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mike
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« on: February 09, 2012, 09:29:27 AM »

When is it done in your place. Is it centrally set or more flexible?

In Poland it is generally the age of 7, prior to the moment when children start elementary school (usually August - because school starts in September).
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2012, 03:58:41 PM »

When is it done in your place. Is it centrally set or more flexible?

In Poland it is generally the age of 7, prior to the moment when children start elementary school (usually August - because school starts in September).

We have followed the old time Roman custom of age 7, which is second grade in our elementary school system terminology. In my parish it has always been St. Thomas Sunday, don't know why - it does vary from parish to parish, but St. Thomas Sunday seems to be the most common.
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2012, 04:14:15 PM »

Now you are talking about something I have experience with!

Smiley

We also have the child's first Holy Confession at age 7.  The age is NOT set in stone.  If the parents feel their child is not mature enough...then we wait.  I've had them as old as 12.  There's no real age limit, but, usually not younger than 7...because they won't understand right from wrong, yet.

We usually have their First Confession on Palm Sunday.  The girls usually dress in white...but, not over the top...no veils, tiaras, etc.  The boys also dress in suits.  I have them hold the candles during the reading of the Gospel and the boys during the Great Entrance....it makes them feel extra special.

I also get them pretty white corsages/boutonnieres.  

After Divine Liturgy the priest hands them the certificates I print off, which he has signed and an icon of Christ the Good Shepherd.

Three weeks prior to this, we hold classes after Divine Liturgy.  I provide them the booklets I made which I hope the parents review with them, as 3 hours is hardly enough time.  We go over the importance of Confession, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, etc.

Over the years I've figured out how to make the biggest impact on them concerning sins and Confession.

In class I hand them tiny slivers of paper and have them sit and think of any sins they have committed and write them down.  I promise that nobody is going to see them, and they need to be honest.  Once the kids are done (and some have asked for more paper)....I have them put their little sins on a pretty little paper plate I gave them....then we go to church.

We've already walked through the "steps" in class.....but, now I stand in for the priest...and they come up for confession.  I tell them to place their plate next to the Bible, so that their hands are free to place on the Bible, etc.  They bend their heads so they can hear what Father will be telling them (but, they just pretend with me...and don't tell me anything)...most end up shutting their eyes.  I put my hand on their head and tell them Father will do likewise with his stole and not to get scared...at which point I grab the plate and sweep the little papers off into a bag I have on the side.  When the child finishes and leaves, I make sure to call them to remind them to take their plate and boy are they surprised to find their "sins" are gone....and their plate is empty and clean.

Works like a charm.

« Last Edit: February 09, 2012, 04:14:45 PM by LizaSymonenko » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2012, 04:33:39 PM »

Now you are talking about something I have experience with!

Smiley

We also have the child's first Holy Confession at age 7.  The age is NOT set in stone.  If the parents feel their child is not mature enough...then we wait.  I've had them as old as 12.  There's no real age limit, but, usually not younger than 7...because they won't understand right from wrong, yet.

We usually have their First Confession on Palm Sunday.  The girls usually dress in white...but, not over the top...no veils, tiaras, etc.  The boys also dress in suits.  I have them hold the candles during the reading of the Gospel and the boys during the Great Entrance....it makes them feel extra special.

I also get them pretty white corsages/boutonnieres.  

After Divine Liturgy the priest hands them the certificates I print off, which he has signed and an icon of Christ the Good Shepherd.

Three weeks prior to this, we hold classes after Divine Liturgy.  I provide them the booklets I made which I hope the parents review with them, as 3 hours is hardly enough time.  We go over the importance of Confession, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, etc.

Over the years I've figured out how to make the biggest impact on them concerning sins and Confession.

In class I hand them tiny slivers of paper and have them sit and think of any sins they have committed and write them down.  I promise that nobody is going to see them, and they need to be honest.  Once the kids are done (and some have asked for more paper)....I have them put their little sins on a pretty little paper plate I gave them....then we go to church.

We've already walked through the "steps" in class.....but, now I stand in for the priest...and they come up for confession.  I tell them to place their plate next to the Bible, so that their hands are free to place on the Bible, etc.  They bend their heads so they can hear what Father will be telling them (but, they just pretend with me...and don't tell me anything)...most end up shutting their eyes.  I put my hand on their head and tell them Father will do likewise with his stole and not to get scared...at which point I grab the plate and sweep the little papers off into a bag I have on the side.  When the child finishes and leaves, I make sure to call them to remind them to take their plate and boy are they surprised to find their "sins" are gone....and their plate is empty and clean.

Works like a charm.



The more you post over the years, the sillier the endless arguments men like our grandparents had about who was what and "you are right and I am wrong" or " you are not from there, you are really from here" seem sillier and smaller. A lot of passion was wasted by them on foolish things.

