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Author Topic: frequency of communion ?  (Read 1160 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 14, 2012, 06:08:34 PM »

Supposedly, Fr. Schmemann says the tradition of requiring confession and absolution before every communion has "...no foundation in Tradition, but, in fact, leads to very alarming distortions of the Orthodox doctrine of the Church, of the Eucharist, and of the Sacrament of Penance itself".  John Chrysostom says "There are cases when a priest does not differ from a layman, notably when one approaches the Holy Mysteries." leading Fr. Papavassiliou to ask "How many clergy, I wonder, go to Confession before every Liturgy they celebrate?"  Fr. Papavassiliou reminds us of the wording in the Holy Oblation "This is my body... this is my blood ... for the forgiveness of sins" and therefore asks "why is it that we require forgiveness of sins in Sacramental Confession or in the prayer of 'absolution' before receiving the Body and Blood of Christ?"  Why indeed? Why so many "boundaries and hurdles on the layperson's path to Communion"?  Aren't the "...prayers, hymns, and petitions of the Liturgy itself precisely to prepare us for Communion." ?

It's been made clear to me that I must attend the 3 hour vigil the night before , confess, absolute fast & offer all the preparatory 'prayers before communion' if I want to receive it.  Somewhat daunted but still eager I was then told not to do so more frequently than monthly even though I was and am still prepared to follow all rules required.  It seems like my Church is trying to actually discourage frequent Communion and even worse, they are succeeding!  Apart from those carrying babies forward there are seldom any adults in the line and that just seems so wrong to me.  Would Jesus want anyone to ever be discouraged and turned away from His table?  I doubt it very much.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 06:21:57 PM by Theophan_C » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2012, 06:49:26 PM »

From what I have learned so far, I believe it is that commitment to repentance that is most important than the mechanical "confess before receiving no matter what."  There is the understanding that we fall because that is our nature, but if we are committed to repentance and the Christian way of life, then we can approach weekly to receive.  Of course part of that commitment is regular confession, but it doesn't have to be weekly.  My priest-to-be said that he requires at least a confession every fasting period (Advent, Lent, Apostle's, Dormition).  And it is an almost perfect quarterly confession schedule, late Fall for Philip's Fast, late Winter for Lent (unless you wait 'til Great and Holy Week), late Spring-early Summer for Apostle's Fast, mid-summer for Dormition.
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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2012, 07:05:10 PM »

It's apparently widely-ranging between jurisdictions.

My, local at least, jurisdiction (Antiochian) encourages weekly communion and regular confession, but does not require weekly confession. In fact, I think one could go months without confessing if they're in regular attendance.
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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2012, 07:23:41 PM »

It's apparently widely-ranging between jurisdictions.

My, local at least, jurisdiction (Antiochian) encourages weekly communion and regular confession, but does not require weekly confession. In fact, I think one could go months without confessing if they're in regular attendance.

...that sounds good to me!  I read somebody refer to ROCOR as the Marine Corps of Orthodoxy!  maybe it's true?  police
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2012, 07:59:16 PM »

...that sounds good to me!  I read somebody refer to ROCOR as the Marine Corps of Orthodoxy!  maybe it's true?  police
And thank God for it. Someone has to keep us the balance. Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2012, 11:54:04 PM »

1. Never ask what Jesus would want.
2. Never answer that question for Him.
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2012, 12:24:28 AM »


My Ukrainian parish requires Confession, before every Holy Communion.

I like it that way. It hasn't stopped me from doing both each Sunday.
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2012, 04:14:06 AM »

This question was brought before our Serbian Bishop when we attended that parish, one Sunday as he sat across from the priest at a "meet the bishop" sort of gathering at trapeza. It was the elephant in the room and many wanted to know because the priest was so rigid that he would often turn people away. The bishop looked directly at the priest while the parishioner asked, and the bishop answered with, " No. The sacraments are two different sacraments. Confession becomes disconnected from the heart if it is done as a weekly requirement. Confess regularly and as your soul requires, and do it well. God forgives."

That ended that. Many people were so relieved, it was as if a load had been lifted off our backs.

The priest asked forgiveness as usual the next DL and you could see tears of repentance in his eyes. He knew he had been too hard.
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2012, 08:30:34 AM »

simplygermain - that's great story, so consoling.

