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Author Topic: Confession before Communion  (Read 18898 times) Average Rating: 0
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #225 on: March 27, 2011, 06:29:12 PM »

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......
So then, using your own logic, you have no reason to bash converts if you don't know their history and experience. How do you know that other converts don't have the same or even more authority to speak on matters of faith and praxis than your own favorite convert?
« Last Edit: March 27, 2011, 07:07:39 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #226 on: March 27, 2011, 08:24:17 PM »

Quote
How do you know that other converts don't have the same or even more authority to speak on matters of faith and praxis than your own favorite convert?

PtA, Stashko's "favorite convert" has been Orthodox for more than 40 years, and a hieromonk for more than 30 years. You, a layman, and a very recent convert, who wasn't even a glint in your father's eye at the time of Irish Hermit's conversion, dare to presume to know more than he does on a matter that he deals with most days of his pastoral life, and you rarely miss a chance to question his very authority as an ordained clergyman on this, and many other threads.

"Conduct unbecoming" doesn't begin to express your behavior.  Angry Angry Angry

« Last Edit: March 27, 2011, 08:25:26 PM by LBK » Logged
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« Reply #227 on: March 27, 2011, 09:52:25 PM »


Quote
"Prior to" Communion doesn't mean 6 or 12 months ago or even two weeks ago. Also, insisting at the Holy Chalice that you have a blessing from your spiritual father to have Communion without the necessary preparation is unacceptable.

The above is from the Joy of all who sorrow Cathedrals website Church ediquete page.

I think that that if you have been to confession within two weeks and have the blessing of your spiritual Father theres no reason for them to deny you the Holy Gifts I find this a little extreme.
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« Reply #228 on: March 27, 2011, 09:57:00 PM »

Quote
How do you know that other converts don't have the same or even more authority to speak on matters of faith and praxis than your own favorite convert?

PtA, Stashko's "favorite convert" has been Orthodox for more than 40 years, and a hieromonk for more than 30 years. You, a layman, and a very recent convert, who wasn't even a glint in your father's eye at the time of Irish Hermit's conversion, dare to presume to know more than he does on a matter that he deals with most days of his pastoral life, and you rarely miss a chance to question his very authority as an ordained clergyman on this, and many other threads.
We have a number of priests on this forum besides Fr. Ambrose, and even they often question his take on things.

"Conduct unbecoming" doesn't begin to express your behavior.  Angry Angry Angry
LBK, if Fr. Ambrose, or anyone, is going to pose himself as an authority on matters pertaining to the faith on Internet discussion boards, he had better be prepared to defend his arguments against scrutiny. I don't do what I do because I "know better". I just don't believe that anyone's authority is beyond question when he posts on an Internet discussion board. I care only to know the truth and to discern the truth from error. One's credentials mean nothing to me. If that makes my behavior unbecoming in your eyes, then so be it. I really don't care.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 02:16:15 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #229 on: March 27, 2011, 10:16:06 PM »


Quote
"Prior to" Communion doesn't mean 6 or 12 months ago or even two weeks ago. Also, insisting at the Holy Chalice that you have a blessing from your spiritual father to have Communion without the necessary preparation is unacceptable.

The above is from the Joy of all who sorrow Cathedrals website Church ediquete page.

I think that that if you have been to confession within two weeks and have the blessing of your spiritual Father theres no reason for them to deny you the Holy Gifts I find this a little extreme.

At the same time, you are at their "house".  Would you want their priest to visit your parish and upon concelebration start over-riding your spiritual father's rules regarding confession/communion?  Is going to confession the night before approaching the chalice going to damage you?

I think if American Orthodoxy is ever going to "work" we are all going to have to be more tolerant of the traditions of each individual parish.  A large part of the native resistance to a united American Church is the fear that "they" will start forcing "us" to start doing things "their" way.  The 1:1 proponents are afraid of the "Schmemannites" holding sway and vice versa and Slavic parishes are afraid of being forced into using Byzantine tones and practices.  That's not even touching the calendar issue.
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« Reply #230 on: March 27, 2011, 10:26:52 PM »


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

Yes, they would. I do not believe that there is a new policy. I thnk that we should look at this figures in context. Here are the attendance percentages for the Jurisdictions with a claimed membership of 10,000 souls or above:

1. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America 23%
2. Orthodox Church in America 40%
3. Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese 37%
4. Serbian Orthodox Church in North America 22%
5. Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia 32%
6. Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA 31%
7. Patriarchal Parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate 15%
8. Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese 20%
9. American Carpatho Russian Orthodox Diocese 47%

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« Reply #231 on: March 27, 2011, 10:28:21 PM »

of course nothing is wrong with it and it could never be damaging I just think that in some cases it's a little extreme.
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« Reply #232 on: March 27, 2011, 10:39:05 PM »

of course nothing is wrong with it and it could never be damaging I just think that in some cases it's a little extreme.

Perhaps, at least from a certain point of view.  Still, I think it's actually nice of them to give fair warning on their website, a rarity for Orthodox websites.  Most parishes have a quick blurb about what Confession is as opposed to what sort of practice they require, or will even have a hastily linked "best of Orthodoxy" article that will give you the entirely wrong idea all together, so that the priest is left scratching his head as to why you think practice at his parish is so severe (an Antiochian Church I used to attend had such a link which had the whole "fast for three days" advice).
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« Reply #233 on: March 27, 2011, 11:47:22 PM »

Quote
How do you know that other converts don't have the same or even more authority to speak on matters of faith and praxis than your own favorite convert?

PtA, Stashko's "favorite convert" has been Orthodox for more than 40 years, and a hieromonk for more than 30 years. You, a layman, and a very recent convert, who wasn't even a glint in your father's eye at the time of Irish Hermit's conversion, dare to presume to know more than he does on a matter that he deals with most days of his pastoral life, and you rarely miss a chance to question his very authority as an ordained clergyman on this, and many other threads.

"Conduct unbecoming" doesn't begin to express your behavior.  Angry Angry Angry



I am afraid that Father Alexander Schmemann would have disagreed with you. So do you think your own conduct is unbecoming for disagreeing with him.
"A false idea of clericalism as absolute power for which the priest has no account to give. In fact, the priest in the Orthodox Church must be ready to explain his every opinion, decision or statement, to justify them not only "formally" by a reference to a canon or rule, but spiritually as true, saving and according to the will of God. For again, if all of us, laity and clergy, are obedient to God, this obedience is free and requires our free acceptance: "I call you not slaves, for a slave knows not what his Lord does; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard, I have made known to you" (John 15;15) and "ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). In the Orthodox Church, the preservation of truth, the welfare of the Church, mission, philanthropy, etc.— are all a common concern of the whole Church, and all Christians are corporately responsible for the life of the Church. Neither blind obedience nor democracy, but a free and joyful acceptance of what is true, noble, constructive and conducive of the Divine love and salvation."
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« Reply #234 on: March 28, 2011, 08:13:06 AM »

Quote
How do you know that other converts don't have the same or even more authority to speak on matters of faith and praxis than your own favorite convert?