We need to be careful today not to repeat the same over items that many here get unduly worked up about - like pews or beards just to name a few. They get a big 'whatever' in the 'big picture'.....
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2012, 04:48:07 PM »

Is the age of seven  set on the jurisdictional level, diocesan level, parish level? Are there any parishes that have it sooner /  later?

We have followed the old time Roman custom of age 7

Old time Roman custom?
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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2012, 04:52:00 PM »

Is the age of seven  set on the jurisdictional level, diocesan level, parish level? Are there any parishes that have it sooner /  later?

We have followed the old time Roman custom of age 7

Old time Roman custom?

Age seven being equated with the age of reason in the west, it is the customary age for Roman Catholic children to receive First Holy Communion. As former Greek Catholics become Orthodox,  'first communion' became superfluous and the custom of First Confession supplanted the ceremonial aspects of First Holy Communion. Hence, age seven was generally retained. In the US, even many of the Greek Catholics have transitioned away from First Communion to First Confession in recent years as well.
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« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2012, 04:56:46 PM »

it is the customary age for Roman Catholic children to receive First Holy Communion.

It's 9 in Poland.
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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2012, 04:59:45 PM »

it is the customary age for Roman Catholic children to receive First Holy Communion.

It's 9 in Poland.

Seven in the states, but then we do have a tendency to be self-absorbed over here!  Smiley Wink
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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2012, 05:15:51 PM »

Now you are talking about something I have experience with!

Smiley

We also have the child's first Holy Confession at age 7.  The age is NOT set in stone.  If the parents feel their child is not mature enough...then we wait.  I've had them as old as 12.  There's no real age limit, but, usually not younger than 7...because they won't understand right from wrong, yet.

We usually have their First Confession on Palm Sunday.  The girls usually dress in white...but, not over the top...no veils, tiaras, etc.  The boys also dress in suits.  I have them hold the candles during the reading of the Gospel and the boys during the Great Entrance....it makes them feel extra special.

I also get them pretty white corsages/boutonnieres.  

After Divine Liturgy the priest hands them the certificates I print off, which he has signed and an icon of Christ the Good Shepherd.

Three weeks prior to this, we hold classes after Divine Liturgy.  I provide them the booklets I made which I hope the parents review with them, as 3 hours is hardly enough time.  We go over the importance of Confession, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, etc.

Over the years I've figured out how to make the biggest impact on them concerning sins and Confession.

In class I hand them tiny slivers of paper and have them sit and think of any sins they have committed and write them down.  I promise that nobody is going to see them, and they need to be honest.  Once the kids are done (and some have asked for more paper)....I have them put their little sins on a pretty little paper plate I gave them....then we go to church.

We've already walked through the "steps" in class.....but, now I stand in for the priest...and they come up for confession.  I tell them to place their plate next to the Bible, so that their hands are free to place on the Bible, etc.  They bend their heads so they can hear what Father will be telling them (but, they just pretend with me...and don't tell me anything)...most end up shutting their eyes.  I put my hand on their head and tell them Father will do likewise with his stole and not to get scared...at which point I grab the plate and sweep the little papers off into a bag I have on the side.  When the child finishes and leaves, I make sure to call them to remind them to take their plate and boy are they surprised to find their "sins" are gone....and their plate is empty and clean.

Works like a charm.


Clever girl, as the Aussies say.

Around the time my sons first were going, we saw "Ghost Rider" with the Penitent Stare:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jsz2C30Ucms
I told them that when they went to confession and received absolution, the Penitent Stare would have no effect as there was nothing left.
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« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2012, 06:24:26 PM »

I have heard many Greek Orthodox Priests say that they hear the First Confessions of children as young as THREE YEARS OLD.
On Lazarus Saturday, the children will usually gather in the Church to make their First Holy Confession. Many times, I have seen three, four, and five year old children present in the line awaiting their turn. They do not look sad, but are experiencing joyful sorrow.

If the parents and/or godparents and the Priest believe that the child is repentant and is able to distinguish right from wrong, then the Priest will hear that child's confession and grant them absolution. This does not mean that the child is fully aware of all his actions: right and wrong. No, Priests have told us during Bible Study that these children who are granted the privilege of early confession are able to grow spiritually much faster. In fact, several priests have told us that their grandmothers are the ones who took them to their priests. These priest have shared that it was this early experience of repentance and confession that helped shape their priestly vocation.

I have also seen very young children, two and three years of age, approach OCA priests with their parents. After all, we are to confess our sins to one another. The child will admit his/her mistakes in front of the priest and parent, even just to say that they are sorry for having hit their baby brother, and will then be given absolution.

Now you are talking about something I have experience with!

