Author Topic: Inquirers and Communion  (Read 1118 times)

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Offline eddybear

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Inquirers and Communion
« on: March 14, 2015, 09:10:33 AM »
I am well aware that non-Orthodox can't partake of the Sacrament in Orthodox services. My question is at what point, in the potentially long process from being interested in Orthodoxy -> being an inquirer -> becoming a catechumen -> formal conversion, should someone stop receiving Communion in their own church?

(I should add, this is something very relevant to where I'm at, and prayers for God's guidance on my next steps forward would be much appreciated too. Thank you.)
« Last Edit: March 14, 2015, 09:12:08 AM by eddybear »

Offline scamandrius

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2015, 09:30:39 AM »
I can only give you my perspective.  I first started going only to Great Vespers on Saturday evenings and then to my "normal" church on Sundays.  I did that for about a month and in that time I still communed.  However, after a month, I not only attended Great Vespers but also Liturgy on Sunday which pretty much marked my intention to be received into the Church.  Since I was not attending my regular church anymore on Sunday, there was no possibility of communing.  So, once you start going to Liturgy every Sunday, I think that's a good sign that you should stop.  Consult the priest, though.
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Offline TheMathematician

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2015, 02:58:46 PM »
The point that you should stop communing in another church is the point you stop believing that your former church holds the fullness of truth. Once you do not believe it holds truth, you separate yourself from the body of that church, and should out of politeness(not to mention a refusal to show that, by communion, you believe with the teachings of the church) refrain from receiving communion in that church.

That said, at the absolute latest, you should 100% stop once you become a catechumen.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2015, 02:59:35 PM by TheMathematician »

Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2015, 03:01:51 PM »
I don't receive communion as a catechumen. I'd stop then. A catechumen means you're (kind of,) formally a member of the Orthodox Church... in that, you'd be buried in an Orthodox manner.

Catechumenate is sort of being engaged to one woman, the Church, not leaving her for another.
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Offline Trevorthodox

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2015, 04:09:59 PM »
I started out going to Divine Liturgy once a month. I started going to going to the Orthodox church as an alternative to my usual raised hands and rock band church.  It was only meant to be 'something extra' but it got me!

Over many months I noticed bit by bit that communion services in my old church weren't so carefully done as I had once believed. My expectations were raised by witnessing the great care and reverence the Orthodox afforded the Eucharist.  I felt more dissatisfied with the way things were done in my old church. The more times I witnessed Orthodox Eucharist the more it impressed upon me a deep dissatisfaction with the alternative. So slowly but surely I stopped communing in the old place and joined the catechumenate.  I took no Eucharist then until my chrismation.

Offline LenInSebastopol

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2015, 05:17:21 PM »
While you are going to an Orthodox service, it's like dating around.
Once you declare your desire to become a catechumen, then you are engaged. So after you are engaged, do you still date around?
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Offline eddybear

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2015, 05:40:16 PM »
Thanks for the responses. I definitely agree that becoming a catechumen would be the end of taking Communion in a different church. It's just what to do before then. If I were to follow TheMathematician's view, that would mean no more Anglican Communion for me, as, regrettably, there is no way I can say that the CofE holds the fulness of truth. But there are still plenty of faithful Christians there, including an elderly retired priest who occasionally celebrates Communion at my village church, who is a lovely godly man I have a good deal of respect for. Oh, decisions, decisions...
« Last Edit: March 14, 2015, 05:40:37 PM by eddybear »

Offline LenInSebastopol

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2015, 05:54:40 PM »
Thanks for the responses. I definitely agree that becoming a catechumen would be the end of taking Communion in a different church. It's just what to do before then. If I were to follow TheMathematician's view, that would mean no more Anglican Communion for me, as, regrettably, there is no way I can say that the CofE holds the fulness of truth. But there are still plenty of faithful Christians there, including an elderly retired priest who occasionally celebrates Communion at my village church, who is a lovely godly man I have a good deal of respect for. Oh, decisions, decisions...

I suggest you take a long talk with him....A promise of interest therein may be.
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Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2015, 09:56:16 AM »
The point that you should stop communing in another church is the point you stop believing that your former church holds the fullness of truth. Once you do not believe it holds truth, you separate yourself from the body of that church, and should out of politeness(not to mention a refusal to show that, by communion, you believe with the teachings of the church) refrain from receiving communion in that church.

That said, at the absolute latest, you should 100% stop once you become a catechumen.

