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« Reply #180 on: March 25, 2011, 06:30:47 PM »

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?
.

Getting around to some of your questions...

1.a     In the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad the faithful must come to the Holy Mystery of Confession no less than once a year.

1.b   The reason is so that they may obtain the absolution of all sins sincerely repented and for which there exists the intention, by God's grace, of avoiding them in the future.

In the pre-Revolutionary Russian Church the same requirement applied - Confession at least once a year.  I do not know contemporary requirements.

The Serbian Orthodox Church stipulates the same requirement of its faithful- Confession no less than once a year.
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« Reply #181 on: March 25, 2011, 06:44:44 PM »


That just blows my mind. 

Once a year?!?

Is it truly THAT difficult to humble yourself and admit your shortcomings, that you only do it only once a year?  1 Sunday out of 52?

...and yet the other 51 Sundays you still partake of Holy Communion.

Why is the one Sacrament honored each week, and the other only once a year?



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« Reply #182 on: March 25, 2011, 06:46:02 PM »


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.


I imagine the answer is yes, between Holy Communions the same fasts apply to the laity as to the clergy.  But there is one difference (as Punch has noted) that many priests will generally speaking be following the annual fasting cycle of the Church with more strictness than many of their parishioners. They are also more likely to fuflil the prayer rule of several canons and akathists before Communion whereas laypeople will excuse themselves.

I don't understand the mention of "confession to the Lord directly."   A sacramental Confession opens with these words to the penitent;  "Behold, my child, Christ stands here invisibly present and receives your confession..."
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« Reply #183 on: March 25, 2011, 06:48:36 PM »


That just blows my mind. 

Once a year?!?

Is it truly THAT difficult to humble yourself and admit your shortcomings, that you only do it only once a year?  1 Sunday out of 52?

...and yet the other 51 Sundays you still partake of Holy Communion.

Why is the one Sacrament honored each week, and the other only once a year?





No, no!  Heaven forbid!  If you go to Confession once a year then you also go to Communion once a year in the Churches I mentioned.

Second Chance asked:  "How often ..... must a person be formally reconciled to the Church through the Mystery of Penance/Confession/Reconciliation?"

I was answering that question.
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« Reply #184 on: March 25, 2011, 06:55:10 PM »


3. How can the Church justify a double standard where the clergy is set aside as if it was special species of Christians?
 

 I find the presuppositions which I perceive as built into that question a little disconcerting.  Maybe others would like to explain?
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« Reply #185 on: March 25, 2011, 08:06:00 PM »

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.

Not too likely at all. Most priests, if they don't know who you are, will ask you if you are Orthodox, where your parish is and if you have been to confession recently. I think most priest guard the chalice.

Quote
We just follow the other's practice when we are attending the other's church.

Exactly: practice. It is either intrinsically wrong to commune without confession (i.e. the day before) or it is a matter of local practice.

If it is a matter of local practice, then let us admit that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with communing without confession the day before and discuss the merit of each other's practice.

Why do those in favor of a 1:1 practice refuse to engage in this discussion?
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« Reply #186 on: March 25, 2011, 08:07:29 PM »


3. How can the Church justify a double standard where the clergy is set aside as if it was special species of Christians?
  

 I find the presuppositions which I perceive as built into that question a little disconcerting.  Maybe others would like to explain?
When a priest is required to commune during EVERY Liturgy, even after NOT going to confession the night before, yet he refuses to give Communion to those of the laity who have not themselves confessed the night before, how does this not set the clergy aside as if they are a special species of Christian? Does the grace of ordination somehow make a priest incapable of sinning?
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« Reply #187 on: March 25, 2011, 08:11:40 PM »

I find the presuppositions which I perceive as built into that question a little disconcerting.  Maybe others would like to explain?

Dear Fr. Ambrose,
Which presuppositions? Seems like an honest question to me, but one that you are not willing to answer.

If it is wrong for the laity to commune without confession the night before, isn't it wrong for the clergy also?
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« Reply #188 on: March 25, 2011, 11:59:36 PM »

I find the presuppositions which I perceive as built into that question a little disconcerting.  Maybe others would like to explain?

Dear Fr. Ambrose,
Which presuppositions? Seems like an honest question to me, but one that you are not willing to answer.

If it is wrong for the laity to commune without confession the night before, isn't it wrong for the clergy also?

No, it is not wrong.

Nor need it be the night before.  It may be within the last few days.

If someone comes up to the Chalice unconfessed I ask them to wait until after the Liturgy and we shall do a Confession and then Communion.

My Dean is quite a lot tougher, and he will simply refuse to commune such people.  When this first happened and I was standing next to him I said later that I would have been more accommodating.  He replied that Russians who do not know they should go to Confession probably have no understanding of what Communion really is.  So they need a small amount of catechesis before they are permitted to commune.  It made sense.

I should point out that 1:1 is the norm but it is not an adamantine rule.
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« Reply #189 on: March 26, 2011, 12:11:54 AM »


Exactly: practice. It is either intrinsically wrong to commune without confession (i.e. the day before)


It is not intrinsically wrong.   It would not be intrinsically wrong to give Holy Communion to a man standing there eating a MacBurger but I do not think any priest would do it.

Quote

Why do those in favor of a 1:1 practice refuse to engage in this discussion?

I have not seen a refusal to engage in discussion.

One of the points which I consider strongly in favour of what is after all the majority practice throughout the Orthodox world is outlined in Msg 153
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,8590.msg547458.html#msg547458

In my limited experience with the Antiochians in this country they do not go to Confession - NEVER.   

The majority of Greeks tend to go to a General Confession once a year during the last days of Holy Week.   Some are simply content with what they insist is a Confession and Absolution during the Holy Wednesday Anointing. 

These may be holdouts of older bad practices?
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« Reply #190 on: March 26, 2011, 12:27:22 AM »


When a priest is required to commune during EVERY Liturgy, even after NOT going to confession the night before, yet he refuses to give Communion to those of the laity who have not themselves confessed the night before, how does this not set the clergy aside as if they are a special species of Christian?


Without a definition of how you understand "species" we cannot really get into this very deeply but a priest is certainly special.

Through his sacred ministry the faithful are nurtured for eternal life with the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Through the power of the Keys entrusted to him by his bishop he is able to forgive and absolve sins.

The Spirit responds to his pleading and comes down upon the Waters and creates the Agiasmo every Theophany.

Quote

Does the grace of ordination somehow make a priest incapable of sinning?


Despite his personal sinfulness the priest still retains his special character and the authority and power to do the things mentioned above, and more besides.
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« Reply #191 on: March 26, 2011, 12:29:54 AM »

I find the presuppositions which I perceive as built into that question a little disconcerting.  Maybe others would like to explain?

Dear Fr. Ambrose,
Which presuppositions? Seems like an honest question to me, but one that you are not willing to answer.



3. How can the Church justify a double standard where the clergy is set aside as if it was special species of Christians?
 