Smiley

We also have the child's first Holy Confession at age 7.  The age is NOT set in stone.  If the parents feel their child is not mature enough...then we wait.  I've had them as old as 12.  There's no real age limit, but, usually not younger than 7...because they won't understand right from wrong, yet.

We usually have their First Confession on Palm Sunday.  The girls usually dress in white...but, not over the top...no veils, tiaras, etc.  The boys also dress in suits.  I have them hold the candles during the reading of the Gospel and the boys during the Great Entrance....it makes them feel extra special.

I also get them pretty white corsages/boutonnieres.  

After Divine Liturgy the priest hands them the certificates I print off, which he has signed and an icon of Christ the Good Shepherd.

Three weeks prior to this, we hold classes after Divine Liturgy.  I provide them the booklets I made which I hope the parents review with them, as 3 hours is hardly enough time.  We go over the importance of Confession, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, etc.

Over the years I've figured out how to make the biggest impact on them concerning sins and Confession.

In class I hand them tiny slivers of paper and have them sit and think of any sins they have committed and write them down.  I promise that nobody is going to see them, and they need to be honest.  Once the kids are done (and some have asked for more paper)....I have them put their little sins on a pretty little paper plate I gave them....then we go to church.

We've already walked through the "steps" in class.....but, now I stand in for the priest...and they come up for confession.  I tell them to place their plate next to the Bible, so that their hands are free to place on the Bible, etc.  They bend their heads so they can hear what Father will be telling them (but, they just pretend with me...and don't tell me anything)...most end up shutting their eyes.  I put my hand on their head and tell them Father will do likewise with his stole and not to get scared...at which point I grab the plate and sweep the little papers off into a bag I have on the side.  When the child finishes and leaves, I make sure to call them to remind them to take their plate and boy are they surprised to find their "sins" are gone....and their plate is empty and clean.

Works like a charm.


« Last Edit: February 09, 2012, 06:26:42 PM by Maria » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2012, 01:24:19 PM »

I have heard many Greek Orthodox Priests say that they hear the First Confessions of children as young as THREE YEARS OLD.
On Lazarus Saturday, the children will usually gather in the Church to make their First Holy Confession. Many times, I have seen three, four, and five year old children present in the line awaiting their turn. They do not look sad, but are experiencing joyful sorrow.

If the parents and/or godparents and the Priest believe that the child is repentant and is able to distinguish right from wrong, then the Priest will hear that child's confession and grant them absolution. This does not mean that the child is fully aware of all his actions: right and wrong. No, Priests have told us during Bible Study that these children who are granted the privilege of early confession are able to grow spiritually much faster. In fact, several priests have told us that their grandmothers are the ones who took them to their priests. These priest have shared that it was this early experience of repentance and confession that helped shape their priestly vocation.

I have also seen very young children, two and three years of age, approach OCA priests with their parents. After all, we are to confess our sins to one another. The child will admit his/her mistakes in front of the priest and parent, even just to say that they are sorry for having hit their baby brother, and will then be given absolution.



I usually don't think this way, but that practice sounds 'new agey' to me....A young child 2 or 3 years old would more likely be learning by rote rather than any spiritual meaning but I could be wrong and i am open to different ideas and children do have differing rates of cognitive development....
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« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2012, 01:40:49 PM »

I have heard many Greek Orthodox Priests say that they hear the First Confessions of children as young as THREE YEARS OLD.
On Lazarus Saturday, the children will usually gather in the Church to make their First Holy Confession. Many times, I have seen three, four, and five year old children present in the line awaiting their turn. They do not look sad, but are experiencing joyful sorrow.

If the parents and/or godparents and the Priest believe that the child is repentant and is able to distinguish right from wrong, then the Priest will hear that child's confession and grant them absolution. This does not mean that the child is fully aware of all his actions: right and wrong. No, Priests have told us during Bible Study that these children who are granted the privilege of early confession are able to grow spiritually much faster. In fact, several priests have told us that their grandmothers are the ones who took them to their priests. These priests have shared that it was this early experience of repentance and confession that helped shape their priestly vocation.

I have also seen very young children, two and three years of age, approach OCA priests with their parents. After all, we are to confess our sins to one another. The child will admit his/her mistakes in front of the priest and parent, even just to say that they are sorry for having hit their baby brother, and will then be given absolution.



I usually don't think this way, but that practice sounds 'new agey' to me....A young child 2 or 3 years old would more likely be learning by rote rather than any spiritual meaning but I could be wrong and i am open to different ideas and children do have differing rates of cognitive development....

I am astonished that you accuse the practice of early confession as being "New Agey."
I would think that the magical age of reason listed variously at 7, 9, or even 12 would not be found in the Patristic writings.

Does not this show a variation in cognitive abilities in children if some children never reach that magical age of reason? I heard a psychiatrist say that many prisoners never reach the age of reason, that they are too narcissistic to do so, and that they have an arrested moral development. Since the church is a hospital, could not early confession help children develop morally?