I think that's not good crating such connection "the sacrament of confession and Holy Eucharist" - that's the way many Orthodox Christians in Poland, Serbia and Russian countries say, because confession is required before every receiving Communion by many priests. Of course, is somebody receives e.g 4 times yearly, this requirement obvious. But if somebody wants to receive every (or almost every) Liturgy he/she attends? And, moreover, he/she wants at the same time to have a spiritual father/confessor?...

It's ridiculous, that e.g during Holy Week, while quite a lot of people receive Communion every day (of course except Holy Friday), they also confess every day (excluding Pascha, because at least in Poland there is an official statement that you don't need to confess to receive during Paschal Liturgy).

Fortunately, it's been changing, all the depends on the priest. E.g I don't go to confession before every Communion, just 1 time for 3-4 weeks (sometimes more often, because sometimes I want to make repentance before a great feast) and in my parish they know me, but in other parishes it's not so easy. A few times I had to explain that I have my priest's blessing, that I'm from this and this parish, that I've read all necessary prayers, I've not eaten and drunk from midnight etc.

Although I'm fully Orthodox almost one year, it was enough time to have ridiculous situations regarding this topic. E.g there was a Liturgy on the first Saturday of the Great Lent, nobody to confession. Howeve, this was my priest who was celebrating the Liturgy, so he sent to me a deacon to ask me if I was going to receive. Another situation, more curious: a Liturgy for the feast of st. Panteleimon. Again my priest was celebrating the Liturgy and again nobody to confession. The time of "with fear..." and immediately after it "we have seen the True Light...". After the Liturgy, when I came over to kiss the cross, my priest seeing me said he's forgotten about me and asked if I want to receive, so he did it and asked a prisluzhnik to prepare zapivka for me.

I think there are 2 separate (but of course strongly connected) issues:
1. Frequency of receiving (I know some people that receive so regularly but confess every time before it and very few people that have their own spiritual father and he gives them blessing to not confess every time before receiving)
2. Is confession really necessary every time before Holy Communion
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« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2012, 09:16:41 AM »

I can’t address your situation, but at my home parish in San Francisco (which is a ROCOR parish) a good portion of the congregation communes weekly, and my seminary (Jordanville) encourages frequent communion. In my ROCOR parish in Hawaii, I believe we’re required to only confess bi-weekly. So, there is definitely a difference of practice according to the individual parish.

Although it is true that people in the early Church did commune very often (even daily!) there was also very heavy penances for various sins, which meant that there were many who were barred from Communion for years. In our days, penances are either very light or non-existent; the few hours of preparation that we have today is virtually nothing in comparison.

What does the Church say? In a local council convened in 1819 to address the controversies surrounding the “Kollyvades” movement (which sought to return the Church to more traditional practices such as frequent communion), it was judged that (emphasis mine):

Quote
…each and every Christian should come forward to Commune whenever, after confessing to his spiritual Father, he finds himself worthy of Divine Communion and receives permission for this from his spiritual Father.

Thus, the two sacraments are very closely connected in this local council. One could object that ultimately no one is really “worthy” of Communion, which is true. But, in this context, “worthiness” refers to one’s own conscience, which ought to be clean after a good confession.

Moreover, St. Nicholas Cabasilas (14th century) writes in his Life in Christ that “we must resort to the priests [for Confession] on account of our sins so that we may drink of the cleansing blood.” In another place he writes that Holy Communion is necessary in perfecting the effects of the sacrament of Confession. Again, the two mysteries are related.

That being said, a case could be made that it is not necessary to go to Confession every time before communing, and it is only necessary for more serious sins—lesser, “pardonable” sins being forgiven through the Holy Gifts. However, I think it’s good to have frequent confession, as we sin all the time and we are less apt to forget our sins if we confess them regularly.

You should listen to your father-confessor.
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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2012, 09:22:40 AM »

Would Jesus want anyone to ever be discouraged and turned away from His table?  I doubt it very much.

