How could you have a relationship with Jesus, without the Eucharist?
Orthodoxy is a religion.
Evangelical Protestantism, however, is a relationship with Jesus.
How did the desert fathers and mothers have a relationship without the Eucharist?
St Mary of Egypt only communed one time in her entire life (at the beginning of her Christian life at that) and yet she seemed to do just fine "having a relationship with Jesus" without the Eucharist. In fact she did better than most saints in the entire history of Christianity. While the Eucharist is certainly important, and Eucharistic Liturgy and worship and Communion is a central aspect to our faith, it is by no means the ONLY way to have a relationship with God. One can have a relationship with Christ through prayer, meditation, reading and studying the Scriptures, and by just DOING what Jesus taught us to do. Feeding the poor, visiting the sick, helping the orphans, or just treating your neighbor as you would want to be treated. All of these things leads people into a direct relationship with Jesus. I'm not trying to downplay the Eucharist because it is a central aspect, but I've always found this question, which a lot of Orthodox and Catholics tend to ask, a bit odd in my mind. As if the Eucharist were our only access to Jesus. I just don't comprehend the question, as though the ONLY way to be united to Jesus is through the Eucharist like it was some sort of "magic" bread and wine.
If that were true then how do we explain this saints who go off into the desert for 50 years never commune, but go into the cave a prostitute (or murderer or whatever) and come out of the cave a saint? One without the Eucharist has a relationship with Jesus through all the other (non-Sacramental) means of grace....indeed as an Orthodox I believe without the Eucharist "something" is missing for most people, but I don't think Christians without the Sacraments have NO relationship at all. That's just absurd and IMO puts God into a box. If the Eucharist could be described in terms of marriage, and in some sense the most intimate form of marriage, to say people who don't have this have NO relationship, is like saying "you and your sister in law have no relationship because you haven't haven't had sexual relations." Indeed there is something supremely intimate and important when we Commune, and the marriage metaphor is used precisely to explain why we don't Commune non-Orthodox (because it would be like adultery), but to say non Orthodox have NO relationship is like saying people who aren't married have NO relationship, and that's obviously not true. It's just, "different" that's all.
The turn around of that question could be "why do so many Christians WITH the Eucharist NOT have a relationship with Jesus?" And yes, I know all the apologetic answers, especially the whole "those with the biggest graces who don't use them have more to answer for" spiel....but that is often (not always) just a spiritual sounding way of not answering the question.
I don't think it's impossible to have a relationship with Christ for people that don't have the Sacraments, nor do I think that's actually the Orthodox (or Catholic) position on the matter. Remember ancient Israel often was pretty proud of having all the proper rituals, rites and the Temple, which set them apart from the Nations, and they took great comfort in knowing that this made them safe or "closer" to God in some sense...yet the Prophets seemed to think these assurances they had were misguided and that what truly pleased God was mercy and compassion. We'd do well to heed those warnings IMO, and not be so quick to assume no one but us has a relationship with Jesus.
Again, I'm not trying to downplay the importance of Communion but only to give an alternative perspective on the matter.