the practice was to commune only a few times each year.  The best course is to find a good and experienced spiritual father and prepare for, and partake of, communion as he instructs, without judging those who do differently.  Among the choir of glorified saints, there are those who communed frequently and those who did not.   
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« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2012, 06:48:45 PM »

Observation from a complete ignoramus on this issue but i would have thought there would be at least a minimum/maximum rule given the importance of what it means to receive it.

When i first considered what the Eucharist meant to Orthodox Christians, i wondered how many times a person had to receive it to benefit from its salvific effects. Wouldn't people need to receive it often?

A person could receive it once and instantly receive it's salvific effects. Many stories are out there about people being healed instantly upon receiving the Eucharist.

The Orthodox Church is not quick to dogmatize such matters. The Church is a Hospital for Sinners, our Spiritual Fathers are our physicians. Just as my doctor may tell me to take an asprin a day, and your doctor may tell you to only take asprin when you feel pain, so too the frequency of communion varies.

I don't like conversations such as this, as it treads on the relationship a person has with their Spiritual Father. Different people have different practices for different reasons.

I remember hearing stories of Greeks during the Turkish occupation having to travel hundreds of miles to be able to receive Holy Communion once their entire life. (Similarly, I remember hearing stories of people traveling great distances to have their loved ones buried by a priest, as Orthodoxy was oppressed during the 400 year rule of the Turks.)

When the Communists were at their worst in Russia, there were many stories of people having to hide and go to extremes to receive communion.

I know some elderly individuals who, although they attend Liturgy weekly, were raised to only receive communion at Christmas and Easter. Other people I know are in line every week.

Who are we to judge what is right or wrong for a person's soul?

If you don't like conversations like this, why are you commenting on it?  Frankly, I think you really overreacted to the OP's question as if they were asking you personally when they were not.
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2012, 12:46:36 PM »

If the Eucharist were merely a metaphorical symbol, then I suppose it could stop being intellectually stimulating from over-doing it. But it's not, and is a very real thing, and it is what it is regardless of my mood or mental/intellectual disposition. It is life-giving and good for us.

I am a believer in communing as frequently as possible. As long as I've prepared myself I receive every chance that I get.
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« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2012, 01:10:22 PM »

Quote
How often…
...do you participate in the Holy Eucharist?

I believe that I should “participate” whenever the opportunity is offered.


It is the whole purpose of the Church.

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« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2012, 01:26:05 PM »

I try to not make the decision myself on how often I receive.  I try my best, after each confession, to receive a blessing to receive or if the priest is uncomfortable giving blessings to receive the Eucharist, I ask his recommendation and go with that.  I think as human beings we are prone to distorted thoughts and understandings and I believe that it can lead one to think they are worthy every time the chalice is presented or that they are never worthy of partaking.  I mean of course NO ONE is worthy, but I hope you understand what I mean.  I think both can lead a person to a bad place and that is why I think frequent confession is essential, as the priest can better understand our state and make recommendations that are to our benefit. 
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« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2012, 01:56:32 PM »

If you don't like conversations like this, why are you commenting on it?  Frankly, I think you really overreacted to the OP's question as if they were asking you personally when they were not.

The OP asked "How often do you receive the Eucharist?"

I'm not sure how the universal "you" could respond to that, therefore it is a personal question.

I commented because I don't think voices of dissent should have to be silenced. Just because I don't agree with a conversation doesn't mean I should just passively let it go by.

I'm a member of the forum. I care about the discussions on the forum.