Open Communion? Nah.
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« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2012, 09:30:33 AM »

A connection between confession and Communion does not necessitate a 1:1 ratio. It is perfectly possible to go for confession once every fast and still commune weekly without contravening the above decision of the 1819 Council. If a particular priest feels confession before every single liturgy is the most beneficial practice for his parish (or a bishop for his diocese), then there's nothing wrong with that provided the holy Mystery of Repentance is not reduced to a mechanical process and just another check-box on the list of magical stuff to do before Communion. It's a matter of pastoral discernment, not canon law.
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« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2012, 09:37:38 AM »

This question was brought before our Serbian Bishop when we attended that parish, one Sunday as he sat across from the priest at a "meet the bishop" sort of gathering at trapeza. It was the elephant in the room and many wanted to know because the priest was so rigid that he would often turn people away. The bishop looked directly at the priest while the parishioner asked, and the bishop answered with, " No. The sacraments are two different sacraments. Confession becomes disconnected from the heart if it is done as a weekly requirement. Confess regularly and as your soul requires, and do it well. God forgives."

That ended that. Many people were so relieved, it was as if a load had been lifted off our backs.

The priest asked forgiveness as usual the next DL and you could see tears of repentance in his eyes. He knew he had been too hard.

What a moving and enlightening post!
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« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2012, 12:17:02 PM »

Open Communion? Nah.
Of course not but how about weekly with all the prescribed rules being followed?  Would that be OK in your opinion? 
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« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2012, 03:47:29 PM »

Open Communion? Nah.
Of course not but how about weekly with all the prescribed rules being followed?  Would that be OK in your opinion?  

Listen to your priest and do not try to make some revolutions, especially when the chrism on your forehead has not dried out yet.
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« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2012, 04:04:35 PM »

Open Communion? Nah.
Of course not but how about weekly with all the prescribed rules being followed?  Would that be OK in your opinion?  

Listen to your priest and do not try to make some revolutions, especially when the chrism on your forehead has not dried out yet.
Do not be so quick to dismiss the legitimate concerns of one who is Orthodox.
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« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2012, 04:59:56 PM »

I like the way it is presented in this article.

http://www.orthodox.net/articles/confession-and-communion.html
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« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2012, 08:10:20 PM »

Open Communion? Nah.
Of course not but how about weekly with all the prescribed rules being followed?  Would that be OK in your opinion?  

Listen to your priest and do not try to make some revolutions, especially when the chrism on your forehead has not dried out yet.
Do not be so quick to dismiss the legitimate concerns of one who is Orthodox.

And yet, his issue can be worked out with none but his parish priest, unless he goes to another parish. To discuss it here as it pertains to his situation could even be harmful.
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« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2012, 02:24:08 PM »

Listen to your priest and do not try to make some revolutions, especially when the chrism on your forehead has not dried out yet.
I honestly felt I was discussing an aspect of the faith using reasonably presented ideas and references which you characterized as "make some revolutions".  Because you are the moderator I'm now uncertain I'm allowed to discuss anything at all here regardless of how respectfully I do so.  

I have no Christian friends and no one in my family is or ever was Christian.  I had hoped for more from this forum than to be treated in a dismissive and demeaning manner by the moderator !  If you are the examplar of Christian fellowship then I despair.

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« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2012, 02:53:32 PM »

I honestly felt I was discussing an aspect of the faith using reasonably presented ideas and references which you characterized as "make some revolutions".  Because you are the moderator I'm now uncertain I'm allowed to discuss anything at all here regardless of how respectfully I do so.  

I have no Christian friends and no one in my family is or ever was Christian.  I had hoped for more from this forum than to be treated in a dismissive and demeaning manner by the moderator !  If you are the examplar of Christian fellowship then I despair.

Unless I write like that you are free to disagree / discuss / ignore my posts (provided you do not break any forum rules).
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« Reply #20 on: December 18, 2012, 03:37:33 PM »


So, for those arguing against a 1:1 ration Confession:Communion....lest someone be turned away from "the" Table....

What if an unknown face shows up for Communion....is the priest allowed to turn him away?

Now, had this same face gone to Confession at Vespers the night before, or early that morning, the priest would be well aware who they were and whether they were prepared appropriately to receive the Holy Mysteries.

I honestly have a difficult time understanding the negative approach to Holy Confession.

Everyone seems to think they don't sin "enough" to require Confession....they are little sins, just daily stuff....I can confess them myself, etc.