I did study child development courses while in college. It is a horrible mistake to assume that all children magically learn to walk and speak at precise steps in their life. Children do vary developmentally, emotionally, and cognitively. Some children have no problem with their liquids /r/, /l/, and /w/ while others stumble until the age of 7 or even 12. That is why Speech Language Pathologists are employed in our schools.

I can remember events in my life when I was only 18 months, and confessed those to my priest. When I shared those experiences with my parents, they were shocked. Well, it turns out that my dad could remember incidents when he was only 18 months, like the time when his aunt was breastfeeding her child. He shared this memory with his mom when he was six and asked why he was not breastfed; my poor grandmother was floored.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 01:45:11 PM by Maria » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2012, 02:53:48 PM »

I have heard many Greek Orthodox Priests say that they hear the First Confessions of children as young as THREE YEARS OLD.
On Lazarus Saturday, the children will usually gather in the Church to make their First Holy Confession. Many times, I have seen three, four, and five year old children present in the line awaiting their turn. They do not look sad, but are experiencing joyful sorrow.

If the parents and/or godparents and the Priest believe that the child is repentant and is able to distinguish right from wrong, then the Priest will hear that child's confession and grant them absolution. This does not mean that the child is fully aware of all his actions: right and wrong. No, Priests have told us during Bible Study that these children who are granted the privilege of early confession are able to grow spiritually much faster. In fact, several priests have told us that their grandmothers are the ones who took them to their priests. These priests have shared that it was this early experience of repentance and confession that helped shape their priestly vocation.

I have also seen very young children, two and three years of age, approach OCA priests with their parents. After all, we are to confess our sins to one another. The child will admit his/her mistakes in front of the priest and parent, even just to say that they are sorry for having hit their baby brother, and will then be given absolution.



I usually don't think this way, but that practice sounds 'new agey' to me....A young child 2 or 3 years old would more likely be learning by rote rather than any spiritual meaning but I could be wrong and i am open to different ideas and children do have differing rates of cognitive development....

I am astonished that you accuse the practice of early confession as being "New Agey."
I would think that the magical age of reason listed variously at 7, 9, or even 12 would not be found in the Patristic writings.

Does not this show a variation in cognitive abilities in children if some children never reach that magical age of reason? I heard a psychiatrist say that many prisoners never reach the age of reason, that they are too narcissistic to do so, and that they have an arrested moral development. Since the church is a hospital, could not early confession help children develop morally?

I did study child development courses while in college. It is a horrible mistake to assume that all children magically learn to walk and speak at precise steps in their life. Children do vary developmentally, emotionally, and cognitively. Some children have no problem with their liquids /r/, /l/, and /w/ while others stumble until the age of 7 or even 12. That is why Speech Language Pathologists are employed in our schools.

I can remember events in my life when I was only 18 months, and confessed those to my priest. When I shared those experiences with my parents, they were shocked. Well, it turns out that my dad could remember incidents when he was only 18 months, like the time when his aunt was breastfeeding her child. He shared this memory with his mom when he was six and asked why he was not breastfed; my poor grandmother was floored.

Like many here  you come to one term used in a post and jumped to conclusions. I said 'sounds  'new agey' ' but that I had an open mind on the issue.

I also know, having worked with early childhood victims of abuse and maltreatment in the Family Court system for many years, that in spite of the efforts of many cognitive development specialists over the years to force Courts to ascribe greater credibility to the testimony of very young children, that movement  has not proven to be the rule. Too much injustice has occurred over the years from cases involving false or incomplete or coached memories (especially in custody cases.)

While I do not doubt your personal anecdoctal experiences, most research has shown in recent years that such testimony lacks credibility, particularly the further removed in time that the child's recitation is from the events in question. That is why local prosecutors and children's services agencies have gone to great lengths to create and fund child friendly 'debriefing' centers where specially trained social workers and investigators can talk to alleged victims in a comforting and un-rehearsed atmosphere in a time frame proximate to the events in question.

Too many Orthodox are so certain that 'reason' is a dirty word. I would counter that 'reason', based upon experience and observation is not such a 'western' concept as to create an impenetrable barrier to truth. Just as attempting to come with a set of rules governing all conduct and a set of proofs to 'explain' all the mysteries of God is improvident, it is equally fallacious to ascribe an almost 'magical' disdain for the use of the objective.

In New York state for example, a family court judge will not automatically administer an oath to any child under sixteen and allow them to testify in open court. An 'in camera' session with the child, the child's advocate and maybe the counsel for both parities takes place informally and the judge has to use his judgment in assessing the child's ability to relate the truth and to understand the consequences of not being truthful - not out of fear of incarceration - but out of realizing that lies or untruths may hurt someone improperly. That's the theory, but the reality is that there is an unwritten presumption that children over seven or eight years old tend to capable of understanding right from wrong AND the consequences which flow from not telling the truth.