That's why I participate.
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« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2012, 02:06:36 PM »

Really. Take a deep breath.

~~~~~~~

I think this is a valid topic.

Why?

When I was newly received into the Greek Orthodox Church, upon carrying a candle and receiving Communion for my third time, I was accosted by a member of the parish who was extremely wealthy, an influential medical doctor, a member of the parish council, and a MASON.

This very arrogant and officious man told me that it was unhealthy and dangerous to receive Holy Communion because of the risk of contracting AIDS. When I told my priest about this comment, it became the topic of his next homily where he passionately told people to receive Holy Communion every Sunday unless they were living in sin (married outside the Orthodox Church) or had serious habitual sins which they needed to discuss with the Priest in the sacrament of Holy Confession.

Christ told us to eat in remembrance of Him, not to abstain.

So, yes, this topic is very important and needs to be addressed.


TO THE OP:

There are no silly questions, only stupid responses.
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« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2012, 02:43:53 PM »

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

...do you participate in the Holy Eucharist?
In the first centuries, the Eucharist was in the center of life of every christian. It was a manner on which every of them confirmed that he is a member of the Body of Christ.
How about us today? Do we realize that, or the Liturgy is just 'one of the seven sacraments'?

As often as God calls me for such. If I had my way, I would Commune every Sunday and at every Divine Liturgy, but that is not how life works.  Grace brings us to Repentance and brings us to the Chalice, not force of will or wishful thinking.  That being said, we let God bring us.

Ideally, all folks should Commune as frequently as possible.  Holy Communion should be the rightful center of every aspect of our lives, and if we have opportunities to celebrate Divine Liturgy and yet not Commune, this should ALWAYS be a perpetual moment of self-reflection and compunction, that we pray God reveal why we were not worthy, and that He bring us in His Grace to receive His Flesh and Blood despite our profound worthlessness.

Holy Communion is by definition a deeply personal, individual, and intimate moment.  We can't really look at others, we can only examine ourselves as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:23-28

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2012, 02:48:33 PM »

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

...do you participate in the Holy Eucharist?
In the first centuries, the Eucharist was in the center of life of every christian. It was a manner on which every of them confirmed that he is a member of the Body of Christ.
How about us today? Do we realize that, or the Liturgy is just 'one of the seven sacraments'?

As often as God calls me for such. If I had my way, I would Commune every Sunday and at every Divine Liturgy, but that is not how life works.  Grace brings us to Repentance and brings us to the Chalice, not force of will or wishful thinking.  That being said, we let God bring us.

Ideally, all folks should Commune as frequently as possible.  Holy Communion should be the rightful center of every aspect of our lives, and if we have opportunities to celebrate Divine Liturgy and yet not Commune, this should ALWAYS be a perpetual moment of self-reflection and compunction, that we pray God reveal why we were not worthy, and that He bring us in His Grace to receive His Flesh and Blood despite our profound worthlessness.

Holy Communion is by definition a deeply personal, individual, and intimate moment.  We can't really look at others, we can only examine ourselves as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:23-28

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Thank you. Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2012, 04:15:06 PM »

If you don't like conversations like this, why are you commenting on it?  Frankly, I think you really overreacted to the OP's question as if they were asking you personally when they were not.

The OP asked "How often do you receive the Eucharist?"

I'm not sure how the universal "you" could respond to that, therefore it is a personal question.

I commented because I don't think voices of dissent should have to be silenced. Just because I don't agree with a conversation doesn't mean I should just passively let it go by.

I'm a member of the forum. I care about the discussions on the forum.

That's why I participate.

wow...
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« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2012, 04:40:53 PM »

I have been wondering abt this myself.
Thought id get an answer in this thread but no such luck.
The answer seems to be "it depends"!

When i was a kid mom would take us to recieve abt...4-6x a yr.
