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Author Topic: Syrian Orthodox First Communion?  (Read 2827 times) Average Rating: 0
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Nigula Qian Zishi
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« on: July 19, 2005, 10:29:19 PM »

Does this really happen in the Syrian Churches or is it Vaganté?

http://dorgalli.com/pictures205.htm

[img=http://img103.imageshack.us/img103/1706/511ob.th.jpg]
« Last Edit: July 19, 2005, 10:36:36 PM by ΝικολάÎÆ» Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2005, 10:34:26 PM »

It appears that this is the canonical Church. 

I suspect that, rather than actually delaying Communion till "the age of reason", this is simply something the Syrians do for kids that age so that they don't feel left out when their other friends in school have this sort of thing going on.  If I am wrong, and they actually do delay Communion till age seven or so, then I'd be quite surprised, and would want to know why. 
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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2005, 10:55:43 PM »

Another possibility is that these kids (for some reason) were only recently baptised. The boys are wearing robes- could they be baptisimal robes?
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2005, 11:28:59 PM »

There are about two dozen kids and the title is "First Holy Communion At Saint Ephraim Syrian Orthodox Church". The robes are very unique, but these kids all seem to belong to different parents from the pictures, making Baptism seem unlikely.
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2005, 12:59:32 AM »

You'll get a lot further in life and spiritually if you don't inquire so much about other men's wives.  Wink
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2005, 05:18:08 PM »

Syrian Orthodox in India  dont have a first communion,we recive our first communion at the time of baptism.From then at leats once a year kids recive holy communion.
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2005, 10:29:06 PM »

This is a canonical Syrian Orthodox Church.

This LOOKS like a Catholic influenced inovation that this parish.  If so, this is incorrect.

Are their any Syrians that may comment on this?

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« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2005, 05:34:03 PM »

The Coptic Church doesn't condone this.  They are our sister Church (I've seen this bishop celebrate with one of our Coptic bishops before), but this practice is unnecessary.

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« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2005, 01:53:06 PM »

I have a theory about this:

I went to a liturgy at that church (St. Ephrem) a number of years ago.  I was surprised when no one took communion.  The priest just went on with the liturgy.  I stayed in the church a while after the liturgy was over and I saw a family approach the priest and speak to him.  He then gave communion to the family.

I wonder if the Syrian Church is one of those churches where a popular piety has arisen where people don't take communion frequently.  Perhaps the "first communion" we saw on that website is part of an effort to get people to start taking communion more often.

In other words, perhaps the kids in the pictures had their real first communion when they were baptised, but the "first communion" we saw in the pictures is a "gimmick" to help get people into frequent communion.

I don't know.  It is just a theory.  I e-mailed the pictures to someone I know who knows a little about that church to see what he has to say.  I wish we had someone from that church on this board so we could hear first hand what this is about.
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« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2005, 09:02:51 AM »

I wonder if the Syrian Church is one of those churches where a popular piety has arisen where people don't take communion frequently.
what do you mean by "a popular piety"?
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« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2005, 06:06:37 PM »

I guess what I mean is a custom that has developed among the laity.  In other words, the priests probably didn't tell the people not to take communion frequently, it just became the custom for various reasons.
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« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2005, 01:46:41 PM »

All,
Salpy is right. See below the email I received from H.G Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan , the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Wester USA.

---------------------------------

Dear Matthew

It is wrong to be called First communion in our Syrian Orthodox churches, must be called Ceremonial Communion. This wrong has been done without intention of the archbishops of the archdiocese in usa. We're always explaining this to our people.

Best regards

+ C. Eugene Kaplan
------------------------------------------------------
I have a theory about this:

I went to a liturgy at that church (St. Ephrem) a number of years ago.ÂÂ  I was surprised when no one took communion.ÂÂ  The priest just went on with the liturgy.ÂÂ  I stayed in the church a while after the liturgy was over and I saw a family approach the priest and speak to him.ÂÂ  He then gave communion to the family.

I wonder if the Syrian Church is one of those churches where a popular piety has arisen where people don't take communion frequently.ÂÂ  Perhaps the "first communion" we saw on that website is part of an effort to get people to start taking communion more often.

In other words, perhaps the kids in the pictures had their real first communion when they were baptised, but the "first communion" we saw in the pictures is a "gimmick" to help get people into frequent communion.

