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« Reply #135 on: March 23, 2011, 07:06:44 PM »

The whole week which ever  one chooses be it a Feast Day or a regular week one abstains from meat and dairy prior to Holy Communion......Thats how I was taught...

When the Spirit Moves Some one to Partake Of Holy Communion,let's say at a major feast day like the Domitian Fast,we were taught to prepare ourselfs by fasting a week ,then confession and recieve Holy Communion on the Feast Day.......

Fasting and confession and Recieving Holy Communion  was 3 or 4  times a year..Not Weekly of monthly, like it is now.....

I prefer the 2 , 3 , Times a year of recieving Holy Communion than weekly or Monthly......


I think that what is confusing some people is what you mean by "fasting for a week".  You use the Dormition Fast as an example.  I have seen that people who believe in infrequent communion tend to commune during one or more of the Great Fasts (Advent, Lent, Apostles and Dormition).  However, if the Spirit moved you to commune after Brite Week, would you still fast during that week?  Or, if you were moved to commune during a regular week, would you abstain from meat and dairy all week or just Wed and Fri?
Now I'm awfully confused. At any rate, I'm fairly certain that at the ROCOR parish my wife attended when we were in the US, fasting for the week prior to communion meant just that, abstaining from meat/dairy, etc. for the entire week and confession. Hence, the only time I ever saw anyone other than small children commune was Pascha.
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« Reply #136 on: March 23, 2011, 10:50:46 PM »


However, does anyone believe there is something "wrong" with confessing weekly?



I reply to you to add a consideration to the excellent replies already given by Pravoslavbob and Father George. That is why I isolated your first sentence above.

If we can look at "confessing" as a process, something that we do, it is clear that we confess at least once a week during Divine Liturgy:

"I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first. Moreover, I believe that this is truly thine immaculate Body and that this is truly thy most precious Blood. Therefore, I pray Thee, have mercy upon me, and forgive my transgressions, both voluntary and involuntary, in word or in deed, in knowledge or in ignorance. And grant that I may partake of thy Holy Mysteries without condemnation, for the remission of sins and for life everlasting."

Daily, the Trisagion Prayers presuppose that when we pray for the Lord to forgive our sins we do not pray in an abstract fashion but are truly sorry for our real, concrete sins and that we promise that we will try to sin no more. I am highlighting the places that emphasize this.

"O heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who art in all places and fillest all things; Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us and cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O gracious Lord.
Holy God, holy mighty, holy immortal: have mercy on us. (Thrice)
All-holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse us from our sins. Master, pardon our iniquities. Holy God, visit and heal our infirmities for thy name's sake.
Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."

Also, the evening prayers may include the following:

"PSALM 50: Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy great mercy: according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out mine iniquity. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge mine iniquity: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee only have I sinned, and done evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified in thy words, and prevail when thou art judged..."

"A PRAYER OF REPENTANCE: O Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life, in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended thee, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray thee, O Lord: of thy mercy forgive me all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

SAINT EPHRAIM’S PRAYER:
O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen.

JESUS PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ , Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."

In addition, it seems to me that each time that we catch ourselves doing something bad or falling short, we have the opportunity (that we should take advantage of) to confess right then and there.  One more thing, my Priest tells each penitent to hold nothing back because we are confessing to the Lord and He knows everything anyway. (I know I am paraphrasing but that's the way I remember this exhortation).

So, we confess to the Lord almost all of the time and we ask for forgiveness almost all of the time. The Holy Mystery of Penance (formal name but also called Confession and Reconciliation), is something that we do in addition, and rightly so. The issue is simply whether we MUST do so each and every time before we take communion. Now, if we take communion minimally, it is obvious that for some reason we have separated ourselves from the Church and must be reconciled. If our shortcoming is a grave sin or if we persist in falling short in a particular vice that we have, we should also avail ourselves of the Mystery of Penance. Each individual is different so it would be impossible to say how often one should receive the Sacrament of Confession. That is why the frequency is set between the spiritual father and ourselves. I want to reemphasize the critical role each one of us has in this process. We cannot abdicate our responsibility to confess, correct and partake all of the time by (a) leaving it all up to the priest, (b) observing the minimal requirements, or (c)playing a game before the priest and our fellow parishioners (We may succeed in fooling them, and ourselves, but there is no way that we are going to fool the Lord).


Thank you for all these example of prayers for forgiveness.  But you will notice one important element missing - *absolution*.   None of these prayers are certain to confer absolution.  This is a power which the Lord Jesus Christ has entrusted to His ordained priests.  That is why a sacramental Confession with its certitude of absolution has greater value than these prayers.   We say these prayers over and over, asking forgiveness again and again, often for the same sins.   But with one short declaration by a priest we are vouchsafed absolution.

Bless Father.

Dear Father Ambrose, I was merely concentrating on one side of the coin--that of the individual confessing to the Lord. What happens next is another matter. Nonetheless, let's talk about it. Do you not think that the Body and Blood of the Lord are as efficacious as the prayer of absolution? Indeed, even after we have received absolution, are we not approaching the Holy Chalice as unworthy sinners? Once the Mystery of Confession reconciles us to the Church, through the prayer of absolution, the only certitude that we have, IMO, is that we will need to come to the Holy Chalice and partake of the Body and Blood of the Lord "for the remission of sins and for life everlasting" and "for the healing of soul and body."
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« Reply #137 on: March 23, 2011, 11:00:04 PM »

The whole week which ever  one chooses be it a Feast Day or a regular week one abstains from meat and dairy prior to Holy Communion......Thats how I was taught...

When the Spirit Moves Some one to Partake Of Holy Communion,let's say at a major feast day like the Domitian Fast,we were taught to prepare ourselfs by fasting a week ,then confession and recieve Holy Communion on the Feast Day.......

Fasting and confession and Recieving Holy Communion  was 3 or 4  times a year..Not Weekly of monthly, like it is now.....

I prefer the 2 , 3 , Times a year of recieving Holy Communion than weekly or Monthly......


I think that what is confusing some people is what you mean by "fasting for a week".  You use the Dormition Fast as an example.  I have seen that people who believe in infrequent communion tend to commune during one or more of the Great Fasts (Advent, Lent, Apostles and Dormition).  However, if the Spirit moved you to commune after Brite Week, would you still fast during that week?  Or, if you were moved to commune during a regular week, would you abstain from meat and dairy all week or just Wed and Fri?
Now I'm awfully confused. At any rate, I'm fairly certain that at the ROCOR parish my wife attended when we were in the US, fasting for the week prior to communion meant just that, abstaining from meat/dairy, etc. for the entire week and confession. Hence, the only time I ever saw anyone other than small children commune was Pascha.