I would submit to you that in pastoral training many of the same concepts are taught in Orthodox seminaries and are used by your priests to govern these things.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 02:59:10 PM by podkarpatska » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2012, 03:09:25 PM »


I would submit to you that in pastoral training many of the same concepts are taught in Orthodox seminaries and are used by your priests to govern these things.

Since about 95 percent of our Orthodox Priests are married, they have a personal experience with raising children which helps them in the ministry. While I have not recently heard of any Roman Catholic priests hearing the confession of children under the magical age of seven, I have certainly seen many children go to confession who were under the age of seven. In fact, our priest mentioned their ages and congratulated the parents for bringing these precious children to Christ.

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« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2012, 09:23:27 PM »

What I have tended to hear is that children should be brought to confession as soon as they can say "I'm sorry" and have some understanding of why they would need to feel sorry. Starting earlier is good because children get in the habit of confessing their sins and they feel comfortable and used to it!
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« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2012, 02:27:46 AM »

I have heard many Greek Orthodox Priests say that they hear the First Confessions of children as young as THREE YEARS OLD.
On Lazarus Saturday, the children will usually gather in the Church to make their First Holy Confession. Many times, I have seen three, four, and five year old children present in the line awaiting their turn. They do not look sad, but are experiencing joyful sorrow.

If the parents and/or godparents and the Priest believe that the child is repentant and is able to distinguish right from wrong, then the Priest will hear that child's confession and grant them absolution. This does not mean that the child is fully aware of all his actions: right and wrong. No, Priests have told us during Bible Study that these children who are granted the privilege of early confession are able to grow spiritually much faster. In fact, several priests have told us that their grandmothers are the ones who took them to their priests. These priests have shared that it was this early experience of repentance and confession that helped shape their priestly vocation.

I have also seen very young children, two and three years of age, approach OCA priests with their parents. After all, we are to confess our sins to one another. The child will admit his/her mistakes in front of the priest and parent, even just to say that they are sorry for having hit their baby brother, and will then be given absolution.



I usually don't think this way, but that practice sounds 'new agey' to me....A young child 2 or 3 years old would more likely be learning by rote rather than any spiritual meaning but I could be wrong and i am open to different ideas and children do have differing rates of cognitive development....

I am astonished that you accuse the practice of early confession as being "New Agey."
I would think that the magical age of reason listed variously at 7, 9, or even 12 would not be found in the Patristic writings.

Does not this show a variation in cognitive abilities in children if some children never reach that magical age of reason? I heard a psychiatrist say that many prisoners never reach the age of reason, that they are too narcissistic to do so, and that they have an arrested moral development. Since the church is a hospital, could not early confession help children develop morally?

I did study child development courses while in college. It is a horrible mistake to assume that all children magically learn to walk and speak at precise steps in their life. Children do vary developmentally, emotionally, and cognitively. Some children have no problem with their liquids /r/, /l/, and /w/ while others stumble until the age of 7 or even 12. That is why Speech Language Pathologists are employed in our schools.

I can remember events in my life when I was only 18 months, and confessed those to my priest. When I shared those experiences with my parents, they were shocked. Well, it turns out that my dad could remember incidents when he was only 18 months, like the time when his aunt was breastfeeding her child. He shared this memory with his mom when he was six and asked why he was not breastfed; my poor grandmother was floored.

Like many here  you come to one term used in a post and jumped to conclusions. I said 'sounds  'new agey' ' but that I had an open mind on the issue.

I also know, having worked with early childhood victims of abuse and maltreatment in the Family Court system for many years, that in spite of the efforts of many cognitive development specialists over the years to force Courts to ascribe greater credibility to the testimony of very young children, that movement  has not proven to be the rule. Too much injustice has occurred over the years from cases involving false or incomplete or coached memories (especially in custody cases.)

While I do not doubt your personal anecdoctal experiences, most research has shown in recent years that such testimony lacks credibility, particularly the further removed in time that the child's recitation is from the events in question. That is why local prosecutors and children's services agencies have gone to great lengths to create and fund child friendly 'debriefing' centers where specially trained social workers and investigators can talk to alleged victims in a comforting and un-rehearsed atmosphere in a time frame proximate to the events in question.

Too many Orthodox are so certain that 'reason' is a dirty word. I would counter that 'reason', based upon experience and observation is not such a 'western' concept as to create an impenetrable barrier to truth. Just as attempting to come with a set of rules governing all conduct and a set of proofs to 'explain' all the mysteries of God is improvident, it is equally fallacious to ascribe an almost 'magical' disdain for the use of the objective.

