I've always been very confused during Holy Week the past few years. It is the custom in our parish to confess weekly if one is receiving weekly. My parish is unusual anyway being a mission under the Bulgarian Patriarchate, but using more or less a ROCOR typikon. We still do the Unction during Holy Week, but our priest still has us confess before Pascha. Am I wrong in assuming that this practice isn't correct? I haven't talked to him about it yet, but I thought Unction was another sin-forgiving sacrament and having confession so shortly after that would be redundant and unnecessary. Could you or anyone else shed some light on this? Thanks.
If a person is healthy enough to come to church, and has the service performed in church....are there any "customs" associated with it? Is there something they need to do to prepare? What about those who are present at the service? Should anyone be holding candles? ??
In the Slavic traditions, prior confession is usually required if one is to be anointed. Otherwise, nothing else.
Also, when this was done on my uncle (who died in the hospital one day after the service) he was still well enough and was worried what would he do when he came home and was all better. He had heard, as have I, that the people who have received Holy Unction are no longer to step barefooted upon the ground, but, always need to have socks or shoes on. He loved to walk around barefoot, and this was a real concern! Smiley
Never heard of it, must be a local custom/superstition.
I'm surprised to hear that.
SolEX01, It has been longstanding Greek custom to hold an unction service on Holy Wednesday evening, in place of the Bridegroom Matins. This is not usual Slavic custom, though in smaller parishes where Holy Week services begin on Holy Wednesday evening, an unction service might be scheduled for Holy Monday or Tuesday evening, but this is an ad hoc situation. Most of the time, Slavic unction services are held infrequently, and at any time of the year.
It seems to me that couple of practices are being conflated here.
1. In many churches one must take communion at least once a year, Pascha being most strongly recommended, to stay a member in good standing. Indeed, in Tsarist Russia, there was a requirement that all government officials had to take communion at Pascha. So, the tradition of taking communion on Pascha is well established/observed.
2. In many churches, the tradition may be communion at least four times a year, to correspond to the four great fasts/feasts. This means that confession takes place sometime during the fast that precedes the feast.
3. In all churches, one must confess before taking communion (or, in the case of Holy Wednesday, before Holy Unction). The differences between the jurisdictions come in how recent this must be and how much one must prepare for it.
So, if your jurisdiction insists that you must prepare for and receive the Mystery of Penance/Reconciliation (Confession) the day before you take Communion, you may be stuck with the following scenario based on the schedule of services in a typical Russian tradition church.
Friday evening before Lazarus saturday: Confession
Lazarus Saturday: Communion in the morning, confession in the evening.
Palm Sunday: Communion in the morning, confession in the evening.
Holy Monday: Communion in the afternoon, confession in the evening.
Holy Tuesday: Communion in the afternoon, confession in the evening.
Holy Wednesday: Communion in the afternoon, confession in the afternoon (if for Holy Unction), and/or confession in the evening.
Holy Thursday: Communion in the morning.
Holy Friday: Confession in the evening.
Holy Saturday: Communion in the morning, confession in the evening.
Feast of Feasts: Communion in the wee hours of the morning, confession in the evening.
Bright Monday: Communion in the morning.
I do not know about your priest, but I do not think that he himself undergoes the same strict confession/communion regimen that he is imposing on his congregation.