I don't know.ÂÂ  It is just a theory.ÂÂ  I e-mailed the pictures to someone I know who knows a little about that church to see what he has to say.ÂÂ  I wish we had someone from that church on this board so we could hear first hand what this is about.
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« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2005, 02:18:19 AM »

Let me share, a response posted in SOCM-FORUM on the same subject

Dear Moderator / Mr. Matthew,

First let me say that I don't agree with this activity; I will explain why in a moment.

These are NOT "First" communion photos. I asked the Mar CE Kaplan about this a few years ago and he acknowledges that it is not first communion. All newly baptized individuals (of any age) take communion after they receive the holy myron. If someone is referring to it as "first communion," that person is very
ignorant of our beliefs and traditions.

So what are we looking at in these photos? This is the "Communion Awareness" as the bishop told me. Because of several folks who took Roman Catholic wives, and others who, for whatever reason don't want their children to not have a "first communion," this activity began in certain parishes (but not every parish does this). Since our literal first communion occurs right after baptism, it is highly unlikely that any of these children in the photos are really partaking in their first communion.

Since these parents wanted such an event, the parishes who engage in it use it at the point in the child's education where each begins learning about the importance of communion. Then, as was the custom to present the twelve year olds in the temple (See Luke 2:42), these children are presented.

Still, the practice of "first communion" is an Orthodox practice and was historically, before the Roman Church apostatized.

This practice today is not unlike some other practices we've tacked on. Instruments were strictly forbidden in the Church until the early 20th century when an organ was permitted to lay down certain chanting notes. Today, we have all sorts of crazy beats going during the time of the Holy Qurbana. Having benches (pews) in the church was not part of our tradition either, but we took it from the Protestants.

We have the Beth Gazo, the richest of all Orthodox musical traditions, and yet we pollute our own heritage by using obnoxious instruments at some parishes. Our tradition is to stand during the liturgy and sit on the floor during sermons, but now we have benches which crowd the inside of the church and insight laziness. If Christ endured all sorts of tortures for half the day, surely we can stand for a few hours (and have a few seats for the old folks who deserve the rest). Now with this "Communion Awareness": it is practiced by only a few parishes, but it is unnecessary. If we are well educated in our own traditions, these innovations become worthless. As St. Paul says in his letter to the Corinthians, "all things are lawful, but not all things are helpful." Though these issues are not necessarily anti-Orthodox, they are indeed innovations that are ultimately worthless and will inspire complacency far more than they will inspire a richness of faith.

Mike Wingert
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« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2012, 08:20:42 AM »

^So all Syrian Orthodox Christians receive their first communion in infancy after their Baptism...

If this is the case, I find it disheartening that many of the Syrians are so quick to embrace Western innovations (Copts too, sometimes). Further, calling this ritual "first communion" is very misleading to outsiders unfamiliar with Miaphysite Orthodox Communion practices.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2012, 08:43:15 AM by Severian » Logged


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« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2012, 10:53:30 AM »

^So all Syrian Orthodox Christians receive their first communion in infancy after their Baptism...

If this is the case, I find it disheartening that many of the Syrians are so quick to embrace Western innovations (Copts too, sometimes).
Isn't infant communion the norm for a long time? Or did you mean something else?
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« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2012, 10:55:01 AM »

^So all Syrian Orthodox Christians receive their first communion in infancy after their Baptism...

If this is the case, I find it disheartening that many of the Syrians are so quick to embrace Western innovations (Copts too, sometimes).
Isn't infant communion the norm for a long time? Or did you mean something else?
I was referring to the info contained in post #12. Thomas says that infant communion is the norm in the Syrian Church and that these celebrations are innovations.
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« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2012, 11:03:57 AM »

So you meant that the celebrations are disheartening and not the infant communion?
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« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2012, 11:12:30 AM »

So you meant that the celebrations are disheartening and not the infant communion?
Yes. I would never and could never possibly be disheartened by infant communion, this is the Church's normal practice. Forgive me, I realize my post was a bit ambiguous. What are your thoughts on these celebrations, though?
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« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2012, 11:20:18 AM »

I don't like introducing new things such as these celebrations. I'm very traditional. But it seems to me that it's almost always Syriacs in North America who do these things. The ones in North America usually didn't move to the west directly from the Syriac villages in our homelands, they usually come from bigger cities in Syria. The Syriacs in Europe (which are the majority in the diaspora) are more "village Syriacs".
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The Tur Abdin Timeline - A timeline of Tur Abdin (Syriac for "the Mountain of the Servants [of God]"), the heartland of the Syriac Orthodox Christians, a hilly region located in upper Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates.
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