I was afraid of that. That is why I was overjoyed when Punch indicated that his own experience in ROCOR was similar to my experience in the OCA. But, going back to your experience, did it not seem odd, off kilter, strange, (pick any other description) that when the priest invites the congregation to "With fear of God, with faith and with love, draw near," nobody but children respond? No one else believes and loves the Lord? What kind of dissonance is this that the Lord suffered and died for our sins and we do not make the infinitely smaller sacrifice to make the effort to partake what is offered to us freely? Why even have a Divine Liturgy when the only communicant is the priest?
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« Reply #138 on: March 23, 2011, 11:15:08 PM »


However, does anyone believe there is something "wrong" with confessing weekly?



I reply to you to add a consideration to the excellent replies already given by Pravoslavbob and Father George. That is why I isolated your first sentence above.

If we can look at "confessing" as a process, something that we do, it is clear that we confess at least once a week during Divine Liturgy:

"I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first. Moreover, I believe that this is truly thine immaculate Body and that this is truly thy most precious Blood. Therefore, I pray Thee, have mercy upon me, and forgive my transgressions, both voluntary and involuntary, in word or in deed, in knowledge or in ignorance. And grant that I may partake of thy Holy Mysteries without condemnation, for the remission of sins and for life everlasting."

Daily, the Trisagion Prayers presuppose that when we pray for the Lord to forgive our sins we do not pray in an abstract fashion but are truly sorry for our real, concrete sins and that we promise that we will try to sin no more. I am highlighting the places that emphasize this.

"O heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who art in all places and fillest all things; Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us and cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O gracious Lord.
Holy God, holy mighty, holy immortal: have mercy on us. (Thrice)
All-holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse us from our sins. Master, pardon our iniquities. Holy God, visit and heal our infirmities for thy name's sake.
Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."

Also, the evening prayers may include the following:

"PSALM 50: Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy great mercy: according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out mine iniquity. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge mine iniquity: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee only have I sinned, and done evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified in thy words, and prevail when thou art judged..."

"A PRAYER OF REPENTANCE: O Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life, in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended thee, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray thee, O Lord: of thy mercy forgive me all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

SAINT EPHRAIM’S PRAYER:
O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen.

JESUS PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ , Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."

In addition, it seems to me that each time that we catch ourselves doing something bad or falling short, we have the opportunity (that we should take advantage of) to confess right then and there.  One more thing, my Priest tells each penitent to hold nothing back because we are confessing to the Lord and He knows everything anyway. (I know I am paraphrasing but that's the way I remember this exhortation).

So, we confess to the Lord almost all of the time and we ask for forgiveness almost all of the time. The Holy Mystery of Penance (formal name but also called Confession and Reconciliation), is something that we do in addition, and rightly so. The issue is simply whether we MUST do so each and every time before we take communion. Now, if we take communion minimally, it is obvious that for some reason we have separated ourselves from the Church and must be reconciled. If our shortcoming is a grave sin or if we persist in falling short in a particular vice that we have, we should also avail ourselves of the Mystery of Penance. Each individual is different so it would be impossible to say how often one should receive the Sacrament of Confession. That is why the frequency is set between the spiritual father and ourselves. I want to reemphasize the critical role each one of us has in this process. We cannot abdicate our responsibility to confess, correct and partake all of the time by (a) leaving it all up to the priest, (b) observing the minimal requirements, or (c)playing a game before the priest and our fellow parishioners (We may succeed in fooling them, and ourselves, but there is no way that we are going to fool the Lord).


Thank you for all these example of prayers for forgiveness.  But you will notice one important element missing - *absolution*.   None of these prayers are certain to confer absolution.  This is a power which the Lord Jesus Christ has entrusted to His ordained priests.  That is why a sacramental Confession with its certitude of absolution has greater value than these prayers.   We say these prayers over and over, asking forgiveness again and again, often for the same sins.   But with one short declaration by a priest we are vouchsafed absolution.


I was taught when I converted that God forgives us when ever we ask him with sincerity and a desire to amend our lives. Yes confession is for the forgiveness of sins and of course we are assured of absolution but that the formal confession was so that we may be reconciled with the church and receive spiritual counsel. I may have misunderstood my priest when he explained it to me, Thats just my understanding. 
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« Reply #139 on: March 23, 2011, 11:47:30 PM »


If confessing weekly (or monthly or yearly or whatever, for that matter) is used as a "ticket" to get to communion, then it is clearly wrong.  There is a lot of talk about abusing the sacrament of communion by taking it too lightly, but little about abusing confession as a "free pass" to communion. 

All my Orthodox life I have been in Churches (Russian and Serbian) where priests will not, generally speaking, give Communion without prior Confession.

I find this talk of "Ticket to Communion and "free passes" a bit of a boogeyman since if you pick up any of the brochures dealing with Confession and Communion in these Churches these notions are always knocked firmly on the head.
Well, then, Fr. Ambrose, why don't you knock them on the head here?
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« Reply #140 on: March 24, 2011, 01:34:16 AM »


If confessing weekly (or monthly or yearly or whatever, for that matter) is used as a "ticket" to get to communion, then it is clearly wrong.  There is a lot of talk about abusing the sacrament of communion by taking it too lightly, but little about abusing confession as a "free pass" to communion. 

All my Orthodox life I have been in Churches (Russian and Serbian) where priests will not, generally speaking, give Communion without prior Confession.

I find this talk of "Ticket to Communion and "free passes" a bit of a boogeyman since if you pick up any of the brochures dealing with Confession and Communion in these Churches these notions are always knocked firmly on the head.
Well, then, Fr. Ambrose, why don't you knock them on the head here?

I find it hard to answer. Is it the the assertion that after having been to Confession, sincerely repented with a firm purpose of amendment and received sacerdotal absolution - is that what constitutes a "free pass"?  I honestly see no impediment to Communion if these things have taken place.  It is all as it should be and a spiritually beneficial preparation has taken place..
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« Reply #141 on: March 24, 2011, 03:12:22 AM »


If confessing weekly (or monthly or yearly or whatever, for that matter) is used as a "ticket" to get to communion, then it is clearly wrong.  There is a lot of talk about abusing the sacrament of communion by taking it too lightly, but little about abusing confession as a "free pass" to communion.  