One Confession for a month of Communion is fine....or even better Confess the first week of Great Lent and partake of the Holy Mysteries each Liturgy thereafter through Pascha...that is many Liturgies.

What an ego to believe that one Confession covers it all for next couple of months.

Does that free me from showering all during Great Lent because I washed up on Monday, the first day of Lent?

I don't know how everyone else is out there....but, I know that over the 24 hours of each day I can accumulate a truck load of sin...judgmental thoughts, anger, spite, jealousy, gluttony, laziness, unpure thoughts, envy, pride, etc.  I could go on and on.

I seriously need to get rid of the crud I've accumulated before I can approach the Holy Gifts.

Is it really that hard?
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« Reply #21 on: December 18, 2012, 04:06:34 PM »

you made some good points.
but my one experience of EO confession (in a 1:1 parish for want of a better word) was not as comfortable as i was used to.
i was towards the end of a queue of about 20 people and the morning incense prayers had nearly finished, and there was only 1 priest.
so i felt a bit rushed (i normally take 15-30 minutes for confession, maybe i am wickeder than you!) and just did a 3 minute job, mentioning my most common category of sins.

so i think if people are in a church where there is not much time for confession, they might choose to go less often and then take a bit longer over it.
just my guess.
in my church we do it as often as the priest and people think is right; usually the priest guides the frequency.
there are a lot of confession prayers in the liturgy and morning incense, and i often see people with heads down praying fervently during liturgy, so i think different places just do it differently.
if the attitude is right, then it's ok.
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« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2012, 04:19:34 PM »

What if an unknown face shows up for Communion....is the priest allowed to turn him away?

Now, had this same face gone to Confession at Vespers the night before, or early that morning, the priest would be well aware who they were and whether they were prepared appropriately to receive the Holy Mysteries.

If an unknown person shows up, the priest can ask him if he has a blessing from his spiritual father to take Communion that week. If he suspects that the person does not have such a blessing, he can certainly turn him away.

Quote
I honestly have a difficult time understanding the negative approach to Holy Confession.

No one here has expressed a negative approach to Holy Confession. Some of us greatly value the holy Mystery of Confession as an essential element of spiritual life, which is why we don't like to see it reduced to a mechanical procedure or mere formality. Again, those priests who decide a 1:1 ratio is spiritually beneficial for his flock has every right to insist on it. The problem is with those who make what should be a pastoral decision a matter of law.

Quote
Everyone seems to think they don't sin "enough" to require Confession....they are little sins, just daily stuff....I can confess them myself, etc.

One Confession for a month of Communion is fine....or even better Confess the first week of Great Lent and partake of the Holy Mysteries each Liturgy thereafter through Pascha...that is many Liturgies.

What an ego to believe that one Confession covers it all for next couple of months.

Does that free me from showering all during Great Lent because I washed up on Monday, the first day of Lent?

I don't know how everyone else is out there....but, I know that over the 24 hours of each day I can accumulate a truck load of sin...judgmental thoughts, anger, spite, jealousy, gluttony, laziness, unpure thoughts, envy, pride, etc.  I could go on and on.

I seriously need to get rid of the crud I've accumulated before I can approach the Holy Gifts.

Is it really that hard?


I think this post encapsulates the problem quite well. The 1:1 ratio, while not wrong in and of itself, tends to foster (and tends to stem from) the idea that we must be 'sinless' to approach Holy Communion, totally undermining the idea that Communion is itself for 'the remission of sins.'

That you assume those who argue for less frequent confession believe that they don't sin often enough, don't sin severely enough, or that they are 'covered' until the next time shows that you appear to misunderstand what those people are arguing and why.
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« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2012, 04:48:42 PM »


I would agree that I may be misunderstanding...and truly welcome clarification.  I'm always open and interested in trying to understand opposing viewpoints.

I certainly don't believe anyone is ever truly "worthy" to approach the Holy Gifts - Confession or not.  However, I do believe a bit of preparation goes a long way.

I only say this because I have been to parishes who do both - require and don't require Confession.  It's true that in the churches that do require Confession...only a handful approach on any Sunday.  However, at those churches which do not require Confession, almost everyone approaches the Holy Gifts.