Although I suppose "technically" you could decide to continue communing in another church until you become a catechumen, and no harm no foul, personally I think the above is the more honest option.
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Offline mike

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2015, 11:58:13 AM »
Why do you want to keep receiving Anglican communion?
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Offline LenInSebastopol

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2015, 12:31:54 PM »
Probably for The Love of God. Possibly because he knows it is The Best Medicine. Could be for the same reason you do. Maybe because "conversion" is not like a light switch? Nor repentance. Could be his judgment is not as strong as those that try and judge him or his actions?
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 12:34:16 PM by LenInSebastopol »
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Offline mike

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2015, 01:52:48 PM »
If Anglican communion is the same as the Orthodox Communion why to convert at all?
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Offline eddybear

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2015, 02:35:08 PM »
Why do you want to keep receiving Anglican communion?
Why would anyone who believes Jesus's words not want to take Communion?

Offline mabsoota

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2015, 02:39:47 PM »
i think it's fine, eddybear.
there are true believers in every church, so take your time about deciding what to do.

once you become orthodox, you should stop doing it though, as you should obey those over you spiritually.
 8)

Offline eddybear

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2015, 02:41:20 PM »
If Anglican communion is the same as the Orthodox Communion why to convert at all?
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Offline eddybear

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2015, 02:41:39 PM »
i think it's fine, eddybear.
there are true believers in every church, so take your time about deciding what to do.

once you become orthodox, you should stop doing it though, as you should obey those over you spiritually.
 8)
thank you!

Offline mike

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2015, 02:46:44 PM »
If Anglican communion is the same as the Orthodox Communion why to convert at all?
Icons, a complete Bible, a wealth of wisdom from the Fathers, intercession of the saints....

But all of these are the means to receive Communion, sacraments, teachings, priests, churches. There is nothing more important that. If you have Communion there is nothing else you need.
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Offline eddybear

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2015, 06:28:36 PM »
The point that you should stop communing in another church is the point you stop believing that your former church holds the fullness of truth. Once you do not believe it holds truth, you separate yourself from the body of that church, and should out of politeness(not to mention a refusal to show that, by communion, you believe with the teachings of the church) refrain from receiving communion in that church.

That said, at the absolute latest, you should 100% stop once you become a catechumen.

Although I suppose "technically" you could decide to continue communing in another church until you become a catechumen, and no harm no foul, personally I think the above is the more honest option.
There's a large part of me that agrees with you, katherine. I feel a growing integrity gap that at some point will become too large to cross.

Offline eddybear

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2015, 06:33:22 PM »
If Anglican communion is the same as the Orthodox Communion why to convert at all?
Icons, a complete Bible, a wealth of wisdom from the Fathers, intercession of the saints....

But all of these are the means to receive Communion, sacraments, teachings, priests, churches. There is nothing more important that. If you have Communion there is nothing else you need.
I would respectfully disagree with the last statement. That Communion is of central importance, I have no doubt. But what I keep hearing is that Orthodoxy is about a maximalist approach, and the fulness of the faith, which includes the things I listed that are missing from Anglicanism.

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2015, 07:01:10 PM »
If Anglican communion is the same as the Orthodox Communion why to convert at all?
Icons, a complete Bible, a wealth of wisdom from the Fathers, intercession of the saints....

But all of these are the means to receive Communion, sacraments, teachings, priests, churches. There is nothing more important that. If you have Communion there is nothing else you need.
I would respectfully disagree with the last statement. That Communion is of central importance, I have no doubt. But what I keep hearing is that Orthodoxy is about a maximalist approach, and the fulness of the faith, which includes the things I listed that are missing from Anglicanism.

Actually, I think mike makes a good point.  While it is true that Orthodoxy is "maximalist", is about "fullness", etc., it's also true that the source, sustenance, and goal of all those things you mentioned are ultimately found in the Eucharist of the Church.  It's not that Anglicanism lacks "icons, a complete Bible, a wealth of wisdom from the Fathers, intercession of the saints...." but does have the Eucharist.  From our perspective, whatever Anglicans do or do not have, they do not have the Eucharist of the Church, even if they have a ritual and sacrament that is the same thing for them as ours is for us (and I'm not even sure we can say that). 

So, your question:   

Why do you want to keep receiving Anglican communion?
Why would anyone who believes Jesus's words not want to take Communion?