All my Orthodox life I have been in Churches (Russian and Serbian) where priests will not, generally speaking, give Communion without prior Confession.

I find this talk of "Ticket to Communion and "free passes" a bit of a boogeyman since if you pick up any of the brochures dealing with Confession and Communion in these Churches these notions are always knocked firmly on the head.
Well, then, Fr. Ambrose, why don't you knock them on the head here?

I find it hard to answer. Is it the the assertion that after having been to Confession, sincerely repented with a firm purpose of amendment and received sacerdotal absolution - is that what constitutes a "free pass"?  I honestly see no impediment to Communion if these things have taken place.  It is all as it should be and a spiritually beneficial preparation has taken place..
First, I don't quite understand your grammar here. "Free pass" means no impediment.

The problem many of us see in this "free pass" mentality, however, is that many who follow the practice of confessing before every communion will use confession as nothing more than a means to receiving Communion and will not as the rite of penitential self-examination that it should be. This manifests itself particularly in those persons who will go to confession seeking absolution without confessing anything and in those unscrupulous priests who will grant such absolution. I'm not saying that you or any other priests and faithful who follow the requirement of confession before every communion will abuse the rite of confession in this way, but a 1:1 correspondence of the two rites does lend itself far too easily to this kind of maltreatment.
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« Reply #142 on: March 24, 2011, 03:53:38 AM »

No thats Not true......People That Confess Everytime probably fasted the week plenty of time for self examination before partaking of Holy Communion ,And also Have a Healthy Fear of Approaching unworthily ,thats how much we love and trust in the Lord when  he says not to partake unprepared.....Some People that confess periodically may justify in there minds and find any excuse to postpone confession, and approach Holy Communion with sin or think it's not that bad of a sin....... police
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« Reply #143 on: March 24, 2011, 07:15:58 AM »


The problem many of us see in this "free pass" mentality, however, is that many who follow the practice of confessing before every communion will use confession as nothing more than a means to receiving Communion
 

How do you know that?   As a priest who has spent his whole life in Churches which have a strong link of Confession and Communion I have not found this.

Quote

and will not as the rite of penitential self-examination that it should be.


How do you know this?  Many Churches with a strong link between Confession and Communion supply their parishioners with booklets on Confession. These include lists of sins over which the penitent is expected to examine his conscience carefully.   Self-examination is expected to take place.

Quote


This manifests itself particularly in those persons who will go to confession seeking absolution without confessing anything


I have written of this unusual concept in earlier threads.  No priests will allow a penitent to proceed if he or she announces "I have no sins" and he will insist that the person go away and examine his conscience.    This happens very very rarely since penitents learn from a very young age (around 5 or 6 years) when they first start to confess as children that coming to the priests and declaring "I am sinless" won't let them pass go; the Confesion comes to a halt while the priest explains to the young boy or girl why this is unacceptable.

Quote
a 1:1 correspondence of the two rites does lend itself far too easily to this kind of maltreatment.

How do you know this?   1:1 is the majority custom of the Orthodox world.   If this kind of maltreatment were common, much more would be said about it in sermons, lectures on the nature of Confession, etc.
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« Reply #144 on: March 24, 2011, 12:49:20 PM »


The problem many of us see in this "free pass" mentality, however, is that many who follow the practice of confessing before every communion will use confession as nothing more than a means to receiving Communion
 

How do you know that?   As a priest who has spent his whole life in Churches which have a strong link of Confession and Communion I have not found this.
The operative words in this: YOU have not found this. You may also have spent your whole life in churches that require confession before every communion, but how many churches have you spent your life in? One or two or even a small handful is not sufficient for such generalizations as you wish to make.

Quote

and will not as the rite of penitential self-examination that it should be.


How do you know this?  Many Churches with a strong link between Confession and Communion supply their parishioners with booklets on Confession. These include lists of sins over which the penitent is expected to examine his conscience carefully.   Self-examination is expected to take place.
I don't doubt that many churches who make a strong connection between confession and communion do things the right way regarding confession, but do you have the background to state that ALL churches are like this or have always been like this?

Quote


This manifests itself particularly in those persons who will go to confession seeking absolution without confessing anything


I have written of this unusual concept in earlier threads.  No priests will allow a penitent to proceed if he or she announces "I have no sins" and he will insist that the person go away and examine his conscience.    This happens very very rarely since penitents learn from a very young age (around 5 or 6 years) when they first start to confess as children that coming to the priests and declaring "I am sinless" won't let them pass go; the Confesion comes to a halt while the priest explains to the young boy or girl why this is unacceptable.
CORRECTION: No priests of whom YOU know will do this. But what of the priests you don't know?

Quote
a 1:1 correspondence of the two rites does lend itself far too easily to this kind of maltreatment.

How do you know this?   1:1 is the majority custom of the Orthodox world.   If this kind of maltreatment were common, much more would be said about it in sermons, lectures on the nature of Confession, etc.
1.  Your argument from silence, as are most arguments from silence, is very weak here.
2.  What I have spoken here I speak not from experience, so I acknowledge that the reality of our practice in many churches may be as you describe it from your experience. But I have read the writings of other priests who paint a very different picture from the one you paint, priests whose word I deem much more authoritative than yours. There are priests who have spoken of having seen in some churches a reality very different from what you have seen and done and have spoken from their expansive knowledge of church practice over the centuries, so please don't generalize from your limited experience of the churches you have known only in your own lifetime.
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« Reply #145 on: March 24, 2011, 01:23:03 PM »

No thats Not true......People That Confess Everytime probably fasted the week plenty of time for self examination before partaking of Holy Communion ,And also Have a Healthy Fear of Approaching unworthily ,thats how much we love and trust in the Lord when  he says not to partake unprepared.....Some People that confess periodically may justify in there minds and find any excuse to postpone confession, and approach Holy Communion with sin or think it's not that bad of a sin....... police
You do realize that using the word "probably" means you really don't know for sure?
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« Reply #146 on: March 24, 2011, 02:15:01 PM »


How do you know this?   1:1 is the majority custom of the Orthodox world.   If this kind of maltreatment were common, much more would be said about it in sermons, lectures on the nature of Confession, etc.

Dear Father--That may be true but does it translate into frequent communion? Put another way, are we discussing a chicken-or-the-egg situation here? If frequent communion is the goal, how can you have 1:1 for the laity and 1:whatever for the clergy? Is infrequent communion a goal or is it simply what we have come to practice in many places? If it is the latter case, what  caused the 1:1 custom to have been established? Is it possible that the practice of infrequent communion, with the accompanying 1:1 approach, is not a good thing but a dumbing down of the laity's sacramental life?
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« Reply #147 on: March 24, 2011, 03:23:28 PM »

The problem many of us see in this "free pass" mentality, however, is that many who follow the practice of confessing before every communion will use confession as nothing more than a means to receiving Communion
 

Quote

The operative words in this: YOU have not found this.