Since I do not believe that the Church is involved in a double standard, I am unable answer the question of how the Church justifies a double standard?
« Last Edit: March 26, 2011, 12:31:03 AM by Irish Hermit » Logged
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« Reply #192 on: March 26, 2011, 03:07:16 AM »


Exactly: practice. It is either intrinsically wrong to commune without confession (i.e. the day before)


It is not intrinsically wrong.   It would not be intrinsically wrong to give Holy Communion to a man standing there eating a MacBurger but I do not think any priest would do it.

Quote

Why do those in favor of a 1:1 practice refuse to engage in this discussion?

I have not seen a refusal to engage in discussion.
I have. Rather than engage directly the criticism of the theological errors inherent in a 1:1 connection between Confession and Communion, I've seen YOU dodge the question at every turn by throwing at us
  • Hasty generalizations from your limited experience
  • Appeals to "majority" practice
  • Appeals to "what we've always done (over the last few centuries or so)"
  • Appeals to "authority"
  • Red herrings
  • Arguments from silence
  • Unproven assertions
  • Attempts to deflect charges of logical fallacy by throwing the charges back at me
  • Feigned affront

Need I go on?

So why not actually address the merits of the charge that the 1:1 connection many churches require between Confession and Communion is an innovation that perpetuates theological error? What are you afraid of?
« Last Edit: March 26, 2011, 03:08:43 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #193 on: March 26, 2011, 03:32:52 AM »


Exactly: practice. It is either intrinsically wrong to commune without confession (i.e. the day before)


It is not intrinsically wrong.   It would not be intrinsically wrong to give Holy Communion to a man standing there eating a MacBurger but I do not think any priest would do it.

Quote

Why do those in favor of a 1:1 practice refuse to engage in this discussion?

I have not seen a refusal to engage in discussion.
I have. Rather than engage directly the criticism of the theological errors inherent in a 1:1 connection between Confession and Communion, I've seen YOU dodge the question at every turn by throwing at us
  • Hasty generalizations from your limited experience
  • Appeals to "majority" practice
  • Appeals to "what we've always done (over the last few centuries or so)"
  • Appeals to "authority"
  • Red herrings
  • Arguments from silence
  • Unproven assertions
  • Attempts to deflect charges of logical fallacy by throwing the charges back at me
  • Feigned affront

Need I go on?

So why not actually address the merits of the charge that the 1:1 connection many churches require between Confession and Communion is an innovation that perpetuates theological error? What are you afraid of?

I believe that nothing I contribute will satisfy your standards of reasoning.   Your list of my defects makes that clear.   So I hope that others with more credibility in your eyes may address your issues and concerns on this matter.    I myself am, as Punch and others have said also, quite content with this "innovation that perpetuates theological error" and see much beneficial fruit from it in the spiritual lives of our parishioners.
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« Reply #194 on: March 26, 2011, 07:14:58 AM »

Fr Alexander Schmemann's report to the bishops on the three ways that he recommends that the connection between Confession and Communion be maintained.

1..... First of all, if the desire for and the practice of a more frequent and, ultimately, regular communion is to be encouraged, it is nevertheless obvious that it would be spiritually wrong and very harmful to impose it in any way. This practice cannot and must not become either a "fad" or the result of any kind of pressure. Therefore, for those who receive communion seldom (even once a month) — and such will no doubt remain for a long time the majority — one must keep in all its strictness the obligation for confession before Communion.

2..... For communion more often than once a month, one needs the permission of the rector of the parish. This permission will be given only to those persons who are well-known to the rector and after a thorough pastoral examination of the seriousness and rectitude of such person’s attitude towards the Church and towards Christian life. In such a case, the relationship between the rhythm of confession and that of communion must be left to the decision of the priest, confession remaining regular, however, and heard not less than once a month.

3..... For a deeper understanding of the sacrament of communion as well as that of penance and for a more fruitful spiritual connection between them, the practice of general confession would be permitted. Inasmuch as this practice raises misunderstandings and questions today, I will conclude this report with a few words of explanation about its nature and form.


http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/confessionandcommunion.html
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« Reply #195 on: March 26, 2011, 07:34:03 AM »


I think the biggest opposition to the 1:1 Confession/Communion ratio is that Confession is "required" as a prerequisite to Communion.

With that word "required" not mentioned, and the recognition of two separate Sacraments, does anyone honestly think that Confessing weekly is bad?

If the one Sacrament of Holy Communion should be acted upon weekly; why not the other Sacrament of Confession, as well?

Two separate, but, just as important Sacraments.

If it is good for us to Commune weekly, it is just as good for us to Confess weekly.

Why the argument?

I for one, will continue to Confess before each and every Communion, whether anyone tells me I have to or not.

I approach both Sacraments humbly, in awe, in fear and with the utmost respect for what they truly are.

Neither one is taken for "granted".

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« Reply #196 on: March 26, 2011, 07:59:07 AM »


I think the biggest opposition to the 1:1 Confession/Communion ratio is that Confession is "required" as a prerequisite to Communion.


We see that the Fr Schmemann Report to the bishops was accepted and approved by them.  Does it still remain the recommended practice in the OCA?

It lays down 2 sets of circumstances and two varying prerequisites for Confession before Communion.

1.  If Communion is less frequent than once a month, Confession is strictly required to precede each Communion.

2. If Communion is once a month or twice a month (at the discretion of the parish priest), Confession is required not less than once a month.

One should note that Fr Alexander (and the bishops of the OCA in approving his Report) wishes to preserve in both cases what he describes as the "fruitful spiritual connection" between the two Sacraments.

http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/confessionandcommunion.html
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« Reply #197 on: March 26, 2011, 08:04:08 AM »


I think the biggest opposition to the 1:1 Confession/Communion ratio is that Confession is "required" as a prerequisite to Communion.


We see that the Fr Schmemann Report to the bishops was accepted and approved by them.  Does it still remain the recommended practice in the OCA?

It lays down 2 sets of circumstances and two varying prerequisites for Confession before Communion.

1.  If Communion is less frequent than once a month, Confession is strictly required to precede each Communion.

2. If Communion is once a month or twice a month (at the discretion of the parish priest), Confession is required not less than once a month.

One should note that Fr Alexander (and the bishops of the OCA in approving his Report) wishes to preserve in both cases what he describes as the "fruitful spiritual connection" between the two Sacraments.

http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/confessionandcommunion.html


But it is not a 1:1 ratio.
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« Reply #198 on: March 26, 2011, 08:12:25 AM »


I think the biggest opposition to the 1:1 Confession/Communion ratio is that Confession is "required" as a prerequisite to Communion.


We see that the Fr Schmemann Report to the bishops was accepted and approved by them.  Does it still remain the recommended practice in the OCA?

It lays down 2 sets of circumstances and two varying prerequisites for Confession before Communion.

1.  If Communion is less frequent than once a month, Confession is strictly required to precede each Communion.

2. If Communion is once a month or twice a month (at the discretion of the parish priest), Confession is required not less than once a month.