PtA, Stashko's "favorite convert" has been Orthodox for more than 40 years, and a hieromonk for more than 30 years. You, a layman, and a very recent convert, who wasn't even a glint in your father's eye at the time of Irish Hermit's conversion, dare to presume to know more than he does on a matter that he deals with most days of his pastoral life, and you rarely miss a chance to question his very authority as an ordained clergyman on this, and many other threads.

"Conduct unbecoming" doesn't begin to express your behavior.  Angry Angry Angry



I am afraid that Father Alexander Schmemann would have disagreed with you. So do you think your own conduct is unbecoming for disagreeing with him.
"A false idea of clericalism as absolute power for which the priest has no account to give. In fact, the priest in the Orthodox Church must be ready to explain his every opinion, decision or statement, to justify them not only "formally" by a reference to a canon or rule, but spiritually as true, saving and according to the will of God. For again, if all of us, laity and clergy, are obedient to God, this obedience is free and requires our free acceptance: "I call you not slaves, for a slave knows not what his Lord does; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard, I have made known to you" (John 15;15) and "ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). In the Orthodox Church, the preservation of truth, the welfare of the Church, mission, philanthropy, etc.— are all a common concern of the whole Church, and all Christians are corporately responsible for the life of the Church. Neither blind obedience nor democracy, but a free and joyful acceptance of what is true, noble, constructive and conducive of the Divine love and salvation."


1... Father Schmemann required that Christians receiving Holy Communion less than once in a month must go to Confession before every Communion.

Did he conform with his own demands and supply the canons for that, as well as the spiritually beneficial reasons which conform it to the will of God, etc.?


2... Fr Schmemann laid down that if the parish priest allows a person to commune once a month or twice a month, that such a person must use the sacrament of Confession no less than once a month.

Did he justify this by citing the canons?

3... Father Schmemann recommends General Confession

Where are his citations of the canons justifying this?

For 1-3 please see msg 104
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,8590.msg548017.html#msg548017


It would seem that Fr Schmemann's  requirements and recommendations fall under the condemnation cited above by Dart.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 08:21:11 AM by Irish Hermit » Logged
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« Reply #235 on: March 28, 2011, 08:52:39 AM »

Quote
How do you know that other converts don't have the same or even more authority to speak on matters of faith and praxis than your own favorite convert?

PtA, Stashko's "favorite convert" has been Orthodox for more than 40 years, and a hieromonk for more than 30 years. You, a layman, and a very recent convert, who wasn't even a glint in your father's eye at the time of Irish Hermit's conversion, dare to presume to know more than he does on a matter that he deals with most days of his pastoral life, and you rarely miss a chance to question his very authority as an ordained clergyman on this, and many other threads.

"Conduct unbecoming" doesn't begin to express your behavior.  Angry Angry Angry



I believe PtA is referring to stashko's comment that "converts," be they priests or even bishops, should not presume to tell "cradles" about confession.

If you're going to lambast PtA for his comment publicly, you certainly must, in all fairness, take our Serbian friend, who is also a layman who was barely a glint in his father's eye when many of the so-called "convert bishops" he would denigrate for not having the privilege of being born to Orthodox parents, to task for similar comments.
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« Reply #236 on: March 28, 2011, 09:12:26 AM »

Quote
How do you know that other converts don't have the same or even more authority to speak on matters of faith and praxis than your own favorite convert?

PtA, Stashko's "favorite convert" has been Orthodox for more than 40 years, and a hieromonk for more than 30 years. You, a layman, and a very recent convert, who wasn't even a glint in your father's eye at the time of Irish Hermit's conversion, dare to presume to know more than he does on a matter that he deals with most days of his pastoral life, and you rarely miss a chance to question his very authority as an ordained clergyman on this, and many other threads.

"Conduct unbecoming" doesn't begin to express your behavior.  Angry Angry Angry



I believe PtA is referring to stashko's comment that "converts," be they priests or even bishops, should not presume to tell "cradles" about confession.

If you're going to lambast PtA for his comment publicly, you certainly must, in all fairness, take our Serbian friend, who is also a layman who was barely a glint in his father's eye when many of the so-called "convert bishops" he would denigrate for not having the privilege of being born to Orthodox parents, to task for similar comments.

Right.
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« Reply #237 on: March 28, 2011, 10:55:47 AM »

Quote
How do you know that other converts don't have the same or even more authority to speak on matters of faith and praxis than your own favorite convert?

PtA, Stashko's "favorite convert" has been Orthodox for more than 40 years, and a hieromonk for more than 30 years. You, a layman, and a very recent convert, who wasn't even a glint in your father's eye at the time of Irish Hermit's conversion, dare to presume to know more than he does on a matter that he deals with most days of his pastoral life, and you rarely miss a chance to question his very authority as an ordained clergyman on this, and many other threads.

"Conduct unbecoming" doesn't begin to express your behavior.  Angry Angry Angry



I am afraid that Father Alexander Schmemann would have disagreed with you. So do you think your own conduct is unbecoming for disagreeing with him.
"A false idea of clericalism as absolute power for which the priest has no account to give. In fact, the priest in the Orthodox Church must be ready to explain his every opinion, decision or statement, to justify them not only "formally" by a reference to a canon or rule, but spiritually as true, saving and according to the will of God. For again, if all of us, laity and clergy, are obedient to God, this obedience is free and requires our free acceptance: "I call you not slaves, for a slave knows not what his Lord does; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard, I have made known to you" (John 15;15) and "ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). In the Orthodox Church, the preservation of truth, the welfare of the Church, mission, philanthropy, etc.— are all a common concern of the whole Church, and all Christians are corporately responsible for the life of the Church. Neither blind obedience nor democracy, but a free and joyful acceptance of what is true, noble, constructive and conducive of the Divine love and salvation."


1... Father Schmemann required that Christians receiving Holy Communion less than once in a month must go to Confession before every Communion.

Did he conform with his own demands and supply the canons for that, as well as the spiritually beneficial reasons which conform it to the will of God, etc.?


2... Fr Schmemann laid down that if the parish priest allows a person to commune once a month or twice a month, that such a person must use the sacrament of Confession no less than once a month.

Did he justify this by citing the canons?

3... Father Schmemann recommends General Confession

Where are his citations of the canons justifying this?