The concern that was compared to frequent Confession above...that people get used to it and it loses it's true meaning, etc....might hold true for simply approaching the Holy Gifts without proper preparation, as well.

I'm not arguing for one or the other.  I realize these are two separate Sacraments...independent of one another.

However, I don't see the harm in having Confession prior to Communion.

....just as we need Baptism before other Sacraments, or Marriage before Ordination....

All the Sacraments are separate and independent....but, sometimes, one is a prerequisite for another.
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« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2012, 05:20:37 PM »

I agree that adequate preparation is needed.  But I disagree in a very mechanical process of requiring Confession before Communion.  Being Roman Catholic for much of my life, I've seen that people either just do not observe the rule, or become scrupulous observing the rule.  Confession should be a part of our entire Christian life but not a strict pre-requisite to receiving Communion.  As long as we confess frequently, we pray and fast, does it matter when that confession took place?  A lot of us struggle with sin and it is quite possible that we keep doing the same sin over and over again, but isn't that the signal that we need more grace of God to keep up the fight?  As long as we are interested in repenting and are actively on the struggle towards true repentance (that is, actively reforming ourselves), then I don't see the problem.  There is a problem if someone isn't actively reforming.
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« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2012, 05:30:48 PM »


Yes, but, along that thread....if we keep repeating the same sin over and over...how will we get help, if we don't Confess this sin?

By repeatedly confessing the same thing, the witness (in the form of the priest) realizes that we are struggling and will come to our help...suggesting various "remedies" to try to help us stop with this same repetitive sin.

Isn't that part of the benefit of going to regular Confession?
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« Reply #26 on: December 18, 2012, 05:34:52 PM »


Yes, but, along that thread....if we keep repeating the same sin over and over...how will we get help, if we don't Confess this sin?

That is why I said that confession should be part of our Christian life, but not necessarily a mandated step prior to Communion.  If one goes to confession once a month, then great!  Does it matter if confession is prior to Liturgy, after Liturgy, sometime during the week, before or after Vespers, etc?

By repeatedly confessing the same thing, the witness (in the form of the priest) realizes that we are struggling and will come to our help...suggesting various "remedies" to try to help us stop with this same repetitive sin.

Isn't that part of the benefit of going to regular Confession?

Yup yup, I fully agree.  I am not against this at all.  I'm just against the mechanical nature of "do this first then this".  It is like eating and drinking, do you eat first before drinking, or drink first before eating?  Doesn't matter as long as you do both.
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« Reply #27 on: December 18, 2012, 05:35:19 PM »

Leaving aside the question of connecting confession with communion on a 1:1 basis, does anyone think priests should discourage people from receiving communion more than once per month if the people agree to all the required preparations (including confession, fasting, vigil, etc.)?   Do priests have the right to deny communion for no other reason than they think it's too frequent?

This has not actually happened to me because I just accepted my priest's direction regarding frequency of communion but I would like to know what his prerogative is in this regard.  
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« Reply #28 on: December 18, 2012, 05:38:36 PM »

They have the right to deny Communion but in this case you can frighten him with his bishop.
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« Reply #29 on: December 18, 2012, 05:45:48 PM »

Maybe it's just my church that's like this or is this pattern of infrequent communion similar to other Orthodox churches as well ?...  The telling statistic is "Of those who call themselves Orthodox only 2% communes at least once a month."


Quote
http://www.interfax-religion.ru/print.php?act=news&id=43479

2011-12-19
[Slightly edited machine translation]

Almost half of Orthodox Russians never received
communion - poll


Moscow. December 19. Interfax - A significant part of Orthodox Russians (43%) never received communion
- according to data of a nationwide survey conducted by the "public opinion poll Sreda."

The study also showed that just over half (53%) of
Orthodox Russians, came to communion at least once in their lives; and 4% had difficulty answering the question about
how often they receive communion, was reported to "Interfax-Religion" by the press service "Sreda".

Among Orthodox Russians who do not commune at all one more frequently encounters those who do not work and those
who have one child.

30% of Orthodox Russians reeive communion less than once a year, among
them most reside in the Central Federal District. 15% of Orthodox Russians commune once or twice a year, most often those
who are over 65 years of age.