"The problem many of us see in this "free pass" mentality"

I see the same problem with this "many of us" of which you speak - who is this amorphous  "us"?
 

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« Reply #148 on: March 24, 2011, 03:33:36 PM »

2.  What I have spoken here I speak not from experience, so I acknowledge that the reality of our practice in many churches may be as you describe it from your experience. But I have read the writings of other priests who paint a very different picture from the one you paint, priests whose word I deem much more authoritative than yours. There are priests who have spoken of having seen in some churches a reality very different from what you have seen and done and have spoken from their expansive knowledge of church practice over the centuries, so please don't generalize from your limited experience of the churches you have known only in your own lifetime.

Could you substantiate this claim that priests have spoken of this over the centuries.  Are you referring to their published letters, sermons, writings on theology?  It would be interesting to read them and to judge if your generalisation from reading them is justified.  The reason I find your generalities dubious is that 1:1 Confession and Communion remains by far and wide the majority practice of the Orthodox Church and if it were so aberrant the matter would have been addressed and corrected with some urgency centuries ago..
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« Reply #149 on: March 24, 2011, 03:41:31 PM »

Quote
If frequent communion is the goal, how can you have 1:1 for the laity and 1:whatever for the clergy?

This question has been asked many times and has never been answered.

Fr. Ambrose, can you please clarify why there is a dichotomy between priest and laity in regard to the reception of the Eucharist?
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« Reply #150 on: March 24, 2011, 03:54:34 PM »

Quote
If frequent communion is the goal, how can you have 1:1 for the laity and 1:whatever for the clergy?

This question has been asked many times and has never been answered.

Fr. Ambrose, can you please clarify why there is a dichotomy between priest and laity in regard to the reception of the Eucharist?

May I address this as if it were a question about Confession. 


1.  This is true of the Churches which practice a 1:1 Confession and Communion.   However, if a priest is blessed to have a spiritual father who is versed in the problems which face a man in Orders and skilful enough to direct a priest's spiritual life, then he will have frequent Confession.   I used to go to the local Romanian priest but he passed away 5 years ago and now, in my old age I am left an orphan.

Priests who have not been blessed with a spiritual father will use other priests for Confession but they tend to be formal affairs.  In really isolated situations a priest may have Confession only once a year when he attends the annual Priests' Seminar and a priest is appointed by the Bishop to hear clergy confessions.

2.  In the smaller Churches which do not have 1:1 Confession and people confess only irregularly I am guessing that the clergy would be confessing about the same number of times per year as the laity?
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« Reply #151 on: March 24, 2011, 03:57:42 PM »

The problem many of us see in this "free pass" mentality, however, is that many who follow the practice of confessing before every communion will use confession as nothing more than a means to receiving Communion
 

Quote

The operative words in this: YOU have not found this.

"The problem many of us see in this "free pass" mentality"

I see the same problem with this "many of us" of which you speak - who is this amorphous  "us"?
It's really not all that amorphous. Just read this thread to see who "we" and "us" are.
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« Reply #152 on: March 24, 2011, 04:04:11 PM »

2.  What I have spoken here I speak not from experience, so I acknowledge that the reality of our practice in many churches may be as you describe it from your experience. But I have read the writings of other priests who paint a very different picture from the one you paint, priests whose word I deem much more authoritative than yours. There are priests who have spoken of having seen in some churches a reality very different from what you have seen and done and have spoken from their expansive knowledge of church practice over the centuries, so please don't generalize from your limited experience of the churches you have known only in your own lifetime.

Could you substantiate this claim that priests have spoken of this over the centuries.
That's not my claim, as even a cursory reading of my grammar will show. My claim is that those priests I have read on the matter have studied church practice over the centuries and drawn conclusions from it. You just need to read my first two or three posts on this thread to see some of what I've read.

Are you referring to their published letters, sermons, writings on theology?  It would be interesting to read them and to judge if your generalisation from reading them is justified.
I'm not making generalizations, Fr. Ambrose, so stop trying to deflect my criticism by throwing it back at me.

The reason I find your generalities dubious is that 1:1 Confession and Communion remains by far and wide the majority practice of the Orthodox Church and if it were so aberrant the matter would have been addressed and corrected with some urgency centuries ago..
Again, an unconvincing argument from silence, as well as a fallacious appeal to the "majority". You should know by now that the majority doesn't make something right, especially when an analysis of the theology of the 1:1 confession/communion practice reveals its fundamental flaws.
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« Reply #153 on: March 24, 2011, 04:15:04 PM »

I see I have a message in my Outlook folder which I posted somewhere at some time.....

There is no "magic pass", Father Michael.  I would think that the "magic pass' is given to those in the Churches who may freely approach communion without confession.  That is the real "magic pass."

We have seen the results in modern Orthodoxy of no link between confession and communion - the virtual disappearance of the use of the Mystery of Confession in some Orthodox Churches. (The same has happened in the Roman Catholic Church after Vatican II but the disappearance of confession there has several factors.)   

For example, the Orthodox Church of Antioch uses our Russian parish church since they have none of their own at the moment.  I was quite shocked when their priest told me that he has not heard a Confession - EVER!  He has been a priest 6 years.  I asked him how this could come about because a large proportion of his people are rather recent immigrants from Lebanon and Egypt and surely they are formed in the tradition of their home countries.  He replied that they are not familiar with confession and actually see it as a Roman Catholic thing.

So on the basis of "by their fruits ye shall know them" I postulate that the practice of the Slav Churches is preferable.    In the Churches which maintain the link between Confession and Communion, Confession is certainly a regular Sacrament, alive and flourishing,  and it is also used outside of the Communion link too - when a person believes he needs to come and confess some serious sin.
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« Reply #154 on: March 24, 2011, 04:39:08 PM »

Quote
If frequent communion is the goal, how can you have 1:1 for the laity and 1:whatever for the clergy?

This question has been asked many times and has never been answered.

Fr. Ambrose, can you please clarify why there is a dichotomy between priest and laity in regard to the reception of the Eucharist?

May I address this as if it were a question about Confession.  