For 1-3 please see msg 104
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,8590.msg548017.html#msg548017


It would seem that Fr Schmemann's  requirements and recommendations fall under the condemnation cited above by Dart.

Dear Father Ambrose--Please reread my rather extensive quotation from the Report to the Holy Synod. I think it is clear that the specific recommendations made Father Alexander were transitional in nature. Equally clear is his proposal of a general confession as an instructional tool to transition congregations into frequent communion and confession as required.

It is true that he is against requiring the laity to go way beyond what is required of priests. However, it is equally true that he is for the laity to start being serious disciples, to strive for a prayer and sacramental life that is close to those of the clergy. The bottom line in Father Schmemann is way beyond the minimalistic expectations manifested in the 1:1 approach, which often goes hand in hand with infrequent communion.

In the American jurisdictions that are most influenced by Father Alexander and thus have experienced a rebirth of frequent communion (the OCA and the Antiochians), the attendance rate is higher than those jurisdictions who have not been so influenced.

Influenced by Father Schmemann:
OCA--40% attendance rate
Antiochian Archdiocese--37%

Not influenced by Father Schmemann:
ROCOR--32%
Serbian Archdiocese--22%
Romanian Archdiocese--20% (note that there is also a Romanian Diocese in the OCA)
ROC Patriarchal parishes--15%
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« Reply #238 on: March 28, 2011, 11:56:36 AM »


Quote
"Prior to" Communion doesn't mean 6 or 12 months ago or even two weeks ago. Also, insisting at the Holy Chalice that you have a blessing from your spiritual father to have Communion without the necessary preparation is unacceptable.

The above is from the Joy of all who sorrow Cathedrals website Church ediquete page.

I think that that if you have been to confession within two weeks and have the blessing of your spiritual Father theres no reason for them to deny you the Holy Gifts I find this a little extreme.

At the same time, you are at their "house".  Would you want their priest to visit your parish and upon concelebration start over-riding your spiritual father's rules regarding confession/communion?  Is going to confession the night before approaching the chalice going to damage you?

I think if American Orthodoxy is ever going to "work" we are all going to have to be more tolerant of the traditions of each individual parish.  A large part of the native resistance to a united American Church is the fear that "they" will start forcing "us" to start doing things "their" way.  The 1:1 proponents are afraid of the "Schmemannites" holding sway and vice versa and Slavic parishes are afraid of being forced into using Byzantine tones and practices.  That's not even touching the calendar issue.

That my friend has been the problem within American Orthodoxy from the beginning. As I said earlier on another post, I have really learned that many of the customs of my church that I had been told by Russians were latinizations are actually customs that can be found across Slavic, non-Russian Europe. I have noticed over the years that we are actually becoming more tolerant of our diversity, but I agree that we have a long way to go. Fear and ignorance are great motivators.
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« Reply #239 on: March 28, 2011, 11:58:25 AM »

Quote
How do you know that other converts don't have the same or even more authority to speak on matters of faith and praxis than your own favorite convert?

PtA, Stashko's "favorite convert" has been Orthodox for more than 40 years, and a hieromonk for more than 30 years. You, a layman, and a very recent convert, who wasn't even a glint in your father's eye at the time of Irish Hermit's conversion, dare to presume to know more than he does on a matter that he deals with most days of his pastoral life, and you rarely miss a chance to question his very authority as an ordained clergyman on this, and many other threads.

"Conduct unbecoming" doesn't begin to express your behavior.  Angry Angry Angry



I am afraid that Father Alexander Schmemann would have disagreed with you. So do you think your own conduct is unbecoming for disagreeing with him.
"A false idea of clericalism as absolute power for which the priest has no account to give. In fact, the priest in the Orthodox Church must be ready to explain his every opinion, decision or statement, to justify them not only "formally" by a reference to a canon or rule, but spiritually as true, saving and according to the will of God. For again, if all of us, laity and clergy, are obedient to God, this obedience is free and requires our free acceptance: "I call you not slaves, for a slave knows not what his Lord does; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard, I have made known to you" (John 15;15) and "ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). In the Orthodox Church, the preservation of truth, the welfare of the Church, mission, philanthropy, etc.— are all a common concern of the whole Church, and all Christians are corporately responsible for the life of the Church. Neither blind obedience nor democracy, but a free and joyful acceptance of what is true, noble, constructive and conducive of the Divine love and salvation."


1... Father Schmemann required that Christians receiving Holy Communion less than once in a month must go to Confession before every Communion.

Did he conform with his own demands and supply the canons for that, as well as the spiritually beneficial reasons which conform it to the will of God, etc.?


2... Fr Schmemann laid down that if the parish priest allows a person to commune once a month or twice a month, that such a person must use the sacrament of Confession no less than once a month.

Did he justify this by citing the canons?

3... Father Schmemann recommends General Confession

Where are his citations of the canons justifying this?

For 1-3 please see msg 104
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,8590.msg548017.html#msg548017


It would seem that Fr Schmemann's  requirements and recommendations fall under the condemnation cited above by Dart.

Dear Father Ambrose--Please reread my rather extensive quotation from the Report to the Holy Synod. I think it is clear that the specific recommendations made Father Alexander were transitional in nature. Equally clear is his proposal of a general confession as an instructional tool to transition congregations into frequent communion and confession as required.

It is true that he is against requiring the laity to go way beyond what is required of priests. However, it is equally true that he is for the laity to start being serious disciples, to strive for a prayer and sacramental life that is close to those of the clergy. The bottom line in Father Schmemann is way beyond the minimalistic expectations manifested in the 1:1 approach, which often goes hand in hand with infrequent communion.

In the American jurisdictions that are most influenced by Father Alexander and thus have experienced a rebirth of frequent communion (the OCA and the Antiochians), the attendance rate is higher than those jurisdictions who have not been so influenced.

Influenced by Father Schmemann:
OCA--40% attendance rate
Antiochian Archdiocese--37%

Not influenced by Father Schmemann:
ROCOR--32%
Serbian Archdiocese--22%
Romanian Archdiocese--20% (note that there is also a Romanian Diocese in the OCA)
ROC Patriarchal parishes--15%

You will find this true in ACROD as well as the practice of annual communion was replaced by frequent communion at the same time it became more the norm in the OCA.
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« Reply #240 on: March 28, 2011, 12:06:11 PM »

I can't believe my post in the thread was considered polemical. Oh well.
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« Reply #241 on: March 28, 2011, 12:34:53 PM »

Quote
How do you know that other converts don't have the same or even more authority to speak on matters of faith and praxis than your own favorite convert?

