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Author Topic: Attending and communing at each other's Churches  (Read 706 times) Average Rating: 0
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Dimitrius
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« on: March 25, 2012, 10:23:32 PM »

Not to change the topic of this thread, but a few months ago I was attending the Coptic Church of St. Maurice I usually go to in Pomona, CA and I saw a Greek Orthodox priest standing the pews. He came at the beginning of the liturgy and I was wandering why he would attend the Coptic Church instead of going to a Greek Orthodox Church that is near by. When communion started he went up to the to receive communion with the other parishioners standing in line. I watched carefully to see if the Coptic priest would give him communion, as this was a very unusual situation.  When the Greek priest's turn came to receive communion, the Coptic priest stated that he (the Coptic priest) would need to receive the permission of the local Coptic bishop before administering communion to clergy from other churches but told the Greek priest he would give him Blessed bread (Korban) at the end of the liturgy.

After the liturgy I introduced myself to the Greek priest and told him that I was Greek Orthodox also and in a round about way was asking what he was doing at St. Maurice Coptic Church. He stated that he was from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem and was visiting his Jordanian /Palestinian relatives in the US. These relatives, attend the Coptic Church even though they are Greek Orthodox. He saw no problem with that and also wanted to attend himself and receive communion as he was not feeling well, preferring to receive communion where his relatives also go for communion.

I witnessed the same thing happening also a few years earlier in another Coptic Church but this time an Antiochian Orthodox priest went to receive communion. The Coptic priest told him pretty much the same thing. 

I also know of two Greek Orthodox brothers from the Jerusalem Patriarchate who were very active in the Coptic Orthodox Church in California and were both considering entering the priesthood in the Coptic Church.  One of them told me that the Coptic community is very active spiritually in California and the congregation is looked after by the bishop here, but the same can't be said Arab Greek Orthodox in CA. So they both decided to become Greek Orthodox priests (which they are now) for the Jerusalem Exarchate in California to nourish the small Arab Greek Orthodox community here. They both hold the Coptic  church in the highest regards. As a matter of fact, I was once attending the Greek Orthodox liturgy with one of these two priest in a Coptic church they rented on Sunday afternoons.  The local Coptic bishop happened to be walking in to the church at the time during the Greek liturgy Gospel reading and the Greek priest asked the Coptic bishop to read the Gospel to the people and give the sermon on the spot. The Coptic bishop obliged and I was very impressed with how easy it was for both sides to have a fraternal fellowship.  No body was pronouncing the other as a heretic in this church. That's how it should be.

I bring all this up because when I came to get married to a Coptic girl 10 years ago, priests (not the same ones mentioned above) from the Greek Orthodox Jerusalem Patriarchate that I belong to initially had no problem with a Greek Orthodox man marrying a Coptic Orthodox woman and stated that the Greek church recognized the Coptic wedding as valid, until they knew that I come form a long line of consecutive Greek Orthodox priests (26 in all). Then they stated that it wouldn't be proper to have a Coptic wedding when there is this much Greek Orthodox heritage. They suggested I have a Greek wedding and the Coptic priests can attend as visitor. My family was convinced of this also and were very upset with me when I decided to have a Coptic wedding anyway.

Speaking to one of the Coptic bishops that was present in the dialogues with the EO in Chambesy back in 1990, he stated that the majority of the EO bishops are in favor of the EO and OO union, however the hold outs were the GO Jerusalem Patriarchate and the Mount Athos Monks. The Ecumenical Patriarch didn't want more division in the EO church on this subject so the dialogue has slowed down since 1990. I hope things improve cause this union really should have happened a few years after the separation in 451, when everybody cooled down. Hopefully it will happen in m lifetime.

Once again, didn't mean to derail this thread.
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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2012, 10:56:57 PM »

But of course the post did derail the thread, which is why I am splitting it off.   Smiley

I am asking that everyone keep their replies polite, whether you agree or disagree with the OP here.  That means while you may express disagreement, you are to be nice about it and not use nasty words like "heretic," etc.  If you do want to let loose and call people names, you may do so in the private forum.  To gain access to the private forum, please pm Fr. George and ask him to admit you.

This was split off from another thread, here:


http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,43529.0.html
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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2012, 06:50:55 AM »

Communing deacons and priests of other communions is rather more problematic, but not for theological reasons IMHO. But the communion of laity from the other communion is now quite normal I think. Certainly in my experience.
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2012, 12:20:04 PM »

My impression is that in Arab tradition, when Christians of different church affiliations marry, the wedding and the baptism of the children take place in the church of the man. Probably, this tradition is derived from Islamic Sharia, which states that children have the religion of their father.
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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2012, 01:42:21 PM »

Communing deacons and priests of other communions is rather more problematic, but not for theological reasons IMHO. But the communion of laity from the other communion is now quite normal I think. Certainly in my experience.
Which communions are the Coptic Orthodox willing to commune? I'm assuming that it would only include Eastern Orthodox Christians.
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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2012, 02:03:08 PM »

The Coptic Church will commune all Oriental Orthodox clergy which include: Syrian Orthodox, Armenian, Ethiopian, Eritrean and Indian Orthodox.
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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2012, 02:24:27 PM »

The Coptic Church will commune all Oriental Orthodox clergy which include: Syrian Orthodox, Armenian, Ethiopian, Eritrean and Indian Orthodox.
What about non-OO laity?
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« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2012, 02:30:06 PM »

The Coptic Orthodox are only one local Church within the Orthodox Church. Her present application of various principles is a local interpretation and understanding.

All EO laity are routinely communed in OO Churches. But within many Churches this will also extend to Catholics. Within some Churches and in some situations it will extend to clergy.

I don't have a problem with that. The only reason clergy should be communed with reserve is because the reconcilaition has not been effected, not because I doubt that they are properly Orthodox. If I were on a desert island with an EO priest I would not expect to establish a different Church on the other side of the island.
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« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2012, 03:51:13 PM »

i love yr way with words, father peter!
let us know when u reach yr desert island so we can visit and all commune there!
 Wink
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« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2012, 04:08:35 PM »

I have in fact often considered various islands for sale and wondered about establishing an Orthodox community.
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« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2012, 04:10:03 PM »

I have in fact often considered various islands for sale and wondered about establishing an Orthodox community.
How do you view the actions of those Coptic priests who commune Catholics?
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« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2012, 04:37:48 PM »

A Coptic Orthodox priest whom I am very close to has told me repeatedly that he has no problem communing EO laity and even Catholics. Protestants, he has issues with though. I attended church with him many times and saw him so this. I believe he is doing the right thing. These people coming for communion know very well that the are in a Coptic Church and the  speak with the priest before hand and he allows them to take communion. I wish more priests were like him.
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« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2012, 04:57:32 PM »

I have a slightly greater problem if the Catholics in question are not aware of the Orthodox spiritual tradition and are eucharistic 'tourists'. But if the Catholic in question is committed to that Orthodox congregation, or related in some meaningful way, and is seeking to participate in the Liturgy then I don't have a great problem.

I am very positive about the possibility of reconciliation with the Catholics and enjoy the time I spend with Catholic Archbishops, Bishops and priests in various ecumenical contexts.

The heads of the OO Churches, in their statements with the Catholic Pope's, have always seemed to me, often explicitly, to consider the Catholic communion as having a real sacramental life. (The present attitude of the Coptic Church towards Catholic baptism seems to be to be a great anomaly, which I hope will be resolved soon).
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