Now i have been going to church every sunday (abt) and receiving comunion.
mom tells me thats not good, your not supposed to receive every time.
She said i should ask the Priest abt it. But its not nessesary i see all the people reciving every sunday.
making me wonder have they fasted?? Cause around Christmas the sunday fell on a day when people are feasting at home and i would bet they have not fasted.
BTW: for me fasting is not that hard i have not eaten meat for a very long time 30yrs at least. so fasting is easyer for me.
I guess times change-it used to be infrequent when i was a kid now its as often as possible.
i wonder if it has to do anything with old calander and new? I belive the old are much more strict, with fasting often?
What do the fathers on this forum say about it?
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« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2012, 04:51:32 PM »

I have been wondering abt this myself.
Thought id get an answer in this thread but no such luck.
The answer seems to be "it depends"!

When i was a kid mom would take us to recieve abt...4-6x a yr.
Now i have been going to church every sunday (abt) and receiving comunion.
mom tells me thats not good, your not supposed to receive every time.
She said i should ask the Priest abt it. But its not nessesary i see all the people reciving every sunday.
making me wonder have they fasted?? Cause around Christmas the sunday fell on a day when people are feasting at home and i would bet they have not fasted.
BTW: for me fasting is not that hard i have not eaten meat for a very long time 30yrs at least. so fasting is easyer for me.
I guess times change-it used to be infrequent when i was a kid now its as often as possible.
i wonder if it has to do anything with old calander and new? I belive the old are much more strict, with fasting often?
What do the fathers on this forum say about it?

You do realize that fasting for communion means abstaining from all food, not just meat?
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« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2012, 05:01:46 PM »

See here we go...people, ethnic, geographic,tradition, i belive do it diffrently.

Fasting for me (personaly) lasts a week, with varying degrees as sunday approaches.

For example:
Mon - wed = NO MEAT
Thur = NO FISH (and no meat)
Fri = NO EGG & DAIRY (and no fish or meat)
Sat = NO OIL (and no dairy, egg, meat, of fish) -this is the hardest day for me.
BTW: Sat night 6 p.m. until receiving, nothing goes in your stomach. I understand others do this at midnight,

I would be very interested to find out how others fast for communion?
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« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2012, 05:56:05 PM »

I think Haindmaiden interpreted your comment, Nikolaos, to mean that on Sunday morning you only fasted from meat before receiving.

Anyways, as to the comment that asceticism means you don't care about the Eucharist: nothing could be further from the truth.  There are countless stories of saints who received very frequently, even every day, and yet were very extreme ascetics.  Take, for example, Fr. Michael the Recluse of New Valaam (who I consider a saint) who served the Divine Liturgy every day - usually by himself, in his cell - and yet was quite the ascetic.  His asceticism certainly didn't lead him to stop caring about the Body and Blood of Christ.  Or what of St. Paul?  I'm certain he communed quite frequently, and I would be highly suspicious of anyone claiming he wasn't an ascetic.
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« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2012, 05:59:47 PM »

I have been wondering abt this myself.
Thought id get an answer in this thread but no such luck.
The answer seems to be "it depends"!

When i was a kid mom would take us to recieve abt...4-6x a yr.
Now i have been going to church every sunday (abt) and receiving comunion.
mom tells me thats not good, your not supposed to receive every time.
She said i should ask the Priest abt it. But its not nessesary i see all the people reciving every sunday.
making me wonder have they fasted?? Cause around Christmas the sunday fell on a day when people are feasting at home and i would bet they have not fasted.
BTW: for me fasting is not that hard i have not eaten meat for a very long time 30yrs at least. so fasting is easyer for me.
I guess times change-it used to be infrequent when i was a kid now its as often as possible.
i wonder if it has to do anything with old calander and new? I belive the old are much more strict, with fasting often?
What do the fathers on this forum say about it?

You do realize that fasting for communion means abstaining from all food, not just meat?

If a person is sick, or a woman is pregnant or nursing, then they are exempted from the fast.

It is important to seek the advice of a priest regarding fasting.
This is what our Greek Orthodox Priest stated:
Under the Ottoman Empire in Greece, Yiayias imposed very stringent fasting protocols on their families because communion was only distributed 1 to 4 times a year. A visiting priestmonk or bishop would only come once a year to hear confessions as there was a lack of seminary trained priests, and the priests who celebrated the weekly Divine Liturgy were not seminary-educated so they could not hear confessions or preach sermons.

As a result, during that week just before receiving Holy Confession and Holy Communion, the people would fast as if they were in Great Lent.

The priest explained that even though yiayias continue to preach this fasting protocol, it has no basis in fact today.
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« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2012, 06:01:58 PM »

See here we go...people, ethnic, geographic,tradition, i belive do it diffrently.

Fasting for me (personaly) lasts a week, with varying degrees as sunday approaches.

For example:
Mon - wed = NO MEAT
Thur = NO FISH (and no meat)
Fri = NO EGG & DAIRY (and no fish or meat)
Sat = NO OIL (and no dairy, egg, meat, of fish) -this is the hardest day for me.
BTW: Sat night 6 p.m. until receiving, nothing goes in your stomach. I understand others do this at midnight,

I would be very interested to find out how others fast for communion?

Our priest told us that the above regime is the yiayia fasting protocol that was (past tense) followed during the days of the Ottman Empire. It is definitely more strict than the Mt. Athos fasting protocol.
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« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2012, 06:19:00 PM »

I know it is personal issue, but I don't mind to share it with other people. My intention is to talk about the Eucharist and its importance for our life in Christ, because I can see every day in my Church that the holy communion is neglected. Also, I think that the same situation you can see in other autocephalous Churches. For many people ascetism is everything. For them, eucharistic communion is irrelevant or even worthless. That's the point. We need to reassess our understanding of the Eucharist.
If someone doesn't want to to speak about his privacy-okay.


But have you spoken to individuals to come to this conclusion, or are you basing this strictly on observation?

There are many Greeks and Russians (in particular) who were taught and raised to only go to communion twice a year.

Others have been raised to go weekly.

Some were raised that you must go to confession the Saturday before receiving communion on Sunday.

Others were raised to go to confession during Lent, and communion whenever one has said the pre-communion prayers.

My point is that there are many variables that play into a person's communion habits, and your judgment shouldn't be one of them.

Perhaps the teachings were erroneous (to paraphrase Father Alexander Schmemann)? Did you know for example that the ROC, prior to the re-establishment of the Patriarchate, required each and every civil servant (Orthodox or Heterodox, Christian or Jew/Muslim) etc..) to take communion at least once a year? Do you think that this practice is something we should now emulate because it was another variable after all? I do not think that the OP was prying or judging but trying to advance his POV that regular communion is a good thing.
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« Reply #28 on: January 20, 2012, 06:20:42 PM »

See here we go...people, ethnic, geographic,tradition, i belive do it diffrently.

Fasting for me (personaly) lasts a week, with varying degrees as sunday approaches.

For example:
Mon - wed = NO MEAT
Thur = NO FISH (and no meat)
Fri = NO EGG & DAIRY (and no fish or meat)
Sat = NO OIL (and no dairy, egg, meat, of fish) -this is the hardest day for me.
BTW: Sat night 6 p.m. until receiving, nothing goes in your stomach. I understand others do this at midnight,

I would be very interested to find out how others fast for communion?

Do you know if your bishop and your priest prepare themselves the same way?
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« Reply #29 on: January 20, 2012, 06:33:56 PM »

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

...do you participate in the Holy Eucharist?
In the first centuries, the Eucharist was in the center of life of every christian. It was a manner on which every of them confirmed that he is a member of the Body of Christ.
How about us today? Do we realize that, or the Liturgy is just 'one of the seven sacraments'?

As often as God calls me for such. If I had my way, I would Commune every Sunday and at every Divine Liturgy, but that is not how life works.  Grace brings us to Repentance and brings us to the Chalice, not force of will or wishful thinking.  That being said, we let God bring us.

Ideally, all folks should Commune as frequently as possible.  Holy Communion should be the rightful center of every aspect of our lives, and if we have opportunities to celebrate Divine Liturgy and yet not Commune, this should ALWAYS be a perpetual moment of self-reflection and compunction, that we pray God reveal why we were not worthy, and that He bring us in His Grace to receive His Flesh and Blood despite our profound worthlessness.