Is a good question.  But it depends on an equivalence between "Anglican communion" and "Orthodox communion" that we do not recognise.  They are simply not the same thing.  Anyone who believes Jesus's words should want to receive Communion, but they should want to receive his Communion, not just any old Christian bread-and-wine ritual meal.   
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Offline eddybear

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2015, 07:49:13 PM »
Some good points there, Mor, thank you. Before I go further, could I ask for clarification of the Orthodox view of Anglican Communion? Is it the case that Orthodoxy considers it to be an invalid sacrament (i.e. it is not the Body and Blood of our Lord), or is it a case that Orthodoxy considers it to be a non-assured Sacrament (i.e. the Orthodox Sacrament is the Body and Blood of our Lord, but it can't be said with any certainty whether the same applies to the Anglican sacrament).

edit: as a bit of a side track but would help me think through the issue, if the word "Anglican" was replaced with "Roman Catholic" in my question above, would the answer still be the same?
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 08:06:59 PM by eddybear »

Offline TheMathematician

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2015, 09:02:49 PM »
Some good points there, Mor, thank you. Before I go further, could I ask for clarification of the Orthodox view of Anglican Communion? Is it the case that Orthodoxy considers it to be an invalid sacrament (i.e. it is not the Body and Blood of our Lord), or is it a case that Orthodoxy considers it to be a non-assured Sacrament (i.e. the Orthodox Sacrament is the Body and Blood of our Lord, but it can't be said with any certainty whether the same applies to the Anglican sacrament).

edit: as a bit of a side track but would help me think through the issue, if the word "Anglican" was replaced with "Roman Catholic" in my question above, would the answer still be the same?


Honestly?

I was baptized into Orthodoxy by ROCOR, despite having been baptized into the Roman Church as an infant. If the Roman Church does not have baptism, then the Anglican Communion surely doesn't. Without baptism, nothing else matters and cannot have any sacraments, so no communion for either.

While I(and I fully believe the Church supports this as well, but I have no sources on hand) believe that those outside of Orthodoxy have grace and possibly baptism, there is no Communion outside of the Orthodox Church

Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2015, 09:08:48 PM »
I think mor said it best . They are simply not the same thing. I'm sure there are some people who believe that the non-Orthodox sacraments are devoid of grace. We generally say that we know where the Church is, but we don't know where it isn't. That said, we know where the Eucharist is - and we don't have inter-Communion with non-Orthodox for good reasons.
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Offline JoeS2

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2015, 10:53:04 PM »
Some good points there, Mor, thank you. Before I go further, could I ask for clarification of the Orthodox view of Anglican Communion? Is it the case that Orthodoxy considers it to be an invalid sacrament (i.e. it is not the Body and Blood of our Lord), or is it a case that Orthodoxy considers it to be a non-assured Sacrament (i.e. the Orthodox Sacrament is the Body and Blood of our Lord, but it can't be said with any certainty whether the same applies to the Anglican sacrament).

edit: as a bit of a side track but would help me think through the issue, if the word "Anglican" was replaced with "Roman Catholic" in my question above, would the answer still be the same?

I believe the RCC considers Anglican Communion Illicit , a legal term.
Orthodoxy on the other hand tries not to get into legalistic terms to describe Heterodox Communion, we only know that the Church contains the fullness of faith and that the Gifts are the actual Body and Blood of Christ.  IOW, we try not to judge too much.  We know where God is but we don't know where He isn't.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 10:54:32 PM by JoeS2 »

Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #24 on: March 16, 2015, 11:37:14 PM »
If Anglican communion is the same as the Orthodox Communion why to convert at all?
Icons, a complete Bible, a wealth of wisdom from the Fathers, intercession of the saints....

But all of these are the means to receive Communion, sacraments, teachings, priests, churches. There is nothing more important that. If you have Communion there is nothing else you need.
I would respectfully disagree with the last statement. That Communion is of central importance, I have no doubt. But what I keep hearing is that Orthodoxy is about a maximalist approach, and the fulness of the faith, which includes the things I listed that are missing from Anglicanism.

Actually, I think mike makes a good point.  While it is true that Orthodoxy is "maximalist", is about "fullness", etc., it's also true that the source, sustenance, and goal of all those things you mentioned are ultimately found in the Eucharist of the Church.  It's not that Anglicanism lacks "icons, a complete Bible, a wealth of wisdom from the Fathers, intercession of the saints...." but does have the Eucharist.  From our perspective, whatever Anglicans do or do not have, they do not have the Eucharist of the Church, even if they have a ritual and sacrament that is the same thing for them as ours is for us (and I'm not even sure we can say that). 

