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.