6% of Orthodox Russians approach the chalice several times a year (but
less than once a month). Among these one encounters more Russians whose income is less than 3 thousand rubles a month,
as well as those working in science and education.

Of those who call themselves Orthodox only 2% communes at least once a
month. Sociologists point out that among these people -- more often than among those who chose
other response options -- were those working in the field of medicine
and public health.

Over the past three years the proportion of Orthodox Russians, who in principle do not receive communion,
has declined somewhat. At the same time an increasing the number of Orthodox began to approach the
chalice at least once a year.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2012, 05:52:19 PM by Theophan_C » Logged

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« Reply #30 on: December 18, 2012, 05:50:18 PM »

They have the right to deny Communion but in this case you can frighten him with his bishop.
nah... he's probably the nicest guy I ever met and I wouldn't hurt him for the world.
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« Reply #31 on: December 18, 2012, 05:50:42 PM »

Maybe it's just my church that's like this or is this pattern of infrequent communion similar to other Orthodox churches as well ?...


Quote
http://www.interfax-religion.ru/print.php?act=news&id=43479

2011-12-19
[Slightly edited machine translation]

Almost half of Orthodox Russians never received
communion - poll


Moscow. December 19. Interfax - A significant part of Orthodox Russians (43%) never received communion
- according to data of a nationwide survey conducted by the "public opinion poll Sreda."

The study also showed that just over half (53%) of
Orthodox Russians, came to communion at least once in their lives; and 4% had difficulty answering the question about
how often they receive communion, was reported to "Interfax-Religion" by the press service "Sreda".

Among Orthodox Russians who do not commune at all one more frequently encounters those who do not work and those
who have one child.

30% of Orthodox Russians reeive communion less than once a year, among
them most reside in the Central Federal District. 15% of Orthodox Russians commune once or twice a year, most often those
who are over 65 years of age.

6% of Orthodox Russians approach the chalice several times a year (but
less than once a month). Among these one encounters more Russians whose income is less than 3 thousand rubles a month,
as well as those working in science and education.

Of those who call themselves Orthodox only 2% communes at least once a
month. Sociologists point out that among these people -- more often than among those who chose
other response options -- were those working in the field of medicine
and public health.

Over the past three years the proportion of Orthodox Russians, who in principle do not receive communion,
has declined somewhat. At the same time an increasing the number of Orthodox began to approach the
chalice at least once a year.

Should the Russian Orthodox Church follow the example of the Roman Catholic Church and enforce a rule that the faithful should receive Communion at least once during the 40 days of Pascha?
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« Reply #32 on: December 18, 2012, 05:53:40 PM »

They have the right to deny Communion but in this case you can frighten him with his bishop.
nah... he's probably the nicest guy I ever met and I wouldn't hurt him for the world.

So what do you want to achieve and how?

Should the Russian Orthodox Church follow the example of the Roman Catholic Church and enforce a rule that the faithful should receive Communion at least once during the 40 days of Pascha?

I was told we already have.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2012, 05:54:44 PM by Michał Kalina » Logged

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« Reply #33 on: December 18, 2012, 06:19:46 PM »

They have the right to deny Communion but in this case you can frighten him with his bishop.
nah... he's probably the nicest guy I ever met and I wouldn't hurt him for the world.
So what do you want to achieve and how?
I wanted to get a better picture of how my experience fit into the larger patterns and I am getting that by asking for and receiving answers here.  I have no intention of rocking the boat in my local church at all.
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« Reply #34 on: December 18, 2012, 06:29:35 PM »

I'm sorry for misunderstanding your plans.
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« Reply #35 on: December 18, 2012, 06:45:07 PM »

I don’t receive at every liturgy I attend (I usually get to attend twice a month), but I would still characterize my reception as “frequent,” much more frequent than my confessions.

I do my best to prepare in the way the priest has requested, but I don’t have a “spiritual father” to dictate if I should receive because I am not a monk.

When I receive, if I have not been to confession, I think of myself as only grasping at the hem of Christ’s garment, hoping for healing despite my uncleanliness, that my receiving of the Mysteries will be neither to my judgment, nor to my condemnation, but to the healing of soul and body.

