On one thread Orthodoc observed:
The whole purpose of the Liturgy is centered around the Eucharist. Since that is the case, then why even go to Church at all, or attend the Liturgy at all if you do not intend to partake?
To receive the graces flowing from the Holy Sacrifice simply from being present and from the real, sacramental presence of God, in His throne room, if you will. Not as good as receiving but worth something.
It's like the Greek Orthodox Church I've seen with the sign outside that says - Divine Liturgy at 10:00. Communion at 11:00! Like they were two separate and disctinct events. Not to mention when the vast majority of the people in that parish show up!
When you make the Liturgy overlong and pile one monastic-like practice on top of another as requirements to receive, you end up driving people away from Communion, period.
The whole purpose of the Liturgy is, once again, the Eurcharist, which is prepared so we can once again be reconciled with God through our partaking of it.
And in practice we have gone so far off course. The Greeks never recovered from Turkish rule, practically losing Confession in the process (as has been discussed on another thread), reinforcing infrequent Communion as well. (And only a tiny minority of Greeks, in the world’s only officially Orthodox country, regularly go to church.) I understand Athonite monks commune, if at all, Saturdays, and not Sundays, the Lord’s Day, because of all the fasting rules getting in the way. (No, I am NOT advocating getting rid of the midnight Communion fast.) Sorry, but that’s wack. I know I do the same thing (not receive on Sunday) when I know there will be a marathon of services Sunday. It keeps me away from the Sacrament.
And on another thread, Hypo-Ortho complained about the other extreme as seen among some Catholic congregations, bowdlerizing and uneasternizing the Byzantine Rite:
I watched a Divine Liturgy of the Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholic Rite online this past week, and I noticed some significant departures from Orthodox rubrics, but these departures were very much in line with Latin Rite "Novus Ordo" practice, i.e., "Latinizations."
Instead of the priest giving the deacon from the chalice to drink of the Precious Blood, the deacon took the chalice off the altar himself and communed himself thereof. The lay boy altar servers were all communed within the altar instead of outside the altar, as is proper for anyone below the order of deacon according to Byzantine Orthodox rubrics. But these Ruthenian departures are all in line with Latin Rite rubrics.
(I know these don’t demonstrate the opposite example to infrequent Communion but do show an approach to the Byzantine Rite we don’t want to take.)
To both extremes I say there has to be a better, orthodox, workable way.
A modest proposal: one can benefit from a practical approach and yet remain Eastern. Teach people about when they need to confess (mortal vs. venial sin, for example — not unknown in Russian Orthodox manuals), then have Vespers every Saturday night with Confession afterwards (which a lot of US Orthodox churches already do). Then have a ‘lean, mean’ Divine Liturgy on Sunday that starts on time, at a reasonable hour (9 or 9.30 am?) and lasts about 90 mins. Lose the -+-Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-+ -+ -+-Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-+ litanies. (Have Orthros starting about 8 for those congregations in the Greek tradition, or Third and Sixth Hours the half-hour before Liturgy for those in the Russian.)
Bottom line: if you are in the state of grace (no mortal sin) and have kept the midnight fast (unless dispensed by your father confessor), receive. ‘Approach with the fear of God and with faith.’