PtA, Stashko's "favorite convert" has been Orthodox for more than 40 years, and a hieromonk for more than 30 years. You, a layman, and a very recent convert, who wasn't even a glint in your father's eye at the time of Irish Hermit's conversion, dare to presume to know more than he does on a matter that he deals with most days of his pastoral life, and you rarely miss a chance to question his very authority as an ordained clergyman on this, and many other threads.

"Conduct unbecoming" doesn't begin to express your behavior.  Angry Angry Angry



I am afraid that Father Alexander Schmemann would have disagreed with you. So do you think your own conduct is unbecoming for disagreeing with him.
"A false idea of clericalism as absolute power for which the priest has no account to give. In fact, the priest in the Orthodox Church must be ready to explain his every opinion, decision or statement, to justify them not only "formally" by a reference to a canon or rule, but spiritually as true, saving and according to the will of God. For again, if all of us, laity and clergy, are obedient to God, this obedience is free and requires our free acceptance: "I call you not slaves, for a slave knows not what his Lord does; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard, I have made known to you" (John 15;15) and "ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). In the Orthodox Church, the preservation of truth, the welfare of the Church, mission, philanthropy, etc.— are all a common concern of the whole Church, and all Christians are corporately responsible for the life of the Church. Neither blind obedience nor democracy, but a free and joyful acceptance of what is true, noble, constructive and conducive of the Divine love and salvation."


1... Father Schmemann required that Christians receiving Holy Communion less than once in a month must go to Confession before every Communion.

Did he conform with his own demands and supply the canons for that, as well as the spiritually beneficial reasons which conform it to the will of God, etc.?


2... Fr Schmemann laid down that if the parish priest allows a person to commune once a month or twice a month, that such a person must use the sacrament of Confession no less than once a month.

Did he justify this by citing the canons?

3... Father Schmemann recommends General Confession

Where are his citations of the canons justifying this?

For 1-3 please see msg 104
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,8590.msg548017.html#msg548017


It would seem that Fr Schmemann's  requirements and recommendations fall under the condemnation cited above by Dart.

Dear Father Ambrose--Please reread my rather extensive quotation from the Report to the Holy Synod. I think it is clear that the specific recommendations made Father Alexander were transitional in nature. Equally clear is his proposal of a general confession as an instructional tool to transition congregations into frequent communion and confession as required.

It is true that he is against requiring the laity to go way beyond what is required of priests. However, it is equally true that he is for the laity to start being serious disciples, to strive for a prayer and sacramental life that is close to those of the clergy. The bottom line in Father Schmemann is way beyond the minimalistic expectations manifested in the 1:1 approach, which often goes hand in hand with infrequent communion.

In the American jurisdictions that are most influenced by Father Alexander and thus have experienced a rebirth of frequent communion (the OCA and the Antiochians), the attendance rate is higher than those jurisdictions who have not been so influenced.

Influenced by Father Schmemann:
OCA--40% attendance rate
Antiochian Archdiocese--37%

Not influenced by Father Schmemann:
ROCOR--32%
Serbian Archdiocese--22%
Romanian Archdiocese--20% (note that there is also a Romanian Diocese in the OCA)
ROC Patriarchal parishes--15%
I honestly don't think Fr. Ambrose really cares what Fr. Schmemann has to say. Fr. Ambrose only wants to use Fr. Schmemann as a way to dodge the charge that Fr. Ambrose has consistently refused to show how his advocacy of a 1:1 Confession:Communion connection has any canonical foundation, or is even spiritually salvific, even though Fr. Ambrose has been pressed many times to give an answer for his opinions.
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« Reply #242 on: March 28, 2011, 12:36:29 PM »

I can't believe my post in the thread was considered polemical. Oh well.

Me either.  I can't write a word of Polish.
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« Reply #243 on: March 28, 2011, 12:51:25 PM »

Yes, they would. I do not believe that there is a new policy. I thnk that we should look at this figures in context. Here are the attendance percentages for the Jurisdictions with a claimed membership of 10,000 souls or above:

1. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America 23%
2. Orthodox Church in America 40%
3. Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese 37%
4. Serbian Orthodox Church in North America 22%
5. Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia 32%
6. Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA 31%
7. Patriarchal Parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate 15%
8. Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese 20%
9. American Carpatho Russian Orthodox Diocese 47%

Do people actually "take attendance" in church?  Just curious how this data is gathered.

Nobody has ever done a "head count" in my parish, other than the women in the kitchen, who will sometimes run up to quickly count heads to ensure they have enough food for after the Liturgy.


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« Reply #244 on: March 28, 2011, 12:57:17 PM »

Quote
How do you know that other converts don't have the same or even more authority to speak on matters of faith and praxis than your own favorite convert?

PtA, Stashko's "favorite convert" has been Orthodox for more than 40 years, and a hieromonk for more than 30 years. You, a layman, and a very recent convert, who wasn't even a glint in your father's eye at the time of Irish Hermit's conversion, dare to presume to know more than he does on a matter that he deals with most days of his pastoral life, and you rarely miss a chance to question his very authority as an ordained clergyman on this, and many other threads.

"Conduct unbecoming" doesn't begin to express your behavior.  Angry Angry Angry



I am afraid that Father Alexander Schmemann would have disagreed with you. So do you think your own conduct is unbecoming for disagreeing with him.
"A false idea of clericalism as absolute power for which the priest has no account to give. In fact, the priest in the Orthodox Church must be ready to explain his every opinion, decision or statement, to justify them not only "formally" by a reference to a canon or rule, but spiritually as true, saving and according to the will of God. For again, if all of us, laity and clergy, are obedient to God, this obedience is free and requires our free acceptance: "I call you not slaves, for a slave knows not what his Lord does; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard, I have made known to you" (John 15;15) and "ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). In the Orthodox Church, the preservation of truth, the welfare of the Church, mission, philanthropy, etc.— are all a common concern of the whole Church, and all Christians are corporately responsible for the life of the Church. Neither blind obedience nor democracy, but a free and joyful acceptance of what is true, noble, constructive and conducive of the Divine love and salvation."


1... Father Schmemann required that Christians receiving Holy Communion less than once in a month must go to Confession before every Communion.

Did he conform with his own demands and supply the canons for that, as well as the spiritually beneficial reasons which conform it to the will of God, etc.?


2... Fr Schmemann laid down that if the parish priest allows a person to commune once a month or twice a month, that such a person must use the sacrament of Confession no less than once a month.

Did he justify this by citing the canons?

3... Father Schmemann recommends General Confession

Where are his citations of the canons justifying this?

For 1-3 please see msg 104
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,8590.msg548017.html#msg548017


It would seem that Fr Schmemann's  requirements and recommendations fall under the condemnation cited above by Dart.