Holy Communion is by definition a deeply personal, individual, and intimate moment.  We can't really look at others, we can only examine ourselves as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:23-28

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Once again, we face the dilemma of how to reconcile the objective and the subjective. You are right of course in the subjective realm. But, we are also called to guard and pass on the deposit of faith--not just the ordained members of the Royal Priesthood. Objectively, the practice of communion for the clergy and the laity has diverged to the point of creating two classes of Orthodox Christians. One is required to prepare himself by regularly attending Church, having a regular prayer life, observing the fast days, confessing regularly, and not eating or drinking anything from Midnight Sunday until communion. I am talking about our bishops and priests, who like any of us are unworthy to partake. But, in some of our churches the custom has arisen whereby there is a class of Orthodox who are so much more unworthy that they must undergo extra preparation--to the point that the extraordinary difficulty of the preparation has given rise to very infrequent communion. This practice is wrong objectively. But, I would not dare to personally judge the piety of anyone who is worshiping under this regime.
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« Reply #30 on: January 20, 2012, 06:44:49 PM »

i have studied a bit about the history of liturgy (in all churches) and it seems that in most of the churches of the 200AD to 1100AD period, communion was very frequent. i haven't read enough documents about the 0-100AD period (there aren't many anyway) to comment on that, but it seems most early churches encouraged most people to commune once a week.

then around the time of the catholic/EO schism, both parts of the church were emphasizing the solemnity of the mass and the holiness of Holy Communion much more, and emphasizing the need for regular repentance, confession and communion much less, so very gradually less and less people came for regular communion.
at some times, only the clergy would commune.
there seems to be enough evidence that the original practice was regular communion to suggest that infrequent communion was related to the church being more lofty and distant from the people (and perhaps also related to the church being closer to the state, though this is just my own opinion)

in the coptic church, roughly 80 - 90% people in the church go up for Holy Communion every week, and looking into the church's own history books, it seems this was always the case (the 10 - 20% who don't receive are the usually the women menstruating and a few occasional men).

it is interesting to me that the antiochian church is the EO that encourages the most frequent communing, and this church is closer culturally to the syriac orthodox and other oriental orthodox churches than it is to the greek or russian.
i think frequent communion is a good way to keep ourselves and our spiritual lives on track.
maybe it will also keep us safely away from bad jobs in real estate (in the example above).
 Wink
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« Reply #31 on: January 20, 2012, 07:25:22 PM »

See here we go...people, ethnic, geographic,tradition, i belive do it diffrently.

Fasting for me (personaly) lasts a week, with varying degrees as sunday approaches.

For example:
Mon - wed = NO MEAT
Thur = NO FISH (and no meat)
Fri = NO EGG & DAIRY (and no fish or meat)
Sat = NO OIL (and no dairy, egg, meat, of fish) -this is the hardest day for me.
BTW: Sat night 6 p.m. until receiving, nothing goes in your stomach. I understand others do this at midnight,

I would be very interested to find out how others fast for communion?

Our priest told us that the above regime is the yiayia fasting protocol that was (past tense) followed during the days of the Ottman Empire. It is definitely more strict than the Mt. Athos fasting protocol.


WHAT!!!

Are you all saying what im doing is not necessary?

ok so i understand correctly, then when you guys say that you fast from midnight, you mean that you eat no food from mid night Saturday until you receive comunion?

So basically the fast is from saturday midnight until you go to church and receive comunion on sunday morning.

If thats the case~THEN~~~I demand a refund/credit for what i have been doing all my life!

Waaaaaa Cry
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« Reply #32 on: January 20, 2012, 08:15:27 PM »

i have studied a bit about the history of liturgy (in all churches) and it seems that in most of the churches of the 200AD to 1100AD period, communion was very frequent. i haven't read enough documents about the 0-100AD period (there aren't many anyway) to comment on that, but it seems most early churches encouraged most people to commune once a week.