One should note that Fr Alexander (and the bishops of the OCA in approving his Report) wishes to preserve in both cases what he describes as the "fruitful spiritual connection" between the two Sacraments.

http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/confessionandcommunion.html


But it is not a 1:1 ratio.

I disagree. Fr Schmemann refers to the majority of the Church as requiring a 1:1 Confession before Communion.  He insists this requirement must be observed in all its strictness.  Please read again what he wrote, in paragraph 1, in msg 194.
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« Reply #199 on: March 26, 2011, 08:25:32 AM »


I think the biggest opposition to the 1:1 Confession/Communion ratio is that Confession is "required" as a prerequisite to Communion.


We see that the Fr Schmemann Report to the bishops was accepted and approved by them.  Does it still remain the recommended practice in the OCA?

It lays down 2 sets of circumstances and two varying prerequisites for Confession before Communion.

1.  If Communion is less frequent than once a month, Confession is strictly required to precede each Communion.

2. If Communion is once a month or twice a month (at the discretion of the parish priest), Confession is required not less than once a month.

One should note that Fr Alexander (and the bishops of the OCA in approving his Report) wishes to preserve in both cases what he describes as the "fruitful spiritual connection" between the two Sacraments.

http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/confessionandcommunion.html


But it is not a 1:1 ratio.

I disagree. Fr Schmemann refers to the majority of the Church as requiring a 1:1 Confession before Communion.  He insists this requirement must be observed in all its strictness.

For those who commune seldomly, e.g. once a month. For those who commune more often, the ratio is at the discretion of the priest. One could commune 4 times a month and confess 2 times, according to this rule, if the priest allows. Not a 1:1 ratio. So, overall, Fr. Alexander is not recommending a 1:1 ratio.
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« Reply #200 on: March 26, 2011, 08:36:06 AM »


I think the biggest opposition to the 1:1 Confession/Communion ratio is that Confession is "required" as a prerequisite to Communion.


We see that the Fr Schmemann Report to the bishops was accepted and approved by them.  Does it still remain the recommended practice in the OCA?

It lays down 2 sets of circumstances and two varying prerequisites for Confession before Communion.

1.  If Communion is less frequent than once a month, Confession is strictly required to precede each Communion.

2. If Communion is once a month or twice a month (at the discretion of the parish priest), Confession is required not less than once a month.

One should note that Fr Alexander (and the bishops of the OCA in approving his Report) wishes to preserve in both cases what he describes as the "fruitful spiritual connection" between the two Sacraments.

http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/confessionandcommunion.html


But it is not a 1:1 ratio.

I disagree. Fr Schmemann refers to the majority of the Church as requiring a 1:1 Confession before Communion.  He insists this requirement must be observed in all its strictness.

For those who commune seldomly, e.g. once a month. For those who commune more often, the ratio is at the discretion of the priest. One could commune 4 times a month and confess 2 times, according to this rule, if the priest allows. Not a 1:1 ratio. So, overall, Fr. Alexander is not recommending a 1:1 ratio.

I do not follow your logic.  Fr Schmemann says that the majority of the Church are those who commune less than once a month (and in this he is absolutely right) and it is strictly required that they confess before each Communion.

Please read again what he wrote, in paragraph 1, in msg 194.
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« Reply #201 on: March 26, 2011, 08:57:50 AM »

In my own life I am more than happy with the 1:1 ratio, because I am a sinner.  I do however accept that one's confessor or parish priest might direct you to confess less often if one is a weekly communicant, but again it is conscience that should be the primary motivator of making a confession - not any rules.  

I cannot believe that the Greek and Antiochian custom of confessing on an irregular basis and receiving often much more often is better than going to confession at least once a month.  I think the Greek custom of licensing confessors when it is incumbent in the sacred ministry of every Orthodox priest is wrong.  You may not be capable of giving the best counsel yet, but as a priest you are an instrument of the grace of God. The Church needs priests to preach the merits of confession, the theology of confession, the culture of confession which is rooted in penance and the spirit that we should be imbibing from the Lenten services.

Frequent confession reminds us of our sinfulness and need for constant self-examination and amendment of life.  One only has to look at the Roman Church since Vatican II or the Anglican use of confession:  " All may, some should, most don't" to see the fruits of that innovation.

Orthodox are not immune to the cost of infrequent confession that includes false pride, lack of respect for the sacred ministry and potentially a lack of respect for the sacrament.
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« Reply #202 on: March 26, 2011, 08:59:46 AM »

Statistics for the OCA demonstrate that the majority of its members are not communing frequently.

http://www.oikoumene.org/member-churches/regions/north-america/united-states-of-america/orthodox-church-in-america.html

Number of faithful:  1,000,000

Number of parishes: 697

Number of communicants per parish if all commune weekly....... 1,444

Number of communicants per parish if all commune fortnightly...  722

Number of communicants per parish if all commune monthly......  361


Somebody mentioned there are 100 communicants in their parish on a Sunday.  Where are the remaining 1,344 souls?


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« Reply #203 on: March 26, 2011, 09:33:33 AM »

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.

Not too likely at all. Most priests, if they don't know who you are, will ask you if you are Orthodox, where your parish is and if you have been to confession recently. I think most priest guard the chalice.



1.  I am not talking about a person unknown to the priest.  I am talking about "church members" that belong to that parish and do whatever they want during the week and then line up for communion.  And I am talking about an attitude among the clergy, clearly communicated to me by clergy in that jurisdiction, that their job is administering the sacraments.  Being prepared for them is the responsibility of the laity.  Evidently, some clergy in the Orthodox Church do not believe that when they give a person the sacraments to their damnation due to negligence, they participate in that person's sin.  If find this particularly disturbing since even the pastors of the Lutheran heretics I have known have more care for the souls of their flock than this!

2.  What we "think" about the matter is irrelevant, which is why some of you are not getting the "discussion" that you want.  This is not a matter open to discussion.  In the four pages of this thread, I have seen both sides stated very clearly by both priests and laity.  I have also seen absolutely nothing in the anti-1:1 posts that in any way changes my mind on the matter because the individuals posting, including a priest, obviously understand the sacraments in question much differently than I do or they could NOT in clear conscience maintain their position.  So, further discussion of this topic is rather useless and can only result in more Peter the Aleut vs. Irish Hermit type p***ing matches where nobody is going to win (unless the green ink comes out).  The issue here is "what do the sacraments in question really mean?".  If we reach a common understanding on this, we will probably have a common practice in executing those sacraments.  Sorry, but this is NOT just a matter of "custom" or regional practice.  It is really a matter of what one really believes about Confession, Absolution, Communion and Ordination, all of which are completely intertwined in this issue.
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« Reply #204 on: March 26, 2011, 10:13:46 AM »

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.