So, your question:   

Why do you want to keep receiving Anglican communion?
Why would anyone who believes Jesus's words not want to take Communion?

Is a good question.  But it depends on an equivalence between "Anglican communion" and "Orthodox communion" that we do not recognise.  They are simply not the same thing.  Anyone who believes Jesus's words should want to receive Communion, but they should want to receive his Communion, not just any old Christian bread-and-wine ritual meal.   

Mor Ephrem struck gold here. "Wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church." The Eucharist is central to the Church, there is no Church without the Eucharist.
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Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2015, 11:38:32 PM »
Some good points there, Mor, thank you. Before I go further, could I ask for clarification of the Orthodox view of Anglican Communion? Is it the case that Orthodoxy considers it to be an invalid sacrament (i.e. it is not the Body and Blood of our Lord), or is it a case that Orthodoxy considers it to be a non-assured Sacrament (i.e. the Orthodox Sacrament is the Body and Blood of our Lord, but it can't be said with any certainty whether the same applies to the Anglican sacrament).

edit: as a bit of a side track but would help me think through the issue, if the word "Anglican" was replaced with "Roman Catholic" in my question above, would the answer still be the same?

The "official" position is the latter, because the Church doesn't make judgments on the efficacy of the Sacraments of others. However, individuals may be a different story.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2015, 01:51:51 PM »
Some good points there, Mor, thank you. Before I go further, could I ask for clarification of the Orthodox view of Anglican Communion? Is it the case that Orthodoxy considers it to be an invalid sacrament (i.e. it is not the Body and Blood of our Lord), or is it a case that Orthodoxy considers it to be a non-assured Sacrament (i.e. the Orthodox Sacrament is the Body and Blood of our Lord, but it can't be said with any certainty whether the same applies to the Anglican sacrament).

I don't think the Orthodox have ever come out with an official statement definitively ruling on this issue the way the Roman Catholics have in the past (e.g., Apostolicae Curae).  There are certain sacramental and canonical principles which apply to this question, and based on those, some will say that the Anglican Eucharist is, to use your terms, "an invalid sacrament", while others will say it is "a non-assured sacrament".  But for the Orthodox, neither of these describes the Eucharist of the Church, and so I'm not sure what practical difference there is between "non-assured" and "invalid". 

If an Anglican minister handed me a vessel containing Anglican Eucharist, I would treat it respectfully not because I thought there was a chance that it might be a "valid" Eucharist, but because Anglicans view it as such and if one of their ministers trusted me to guard it for some reason, I should respect them enough not to disrespect it.  But I'm not holding it believing it is the Eucharist of the Church or hoping/supposing that it might be.  Whatever it is, it is not ours.   

Quote
edit: as a bit of a side track but would help me think through the issue, if the word "Anglican" was replaced with "Roman Catholic" in my question above, would the answer still be the same?

Pretty much, although the level of "non-assurance" among those who take the "non-assured" view is usually a little less than it is for Anglicans unless the person(s) used to be Anglican.  That's just my observation from personal experience.   
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Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2015, 04:29:09 PM »
But for the Orthodox, neither of these describes the Eucharist of the Church, and so I'm not sure what practical difference there is between "non-assured" and "invalid". 

And the crowd goes wild. I've noticed that this is always such a difficult concept for non-Orthodox - yet in reality it's kind of beautifully simple.
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Offline LenInSebastopol

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2015, 09:00:32 AM »
For me it is a "revealed truth" and while I cannot see the Whole Picture, as an Orthodox I can see more.
Such it is with Communion, I believe.
All of it is a relationship with God and one can have "more and closer" relationship as God leads you. I found it in Orthodoxy.
Most all the words and everything else is pretty much "man made" for me and deserving of respect with POVs as Mor and others have laid out.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2015, 09:01:28 AM by LenInSebastopol »
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Offline eddybear

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #29 on: April 04, 2015, 07:39:41 PM »
Well, over the last couple of weeks the question of whether or not to take Communion has still been troubling me an awful lot, though I did find a good article by a well-known (Catholic) apologist about Communion in protestant and Anglican churches that helped, even if I obviously disagreed with his view of Orthodoxy.

