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Author Topic: Frequent Communion among Old Believers?  (Read 471 times) Average Rating: 0
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Yurysprudentsiya
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« on: August 20, 2013, 11:51:23 AM »

I am trying to discover how the infrequent Communion practice developed in the Russian Church.  I think it stems from the annual confession and communion requirement introduced by Tsar Peter the Great's reforms.  But I am not sure.   It occurred to me that perhaps looking at the Old Believers (with priests) could help elucidate pre Nikonian practice on this issue, unless they too have changed.    Can anyone help?   
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2013, 12:01:20 PM »

An interesting question.

I doubt that the one confession/communion a year minumum had anything to do with infrequent communion. If anything, it was put there because amongst some it was even more infrequent.

Another thing to consider is that the majority of Old Ritualists have no priests to hear confessions and give communion. Mostly, the ones with priests are in a tradition with a re-established priesthood.
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Yurysprudentsiya
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2013, 12:09:27 PM »

An interesting question.

I doubt that the one confession/communion a year minumum had anything to do with infrequent communion. If anything, it was put there because amongst some it was even more infrequent.

Another thing to consider is that the majority of Old Ritualists have no priests to hear confessions and give communion. Mostly, the ones with priests are in a tradition with a re-established priesthood.

You may be right.  But my understanding is that the point of the annual requirement was to ferret out schismatic a and traitors before they could do any harm.  Treasonous confessions had to be reported to the Most Holy Synod, which was a department of the state. 

I'd like reference to any sources describing Russian communion frequency among the faithful circa 1400-1700.   The Old Believer way might be a short circuit to that answer but only among those groups with a consistent priesthood who are only a fraction.   
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2013, 01:06:31 PM »

An interesting question.

I doubt that the one confession/communion a year minumum had anything to do with infrequent communion. If anything, it was put there because amongst some it was even more infrequent.

Another thing to consider is that the majority of Old Ritualists have no priests to hear confessions and give communion. Mostly, the ones with priests are in a tradition with a re-established priesthood.

You may be right.  But my understanding is that the point of the annual requirement was to ferret out schismatic a and traitors before they could do any harm.  Treasonous confessions had to be reported to the Most Holy Synod, which was a department of the state. 

I'd like reference to any sources describing Russian communion frequency among the faithful circa 1400-1700.   The Old Believer way might be a short circuit to that answer but only among those groups with a consistent priesthood who are only a fraction.   

I think I found what I am looking for in the work of Father Michael Zheltov of the Moscow Spiritual Academy.  He indicates that Old Russian practice was communion annually.  I need to read his works further.   I've also come across a few sources which indicate that the shift to infrequent communion occurred around 1000 AD.   Chrysostom objected to it, indicating that it happened in his day.   There are various interpretations of Canon IX of the Apostolic Canons, which excimmunicates the faithful who come to Liturgy but do not stay for Communion as causing disorder.  Some infer that it was a prohibition on those who did not receive without an impediment and others say it was done with a view to preserve the dignity of the service and that people were not required to commune.  The hesychasts promoted frequent communion among their monks apparently.  It appears that the practice of antidoron solidified in the East around 1100 AD as more and more people were attending the full liturgy but not receiving. 

All his is very interesting.  I love to learn and would appreciate any further commentary on these points.   My earlier thesis re the effect of the Petrine reforms on frequent communion is thus revised. 
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2013, 04:25:34 PM »

An interesting question.

I doubt that the one confession/communion a year minumum had anything to do with infrequent communion. If anything, it was put there because amongst some it was even more infrequent.

Another thing to consider is that the majority of Old Ritualists have no priests to hear confessions and give communion. Mostly, the ones with priests are in a tradition with a re-established priesthood.

I don't think the priestless are in the majority - if I'm not mistaken most belong to priestly accords like the Belokrinitsy.
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2013, 06:57:40 PM »

I am trying to discover how the infrequent Communion practice developed in the Russian Church.  I think it stems from the annual confession and communion requirement introduced by Tsar Peter the Great's reforms.  But I am not sure.   It occurred to me that perhaps looking at the Old Believers (with priests) could help elucidate pre Nikonian practice on this issue, unless they too have changed.    Can anyone help?   