I recently read a brief biography of St. Basil the Great (written by an Eastern Catholic bishop of some rank or another, who I believe fell asleep in the last twenty years) and I recall a passage where it quotes St. Basil as saying that, in his churches, the faithful communed four times a week, when able.
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« Reply #33 on: January 20, 2012, 08:22:42 PM »

There have been massive changes in the last few years...

When I was a young monk in Serbia Yugoslavia in the 1970s we were permitted to go to Communion a maximum of three or four times a year.

Now monks in Serbia are receiving Communion three times a week!

The laity, for the most part, commune once or twice a year.
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« Reply #34 on: January 20, 2012, 09:10:54 PM »

There have been massive changes in the last few years...

When I was a young monk in Serbia Yugoslavia in the 1970s we were permitted to go to Communion a maximum of three or four times a year.

Now monks in Serbia are receiving Communion three times a week!

The laity, for the most part, commune once or twice a year.

Do you have any opinions on the changes, that you are willing to share?
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« Reply #35 on: January 20, 2012, 09:18:01 PM »

There have been massive changes in the last few years...

When I was a young monk in Serbia Yugoslavia in the 1970s we were permitted to go to Communion a maximum of three or four times a year.

Now monks in Serbia are receiving Communion three times a week!

The laity, for the most part, commune once or twice a year.

Do you have any opinions on the changes, that you are willing to share?

I believe that cannot be given a simple answer.  They say that comparisons are odious, but from experience I can say that the grannies and elderly men in the parish who receive Communion only a few times a year and with intensive preparation seem to have many of the fruits and signs of an advanced spiritual life, more so than the younger people (mainly converts) who want Communion much more frequently.   

It is this kind of practical and hands-on experience which makes me draw back from demanding frequent Communion for all (although it was, I have to admit, a frequent topic of my sermons when I was a young priest!)

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19491.msg289911.html#msg289911
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« Reply #36 on: January 21, 2012, 01:07:32 AM »


Do you have any opinions on the changes, that you are willing to share?

I believe that cannot be given a simple answer.  They say that comparisons are odious, but from experience I can say that the grannies and elderly men in the parish who receive Communion only a few times a year and with intensive preparation seem to have many of the fruits and signs of an advanced spiritual life, more so than the younger people (mainly converts) who want Communion much more frequently.   

It is this kind of practical and hands-on experience which makes me draw back from demanding frequent Communion for all (although it was, I have to admit, a frequent topic of my sermons when I was a young priest!)

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19491.msg289911.html#msg289911

Agreed. The story of St. Mary of Egypt comes to mind. She lived alone in the desert with God for 30 years or so, but did not receive Holy Communion until just before she died. Yet, she grew in theosis.

Then there are the stories of the Neo-Martyrs of Russia who were persecuted. imprisoned, and put to death without any opportunity to receive Holy Communion, yet they persevered in the Holy Faith.

What really matters is the quality of our lives in Christ, not how many times we receive Holy Communion. Someone wrote that we can be physically present at the Divine Liturgy, but spiritually far away because of our lack of attentiveness.
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« Reply #37 on: January 21, 2012, 01:24:10 AM »

...do you participate in the Holy Eucharist?
In the first centuries, the Eucharist was in the center of life of every christian. It was a manner on which every of them confirmed that he is a member of the Body of Christ.
How about us today? Do we realize that, or the Liturgy is just 'one of the seven sacraments'?

most sundays...
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« Reply #38 on: January 21, 2012, 01:25:50 AM »

See here we go...people, ethnic, geographic,tradition, i belive do it diffrently.

Fasting for me (personaly) lasts a week, with varying degrees as sunday approaches.

For example:
Mon - wed = NO MEAT
Thur = NO FISH (and no meat)
Fri = NO EGG & DAIRY (and no fish or meat)
Sat = NO OIL (and no dairy, egg, meat, of fish) -this is the hardest day for me.
BTW: Sat night 6 p.m. until receiving, nothing goes in your stomach. I understand others do this at midnight,

I would be very interested to find out how others fast for communion?

do you live in a monastery?
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« Reply #39 on: January 21, 2012, 01:36:40 AM »

this is so enlightening.