Dear Father Ambrose--Please reread my rather extensive quotation from the Report to the Holy Synod. I think it is clear that the specific recommendations made Father Alexander were transitional in nature. Equally clear is his proposal of a general confession as an instructional tool to transition congregations into frequent communion and confession as required.

It is true that he is against requiring the laity to go way beyond what is required of priests. However, it is equally true that he is for the laity to start being serious disciples, to strive for a prayer and sacramental life that is close to those of the clergy. The bottom line in Father Schmemann is way beyond the minimalistic expectations manifested in the 1:1 approach, which often goes hand in hand with infrequent communion.

In the American jurisdictions that are most influenced by Father Alexander and thus have experienced a rebirth of frequent communion (the OCA and the Antiochians), the attendance rate is higher than those jurisdictions who have not been so influenced.

Influenced by Father Schmemann:
OCA--40% attendance rate
Antiochian Archdiocese--37%

Not influenced by Father Schmemann:
ROCOR--32%
Serbian Archdiocese--22%
Romanian Archdiocese--20% (note that there is also a Romanian Diocese in the OCA)
ROC Patriarchal parishes--15%
I honestly don't think Fr. Ambrose really cares what Fr. Schmemann has to say. Fr. Ambrose only wants to use Fr. Schmemann as a way to dodge the charge that Fr. Ambrose has consistently refused to show how his advocacy of a 1:1 Confession:Communion connection has any canonical foundation, or is even spiritually salvific, even though Fr. Ambrose has been pressed many times to give an answer for his opinions.

I appeal to the witness of millions of holy Orthodox Christians who found sanctity and salvation in the 1:1 policy that some people now despise.... the holy monks and nuns and laity of Russia and Greece and Serbia, the monks of the Holy Mountain. 

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« Reply #245 on: March 28, 2011, 01:03:54 PM »

Do people actually "take attendance" in church?  Just curious how this data is gathered.

Just read Alexei's summary. It says:

Quote
Data on “regular attendees” were obtained directly from the local Orthodox parishes by asking parish clergy: “Approximately, how many persons - including adults and children - attend Liturgy in your parish on a typical Sunday?
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« Reply #246 on: March 28, 2011, 01:15:10 PM »

Somebody enquired about how they prepared for Communion in earlier days.

From GOCTheophan:   The typicon of St Sabbas from the 5 th century gives the rule of prayer and fasting for a week before. Before that things are unclear.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,14530.0.html
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« Reply #247 on: March 28, 2011, 01:21:46 PM »


Ahhh....thanks.
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« Reply #248 on: March 28, 2011, 03:40:17 PM »

Nothing is worst than Having Converts, be they Bishops, Priests or Lay, Tell us Cradle Orthodox, how to do Confession ,either  weekly,or monthly..If I was to Commune daily or weekly, or even monthly , I would do Daily Confession ,or weekly or monthly...But Alway's Before Recieving Holy Communion....  Grin
Why this animosity toward converts? Are we not all Orthodox by virtue of our baptism and chrismation? What makes a "convert" Orthodox any different from a "cradle" Orthodox?
A certain "savoir faire" about things and often "laissez faire" attitude Wink

How bourgeois (God forgive my French) of you. Your entire line of pious, peasant predecessors are collectively weeping over you in heaven.
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« Reply #249 on: March 28, 2011, 04:41:16 PM »


I appeal to the witness of millions of holy Orthodox Christians who found sanctity and salvation in the 1:1 policy that some people now despise.... the holy monks and nuns and laity of Russia and Greece and Serbia, the monks of the Holy Mountain. 


I m sure your figures are right. Yet, I cannot overlook the following two factoids that come from one of the highest leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church to which you belong.

"In this talk I propose to outline the history of atheism in Russia during the last hundred years. I will start by considering the kind of atheism present in Russia before the Revolution. Then I will say something about the development of atheism during the Soviet period. And finally I will conclude with some observations concerning the nature of Russian post-Soviet atheism.

I should like to begin with the following questions. How did it happen that the country known as 'Holy Russia', with such a long history of Orthodox Christianity, was in a very short period of time turned by the Bolsheviks into 'the first atheist state in the world'? How was it possible that the very same people who were taught religion in secondary schools in the 1910s with their own hands destroyed churches and burned holy icons in the 1920s? What is the explanation of the fact that the Orthodox Church, which was so powerful in the Russian Empire, was almost reduced to zero by its former members?

But on the eve of the revolution it became more and more clear that atheism had also invaded the mass of ordinary people. Berdyaev wrote at that time that the simple Russian baba, who was supposed to be religious, was no longer a reality but a myth: she had become a nihilist and an atheist. I would like to quote some more from what this great Russian philosopher wrote in 1917, several months before the October revolution:

"The Russian nation always considered itself to be Christian. Many Russian thinkers and artists were even inclined to regard it as a nation which is Christian par excellence. The Slavophils thought that Russian people live by the Orthodox faith, which is the only true faith containing the entire truth... Dostoevsky preached that. the Russian nation is a bearer of God... But, it was here that revolution broke out, and it...revealed a spiritual emptiness in Russian people. This emptiness is a result of a slavery that lasted too long of a process of  egeneration of the old regime that went too far, of a paralysis of the Russian Church and moral degradation of the ecclesiastical authorities that lasted too long. Since long ago the sacred has been exterminated from the people's soul both from the left side and the right, which prepared this cynical attitude towards the sacred that is now being revealed in all its disgust."

Berdyaev blames the Tsarist regime and the Orthodox Church for what happened in 1917. Leaving aside the former, let us look at the role of the Church in the pre-revolutionary period. On the one hand, it was still the
State Church, extremely powerful and influential, penetrating all levels of the life of society. There were still living saints within it, like John of Kronstadt, and spiritual life still flourished in at least some monasteries. On the other hand, the Church was governed by the civil authorities, or even by such odd figures as Rasputin, and it is true that it was paralyzed to a considerable extent.

I remember reading a book by Father Georgy Shavelsky, the Protopresbyter of the Russian Army and Navy under Nicholas II. Himself one of the senior members of the Holy Synod, he testified that the Synod was in fact very far from the life of people, that it did very little (if anything) to prevent atheist propaganda from spreading among ordinary people. To show how little remained of the people's traditional devotion to God, Shavelsky cites the following example: when attendance at the Liturgy became, by a special imperial decree, no longer obligatory for Russian soldiers, only ten per cent of them continued to go to church.