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THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL ORTHODOX CHURCH
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« Reply #36 on: December 18, 2012, 07:00:33 PM »

I'm sorry for misunderstanding your plans.
It seems I am often misunderstood. It must be the way I talk or something ...  Huh
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« Reply #37 on: December 20, 2012, 09:01:14 AM »

re: the OP.....

Since you've already said you don't want to rock the boat in your parish (a VERY good thing, even though I believe that approach to communion is wrong), I'll add a bit to this.

The question you get to and the different practices one might see in frequency of communion boil down to different sacramental and ecclesiological ideas and approaches (answer questions like "what are the sacraments?", "what is the eucharist?", "what is confession?", "why do we worship?", "what is the link between these and the church?".  And, for that matter, "what is the church?")

Father Alexander Schmemann's section on the eucharist at the end of "The Great Lent" (which is where I presume you got the original quote) is a good overview of this.   The basic point is, why do we go to church?   Why do we receive the eucharist?  What's the point in us singing the Cherubikon if we don't receive?  Why does the priest announce "Holy Things for the Holy ones" and then not to long after the people of God say "you have made us worthy to receive thy Holy, spotless and immortal mysteries"?  I also hate to discourage people from the Mystery of Repentance aka Confession, but IMO there should not be a linkage or a 1:1 confession:eucharist ratio on either side because they are distinctly different.  

Put another way, the "frequent communion" position argues that both sacraments are inherent to someone's life in the church and with God (which are of course the same).   Neither laxity nor rigidity are helpful to God's people.  Further, IIRC the expectation was from apostolic times up until well into "medieval" times (in our case the post-Studite/iconoclastic era) was for reception of the eucharist at every Divine Liturgy (though the services were different then and many assumptions were different, meaning that you can't just say "they did it like this before and so we need to do it like that again").    

Apologies, I have to be getting to work, and am doing this quickly from memory.  If you want more details and references, feel free to ask.  
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 09:01:47 AM by MarkosC » Logged

O Lord although I desired to blot out
with my tears the handwriting of my many sins
And for the rest of my life to please Thee
through sincere repentance
Yet doth the enemy lead me astray as he wareth
against my sould with his cunning

O Lord before I utterly perish do Thou save me!
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« Reply #38 on: December 20, 2012, 01:03:23 PM »

re: the OP.....

Since you've already said you don't want to rock the boat in your parish (a VERY good thing, even though I believe that approach to communion is wrong), I'll add a bit to this.

The question you get to and the different practices one might see in frequency of communion boil down to different sacramental and ecclesiological ideas and approaches (answer questions like "what are the sacraments?", "what is the eucharist?", "what is confession?", "why do we worship?", "what is the link between these and the church?".  And, for that matter, "what is the church?")

Father Alexander Schmemann's section on the eucharist at the end of "The Great Lent" (which is where I presume you got the original quote) is a good overview of this.   The basic point is, why do we go to church?   Why do we receive the eucharist?  What's the point in us singing the Cherubikon if we don't receive?  Why does the priest announce "Holy Things for the Holy ones" and then not to long after the people of God say "you have made us worthy to receive thy Holy, spotless and immortal mysteries"?  I also hate to discourage people from the Mystery of Repentance aka Confession, but IMO there should not be a linkage or a 1:1 confession:eucharist ratio on either side because they are distinctly different.  

Put another way, the "frequent communion" position argues that both sacraments are inherent to someone's life in the church and with God (which are of course the same).   Neither laxity nor rigidity are helpful to God's people.  Further, IIRC the expectation was from apostolic times up until well into "medieval" times (in our case the post-Studite/iconoclastic era) was for reception of the eucharist at every Divine Liturgy (though the services were different then and many assumptions were different, meaning that you can't just say "they did it like this before and so we need to do it like that again").    

Apologies, I have to be getting to work, and am doing this quickly from memory.  If you want more details and references, feel free to ask.  

thank you for this ... I think I'm really OK with it now.  I'd still like to receive communion more frequently than my priest has directed and I still think many good informed Orthodox people might agree with me - but what's changed is my feelings.  I was disappointed at first but in retrospect I realize I'm so grateful to be in the church at all that I don't mind letting go of the issue.  When I was a child I knew some of my father's decisions were probably wrong but it was good to be with him anyway and running away or endlessly arguing would have been a disaster. 
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