1.  This is true of the Churches which practice a 1:1 Confession and Communion.   However, if a priest is blessed to have a spiritual father who is versed in the problems which face a man in Orders and skilful enough to direct a priest's spiritual life, then he will have frequent Confession.   I used to go to the local Romanian priest but he passed away 5 years ago and now, in my old age I am left an orphan.

Priests who have not been blessed with a spiritual father will use other priests for Confession but they tend to be formal affairs.  In really isolated situations a priest may have Confession only once a year when he attends the annual Priests' Seminar and a priest is appointed by the Bishop to hear clergy confessions.

2.  In the smaller Churches which do not have 1:1 Confession and people confess only irregularly I am guessing that the clergy would be confessing about the same number of times per year as the laity?
Back home, FWIR, the priests would only confess once a year, in the morning of the great Wednesday when all the priests of our deanery would gather in our church (as we had a protopop) for the liturgy of the presanctified and then a couple of old, retired priests would hear their confessions before and during the liturgy.
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« Reply #155 on: March 24, 2011, 04:44:39 PM »

I see I have a message in my Outlook folder which I posted somewhere at some time.....

There is no "magic pass", Father Michael.  I would think that the "magic pass' is given to those in the Churches who may freely approach communion without confession.  That is the real "magic pass."

We have seen the results in modern Orthodoxy of no link between confession and communion - the virtual disappearance of the use of the Mystery of Confession in some Orthodox Churches. (The same has happened in the Roman Catholic Church after Vatican II but the disappearance of confession there has several factors.)   

For example, the Orthodox Church of Antioch uses our Russian parish church since they have none of their own at the moment.  I was quite shocked when their priest told me that he has not heard a Confession - EVER!  He has been a priest 6 years.  I asked him how this could come about because a large proportion of his people are rather recent immigrants from Lebanon and Egypt and surely they are formed in the tradition of their home countries.  He replied that they are not familiar with confession and actually see it as a Roman Catholic thing.

So on the basis of "by their fruits ye shall know them" I postulate that the practice of the Slav Churches is preferable.    In the Churches which maintain the link between Confession and Communion, Confession is certainly a regular Sacrament, alive and flourishing,  and it is also used outside of the Communion link too - when a person believes he needs to come and confess some serious sin.
So why not advocate frequent confession without the theological errors intrinsic to the 1:1 confession:communion connection? Have you not been reading this thread closely enough to see that many churches actually do?
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« Reply #156 on: March 24, 2011, 04:54:33 PM »

Quote
If frequent communion is the goal, how can you have 1:1 for the laity and 1:whatever for the clergy?

This question has been asked many times and has never been answered.

Fr. Ambrose, can you please clarify why there is a dichotomy between priest and laity in regard to the reception of the Eucharist?

May I address this as if it were a question about Confession. 

1.  This is true of the Churches which practice a 1:1 Confession and Communion.   However, if a priest is blessed to have a spiritual father who is versed in the problems which face a man in Orders and skilful enough to direct a priest's spiritual life, then he will have frequent Confession.   I used to go to the local Romanian priest but he passed away 5 years ago and now, in my old age I am left an orphan.

Priests who have not been blessed with a spiritual father will use other priests for Confession but they tend to be formal affairs.  In really isolated situations a priest may have Confession only once a year when he attends the annual Priests' Seminar and a priest is appointed by the Bishop to hear clergy confessions.

2.  In the smaller Churches which do not have 1:1 Confession and people confess only irregularly I am guessing that the clergy would be confessing about the same number of times per year as the laity?

I have never in my life heard of a rule which was applied to the laity more strictly than the clergy.  If the standard is confession before each communion, then the priests are to be held to a more stringent model of that rule, as they are in all other fields.  This is, of course, burdensome when the clergy are receiving at least once per week (there is a strict canonical prohibition against celebrating the Liturgy and not communing), and oftentimes are receiving 3-4 times per week (around major feasts, during lent if one celebrates the Presanctified Liturgy on Wed and Fri with Sat of Souls, etc.).
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« Reply #157 on: March 24, 2011, 05:02:21 PM »

[I have never in my life heard of a rule which was applied to the laity more strictly than the clergy.  If the standard is confession before each communion, then the priests are to be held to a more stringent model of that rule, as they are in all other fields. 


Have you encountered any Church which applies this more stringent model for its priests?

I can think of a local example where the five local Greek clergy are all close spiritual children of the Metropolitan, almost like a monastic community.  They go to Confession frequently as part of their spiritual praxis. The faithful,on the other hand, are mostly content with a general confession in the days leading up to Pascha.
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« Reply #158 on: March 24, 2011, 10:15:07 PM »

[I have never in my life heard of a rule which was applied to the laity more strictly than the clergy.  If the standard is confession before each communion, then the priests are to be held to a more stringent model of that rule, as they are in all other fields. 

Have you encountered any Church which applies this more stringent model for its priests?

In all my discussions with hierarchs, priests, and professors on the subject of confession and the priesthood, they all indicated that we (clergy) should be going to confession more than what we expect our people to, for the cleansing of our own sin, and for our strengthening as we take on the responsibility of hearing those confessions.  So yes, I have only encountered a model where the clergy are held to a more stringent confessional routine.
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« Reply #159 on: March 24, 2011, 11:39:56 PM »

/\  Dear Father George,

In the Orthodox world where the faithful are required to fast for 3 to 6 days prior to Holy Communion the clergy are obliged to follow a less strict requirement.   If they needed to fast as the laity do before each of their Communions, they would soon wither away and their wives would surely start to complain about the rarity of the marital embrace.
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« Reply #160 on: March 25, 2011, 03:15:53 AM »

I see I have a message in my Outlook folder which I posted somewhere at some time.....

There is no "magic pass", Father Michael.  I would think that the "magic pass' is given to those in the Churches who may freely approach communion without confession.  That is the real "magic pass."

We have seen the results in modern Orthodoxy of no link between confession and communion - the virtual disappearance of the use of the Mystery of Confession in some Orthodox Churches. (The same has happened in the Roman Catholic Church after Vatican II but the disappearance of confession there has several factors.)   

For example, the Orthodox Church of Antioch uses our Russian parish church since they have none of their own at the moment.  I was quite shocked when their priest told me that he has not heard a Confession - EVER!  He has been a priest 6 years.  I asked him how this could come about because a large proportion of his people are rather recent immigrants from Lebanon and Egypt and surely they are formed in the tradition of their home countries.  He replied that they are not familiar with confession and actually see it as a Roman Catholic thing.