In New York state for example, a family court judge will not automatically administer an oath to any child under sixteen and allow them to testify in open court. An 'in camera' session with the child, the child's advocate and maybe the counsel for both parities takes place informally and the judge has to use his judgment in assessing the child's ability to relate the truth and to understand the consequences of not being truthful - not out of fear of incarceration - but out of realizing that lies or untruths may hurt someone improperly. That's the theory, but the reality is that there is an unwritten presumption that children over seven or eight years old tend to capable of understanding right from wrong AND the consequences which flow from not telling the truth.

I would submit to you that in pastoral training many of the same concepts are taught in Orthodox seminaries and are used by your priests to govern these things.

And the post above is a non sequitur.

Criminal case history and a child's humble confession are two different things.
Orthodox Priests do not follow the latest judicial theory, but follow Christ's example to let the children come to Him.
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« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2012, 02:35:22 AM »

What I have tended to hear is that children should be brought to confession as soon as they can say "I'm sorry" and have some understanding of why they would need to feel sorry. Starting earlier is good because children get in the habit of confessing their sins and they feel comfortable and used to it!

Exactly, Thanks.

When a toddler clinging to his/her mother's leg is brought to Holy Confession, sometimes after hearing the mother's confession, the priest will hear the confession of the little one, inviting them to say "sorry" to Jesus for whatever they did wrong. Children do learn by example.
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« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2012, 05:07:43 PM »

Believe it or not American Seminaries do teach your priests pastoral counseling and classes dealing with child development, domestic violence, substance abuse etc... and how to deal with them from an Orthodox pov. I did not offer judicial protocol as an example for determining the teaching of the Church but rather to point out that when dealing with what children understand to be right or wrong is not a cut and dry determination, as the so-called 'age of reason' used by the western churches, but is rather a sensitive and subjective subject.

I fail to see any disconnect or non sequitur here. In spite of anecdoctal examples presented by some of you, it is my understanding that hearing confessions of very young children is not the norm across American Orthodoxy. I am not saying that such a practice is 'right' or 'wrong' but rather that the subject itself is not clear-cut and that the practice of your jurisdiction and the judgment of your pastor should be what governs your behavior in your parish - not comments on some internet board.
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« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2012, 05:34:52 PM »

Right and wrong practices? Legalism in Orthodoxy?

These practices of hearing confessions of young children have been observed and attested to by Priests in the OCA and Greek Archdiocese (GOARCH). Not every child is admitted to Holy Confession before the age of 7. And not every child is admitted to Holy Confession only because he/she has reached the magical age of 7, 9, or 12. Those with mental deficiencies may not be admitted until they are 12 or older. Nevertheless, all children from their Holy Baptism are allowed to receive Holy Communion. Nevertheless, if godparents witness questionable and perhaps sinful behaviors, they have the right to talk with the priest before taking their godchildren to receive Holy Communion.

We are to follow the Holy Spirit, in observing the spirit behind the laws, not the letter of the law.
With children, it is imperative that parents and/or godparents instill virtues in them.

Since it is not good to go to bed angry, many Orthodox Christian families pray Compline together at night and confess their sins to Christ, to one another, and to their Guardian Angels. Actually, we have it easy, for in the Ancient Church we used to have public confession. Thus, contrary to those who erroneously try to protect the fragile egos of our youth, our Holy Faith is not for wimps and the faint of heart. From the prayers of Compline and the canons in preparation for Holy Communion, it follows that it is only right to confess these sins to the priest. Living a devout Orthodox Christian life and praying Compline together helps children to grow in the faith. In fact, in families of saints, like that of St. Basil the Great, the mothers and fathers are also saintly.


Believe it or not American Seminaries do teach your priests pastoral counseling and classes dealing with child development, domestic violence, substance abuse etc... and how to deal with them from an Orthodox pov. I did not offer judicial protocol as an example for determining the teaching of the Church but rather to point out that when dealing with what children understand to be right or wrong is not a cut and dry determination, as the so-called 'age of reason' used by the western churches, but is rather a sensitive and subjective subject.

I fail to see any disconnect or non sequitur here. In spite of anecdoctal examples presented by some of you, it is my understanding that hearing confessions of very young children is not the norm across American Orthodoxy. I am not saying that such a practice is 'right' or 'wrong' but rather that the subject itself is not clear-cut and that the practice of your jurisdiction and the judgment of your pastor should be what governs your behavior in your parish - not comments on some internet board.
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« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2012, 05:51:33 PM »

Right and wrong practices? Legalism in Orthodoxy?

We are to follow the Holy Spirit, in observing the spirit behind the laws, not the letter of the law.
With children, it is imperative that parents and/or godparents instill virtues in them.

