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Author Topic: Confession in Oriental Orthodoxy  (Read 4152 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ghazar
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« on: March 05, 2005, 01:09:57 AM »

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In the Armenian Church the practice of individual confession has fallen into disue. Instead we typically confess using a short formula during the Divine Liturgy and receive absolution then. Does any other OO Church still practice individual confession?
« Last Edit: March 05, 2005, 07:25:18 AM by Ghazaros » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2005, 08:08:46 AM »

Copts and Indians still do (although the practice with the latter is varied).  I'm presuming because of this that the Ethiopians and Syrians also practice individual confession. 
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2005, 08:46:44 PM »

Copts and Indians still do (although the practice with the latter is varied). I'm presuming because of this that the Ethiopians and Syrians also practice individual confession.
I am not sure what Mor Ephrem meant, but the Coptic Church does not replace individual confession and getting the absolution from the mouth of the priest by any other practice for the forgiveness of sins, which is fullfilled with communion afterwards.
It is also encouraged to confess the sins at all time in front of the Lord, whether in the liturgy, in night praises, at the Agpeya prayer Hours, or at any time, in a church setting or anywhere, but this does not and cannot replace confession to the priest, one to one.

Maybe Mor Ephrem was pointing out to a historical incident. In the years of reign of the Ayyobis and Mamlok sultans, Egypt was in chaos and there was a continuous persecution of Copts, and the churches were closed for many years, or converted to mosques to mosques. In the years of Sultan Kalawoon,for example, the prevention of Coptic liturgy or prayer in churches or otherwise extended for 13 years. As such, the priests had to go from house to house to give communion, and to pray, holding individual liturgies at times. Their number was declining because they were killed if discovered. Because of the lack of time, and the lack of clergy , the Pope at one time allowed that the people say their confessions during these "hidden" liturgies while the priest holds the incense and moves around the house (church). This was an exceptional case.
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2005, 03:09:09 AM »

The Sacrament of Repentance In Syriac Orthodox Church

Repentance and remission of sins is one of the seven sacraments of the New Law ordained by our Lord when He breathed on His disciples, saying: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive a man his sins, they shall be forgiven to him; and if you withhold forgiveness of a man's sins, they are kept. (John 20:22-23)"

This sacrament was ordained of our Lord in the form of a law, giving power and authority to His ministers to declare and pronounce absolution to the faithful who confess and repent of sins willingly committed after baptism.

The faithful repenter should consider the many sins which he or she committed and must truly and earnestly repent of them. One should then confess them to the priest without concealing or hiding them and, consequently, accept the canonical penalty.

General Exhortations

1. The priest should be well acquainted with the divine as well as the ecclesiastical laws that he may be able to determine whether or not this repenter is worthy of absolution. Consequently, the priest, in the likeness of a spiritual physician, should treat the faithful penitent and take great care for his or her soul's health.

2. The priest should take great heed never to reveal anything of the penitent's confession, but rather keep it secret even until death.

3. Whenever the priest is called to make confession to some faithful repenters, he must show himself always ready to respond to the call and to earnestly beseech the Lord that he may be assisted to fulfill his service fittingly and piously.

4. The confession ought to be made only in church. The priest wears a stole around his neck and sits on a chair which must be put in a special place so as to be seen by the congregation. However, on account of sickness, or for any other compelling reason, the priest is allowed to go to the sick person's home who wishes to make confession, but is unable to go to church. While the penitent is making confession, the priest must be sitting in a special place where he may be seen by those who are present.

5. If the priest finds out that the penitent is not acquainted with the fundamental truths of the Church, then he must try to enlighten and instruct the person with such truths at the time of confession, but if it would be impossible, then he must do so at a more convenient opportunity.

6. If it may happen that, by reason of extremity of sickness or by any other impediment, one of the faithful is deprived of the power of speech and is unable to make confession except by making gestures to indicate his or her sins, the priest should grant the individual absolution.


7. The priest lays his right hand on the head of the penitent and says:
May God have mercy upon you, and may He guide you to everlasting life through the authority of priesthood which was entrusted by our Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples who, in turn, entrusted it to their successors until it was given me; I who am weak and sinful, absolve you, brother (sister) of all the sins that you have confessed and are repentant of them, as wellas of all the transgressions which have escaped your memory in the Name of the Father +, amen, and of the Son +, amen and of the Holy Spirit + for everlasting life. Amen.
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2005, 03:07:34 PM »

I am not sure what Mor Ephrem meant...

Sorry for the confusion.  I meant that the Copts and Indians still practice individual, private confession, although the Indian practice, and not the Coptic practice (to my knowledge), varies.  Thanks for the historical information.
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2005, 02:09:04 PM »

In the Indian Orthodox confession is done usually preceeding the Holy Week. It is a requirement that a person must confess at least once a year to be a member of the parish council and to sit in general body meetings.  I think a record is kept in the church for this. On normal Sundays the priest gives absolution as in the Armenian Church.


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Tags: confession Oriental Orthodox Armenian Church Indian Orthodox Coptic Orthodox Church Syriac Orthodox 
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