Another testimony of the same kind is that of Metropolitan Veniamin (Fedchenkov), who became the Bishop of the White Army after the revolution. He writes that none of the students of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, where he had studied, ever went to see Father John of Kronstadt, and that some of the students were atheists. He describes the atmosphere of spiritual coolness inside the Orthodox Church, the lack of prophetic spirit. He claims that it was not by mere chance that there arose people like Rasputin:
against the common background of indifference towards religion he appeared as a charismatic figure and was at first accepted as such by the ecclesiastical authorities, who then directed his steps to the imperial palace.

The third testimony which I would like to draw on here is of a more personal kind: it is that of Father Sergei Bulgakov. Himself the son of an Orthodox priest, after studying at a theological seminary, he became an atheist, following the steps of Chernyshevsky and Dobroliubov. In his autobiographical notes he asks himself how this happened, and answers: "It happened, somehow, almost at once and in an imperceptible manner, as something taken for granted, when the poetry of my childhood was replaced by the prose of the theological seminary... When I began to doubt, my critical thoughts were not satisfied with traditional apologetics, but rather found them scandalous... My revolt was strengthened by the compulsory devotion: these long services with akathists (and ritual devotion in general) did not give me satisfaction." Fr Bulgakov gave up his religion easily, without a fight, and neither his clerical origins nor his theological education helped him to resist the temptation, of atheism and nihilism.

The picture which one gains when reading the memoirs of those living during the pre-revolutionary period is that of a deep decline in religious belief. Though Orthodox Christianity was still maintained as the official religion of the Russian, monarchy, both society and the Church were fatally contaminated by unbelief, nihilism and atheism. Even the seminarists, future priests, balanced on the edge between religion and atheism. Many ordinary Christians, if not the majority, had no faith at all, and it was they who turned against the Church as soon as membership in it stopped being encouraged. The Church at once lost the great majority of its members and remained a small flock of those prepared to die for Christ. "
http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_8

Wonder if once a year communion or the 1:1 regime so beloved of some had something to do with this tragedy? Let's go on to another essay:

"On the basis of the above, the following conclusions can be drawn:

1. The renaissance of Russian theological scholarship is possible, but it will take place only when theologians of a new level appear in Russia, with the education that our own theological academies and seminaries cannot yet provide; when specialists in biblical studies, patristics, Church history, other theological disciplines as well as ancient and modern languages appear, then and then only will the new school of Orthodox theologians be born, one that can take over from the “Paris school” and formulate a theological vision for the twenty-first century. Such a school could take shape within Russia or beyond its borders. One would wish it to appear in Russia, where all the necessary conditions are already in place.

3. The renaissance will take place when a process of radical changes on several levels of Church life begins, a process initiated by the Local Council of 1917-1918.

6. The renaissance will take place when worship becomes accessible to the people.

7. The renaissance will take place when the heritage of Russian theological scholarship and the experience of the “Paris school” have been assimilated and implemented by Russian theologians.

8. The renaissance will take place when Russian theology frees itself from its “Western captivity,” when it returns its own roots in ancient Christian and Byzantine tradition. This return also requires fresh theological forces and a new, creative approach adopted by all main theological disciplines.

9. The renaissance will take place when Russian theological scholarship leaves the “ghetto” where it has already spent eighty years, when it reaches the level of modern Western research."
http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_3

It seems that to this eminent Russian Orthodox leader and theologian, the then current (1999) theology and practice of ROC could improve.  OK, how about the fact that the same ROC leader has publicly acknowledged that the attendance rate at the Russian Orthodox Church as a whole is about 5%? Still convinced of the efficacy of the 1:1? OK, let's forget about attendance rates and all those pesky facts; why can't we discuss this on its merits?
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« Reply #250 on: March 28, 2011, 04:52:33 PM »

That is really a nice story, but I fail to see how it in any way says that one should not confess prior to communion.  Perhaps it is the hardening of people's heart to believe they have no sin to confess that did more to the cooling of the people towared God than having to confess their sins before partaking of the Lord's Body and Blood.  Your suggestion that 1:1 had anything to do with the Communist Revolution is rather weak, as best.
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« Reply #251 on: March 28, 2011, 05:10:19 PM »

Just realised that I'd made a contribution in this new polemical thread where I think I would prefer not to write.  Seeing the question of Holy Communion as something polemical is distressing.

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« Reply #252 on: March 28, 2011, 05:32:46 PM »

Just realised that I'd made a contribution in this new polemical thread where I think I would prefer not to write.  Seeing the question of Holy Communion as something polemical is distressing.

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Please don't let the location of the thread bother you. This discussion had been somewhat contentious even when it was in a different section. BTW, if the proponents of 1:1 had said that we think that it is a good thing for me (us) but other practices are fine too, the discussion would not have gone as far as it has. If you don't mind, would you please answer these two questions:

Everything else being equal,

1. Do you think that frequent communion is a good thing for clergy and laity alike?

2. If so, what sort of practice would be effective in properly preparing for Holy Communion?
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« Reply #253 on: March 28, 2011, 06:14:21 PM »

That is really a nice story, but I fail to see how it in any way says that one should not confess prior to communion.  Perhaps it is the hardening of people's heart to believe they have no sin to confess that did more to the cooling of the people towared God than having to confess their sins before partaking of the Lord's Body and Blood.  Your suggestion that 1:1 had anything to do with the Communist Revolution is rather weak, as best.

Dear Punch--Nobody has ever said that we should not confess prior to communion. At issue is whether the laity who wish to take weekly communion, must be held to the strict standards that are called for when one takes communion very infrequently (one or four times a year). Indeed, there is broad agreement by the non 1:1 folks, that one must be reconciled to the Body through the Mystery of Penance/Reconciliation if one is separated from the Body by grave sins and by not being a regular communicant (taking communion at least once a week, except in cases of illness or travel).
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« Reply #254 on: March 28, 2011, 09:31:23 PM »

That is really a nice story, but I fail to see how it in any way says that one should not confess prior to communion.  Perhaps it is the hardening of people's heart to believe they have no sin to confess that did more to the cooling of the people towared God than having to confess their sins before partaking of the Lord's Body and Blood.  Your suggestion that 1:1 had anything to do with the Communist Revolution is rather weak, as best.

Dear Punch--Nobody has ever said that we should not confess prior to communion. At issue is whether the laity who wish to take weekly communion, must be held to the strict standards that are called for when one takes communion very infrequently (one or four times a year). Indeed, there is broad agreement by the non 1:1 folks, that one must be reconciled to the Body through the Mystery of Penance/Reconciliation if one is separated from the Body by grave sins and by not being a regular communicant (taking communion at least once a week, except in cases of illness or travel).