It preceded the Petrine reforms.  Infrequent communion was a common problem that sparked the Kollyvades movement (their name, however, was sparked by a separate issue--opposition to the newly devised "Sunday memorials").  Many Saints, including St. Paisij Velichovsky, were involved with this movement. 

The idea that one had to take confession before Communion, for example, stemmed from infrequent communion (but this only among the northern Slavs, among the Greeks, an additional period of fasting was developed instead).  The canons do not require Confession before Communion unless you have either committed a mortal sin, missed Church for more than 3 Sundays, or abstained from Communion without a valid cause, especially repetitively due to neglect of preparedness.  Since the entire Church fell into infrequent Communion, it was logical to make the 1:1 association, since those who do not commune frequently do have to partake of confession ahead of time for the above reasons.  I wrote a series of articles on this in the UOW on preparation for communion in the middle of the last decade.

 

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« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2013, 02:57:43 AM »

The idea that one had to take confession before Communion, for example, stemmed from infrequent communion (but this only among the northern Slavs, among the Greeks, an additional period of fasting was developed instead).  The canons do not require Confession before Communion unless you have either committed a mortal sin, missed Church for more than 3 Sundays, or abstained from Communion without a valid cause, especially repetitively due to neglect of preparedness.  Since the entire Church fell into infrequent Communion, it was logical to make the 1:1 association, since those who do not commune frequently do have to partake of confession ahead of time for the above reasons.  I wrote a series of articles on this in the UOW on preparation for communion in the middle of the last decade.

What is a mortal sin?
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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2013, 11:44:28 AM »

The idea that one had to take confession before Communion, for example, stemmed from infrequent communion (but this only among the northern Slavs, among the Greeks, an additional period of fasting was developed instead).  The canons do not require Confession before Communion unless you have either committed a mortal sin, missed Church for more than 3 Sundays, or abstained from Communion without a valid cause, especially repetitively due to neglect of preparedness.  Since the entire Church fell into infrequent Communion, it was logical to make the 1:1 association, since those who do not commune frequently do have to partake of confession ahead of time for the above reasons.  I wrote a series of articles on this in the UOW on preparation for communion in the middle of the last decade.

What is a mortal sin?

Mortal sin is sin unto death, as we find mentioned in 1 John 5.16-17,  or in canon 32 of St. Basil, for example.  St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain identifies it as the worst of 7 levels of sin.  St. Gregory of Nyssa mentions the gravity of the mortal sin and what distinguishes it from the lesser forms: “all sins that are attached to the ratiocinative faculty of the soul have been judged more harshly by the Fathers, and meriting greater and longer and more painfully laborious efforts to return: such as, for instance, if anyone has denied the belief in Christ.” (St. Gregory, Canon 2).  Chrysanthos of Jerusalem states that, as opposed to the lesser levels of sin, which only partly rend the relationship with God, mortal sin separates one completely from the life of communion with God (hence "unto death") and renders one an enemy of God until full repentance is accomplished 
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« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2013, 08:04:26 PM »

An interesting question.

I doubt that the one confession/communion a year minumum had anything to do with infrequent communion. If anything, it was put there because amongst some it was even more infrequent.

Another thing to consider is that the majority of Old Ritualists have no priests to hear confessions and give communion. Mostly, the ones with priests are in a tradition with a re-established priesthood.

I don't think the priestless are in the majority - if I'm not mistaken most belong to priestly accords like the Belokrinitsy.

Do you have figures? The raskol'niki who took clergy, long after the schism, were but a couple groups out of many.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2013, 08:04:47 PM by Shanghaiski » Logged

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If you spend long enough on this forum, you'll come away with all sorts of weird, untrue ideas of Orthodox Christianity.
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