So on the basis of "by their fruits ye shall know them" I postulate that the practice of the Slav Churches is preferable.    In the Churches which maintain the link between Confession and Communion, Confession is certainly a regular Sacrament, alive and flourishing,  and it is also used outside of the Communion link too - when a person believes he needs to come and confess some serious sin.
So why not advocate frequent confession without the theological errors intrinsic to the 1:1 confession:communion connection? Have you not been reading this thread closely enough to see that many churches actually do?

Yes, I have been following this thread and I find that many contributors favour the practice of 1:1 Confession prior to Communion:

Justinian
Kaminetz
QuoVadis
Augustin717
Punch
Knytshade
LizaSymonenko
Stashko
Shlomokh

and of course Irish Hermit.

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« Reply #161 on: March 25, 2011, 03:29:02 AM »

I see I have a message in my Outlook folder which I posted somewhere at some time.....

There is no "magic pass", Father Michael.  I would think that the "magic pass' is given to those in the Churches who may freely approach communion without confession.  That is the real "magic pass."

We have seen the results in modern Orthodoxy of no link between confession and communion - the virtual disappearance of the use of the Mystery of Confession in some Orthodox Churches. (The same has happened in the Roman Catholic Church after Vatican II but the disappearance of confession there has several factors.)  

For example, the Orthodox Church of Antioch uses our Russian parish church since they have none of their own at the moment.  I was quite shocked when their priest told me that he has not heard a Confession - EVER!  He has been a priest 6 years.  I asked him how this could come about because a large proportion of his people are rather recent immigrants from Lebanon and Egypt and surely they are formed in the tradition of their home countries.  He replied that they are not familiar with confession and actually see it as a Roman Catholic thing.

So on the basis of "by their fruits ye shall know them" I postulate that the practice of the Slav Churches is preferable.    In the Churches which maintain the link between Confession and Communion, Confession is certainly a regular Sacrament, alive and flourishing,  and it is also used outside of the Communion link too - when a person believes he needs to come and confess some serious sin.
So why not advocate frequent confession without the theological errors intrinsic to the 1:1 confession:communion connection? Have you not been reading this thread closely enough to see that many churches actually do?

Yes, I have been following this thread and I find that many contributors favour the practice of 1:1 Confession prior to Communion:

Justinian
Kaminetz
QuoVadis
Augustin717
Punch
Knytshade
LizaSymonenko
Stashko
Shlomokh

and of course Irish Hermit.
But that's not what I asked. Besides, so what if they favor theological error? Am I to follow them?
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« Reply #162 on: March 25, 2011, 03:40:45 AM »


But that's not what I asked.


Answering in the specifics of your question as I understand it.   Those advocating in this thread against the practice of Confession required prior to Communion are members of the Orthodox Church in America.  Early on ozgeorge makes a contribution agreeing with the OCA members and Fr George has expressed agreement..

So I do not see, within this thread, support for your generalisation that "many churches actually do."

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« Reply #163 on: March 25, 2011, 08:30:42 AM »

Quote
So I do not see, within this thread, support for your generalisation that "many churches actually do."

Regardless of which or how many churches follow this practice, the questions are focused on the merit of the practice. So, there are two main questions:

1) Is the 1:1 ratio appropriate for the life of an Orthodox christian (and, of course, the church community)?

2) How is the dichotomy between the frequency of confession to communion for laity versus clergy justified?

Regarding question #2, it seems that those who are in favor of a 1:1 ratio feel that it is intrinsically (and not simply a matter of praxis) wrong to communion without recent (one day) confession. But in regards to the clergy, it simply becomes a matter of praxis. In other words, it is not practical for a clergyman to confess before each Liturgy. Hence, there is a separate praxis (or really a "dispensation") for confession/communion.

If it is wrong for a layman to commune without recent confession (i.e. he would be communing unto his condemnation), then it should also be wrong for the clergy to do likewise.
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« Reply #164 on: March 25, 2011, 09:53:12 AM »


But that's not what I asked.


Answering in the specifics of your question as I understand it.   Those advocating in this thread against the practice of Confession required prior to Communion are members of the Orthodox Church in America.  Early on ozgeorge makes a contribution agreeing with the OCA members and Fr George has expressed agreement..

So I do not see, within this thread, support for your generalisation that "many churches actually do."
"Many" is not a generalization, Fr. Ambrose.

Do you not also recognize that "churches" has many meanings? To you--and maybe this is just the definition you have chosen to adopt for the sake of this debate--"church" is synonymous with "jurisdiction" (e.g., OCA, GOAA, the Antiochian church), but it can also mean the local parish church, which is the definition I intended.
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« Reply #165 on: March 25, 2011, 10:33:21 AM »


But that's not what I asked.


Answering in the specifics of your question as I understand it.   Those advocating in this thread against the practice of Confession required prior to Communion are members of the Orthodox Church in America.  Early on ozgeorge makes a contribution agreeing with the OCA members and Fr George has expressed agreement..

So I do not see, within this thread, support for your generalisation that "many churches actually do."



Father, I have yet to comment on this thread because as a new Orthodox Christian I don't really feel that my opinion is fully informed.  This thread has been some great reading, and I love an opportunity to learn the various ways other Orthodox communities view the sacraments.  For what it's worth I lean toward more frequent confessions in my opinion, although I'm not so sure as to a 1:1 confession/communion ratio.  Despite my opinions on the matter I go along with what my priest requires.

The main reason I am replying here is because while a new and inexperienced Orthodox Christian in one sense, due to much moving across various state lines over the past year I have been fortunate enough to attend various American jurisdictions.  I thought I would share my experiences to give an overall view of "what many churches actually do".

In the GOA where I was chrismated my priest was actually surprised about my willingness to confess.  This was a parish with a good sized immigrant population, and it seems that many had not confessed more than once or twice in their entire lives.  My priest counted himself lucky if he could get anyone to show up for Confession during Lent.  Communion was up in the air, a good portion of the parish communed frequently, but a good portion of the parish also abstained.

In the Antiochian parishes I have attended frequent Communion was the rule, while Confession was required during the fasting periods of the year: Lent, Apostles' Fast, Dormition, and Nativity.

The OCA parish I am currently attending is somewhat of a special case- under normal circumstances it would at least offer Confession every Saturday Vespers, but it is currently being served by an interim priest who has come out of retirement until we find a new priest.  Saturday Great Vespers is at this moment cancelled due to our interim priest's advanced age and health problems, he mainly hears Confession during the fasting periods.