Your example stands firmly in the realm of the ridiculous and not the real.  Every Orthodox priest I've encountered in the non-Slavic jurisdictions has emphasized that if one has committed serious sin they should refrain from the chalice until they confess, and most of them make themselves widely available for confession (i.e. you can schedule with them anytime).  The issue of whether one is honest or not about it is common between both practices (1:1 and non) - whether you confess quarterly or weekly, it is incumbent on the penitent to be honest about their sins, and if they're not there is little way for the priest to know for sure.  You have just as much a chance of communing in your own church under the ridiculous circumstances you've posited as you do in your wife's Antiochian Church; those who are brash enough to commit adultery and/or violence and then commune are also brash enough to lie about it in confession.
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« Reply #205 on: March 26, 2011, 10:18:26 AM »

Statistics for the OCA demonstrate that the majority of its members are not communing frequently.

http://www.oikoumene.org/member-churches/regions/north-america/united-states-of-america/orthodox-church-in-america.html

Number of faithful:  1,000,000

Number of parishes: 697

Number of communicants per parish if all commune weekly....... 1,444

Number of communicants per parish if all commune fortnightly...  722

Number of communicants per parish if all commune monthly......  361


Somebody mentioned there are 100 communicants in their parish on a Sunday.  Where are the remaining 1,344 souls?

Your question rests upon a faulty assumption, namely that if there are 1,444 persons per church community that they all attend each week.  If the average parish has 1,444 people, then chances are only 250-400 even attend on a regular basis, with another 50-100 attending occasionally, and close to 900 attending rarely (1-2 per year, or only for funerals, baptisms, and weddings). The discussion isn't taking into account those who do not attend; it is focusing on those who come and don't commune/confess.
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« Reply #206 on: March 26, 2011, 11:29:11 AM »


Your example stands firmly in the realm of the ridiculous and not the real.  Every Orthodox priest I've encountered in the non-Slavic jurisdictions has emphasized that if one has committed serious sin they should refrain from the chalice until they confess, and most of them make themselves widely available for confession (i.e. you can schedule with them anytime).  The issue of whether one is honest or not about it is common between both practices (1:1 and non) - whether you confess quarterly or weekly, it is incumbent on the penitent to be honest about their sins, and if they're not there is little way for the priest to know for sure.  You have just as much a chance of communing in your own church under the ridiculous circumstances you've posited as you do in your wife's Antiochian Church; those who are brash enough to commit adultery and/or violence and then commune are also brash enough to lie about it in confession.

Of course it is ridiculous.  However, it is a common tool of rhetoric to use the ridiculous to demonstrate the theoretical end point to a certain point of view.  Yet I still disagree with you on your last point.  Perhaps I deal with law too much in my secular life, where culpability, negligence, willful misconduct and burden of proof fall into play.  And it is through those eyes that I see this subject.  Yes, I agree that a person who has sinned in the manner that I rhetorically proposed would also likely lie during a confession.  In reality, a person such as this would probably not even set foot in a Church.  In addition, I would hope that the Holy Spirit would move the soul of the Priest to know SOMETHING was wrong and prevent him from communing.  On the other hand, and within the realm of reality, there are many sins that most of us commit during the course of a year that are destructive to our souls to a large level, even if they do not approach the realm of the ridiculous.  And communion under those conditions would be to our detriment and not to our advantage.  In these cases, the people are not "brash" enough to approach the chalice, but they ARE ignorant enough to do so.  There is a big difference between "affording the opportunity" to do something and requiring it to be done.  As a priest, you may sooth your own conscience by believing that you have shifted the complete culpability of the sin to the communicant by "providing an opportunity" and suggesting that they do the right thing.  We call our priests "Father", and unfortunately many priests parent in the more modern style of parenting; let the child learn on his own and do whatever he wants.  On the other hand, if a person lies to you when you take the time to ASK him if he is prepared, then they have put the compete sin on themselves and you have suffered no negligence.  I am assuming that you are a parent, as I am.  I don't know how you handle your children, but when mine were growing up, I did not wait for them to tell me if something was wrong, I periodically ASKED them.  I didn't guess where they were at night, I ASKED them.  If they lied to me (and at times they did), there was little that I could do.  But at least I did my duty as a parent, and as I was TAUGHT by my parents both by word and example.  Yes, I tried to teach them right from wrong, like I am sure most non-Slavs during their sermons.  However, even our education system recognizes that teaching must be backed up with testing.

I work in a Nuclear Power Plant, and have worked in this industry for 30 years now.  Even in this secular and, in my opinion, evil industry, we understand that the consequences of what we do are terrible, not just for us but for everyone.  Our leaders are taught NOT to passively wait for their subordinates to tell them there is a problem, but to ACTIVELY INQUIRE as to the status of the plant.  They used to wear buttons on their lanyards that said "I know because I looked".  Given my experience in the secular world, I find it distressing that a priest would take the attitude "well, I told them so I have to suppose they know better", particularly when we are not dealing with radiation but PEOPLE'S SOULS.

Yes, I agree with you that a priest will never know for sure if a person has truly repented, or if they have been totally honest.  We totally agree on this point.  I just have no use for those that care so little for my soul that they don't even bother to ask.  The almighty God does not need you or any other priest to administer his Body and Blood.  I could walk out on my front porch and find a chalice if God so willed.  We have priests to be Fathers of the congregation.  Being a father means different things to different people.  I did not always agree with my rather strict father, but I always respected and loved him.  And as I got older, I also became more thankful for my strict upbringing, and my parents prying into my life in my younger years.  I know they cared.  I know this not only because they TOLD me they cared, but because the SHOWED me that they care.  And I feel the same way when a priest tells me that he wants to speak with me BEFORE he communes me, and doesn't just assume that I know right from wrong.   
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« Reply #207 on: March 26, 2011, 12:58:44 PM »


I think the biggest opposition to the 1:1 Confession/Communion ratio is that Confession is "required" as a prerequisite to Communion.


We see that the Fr Schmemann Report to the bishops was accepted and approved by them.  Does it still remain the recommended practice in the OCA?

It lays down 2 sets of circumstances and two varying prerequisites for Confession before Communion.

1.  If Communion is less frequent than once a month, Confession is strictly required to precede each Communion.

2. If Communion is once a month or twice a month (at the discretion of the parish priest), Confession is required not less than once a month.

One should note that Fr Alexander (and the bishops of the OCA in approving his Report) wishes to preserve in both cases what he describes as the "fruitful spiritual connection" between the two Sacraments.

http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/confessionandcommunion.html


But it is not a 1:1 ratio.

I disagree. Fr Schmemann refers to the majority of the Church as requiring a 1:1 Confession before Communion.  He insists this requirement must be observed in all its strictness.

For those who commune seldomly, e.g. once a month. For those who commune more often, the ratio is at the discretion of the priest. One could commune 4 times a month and confess 2 times, according to this rule, if the priest allows. Not a 1:1 ratio. So, overall, Fr. Alexander is not recommending a 1:1 ratio.

I do not follow your logic.  Fr Schmemann says that the majority of the Church are those who commune less than once a month (and in this he is absolutely right) and it is strictly required that they confess before each Communion.