We/I just cant get over the fact that the "Greek orthodox archdioces of america" recommends on its web site...

and i qote "On the morning before going to the Divine Liturgy to receive Communion we do not eat or drink anything"

So all nowa days that is asked it to "not eat breakfast"!<<<<--This is not fasting!

Thats like going to the docdor to have a blood test?!?!?!?

Its very sad actually.

I think i hijacked this thread too much, sorry. i will start a new one after i read the link to another thread provided by Irish hermit.

Just cant get over how our church had deteriorated.

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« Reply #40 on: January 21, 2012, 01:40:03 AM »

this is so enlightening.

We/I just cant get over the fact that the "Greek orthodox archdioces of america" recommends on its web site...

and i qote "On the morning before going to the Divine Liturgy to receive Communion we do not eat or drink anything"

So all nowa days that is asked it to "not eat breakfast"!<<<<--This is not fasting!

Its very sad actually.

I think i hijacked this thread too much, sorry. i will start a new one after i read the link to another thread provided by Irish hermit.

Just cant get over how our church had deteriorated.



i heard its midnight at the latest to stop eating...
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« Reply #41 on: January 21, 2012, 01:45:29 AM »

this is so enlightening.

We/I just cant get over the fact that the "Greek orthodox archdioces of america" recommends on its web site...

and i qote "On the morning before going to the Divine Liturgy to receive Communion we do not eat or drink anything"

So all nowa days that is asked it to "not eat breakfast"!<<<<--This is not fasting!

Its very sad actually.

I think i hijacked this thread too much, sorry. i will start a new one after i read the link to another thread provided by Irish hermit.

Just cant get over how our church had deteriorated.



Not eating breakfast is part of the midnight fast.

However, many priests do recommend that one should fast from Great Vespers on Saturday night in preparation for Holy Communion. Yet, many parishes no longer have Great Vespers, and this is truly sad because it is a great preparation for Holy Communion.

Perhaps more important than fasting are the communion prayers (Communion Canon) as we should be praying and fasting. Some priests recommend that we pray the Akathist to the Sweetest Jesus as part of the Communion Canon in preparation for receiving Holy Communion.
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« Reply #42 on: January 21, 2012, 02:01:11 AM »

God bless and watch over all.

I dont want to make anyone feel bad because of this.

If your Priest/GOAA tells you thats how you do it, then you are faitfully doing what you have been told.

And its on the priests head if they told you or me wrong.

Im think om going to comment an this further on a new thread but i will say i see what the Priests/goaa are thinking...get them in church and make Orthodoxy as easy as possible.

I will just close with this thought.

Fasting is about sacrafice feeling the trials the fathers and saints (death,beheading,fire,torture) went through.
Its one way we show our dedication and faith to God.

Bless you all
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mabsoota
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Kyrie eleison


« Reply #43 on: January 21, 2012, 09:56:05 AM »

hi nikolaos the servant,
i think God will give u a very good 'refund' in the life to come.
 Smiley

i think one of the problems here is that people study the last 100 years only of their church's history, and then think that the church's practice in the recent past was the 'original' practice.

in our church, strictly speaking, in order to take Holy Communion, you should not only fast from all food and drink sunday morning, but also partake of all the other fasts, which are vegan lent (8 weeks), ninevah's (jonah's) fast and wednesdays and fridays, abstaining from all food and drink till 3pm if u are able, also vegan plus fish during saint mary's fast and the apostle's fast, with abstaining from all food and drink till 12 noon if u are able. some people don't manage all the fasting, but very many do, and still the majority take Holy Communion.

so i don't think we really get off lightly, but having studied the church's history, i think it's good to have a balance between being so scared of the holy things that we keep away (risking less spiritual struggle 'because it's to hard anyway') and treating them so casually that we go and commit sin and then come to church thinking it doesn't matter coz God will forgive us anyway in the end.

anyway it's an interesting discussion, so please send a pm if u start a new thread for it and i don't see it.
God bless u and reward u.
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JamesRottnek
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I am Bibleman; putting 'the' back in the Ukraine


« Reply #44 on: January 21, 2012, 05:28:49 PM »

What is Nineveh's Fast?
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