Since it is not good to go to bed angry, many Orthodox Christian families pray Compline together at night and confess their sins to Christ, to one another, and to their Guardian Angels. Actually, we have it easy, for in the Ancient Church we used to have public confession. Thus, contrary to those who erroneously try to protect the fragile egos of our youth, our Holy Faith is not for wimps and the faint of heart. From the prayers of Compline and the canons in preparation for Holy Communion, it follows that it is only right to confess these sins to the priest. Living a devout Orthodox Christian life and praying Compline together helps children to grow in the faith. In fact, in families of saints, like that of St. Basil the Great, the mothers and fathers are also saintly.


Believe it or not American Seminaries do teach your priests pastoral counseling and classes dealing with child development, domestic violence, substance abuse etc... and how to deal with them from an Orthodox pov. I did not offer judicial protocol as an example for determining the teaching of the Church but rather to point out that when dealing with what children understand to be right or wrong is not a cut and dry determination, as the so-called 'age of reason' used by the western churches, but is rather a sensitive and subjective subject.

I fail to see any disconnect or non sequitur here. In spite of anecdoctal examples presented by some of you, it is my understanding that hearing confessions of very young children is not the norm across American Orthodoxy. I am not saying that such a practice is 'right' or 'wrong' but rather that the subject itself is not clear-cut and that the practice of your jurisdiction and the judgment of your pastor should be what governs your behavior in your parish - not comments on some internet board.

You do not get my point. I am not disagreeing with you, but your reaction to my examples appears to indicate that you seem to view clerical education and pastoral discretion as representing forms of 'legalism' and hence 'western' encroachment into the Orthodox realm. We are not legalistic in the Roman sense of trying to define all and pigeon hole all controversies, but we are not so undisciplined as to lack basic rules and formulations. Every priest is not free to make up his own policies and rules, he is to submit himself to Orthodox teachings and it is presumed that his Bishop is a shepherd of the same. Hence, different jurisdictions may view these issues in somewhat differing lights. That's all.
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« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2012, 02:47:30 AM »

Notice: I am avoiding the YOU word and focusing on the POST not the poster. Please do likewise. Smiley

Some seminarians at Holy Cross and at St. Vladimir Seminary have told me that with the accreditation teams ruling the nest, the seminarians must use inclusive language in their papers. In other words, they must try to be gender neutral.

I faced the same scenario when I earned my degrees.

So, yes, I am a bit concerned what these accreditation boards can do to an outstanding scholastic institution to dumb down the system. I am also concerned with the creeping secular humanism via psychology, diversity training, the promotion of self esteem, etc. Unfortunately, what students and seminarians learn in college today can contradict our Holy Faith. For example, the promotion of self-esteem can lead to prelest (pride and spiritual delusion).

C.S. Lewis or G.K. Chesterton books and essays on academia (circa 1940 and 1950) are quite revealing, but the curricula in our academic institutions today have become even worse.

Back on topic:
IF children are willing to confess their sins with the blessing of their parents and/or godparents, why not allow them to do so? Please realize that Holy Confession is an encounter with Christ, and Christ has told us to let the children come to Him.

Certain Priests will hear the confessions of young children under 7 and even toddlers when (1) their guardians approve and (2) after a careful questioning of the child to determine if the child really wants to go to confession, understands that certain behaviors are sinful, is capable of making a humble confession, and would grow spiritually. If confession would be at all detrimental, then he/she would be asked to wait.

Note: We discussed this in detail during several Bible classes because Lazarus Saturday was approaching at that time and the Orthodox Priest had agreed with the parents/godparents that several children under the age of 7 could offer their Holy Confessions.
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« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2012, 04:01:04 PM »

Is the age of seven  set on the jurisdictional level, diocesan level, parish level? Are there any parishes that have it sooner /  later?

We have followed the old time Roman custom of age 7

Old time Roman custom?

Age seven being equated with the age of reason in the west, it is the customary age for Roman Catholic children to receive First Holy Communion. As former Greek Catholics become Orthodox,  'first communion' became superfluous and the custom of First Confession supplanted the ceremonial aspects of First Holy Communion. Hence, age seven was generally retained. In the US, even many of the Greek Catholics have transitioned away from First Communion to First Confession in recent years as well.

Correct.  The canons suggest "10 or older" but those of us who are from former Greek Catholic influence have the 7 years old thing.  Now that Greeks are reviving first confession for youth, would be interested to know what the age is suggested to them in GOArch. 
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« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2012, 04:03:31 PM »

Now you are talking about something I have experience with!

Smiley

We also have the child's first Holy Confession at age 7.  The age is NOT set in stone.  If the parents feel their child is not mature enough...then we wait.  I've had them as old as 12.  There's no real age limit, but, usually not younger than 7...because they won't understand right from wrong, yet.