Please read again what he wrote, in paragraph 1, in msg 194.

What you are saying was true when Father Alexander of blessed memory wrote those words.  Since the 1970s, frequent communion has become the practice in many churches. However, it would be useful to start with the reasoning behind the paradigm shift. The Report to the Holy Synod makes the following key points (all quotations are from http://www.oca.org/DOCencyclical.asp?SID=12&ID=3:

"Let me repeat once more that it is simply impossible to find in Tradition a basis and justification for our present practice of extremely infrequent, if not yearly, communion of laity; all those who seriously and responsibly have studied our Tradition, all the best Russian liturgiologists and theologians, have seen in this practice a decay in Church life, a deviation from Tradition and the genuine foundations of the Church. And the most dreadful aspect of this decay is that it is justified and explained in terms of respect for the holiness of the sacrament, in terms of piety and reverence. For if it were so, the non-communicants would experience at least some sadness during the Liturgy, a frustration, a feeling of lacking fullness. In reality, however, this is simply not true. Generation after generation of Orthodox "attend" the Liturgy totally convinced that nothing more than attendance is required from them, that communion is simply not for them.

When the communion of the entire congregation at each Liturgy, as an act expressing their very participation, in the Liturgy, ceased to be a self-evident norm and was replaced by the practice of a very infrequent, usually once-a-year, communion, it became natural for the latter to be preceded by the Sacrament of Penance i.e., confession and reconciliation with the Church through the prayer of absolution.

This practice, natural and self-evident in the case of infrequent, once-a-year, communion, led to the appearance in the Church of a theory according to which the communion of laity, different in this from the communion of clergy, is impossible without the Sacrament of Penance, so that confession is an obligatory condition - always and in all cases - for communion. I dare to affirm that this theory (which spread mainly in the Russian Church) not only has no foundation in Tradition, but openly contradicts the Orthodox doctrine of the Church, of the Sacrament of Communion and of that of Penance.

To be convinced of that, one has to recall, be it very briefly, the essence of the Sacrament of Penance. From the very beginning this sacrament was, in the consciousness and teaching of the Church, the sacrament of reconciliation with the Church of those excommunicated from her and this means of those excluded from the eucharistic assembly. We know that, at first, the very strict ecclesiastical discipline allowed for only one such reconciliation in one's lifetime, but that later, especially after the entrance into the Church of the entire population, this discipline was somewhat relaxed. In its essence, the Sacrament of Penance, as the sacrament of reconciliation with the Church, was for those only who were excommunicated from the Church for definite sins and acts clearly defined in the canonical tradition of the Church. This is still clearly stated in the prayer of absolution: "reconcile him with Thy Holy Church in Christ Jesus Our Lord..."

All this, however, does not mean that the "faithful," i.e., the "non-excommunicated," were considered by the Church to be sinless. In the first place, according to the Church's teaching, no human being is sinless, with the exception of the Most Holy Mother of God, the Theotokos. In the second place, a prayer for forgiveness and remission of sins is an integral part of the Liturgy itself (cf. the Prayer of the Trisagion and the two prayers "of the faithful"). Finally, the Church always considered Holy Communion itself as given "for the remission of sins." Therefore, the issue here is not sinlessness, which no absolution can achieve, but the distinction always made by the Church between, on the one hand, the sins excommunicating a man from the Church's life of grace and, on the other hand, the "sinfulness" which is the inescapable fate of every man "living in the world and bearing flesh." The latter is, so to speak, "dissolved" in the Church's liturgy, and it is this sinfulness that the Church confesses in the "prayers of the faithful" before the offering of the Holy Gifts. Before the Holy Chalice itself, at the moment of receiving the Mysteries, we ask for forgiveness of "sins voluntary and involuntary, those in word and in deed, committed knowingly or unknowingly," and we believe that, in the measure of our repentance, we receive this forgiveness.

It is therefore of paramount importance for us to understand that the transformation of the Sacrament of Penance into an obligatory condition for communion not only contradicts Tradition, but obviously mutilates it. It mutilates, in the first place, the doctrine of the Church by creating in her two categories of members, one of which is, in fact, excommunicated from the Eucharist, as the very content and fulfillment of membership, as its spiritual source. But then it is no longer surprising that those whom the Apostle called "fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God" (Ephesians 2:19) become again "worldly" (kosmiki, miriane), are "secularized" and their membership in the Church is measured and defined in terms of money ("dues") and "rights." But also mutilated is the doctrine of communion, which is understood then as the sacrament for a few "worthy ones" and no longer as the sacrament of the Church: of sinners who, by the infinite mercy of Christ, are always transformed into His Body. And finally, equally mutilated is the doctrine of penance. Transformed into a formal condition for communion, it begins more and more obviously to replace the real preparation for communion, that genuine inner repentance, which inspires all the prayers before communion. After a three-minute confession and absolution a man feels "entitled" to communion, "worthy" and even "sinless," feels, in other terms, that which is in fact the very opposite of true repentance."

Therefore, Father Alexander recommends the following:

"The question, in my opinion, must be formulated as follows: how can we both encourage a more frequent, more regular participation by the laity in the eucharistic sacrament, the "focus of Christian life," the sacrament of the Church and her unity, and, at the same time, assure a proper preparation for this sacrament, thus preventing communion from becoming as much a "custom" as was, until now, the practice of "non-communion"? The answer to this question can be reduced to three fundamental principles:

    1. First of all, if the desire for and the practice of a more frequent and, ultimately, regular, communion is to be encouraged, it is nevertheless obvious that it would be spiritually wrong and very harmful to impose it in any way. This practice cannot and must not become either a "fad" or the result of any kind of pressure. Therefore, for those who receive communion seldom (even once a month) - and such will no doubt remain for a long time the majority - one must keep in all its strictness the obligation for confession before communion.

    2. For communion more often than once a month, one needs the permission of the rector of the parish. This permission will be given only to those persons who are well-known to the rector and after a thorough pastoral examination of the seriousness and rectitude of such person's attitude towards the Church and towards Christian life. In such a case, the relationship between the rhythm of confession and that of communion must be left to the decision of the priest, confession remaining regular, however, and heard not less than once a month.

    3. For a deeper understanding of the Sacrament of Communion as well as that of Penance and for a more fruitful spiritual connection between them, the practice of general confession would be permitted. Inasmuch as this practice raises misunderstandings and questions, I will conclude this report with a few words of explanation about its nature and form."

So, Father Alexander's goal is for the entire church (clergy and laity alike) to take communion each time that is offered. The recommendations above, which were indeed adopted by the Holy Synod, seem to me to be transitional in nature. For example, in my OCA church, we do not have General Confession. Each individual member avails himself of the Sacrament of Penance on a regular schedule (usually four to eight weeks, determined by the priest) and as often as needed (the communicant may choose to go to confession as often as he pleases or in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the priest). Each communicant is expected to prepare for and attend Divine Liturgy, and take Holy Communion, at least on a weekly basis unless there is a valid reason such as illness or travel out of town. Indeed, the one common shortcoming that triggers the Sacrament of Penance is to miss church with no good reason. As for the regular schedule for the Sacrament of Penance, my priest believes that (a) confession is good because it allows the person to regularly take an inventory of his sins and shortcomings and assess where he stands on the narrow road, and (b) allows to priest to function as a spiritual guide, to "comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable" (as the sign on his door says). So, it is for practical reasons that we have confession on a regular basis.