In that regard, there is not that much difference between our opinions.  Like you, I do not believe that some form of monastic discipline is required to commune, nor do I believe that people should be discouraged from communing as frequently as they are prepared.  Without doubting some of the horror stories written about earlier in this thread, I have never seen a heavy burden put on people in either the ROCOR or the Serbian Church.  I do not believe that following the appointed calendar fasts and confessing your sins at the Vespers or Vigil is that big of a burden for Communion.  Particularly when I have seen priests in both the ROCOR and the Serbian Church more than willing to make accommodations for those that for good reason cannot fast or who cannot attend the Vigil.  Where I completely disagree with you is your last statement.  I do not believe that regular communion in any way brings you closer to the Body if you are not prepared.  I believe it further walls you off from Salvation, or else such strong warning about the improper taking of Communion would not have been necessary.  While my experience is not the end all in any way or form, my experience has none the less been that I have seen more 1:1 confessing Churches lower the actual practice down to your standard than I have seen the non-1:1 Churches raise themselves to your standard.  In other words, I have seen far more frequent Communion in the 1:1 Churches than I have seen Confession in the others.  I simply cannot believe that the average person can go a full year without Confession and Absolution and still remain in the proper state to approach the Body and Blood of Christ.  Nor can I believe that a person who is truly repentant and who has properly examined himself would avoid the Sacrament of Confession and Absolution for so long a period (just like I cannot imagine that a true Christian could avoid the healing Sacrament of Communion for so long as some seem to do on the other extreme).

Then again, it is also possible that while we differ so far in theory, the more pious among our two Churches may be far closer to each other in practice than we imagine.  What do you think of that?
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« Reply #255 on: March 28, 2011, 09:31:59 PM »


Everything else being equal,

1. Do you think that frequent communion is a good thing for clergy and laity alike?


I believe that cannot be given a simple yes or no answer.  They say that comparisons are odious, but from experience I can say that the grannies and elderly men in the parish who receive Communion only a few times a year and with intensive preparation seem to have many of the fruits and signs of an advanced spiritual life, more so than the younger people (mainly converts) who want Communion much more frequently.  

It is this kind of practical and hands-on experience which makes me draw back from demanding frequent Communion for all (although it was, I have to admit, a frequent topic of my sermons when I was a young priest!)

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19491.msg289911.html#msg289911
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« Reply #256 on: March 28, 2011, 09:51:02 PM »

That is really a nice story, but I fail to see how it in any way says that one should not confess prior to communion.  Perhaps it is the hardening of people's heart to believe they have no sin to confess that did more to the cooling of the people towared God than having to confess their sins before partaking of the Lord's Body and Blood.  Your suggestion that 1:1 had anything to do with the Communist Revolution is rather weak, as best.

Dear Punch--Nobody has ever said that we should not confess prior to communion. At issue is whether the laity who wish to take weekly communion, must be held to the strict standards that are called for when one takes communion very infrequently (one or four times a year). Indeed, there is broad agreement by the non 1:1 folks, that one must be reconciled to the Body through the Mystery of Penance/Reconciliation if one is separated from the Body by grave sins and by not being a regular communicant (taking communion at least once a week, except in cases of illness or travel).

In that regard, there is not that much difference between our opinions.  Like you, I do not believe that some form of monastic discipline is required to commune, nor do I believe that people should be discouraged from communing as frequently as they are prepared.  Without doubting some of the horror stories written about earlier in this thread, I have never seen a heavy burden put on people in either the ROCOR or the Serbian Church.  I do not believe that following the appointed calendar fasts and confessing your sins at the Vespers or Vigil is that big of a burden for Communion.  Particularly when I have seen priests in both the ROCOR and the Serbian Church more than willing to make accommodations for those that for good reason cannot fast or who cannot attend the Vigil.  Where I completely disagree with you is your last statement.  I do not believe that regular communion in any way brings you closer to the Body if you are not prepared.  I believe it further walls you off from Salvation, or else such strong warning about the improper taking of Communion would not have been necessary.  While my experience is not the end all in any way or form, my experience has none the less been that I have seen more 1:1 confessing Churches lower the actual practice down to your standard than I have seen the non-1:1 Churches raise themselves to your standard.  In other words, I have seen far more frequent Communion in the 1:1 Churches than I have seen Confession in the others.  I simply cannot believe that the average person can go a full year without Confession and Absolution and still remain in the proper state to approach the Body and Blood of Christ.  Nor can I believe that a person who is truly repentant and who has properly examined himself would avoid the Sacrament of Confession and Absolution for so long a period (just like I cannot imagine that a true Christian could avoid the healing Sacrament of Communion for so long as some seem to do on the other extreme).

Then again, it is also possible that while we differ so far in theory, the more pious among our two Churches may be far closer to each other in practice than we imagine.  What do you think of that?

You may well be right. However, there are two equally valid aspects to this: one of effect on piety and the other of theology and ecclesiology. I do not think that infrequent communion and rigid 1:1 can be justified with sound Orthodox theology and ecclesiology. I am still waiting for an argument different than one that repeats the rules.

Historically, the 1:1 may not have worked well in Russia, as the article by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) indicates (I posted a rather large except above). Even today, more than a decade after the fall of Communism, the attendance rate is almost minuscule in the ROC. In countries that have not experienced the Liturgical renaissance of frequent communion (and who of course practice 1:1 with preparations of such severity that Father Ambrose himself admits would not work in case of priests who must partake weekly), the attendance rate is lower than those jurisdictions that have frequent communion.

So, we are stuck with our own experiences and resultant biases and filters. This must be the case with both sides, of course, for we are not intrinsically different.
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« Reply #257 on: March 28, 2011, 10:07:13 PM »


 (and who of course practice 1:1 with preparations of such severity that Father Ambrose himself admits would not work in case of priests who must partake weekly), the attendance rate is lower than those jurisdictions that have frequent communion.


I do not find what you say persuasive.

The attendance rate at OCA parishes is given at 40%.  The attendance rate at parishes of the Russian Church Abroad as 32%.

Are you arguing that the extra 8% in the OCA is in some way due to frequent Communion?   Do you have evidence?

Or conversely, do you have evidence that there is an 8% of ROCA parishioners who stay away from Church because of in/frequent communion?

http://www.hartfordinstitute.org/research/2010-USOrthodox-Census.pdf
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« Reply #258 on: March 28, 2011, 10:23:00 PM »


 (and who of course practice 1:1 with preparations of such severity that Father Ambrose himself admits would not work in case of priests who must partake weekly), the attendance rate is lower than those jurisdictions that have frequent communion.


I do not find what you say persuasive.

The attendance rate at OCA parishes is given at 40%.  The attendance rate at parishes of the Russian Church Abroad as 32%.

Are you arguing that the extra 8% in the OCA is in some way due to frequent Communion?   Do you have evidence?