Tomorrow morning, it looks like I have to make a decision. Assuming I am well enough (which at the moment definitely isn't at all certain), I have to go to my regular Anglican church, as the village choir that I'm part of is singing in the Easter service, and I don't want to let them down. It's a Communion service, so I'll have to decide whether to receive or not. It's over 4 months since I last received Communion, and in that time either through illness, exhaustion, or deliberately going to Divine Liturgy, I've missed every Communion service at the church (which isn't every week - I've been to several "Morning Prayer" services, just not to Communion ones). I still don't know what to do, and my brain has got to the point of refusing to churn it over any more. Please pray for me, that I would do what is best.

Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #30 on: April 04, 2015, 07:53:08 PM »
Well, over the last couple of weeks the question of whether or not to take Communion has still been troubling me an awful lot, though I did find a good article by a well-known (Catholic) apologist about Communion in protestant and Anglican churches that helped, even if I obviously disagreed with his view of Orthodoxy.

Tomorrow morning, it looks like I have to make a decision. Assuming I am well enough (which at the moment definitely isn't at all certain), I have to go to my regular Anglican church, as the village choir that I'm part of is singing in the Easter service, and I don't want to let them down. It's a Communion service, so I'll have to decide whether to receive or not. It's over 4 months since I last received Communion, and in that time either through illness, exhaustion, or deliberately going to Divine Liturgy, I've missed every Communion service at the church (which isn't every week - I've been to several "Morning Prayer" services, just not to Communion ones). I still don't know what to do, and my brain has got to the point of refusing to churn it over any more. Please pray for me, that I would do what is best.

If you've done it so far, I'd try to continue doing so.

Lord have mercy on your servant.
Not everything I type or have typed in the past is reflective of the teaching of the Orthodox Church, or may not reflect my contemporary views on a subject. (5/30/2015)

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Offline LenInSebastopol

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #31 on: April 05, 2015, 07:39:48 AM »
Everything we wrote is wrong in this instance.
Our Lord does not want you to suffer for He loves you.
Take comfort in His Spirit.
Mark 14:36
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Offline eddybear

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #32 on: April 05, 2015, 08:31:42 AM »
Well, despite feeling a bit ropey, I made it this morning. It was just as well, as the choir needed me to conduct the anthem we sang. I felt a strange disconnection during the service, and didn't receive Communion. With a fairly full church for once (we normally struggle to get to double figures!), and several others in the choir who didn't receive, it wasn't that conspicuous, and I think it was the right thing to do. Now, back at home, I'm on a bit of a high. My wife commented that I was beaming. One more step taken along the road.

Offline LenInSebastopol

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #33 on: April 05, 2015, 12:25:37 PM »
That is because you know He is in Our Midst.
Mark 14:36
God is with us, understand O' ye nations, and submit yourselves, for God is with us

Offline Eruvande

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #34 on: April 05, 2015, 02:30:27 PM »
This is a really helpful thread eddybear, I am in a similar position wrt communion. It's not too hard to avoid communion in my Anglican church as they only do it twice a month, once in the evening, once in the morning. I am nowhere near to becoming a catechumen - it feels like years and years away - but I am very definitely convinced that what happens at my church service is not what happens in an Orthodox service, and thus have no overwhelming desire for it. I used to utterly crave communion, so this is an unpleasant cooling of enthusiasm, which I hope sincerely that one day getting to a Divine Liturgy will reignite.

Offline eddybear

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #35 on: April 06, 2015, 05:23:44 PM »
I know exactly what you mean about having craved Communion in the past, but not any longer. I think if you do get to a Divine Liturgy, the desire will start to reawaken. Even if for the moment we can't partake in EO Communion, there is something wonderful about just being in the presence of the Body and Blood of Christ, and seeing others partaking. I was particularly touched seeing, for the first time, children and infants being blessed in this way.

Thinking about it, no longer craving Anglican Communion is actually a blessing. I think I'd find it a lot harder to keep walking eastwards if the pull to the Anglican Church was still strong.

Have you had any joy in finding an EO Church near you?

Offline Eruvande

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #36 on: April 07, 2015, 07:23:01 AM »
No, but I am getting to meet an OO priest next month which I'm looking forward to. Baby steps :)

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Re: Inquirers and Communion
« Reply #37 on: April 07, 2015, 10:40:28 AM »
No, but I am getting to meet an OO priest next month which I'm looking forward to. Baby steps :)

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