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« Reply #208 on: March 26, 2011, 01:03:58 PM »

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.

Your example stands firmly in the realm of the ridiculous and not the real.  Every Orthodox priest I've encountered in the non-Slavic jurisdictions has emphasized that if one has committed serious sin they should refrain from the chalice until they confess, and most of them make themselves widely available for confession (i.e. you can schedule with them anytime).  The issue of whether one is honest or not about it is common between both practices (1:1 and non) - whether you confess quarterly or weekly, it is incumbent on the penitent to be honest about their sins, and if they're not there is little way for the priest to know for sure.  You have just as much a chance of communing in your own church under the ridiculous circumstances you've posited as you do in your wife's Antiochian Church; those who are brash enough to commit adultery and/or violence and then commune are also brash enough to lie about it in confession.

Bingo!

ADDED: I am adding this after reading Punch's reply to this post. The responsibility of each member of the Church is to live as a disciple of the Lord would live. We cannot transfer this responsibility to another person, even a priest. With all due respect to ROCOR and the Church of Serbia (and others who have the practice of 1:1), it seems to me that their message is that their laity cannot be trusted to behave in accordance with the principles of membership in the Body. If I may make a crude analogy, it seems to me that the proponents for frequent communion are acting more like counselors, coaches and pastors, than those who believe in 1:1 and infrequent communion, who seem to be more concerned with "guarding the chalice" from the "inmates" or enforcing the rubrics. Sorry to be so harsh and I apologize in advance because I do not think that the shepherds in the 1:1 churches think themselves that way. It goes without saying that the clergy of the 1:1 churches are just as concerned with the spiritual well-being of their flock. What I am trying to say, most clumsily, is that may be they should see themselves as being the pastors of potentially mature disciples rather than perpetually infantile ones. I think it is true that the expectations of our mothers and fathers has an influence on who we become; with higher expectations being linked to better results. May be it is time for our Mother the Church to treat us the same way.
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« Reply #209 on: March 26, 2011, 01:25:28 PM »

Statistics for the OCA demonstrate that the majority of its members are not communing frequently.

http://www.oikoumene.org/member-churches/regions/north-america/united-states-of-america/orthodox-church-in-america.html

Number of faithful:  1,000,000

Number of parishes: 697

Number of communicants per parish if all commune weekly....... 1,444

Number of communicants per parish if all commune fortnightly...  722

Number of communicants per parish if all commune monthly......  361


Somebody mentioned there are 100 communicants in their parish on a Sunday.  Where are the remaining 1,344 souls?

Your question rests upon a faulty assumption, namely that if there are 1,444 persons per church community that they all attend each week.  If the average parish has 1,444 people, then chances are only 250-400 even attend on a regular basis, with another 50-100 attending occasionally, and close to 900 attending rarely (1-2 per year, or only for funerals, baptisms, and weddings). The discussion isn't taking into account those who do not attend; it is focusing on those who come and don't commune/confess.

I would add that the 1 million figure was based on those who were baptized and is way off the mark.
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« Reply #210 on: March 26, 2011, 01:25:29 PM »

There are some Great Non slavic Orthodox Priest's , I went to a new calander Greek Orthodox church Stood in the communion line and Recieved Holy Communion, the Father struggled in pronouncing my Slavic name,, he did commune me though i didn't confess there...The sermon That he gave was about confession prior to recieving The Holy Mysteries...I did confession in Another Church  but didn't mention it to him....
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« Reply #211 on: March 26, 2011, 02:59:48 PM »


I think the biggest opposition to the 1:1 Confession/Communion ratio is that Confession is "required" as a prerequisite to Communion.

With that word "required" not mentioned, and the recognition of two separate Sacraments, does anyone honestly think that Confessing weekly is bad?
No. I agree with what Fr. George wrote earlier when you posed this question to us. If you find spiritual benefit in weekly confession, then please avail yourself of Confession weekly. No one here is arguing that this is a bad thing.

If the one Sacrament of Holy Communion should be acted upon weekly; why not the other Sacrament of Confession, as well?

Two separate, but, just as important Sacraments.

If it is good for us to Commune weekly, it is just as good for us to Confess weekly.

Why the argument?
I'm curious to understand where you see an argument that weekly Confession is bad, especially since you're asking this question again. The only argument I see on this thread is whether Orthodox churches should require the faithful to go to Confession before receiving Communion every time they intend to receive, even if they intend to receive weekly. The weekly participation in Confession, apart from any reception of Communion, is not being argued here.

I for one, will continue to Confess before each and every Communion, whether anyone tells me I have to or not.

I approach both Sacraments humbly, in awe, in fear and with the utmost respect for what they truly are.

Neither one is taken for "granted".
I truly rejoice that you feel that way about Confession. If that's what you want to do, no one here is trying to stop you.
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« Reply #212 on: March 26, 2011, 03:32:05 PM »


Your example stands firmly in the realm of the ridiculous and not the real.  Every Orthodox priest I've encountered in the non-Slavic jurisdictions has emphasized that if one has committed serious sin they should refrain from the chalice until they confess, and most of them make themselves widely available for confession (i.e. you can schedule with them anytime).  The issue of whether one is honest or not about it is common between both practices (1:1 and non) - whether you confess quarterly or weekly, it is incumbent on the penitent to be honest about their sins, and if they're not there is little way for the priest to know for sure.  You have just as much a chance of communing in your own church under the ridiculous circumstances you've posited as you do in your wife's Antiochian Church; those who are brash enough to commit adultery and/or violence and then commune are also brash enough to lie about it in confession.