So, it is not an OCA specific approach and it is spread out across four states (Illinois, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia), covering the North and South and Midwest and East Coast and finally it is the approach of the three largest American jurisdictions, one of which is actually more infrequent due to the higher immigrant population.

So, PeterTheAleut is correct in that the not 1:1 Communion/Confession is what "many (American, and guessing by the actions of our immigrants, Greek) churches actually do".  As to whether or not this is actually right I leave to you and Father George to hammer out.
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« Reply #166 on: March 25, 2011, 10:35:40 AM »


But that's not what I asked.


Answering in the specifics of your question as I understand it.   Those advocating in this thread against the practice of Confession required prior to Communion are members of the Orthodox Church in America.  Early on ozgeorge makes a contribution agreeing with the OCA members and Fr George has expressed agreement..

So I do not see, within this thread, support for your generalisation that "many churches actually do."



With all due respect Father, nobody is advocating that confession is not required before Communion. There are some pointed questions that folks have been making:

1. How often and for which reasons must a person be formally reconciled to the Church through the Mystery of Penance/Confession/Reconciliation?

2. Absent the need for formal reconciliation, is the normal regime that is followed by the clergy also sufficient for the laity? That is, between Holy Communions, one would keep the prescribed fasts, attend as many services as one can (especially the services of Sunday that start with Vespers on Saturday night), daily prayers, well as self-examination and preparation for Holy Communion, that includes confession to the Lord directly.

3. How can the Church justify a double standard where the clergy is set aside as if it was special species of Christians?  BTW, you remarked: "In the Orthodox world where the faithful are required to fast for 3 to 6 days prior to Holy Communion the clergy are obliged to follow a less strict requirement.   If they needed to fast as the laity do before each of their Communions, they would soon wither away and their wives would surely start to complain about the rarity of the marital embrace."  I appreciate the humor but fail to see why you are putting up the "3 to 6 day" fasting as something more important than Holy Communion. Also, if we were to take seriously all relevant Biblical teachings, as well as the prayers of the Liturgy, we would expect the Church to urge and prepare everybody to take communion once a week at least. But, if that was the case, would it not be true that the laity would also experience the same marital problems as the clergy (the married ones of course, the celibates should have no problems I guess), in addition to not being productive and thus earning less money and thus not being able to support the Church and their communities as much?  

4. The very nature of Holy Communion becomes problematic in the 1:1 model; is it for the healing of soul and body, as well as for the remission of sins and life everlasting OR is it merely the "final act" of the Holy Mystery of Penance, where the remission of sins occurs but the healing of soul and body must await Communion?

5. The very nature of Divine Liturgy becomes problematic in the 1:1 model:

a. If Liturgy means common work and if the laity rarely communes, some prayers of the Divine Liturgy or at least their wording do not make sense. For example, how could anyone but those who have communed sing: "Let our mouths be filled with thy praise, O Lord, that we may sing of thy glory, for Thou hast made us worthy to partake of thy holy, divine, immortal, and life-creating Mysteries. Keep us in thy holiness, that all the day we may meditate upon thy righteousness. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!" I believe the rubrics assign this prayer to the Choir (singing for the people) which becomes a hollow echo of what it was and should be rather than reality.

b. The priest and deacon themselves are assigned prayers and roles that they say and do not on behalf of themselves but for the entire congregation. Should not the wording of the prayers be made variable, using "I" for when only the Priest will commune and "we" when there is at least one congregant who will commune?

c. If there a few congregants who week in and week out comply with all of the 1:1 requirements for Communion, how in the world would you have "common" work when it is really the work of the few? As it is, in any liturgy without communicants other than the priest, it seems to me that we have something that is frighteningly similar to the Roman Catholic practice of private masses.

Anyway, I started out to make one point but it avalanched. Sorry.
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« Reply #167 on: March 25, 2011, 12:17:52 PM »


But that's not what I asked.


Answering in the specifics of your question as I understand it.   Those advocating in this thread against the practice of Confession required prior to Communion are members of the Orthodox Church in America.  Early on ozgeorge makes a contribution agreeing with the OCA members and Fr George has expressed agreement..

So I do not see, within this thread, support for your generalisation that "many churches actually do."



With all due respect Father, nobody is advocating that confession is not required before Communion.

Common sense would tell us that, whether we are 1:1 advocates, once a month advocates or once a year advocates.   For all of these categories of penitents there will always be times when Confession before Communion is imperative and appealing to "forgiveness prayers" in the preparatory prayers for Holy Communion or in a Holy Wednesday Anointing  just won't cut the mustard nor satisfy the inner spiritual dynamic of the person conscious of his sin and wounded by it.
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« Reply #168 on: March 25, 2011, 01:27:26 PM »

In the Orthodox world where the faithful are required to fast for 3 to 6 days prior to Holy Communion the clergy are obliged to follow a less strict requirement.   If they needed to fast as the laity do before each of their Communions, they would soon wither away and their wives would surely start to complain about the rarity of the marital embrace.

"If they needed to fast as the laity do."  Interesting.  They need to fast more than the laity do, but the key here is that they are not required to do so - something that, IMO, is not Orthodox.

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« Reply #169 on: March 25, 2011, 01:29:51 PM »

Common sense would tell us that, whether we are 1:1 advocates, once a month advocates or once a year advocates.   For all of these categories of penitents there will always be times when Confession before Communion is imperative and appealing to "forgiveness prayers" in the preparatory prayers for Holy Communion or in a Holy Wednesday Anointing  just won't cut the mustard nor satisfy the inner spiritual dynamic of the person conscious of his sin and wounded by it.

I do not think that anyone should or will dispute this point, actually.  There are times when confession is certainly an imperative before reception of Holy Communion.  The discussion here, though, is not about sometimes, but rather about all the time.
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« Reply #170 on: March 25, 2011, 01:38:51 PM »

I see no issue with the practices of laymen and those of monks and priests.  I don't know the praxis of New Calendar priests, but the priests that I have known in my churches live a lifestyle far different from the average layman in those parishes.  The the priests were blessed with having the priesthood as full time employment, and one of them had a part time job of translating Orthodox texts from the original languages to English.  In the cases that I am familiar, the priests lived a life of prayer and fasting according to the Church Calendar, and had only minimal contact with "the World" outside thier parish.  In addition, as priests, they had the added Grace of Ordination that we laymen do not have.  This does not make them sinless.  However, one who swims daily in clean water probably needs a bath less frequently than one who swims in a sewer.  I should point out that the priests in question were very strong 1:1 proponents.  Yet even at that, if they knew the person and knew how they lived and worshiped, they would relax the requirements somewhat.  One would even, with the blessing of his Bishop, allow a person to confess to another pious layman and the priest would pronounce absolution after a short "general" confession.  This was the case with women more than men.  So, in the cases where I am aware, even those who were strong 1:1 proponents still used some discretion in applying the rule.  However, if they did not know you, or (or sometimes because they knew you all too well), they would not commune you if you did not confess.  In fact, one would not commune you if you did not attend the vigil the night before without good excuse.
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« Reply #171 on: March 25, 2011, 01:47:29 PM »