We usually have their First Confession on Palm Sunday.  The girls usually dress in white...but, not over the top...no veils, tiaras, etc.  The boys also dress in suits.  I have them hold the candles during the reading of the Gospel and the boys during the Great Entrance....it makes them feel extra special.

I also get them pretty white corsages/boutonnieres.  

After Divine Liturgy the priest hands them the certificates I print off, which he has signed and an icon of Christ the Good Shepherd.

Three weeks prior to this, we hold classes after Divine Liturgy.  I provide them the booklets I made which I hope the parents review with them, as 3 hours is hardly enough time.  We go over the importance of Confession, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, etc.

Over the years I've figured out how to make the biggest impact on them concerning sins and Confession.

In class I hand them tiny slivers of paper and have them sit and think of any sins they have committed and write them down.  I promise that nobody is going to see them, and they need to be honest.  Once the kids are done (and some have asked for more paper)....I have them put their little sins on a pretty little paper plate I gave them....then we go to church.

We've already walked through the "steps" in class.....but, now I stand in for the priest...and they come up for confession.  I tell them to place their plate next to the Bible, so that their hands are free to place on the Bible, etc.  They bend their heads so they can hear what Father will be telling them (but, they just pretend with me...and don't tell me anything)...most end up shutting their eyes.  I put my hand on their head and tell them Father will do likewise with his stole and not to get scared...at which point I grab the plate and sweep the little papers off into a bag I have on the side.  When the child finishes and leaves, I make sure to call them to remind them to take their plate and boy are they surprised to find their "sins" are gone....and their plate is empty and clean.

Works like a charm.



This is excellent Liza.  Do you have anything in written form including this practice that we can put on the Consistory website for ORE in downloadable form?   
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« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2012, 04:25:24 PM »

St. Timothy of Alexandria, Canon 18:

Question: From what age and on are sins judged by God?
Answer: Depending on the knowledge and prudence of each particular human being: some from the age of ten and up, and others only when older.

Interpretation (from Sts. Nikodemos and Agapios):

"When asked about this too, at what age of life does a human being begin being judged by God for his sins, this Father replies that it depends upon the knowledge and prudence commanded by each human being, in accordance with which his sins are to be judged. For, those children which are of an acute nature and naturally smart, are the ones that soonest and most easily discern what is good and what is bad; and for this reason they are judged by God for their sins from the age of ten and on. Those, on the other hand, which on the contrary are of a sluggish nature and have a sleepy head and are possessed of a dull mind come more slowly and with greater difficulty to discernment of what is good and what is bad; hence they are judged by God for their sins only when they are older."
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« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2012, 04:28:49 PM »

Now you are talking about something I have experience with!

Smiley

We also have the child's first Holy Confession at age 7.  The age is NOT set in stone.  If the parents feel their child is not mature enough...then we wait.  I've had them as old as 12.  There's no real age limit, but, usually not younger than 7...because they won't understand right from wrong, yet.

We usually have their First Confession on Palm Sunday.  The girls usually dress in white...but, not over the top...no veils, tiaras, etc.  The boys also dress in suits.  I have them hold the candles during the reading of the Gospel and the boys during the Great Entrance....it makes them feel extra special.

I also get them pretty white corsages/boutonnieres.  

After Divine Liturgy the priest hands them the certificates I print off, which he has signed and an icon of Christ the Good Shepherd.

Three weeks prior to this, we hold classes after Divine Liturgy.  I provide them the booklets I made which I hope the parents review with them, as 3 hours is hardly enough time.  We go over the importance of Confession, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, etc.

Over the years I've figured out how to make the biggest impact on them concerning sins and Confession.

In class I hand them tiny slivers of paper and have them sit and think of any sins they have committed and write them down.  I promise that nobody is going to see them, and they need to be honest.  Once the kids are done (and some have asked for more paper)....I have them put their little sins on a pretty little paper plate I gave them....then we go to church.

We've already walked through the "steps" in class.....but, now I stand in for the priest...and they come up for confession.  I tell them to place their plate next to the Bible, so that their hands are free to place on the Bible, etc.  They bend their heads so they can hear what Father will be telling them (but, they just pretend with me...and don't tell me anything)...most end up shutting their eyes.  I put my hand on their head and tell them Father will do likewise with his stole and not to get scared...at which point I grab the plate and sweep the little papers off into a bag I have on the side.  When the child finishes and leaves, I make sure to call them to remind them to take their plate and boy are they surprised to find their "sins" are gone....and their plate is empty and clean.

Works like a charm.



This is excellent Liza.  Do you have anything in written form including this practice that we can put on the Consistory website for ORE in downloadable form?   

 Grin  I would be happy to create such a written document.  I also have a little booklet that I created...which I update each year as I think of more things to add.  I have that in PDF.
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