Of course it is ridiculous.  However, it is a common tool of rhetoric to use the ridiculous to demonstrate the theoretical end point to a certain point of view.  Yet I still disagree with you on your last point.  Perhaps I deal with law too much in my secular life, where culpability, negligence, willful misconduct and burden of proof fall into play.  And it is through those eyes that I see this subject.  Yes, I agree that a person who has sinned in the manner that I rhetorically proposed would also likely lie during a confession.  In reality, a person such as this would probably not even set foot in a Church.  In addition, I would hope that the Holy Spirit would move the soul of the Priest to know SOMETHING was wrong and prevent him from communing.  On the other hand, and within the realm of reality, there are many sins that most of us commit during the course of a year that are destructive to our souls to a large level, even if they do not approach the realm of the ridiculous.  And communion under those conditions would be to our detriment and not to our advantage.  In these cases, the people are not "brash" enough to approach the chalice, but they ARE ignorant enough to do so.  There is a big difference between "affording the opportunity" to do something and requiring it to be done.  As a priest, you may sooth your own conscience by believing that you have shifted the complete culpability of the sin to the communicant by "providing an opportunity" and suggesting that they do the right thing.  We call our priests "Father", and unfortunately many priests parent in the more modern style of parenting; let the child learn on his own and do whatever he wants.  On the other hand, if a person lies to you when you take the time to ASK him if he is prepared, then they have put the compete sin on themselves and you have suffered no negligence.  I am assuming that you are a parent, as I am.  I don't know how you handle your children, but when mine were growing up, I did not wait for them to tell me if something was wrong, I periodically ASKED them.  I didn't guess where they were at night, I ASKED them.  If they lied to me (and at times they did), there was little that I could do.  But at least I did my duty as a parent, and as I was TAUGHT by my parents both by word and example.  Yes, I tried to teach them right from wrong, like I am sure most non-Slavs during their sermons.  However, even our education system recognizes that teaching must be backed up with testing.

I work in a Nuclear Power Plant, and have worked in this industry for 30 years now.  Even in this secular and, in my opinion, evil industry, we understand that the consequences of what we do are terrible, not just for us but for everyone.  Our leaders are taught NOT to passively wait for their subordinates to tell them there is a problem, but to ACTIVELY INQUIRE as to the status of the plant.  They used to wear buttons on their lanyards that said "I know because I looked".  Given my experience in the secular world, I find it distressing that a priest would take the attitude "well, I told them so I have to suppose they know better", particularly when we are not dealing with radiation but PEOPLE'S SOULS.

Yes, I agree with you that a priest will never know for sure if a person has truly repented, or if they have been totally honest.  We totally agree on this point.  I just have no use for those that care so little for my soul that they don't even bother to ask.  The almighty God does not need you or any other priest to administer his Body and Blood.  I could walk out on my front porch and find a chalice if God so willed.  We have priests to be Fathers of the congregation.  Being a father means different things to different people.  I did not always agree with my rather strict father, but I always respected and loved him.  And as I got older, I also became more thankful for my strict upbringing, and my parents prying into my life in my younger years.  I know they cared.  I know this not only because they TOLD me they cared, but because the SHOWED me that they care.  And I feel the same way when a priest tells me that he wants to speak with me BEFORE he communes me, and doesn't just assume that I know right from wrong.     

This is an excellent post, sir.  Really!  Thank you for this.  I agree with you completely; of course, from my POV your argument works as well for regular communion with quarterly, bi-monthly, or monthly confession as it does for 1:1.  I actually wish that the priest:parishioner ratio was better - not as a means of excuse, but I do find it daunting that my proistamenos and I are responsible for the souls of 1,800+ people (our parish has 550 families) - I would rather take the approach that you have mentioned, and that I truly believe in (that is, proactively checking in with people), rather than relying on people to self-diagnose that something is wrong.

Btw: You're correct in assuming that I am a father (small f), but my kids aren't old enough yet to lie.
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« Reply #213 on: March 26, 2011, 04:44:58 PM »

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.

Your example stands firmly in the realm of the ridiculous and not the real.  Every Orthodox priest I've encountered in the non-Slavic jurisdictions has emphasized that if one has committed serious sin they should refrain from the chalice until they confess, and most of them make themselves widely available for confession (i.e. you can schedule with them anytime).  The issue of whether one is honest or not about it is common between both practices (1:1 and non) - whether you confess quarterly or weekly, it is incumbent on the penitent to be honest about their sins, and if they're not there is little way for the priest to know for sure.  You have just as much a chance of communing in your own church under the ridiculous circumstances you've posited as you do in your wife's Antiochian Church; those who are brash enough to commit adultery and/or violence and then commune are also brash enough to lie about it in confession.

Bingo!

ADDED: I am adding this after reading Punch's reply to this post. The responsibility of each member of the Church is to live as a disciple of the Lord would live. We cannot transfer this responsibility to another person, even a priest. With all due respect to ROCOR and the Church of Serbia (and others who have the practice of 1:1), it seems to me that their message is that their laity cannot be trusted to behave in accordance with the principles of membership in the Body. If I may make a crude analogy, it seems to me that the proponents for frequent communion are acting more like counselors, coaches and pastors, than those who believe in 1:1 and infrequent communion, who seem to be more concerned with "guarding the chalice" from the "inmates" or enforcing the rubrics. Sorry to be so harsh and I apologize in advance because I do not think that the shepherds in the 1:1 churches think themselves that way. It goes without saying that the clergy of the 1:1 churches are just as concerned with the spiritual well-being of their flock. What I am trying to say, most clumsily, is that may be they should see themselves as being the pastors of potentially mature disciples rather than perpetually infantile ones. I think it is true that the expectations of our mothers and fathers has an influence on who we become; with higher expectations being linked to better results. May be it is time for our Mother the Church to treat us the same way.
  Within ROCOR where I worship, I do see priests encouraging frequent communion.  I do see priests encouraging confession.  I see in such encouragement exhortation to take adult responsibility for our spiritual lives - to make the decision to immerse our lives in Orthodoxy, to take the decision to receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord and God and Savior regularly and I see the 1:1 rule - which does get abrogated or amended for individuals based on the state of their spiritual life as supporting that.

I think it presumptuous to ever commune without confession if one is not a weekly communicant with a strong sacramental life in confession and with a strong adherence to the prayer rule, to the fasting regimen etc.
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« Reply #214 on: March 26, 2011, 05:04:59 PM »

When still in high-school, more than a decade ago, most of our classmates went one Wed. or Friday in Lent, to church for confession and communion, during school hours. The following week the other classmates went too, and I went with them, as well. Although I had confessed and communed the previous week, I thought I could do it again that week, as well. I went to the priest and asked him to hear my confession etc. He was quite taken aback by this desire to receive the communion once more that Lent and he tried to dissuade me saying: comm'on you just received the communion last week, what do you want now. So were my attempts at frequent communion squashed in their infancy Wink
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« Reply #215 on: March 26, 2011, 05:41:26 PM »

that's sad. the early Christians used to commune weekly if not more often.
in coptic churches, you stand out from the crowd if you don't take communion every week.
we are expected to confess once a month, more if you have done anything major.
i phoned my priest after i ate the wrong thing during lent, i would not have felt comfortable taking Holy Communion without checking with him first if i was absolved from that. people who don't fast during lent don't take communion during lent.
if taking Holy Communion is wonderful (and it is) and if it makes us anxious to avoid sin (which it does), then we should partake as often as we can in order to keep our lives in check and close to God.
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« Reply #216 on: March 26, 2011, 06:46:49 PM »


, further discussion of this topic is rather useless and can only result in more Peter the Aleut vs. Irish Hermit type p***ing matches where nobody is going to win (unless the green ink comes out).