The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad requires Confession and Communion at least once a year to be a parish member.  Do other Churches and dioceses have the same requirement?

http://www.orthodox.net/roca/parish-bylaws.html
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« Reply #172 on: March 25, 2011, 01:51:44 PM »

The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad requires Confession and Communion at least once a year to be a parish member.  Do other Churches and dioceses have the same requirement?

http://www.orthodox.net/roca/parish-bylaws.html

Does everyone has to show a confession certificate to his Parish Priest?
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« Reply #173 on: March 25, 2011, 01:57:07 PM »

The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad requires Confession and Communion at least once a year to be a parish member.  Do other Churches and dioceses have the same requirement?

http://www.orthodox.net/roca/parish-bylaws.html

Does everyone has to show a confession certificate to his Parish Priest?

No, but he can be challenged at the Annual General Meeting of the Parish, whether he has the right to speak and to be elected to office.
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« Reply #174 on: March 25, 2011, 01:58:30 PM »

The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad requires Confession and Communion at least once a year to be a parish member.  Do other Churches and dioceses have the same requirement?

http://www.orthodox.net/roca/parish-bylaws.html
Why do you ask? The topic of discussion is the use of confession as a means to receiving Communion, NOT as a means to maintaining parish membership "in good standing".
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« Reply #175 on: March 25, 2011, 02:07:53 PM »

The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad requires Confession and Communion at least once a year to be a parish member.  Do other Churches and dioceses have the same requirement?

http://www.orthodox.net/roca/parish-bylaws.html
Why do you ask? The topic of discussion is the use of confession as a means to receiving Communion, NOT as a means to maintaining parish membership "in good standing".

From the OP:

"I'm mildly familiar with the arguments on both sides of the issue of whether Orthodox should be required to go to Confession before receiving every Communion."

and

"I'm interested to know what your various parish practices are and what reasoning is presented for both sides of this issue."

There seems to be a connection with the OP and the Russian practice of requiring Confession and Communion once a year as a minimum.  This minimum parish practice is seen as so important that it is incorporated in the Parish By-Laws.
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« Reply #176 on: March 25, 2011, 02:17:49 PM »

The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad requires Confession and Communion at least once a year to be a parish member.  Do other Churches and dioceses have the same requirement?

http://www.orthodox.net/roca/parish-bylaws.html
Why do you ask? The topic of discussion is the use of confession as a means to receiving Communion, NOT as a means to maintaining parish membership "in good standing".

From the OP:

"I'm mildly familiar with the arguments on both sides of the issue of whether Orthodox should be required to go to Confession before receiving every Communion."

and

"I'm interested to know what your various parish practices are and what reasoning is presented for both sides of this issue."

There seems to be a connection with the OP and the Russian practice of requiring Confession and Communion once a year as a minimum.  This minimum parish practice is seen as so important that it is incorporated in the Parish By-Laws.
I wrote the OP. I'm therefore qualified to tell you that what you wish to discuss is not connected to the OP and looks merely like an attempt to distract us with a red herring.
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« Reply #177 on: March 25, 2011, 03:15:40 PM »

The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad requires Confession and Communion at least once a year to be a parish member.  Do other Churches and dioceses have the same requirement?

http://www.orthodox.net/roca/parish-bylaws.html

Every 40 days in our parish.  Priest keeps a record of confessing personnel in his diary (not what was confessed) and who attends special services and classes.  Like your parish, a person's right to speak and vote at the annual and quarterly meetings can be challenged based on this.  This is a drastic change from the previous practice of issuing a membership card upon reciept of the yearly "dues".  All that had to be done to vote is to present the membership card.  Church attendence was not even required.
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« Reply #178 on: March 25, 2011, 04:34:54 PM »

I am very disappointed because the proponents of 1:1 are not truly engaging those posters who do not agree with them. The proponents are not answering questions of substance and are concentrating on their own actual practices as if they should be normative for all. In short, the proponents do not entertain even the possibility that their practices may be wrong or that differing practices may also be right. This is like two trains going in opposite directions at high speed; we know that the object moving in the opposite direction is a train, but that's about it. In a way, the Orthodox may be more deeply divided amongst themselves than they think.
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« Reply #179 on: March 25, 2011, 05:06:01 PM »

With all respect, I am not sure about what you are talking about.  I thought that the question was what we do and why.  From my standpoint, I really don't care what is done in other jurisdictions than my own.  You know, the whole get the beam out of my eye before worrying about the mote in yours thing.  I also don't know of any jurisdiction that has broken communion with the others over the issue of 1:1 communion.  If I attend my wife's church (Antiochian), I can line up for communion with the other 100 or so people even if I just left an orgy with 10 married women and killed two cops on the way over.  The priest would not know, and evidently would not be too concerned since he would not bother to ask.  I am well within the span of my yearly confession.  On the other hand, if my wife comes to my church (Serb), like she did a week ago, she will have to confess before she communes (as well as wear a head covering, which she did).  Now, some people do not have a problem with this situation.  I do.  However, it does not stop me from communing in the Antiochian church (as I did this past Wednesday), nor does it stop her from communing in mine.  We just follow the other's practice when we are attending the other's church.  I seriously doubt that anything that I have to say will change the mind of a die hard non-confessor.  Nor will anything they have to say change my view.  We both believe the way that we do in accordance with our concience and point of view concerning the sacraments.  Obviously, if we thought the other was doing it correctly, we would be following that practice and not our own.  I don't see what there is to "engage" since I am not trying to change anyone's mind.   

I am very disappointed because the proponents of 1:1 are not truly engaging those posters who do not agree with them. The proponents are not answering questions of substance and are concentrating on their own actual practices as if they should be normative for all. In short, the proponents do not entertain even the possibility that their practices may be wrong or that differing practices may also be right. This is like two trains going in opposite directions at high speed; we know that the object moving in the opposite direction is a train, but that's about it. In a way, the Orthodox may be more deeply divided amongst themselves than they think.
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