Sorry that you see it like that but of course you are right and the interaction between Peter and myself often deteriorates into a p***ing match.   I should try harder to avoid it.  God forgive me.
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« Reply #217 on: March 26, 2011, 06:52:24 PM »


, further discussion of this topic is rather useless and can only result in more Peter the Aleut vs. Irish Hermit type p***ing matches where nobody is going to win (unless the green ink comes out).


Sorry that you see it like that but of course you are right and the interaction between Peter and myself often deteriorates into a p***ing match.   I should try harder to avoid it.  God forgive me.

I don't know how you are going to do that.  I have been a member of this board for more than four years and I can't remember the last time I saw you start one.
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« Reply #218 on: March 26, 2011, 07:07:42 PM »

How can a convert think he know's more, than a Actual Ordained Orthodox Priest that deal's everyday with this subject matter.... Huh Huh Huh Inquiring mind would like to know.... police
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« Reply #219 on: March 26, 2011, 08:02:24 PM »


I think the biggest opposition to the 1:1 Confession/Communion ratio is that Confession is "required" as a prerequisite to Communion.

With that word "required" not mentioned, and the recognition of two separate Sacraments, does anyone honestly think that Confessing weekly is bad?
No. I agree with what Fr. George wrote earlier when you posed this question to us. If you find spiritual benefit in weekly confession, then please avail yourself of Confession weekly. No one here is arguing that this is a bad thing.

If the one Sacrament of Holy Communion should be acted upon weekly; why not the other Sacrament of Confession, as well?

Two separate, but, just as important Sacraments.

If it is good for us to Commune weekly, it is just as good for us to Confess weekly.

Why the argument?
I'm curious to understand where you see an argument that weekly Confession is bad, especially since you're asking this question again. The only argument I see on this thread is whether Orthodox churches should require the faithful to go to Confession before receiving Communion every time they intend to receive, even if they intend to receive weekly. The weekly participation in Confession, apart from any reception of Communion, is not being argued here.

I for one, will continue to Confess before each and every Communion, whether anyone tells me I have to or not.

I approach both Sacraments humbly, in awe, in fear and with the utmost respect for what they truly are.

Neither one is taken for "granted".
I truly rejoice that you feel that way about Confession. If that's what you want to do, no one here is trying to stop you.

Thanks, Peter!  Smiley  Maybe I misunderstood, as I was in a hurry this morning, and didn't read all the comments carefully.

Please forgive me for having repeated myself.  I'm getting old and have a tendency to do that.  Wink

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« Reply #220 on: March 26, 2011, 09:06:39 PM »

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.

Your example stands firmly in the realm of the ridiculous and not the real.  Every Orthodox priest I've encountered in the non-Slavic jurisdictions has emphasized that if one has committed serious sin they should refrain from the chalice until they confess, and most of them make themselves widely available for confession (i.e. you can schedule with them anytime).  The issue of whether one is honest or not about it is common between both practices (1:1 and non) - whether you confess quarterly or weekly, it is incumbent on the penitent to be honest about their sins, and if they're not there is little way for the priest to know for sure.  You have just as much a chance of communing in your own church under the ridiculous circumstances you've posited as you do in your wife's Antiochian Church; those who are brash enough to commit adultery and/or violence and then commune are also brash enough to lie about it in confession.

Bingo!

ADDED: I am adding this after reading Punch's reply to this post. The responsibility of each member of the Church is to live as a disciple of the Lord would live. We cannot transfer this responsibility to another person, even a priest. With all due respect to ROCOR and the Church of Serbia (and others who have the practice of 1:1), it seems to me that their message is that their laity cannot be trusted to behave in accordance with the principles of membership in the Body. If I may make a crude analogy, it seems to me that the proponents for frequent communion are acting more like counselors, coaches and pastors, than those who believe in 1:1 and infrequent communion, who seem to be more concerned with "guarding the chalice" from the "inmates" or enforcing the rubrics. Sorry to be so harsh and I apologize in advance because I do not think that the shepherds in the 1:1 churches think themselves that way. It goes without saying that the clergy of the 1:1 churches are just as concerned with the spiritual well-being of their flock. What I am trying to say, most clumsily, is that may be they should see themselves as being the pastors of potentially mature disciples rather than perpetually infantile ones. I think it is true that the expectations of our mothers and fathers has an influence on who we become; with higher expectations being linked to better results. May be it is time for our Mother the Church to treat us the same way.
  Within ROCOR where I worship, I do see priests encouraging frequent communion.  I do see priests encouraging confession.  I see in such encouragement exhortation to take adult responsibility for our spiritual lives - to make the decision to immerse our lives in Orthodoxy, to take the decision to receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord and God and Savior regularly and I see the 1:1 rule - which does get abrogated or amended for individuals based on the state of their spiritual life as supporting that.

I think it presumptuous to ever commune without confession if one is not a weekly communicant with a strong sacramental life in confession and with a strong adherence to the prayer rule, to the fasting regimen etc.

We agree. I guess I have to quit making a blanket statement about ROCOR on this issue.
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« Reply #221 on: March 26, 2011, 11:02:50 PM »

How can a convert think he know's more, than a Actual Ordained Orthodox Priest that deal's everyday with this subject matter.... Huh Huh Huh Inquiring mind would like to know.... police
And what if the Orthodox priest you admire most is a convert?
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« Reply #222 on: March 27, 2011, 01:44:05 AM »

He's been Educated and Ordained in Holy Serbia as a Monk and Priest for a long time now ,So he is a Serbian/Russian by adoption,,and he Know's what He's Talking About,,I'll take what he has to say  over what you have to say anyday....

For Many Many Yrs, Fr.Ambrose  heard Confessions and pronounced absolution and Communed the Faithful, God Grant him Many Many More Years and Good Health to continnue to serve in the Lords Vineyard........

Peter ,How Many Confessions have you heard and Absolved, and Communed the Faithful, i believe none......
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« Reply #223 on: March 27, 2011, 02:32:23 AM »

Stashko-Agree with Peter or Hermit, as you wish. I really don't know where I stand on this, and I'm not experienced/knowledgable enough to make that call yet. The Russian tradition here in Russia is somewhere between the two extremes, i.e., it's very close to 1:1, but communion is very frequent, and there is no 3-6 day fast. But regardless of which side you fall on, your constant convert-bashing is disgusting and hurtful.

I can think of 12 guys that were fairly significant christians who were all converts.
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« Reply #224 on: March 27, 2011, 07:21:32 AM »


What you are saying was true when Father Alexander of blessed memory wrote those words.  Since the 1970s, frequent communion has become the practice in many churches


If we look at the 2010 statistics for the Orthodox Churches in the US, commissioned by the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, we see that 40% of the membership of the OCA do not attend church regularly.  Presumably these infrequent attendees in the OCA come under Fr Schmemann's requirement (approved by the OCA bishops) for Confession before every Communion.  Or is there a new policy in place which gives them a free pass?

Statistics given for the OCA are a membership of 84,900
and a regular attendance of 33,800.

http://www.hartfordinstitute.org/research/2010-USOrthodox-Census.pdf
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