Or conversely, do you have evidence that there is an 8% of ROCA parishioners who stay away from Church because of in/frequent communion?

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

I agree that the difference between OCA and ROCOR is too small to be persuasive. However, the ROC average of 5% is a huge difference, while that of the Serbian Archdiocese in the USA is significantly lower. Actually, ACROD's rate of 47% is the best in North America (and may the best in the whole world) and I must wonder why? Can anyone give as some info on the ACROD practice regarding confessions and communion?
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« Reply #259 on: March 28, 2011, 10:25:14 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

*facepalm*
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« Reply #260 on: March 28, 2011, 10:26:39 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.

 Sad Sad Sad
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« Reply #261 on: March 28, 2011, 10:33:19 PM »


 (and who of course practice 1:1 with preparations of such severity that Father Ambrose himself admits would not work in case of priests who must partake weekly), the attendance rate is lower than those jurisdictions that have frequent communion.


I do not find what you say persuasive.

The attendance rate at OCA parishes is given at 40%.  The attendance rate at parishes of the Russian Church Abroad as 32%.

Are you arguing that the extra 8% in the OCA is in some way due to frequent Communion?   Do you have evidence?

Or conversely, do you have evidence that there is an 8% of ROCA parishioners who stay away from Church because of in/frequent communion?

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

I agree that the difference between OCA and ROCOR is too small to be persuasive. However, the ROC average of 5% is a huge difference, while that of the Serbian Archdiocese in the USA is significantly lower. Actually, ACROD's rate of 47% is the best in North America (and may the best in the whole world) and I must wonder why? Can anyone give as some info on the ACROD practice regarding confessions and communion?

There are only 30 parish churches of the patriarchal Russian Church in America.   Their flock however covers the country and has been greatly increased since the early 1990s.  Many are very distant from the parishes.
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« Reply #262 on: March 28, 2011, 11:55:17 PM »

second chance, i find your information about the russian church extremely interesting. having spent a lot of time in eastern europe i can confirm that it is not only russia this happened to. the faith in many countries was so weak that it was easily contaminated by communism, and far too many people went along with the 'no teaching of religion to under 18s rule', leaving the faith to be defended by protestants.

of course there were pious and Godly orthodox martys everywhere, but i have studied a lot of history and it seems that the catholic church in poland did much better than the orthodox churches elsewhere in guarding the faith; for example they routinely and defiantly taught the young people their faith. as a result i meet many polish immigrants (to uk) with a living faith and few orthodox Christians from the rest of eastern europe. of course, they will insist they are orthodox, but they don't attend church, and the orthodoxy they describe allows drunkeness, dishonesty and does not value marriage.
of course it's not just 'orthodox Christians' who are like this, but it does seem to me that when troubles come, you can then see who truly believes.

now, there is a spiritual vacuum in the lives of many east europeans and their descendents in the diaspora, and we should work hard to spread God's love among them and teach them His ways. we also need to ensure we ourselves are sincere and loving, so that they can see the difference between what they know from the past as 'church' and the way God's church should really be.
and i personally think that fairly frequent Holy Communion helps us to achieve this.
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« Reply #263 on: March 29, 2011, 04:24:46 AM »

I love our Converts be they Bishops ,Priests, or Laymen.....I just Don't like the Idea of a convert Bishop or even a cradle Bishop easing the fasting rules and confessions and creating Assembly line Communion lines like one see's in a factory police..........That's all....  Im use to 3 or 4 times a years ,thats how i was raised by my parents and they by there parents  and on and on......


But what i read above ,about Russia and other eastern slavic people losing there faith during persecution, is very hard for me to believe......Orthodoxy is still here and growing on the blood of the Holy Martyr....Scripture does mention God tests what he loves ,And He surely tested Holy Orthodoxy thur out the centuries...... police
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« Reply #264 on: March 29, 2011, 04:29:05 AM »

second chance, i find your information about the russian church extremely interesting. having spent a lot of time in eastern europe i can confirm that it is not only russia this happened to. the faith in many countries was so weak that it was easily contaminated by communism, and far too many people went along with the 'no teaching of religion to under 18s rule', leaving the faith to be defended by protestants.

of course there were pious and Godly orthodox martys everywhere, but i have studied a lot of history and it seems that the catholic church in poland did much better than the orthodox churches elsewhere in guarding the faith; for example they routinely and defiantly taught the young people their faith. as a result i meet many polish immigrants (to uk) with a living faith and few orthodox Christians from the rest of eastern europe. of course, they will insist they are orthodox, but they don't attend church, and the orthodoxy they describe allows drunkeness, dishonesty and does not value marriage.
of course it's not just 'orthodox Christians' who are like this, but it does seem to me that when troubles come, you can then see who truly believes.

now, there is a spiritual vacuum in the lives of many east europeans and their descendents in the diaspora, and we should work hard to spread God's love among them and teach them His ways. we also need to ensure we ourselves are sincere and loving, so that they can see the difference between what they know from the past as 'church' and the way God's church should really be.
and i personally think that fairly frequent Holy Communion helps us to achieve this.

What you say about the "lostness" of some of the children of Communism is certainly true but will we find that the priests are willing to extend Communion, and frequent Communion, to those addicted to drunkenness, dishonesty and sexual debauchery as a method to bring them to Christ?   Such people as these in our local parishes are treated with love and compassion and attempts are made to assist them and to maintain their connection with the Church.  But at what point do we give Holy Communion to adulterers, thieves, embezzlers and addicts?  It's a tricky question to which I know the clergy devote a lot of thought.
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« Reply #265 on: March 29, 2011, 04:38:47 AM »

i accept your point, of course God's church is still there, and many devout people have a great faith. but there are also many people who don't go to church and who have very little idea if there is a God. many of these had Christian grandparents and great-grandparents. i have not, personally been to serbia, but i have seen this problem too many times in east europeans both inside and outside their country.
what i would like to suggest is that we actively reach out to these people and share our faith with them when we meet them outside the church, so that they will be curious to see what they are missing.
it happens in all countries, esp. in the uk, there are 1,000s of people who have been to an anglican church at some time in their youth, but who do not actually believe there is a God. we need to show them through our lives that God changes lives and brings hope, that it's not just nice bedtime stories for small children, but that it's true!
we had one such visitor in our coptic church recently, she knows going to church is about 'being good', but she is finding out it's much more than that.  Smiley

to irish hermit,
i was suggesting these people repent and show signs of repentance!
are you a priest?
should i say 'father irish hermit?'
in our church there are people who (eg.) are in relationships but not married. they don't take communion, but they are very welcome at liturgy and social occasions. we also have divorced people, and those who are not currently in a sinful situation commune with us and are full members.
i was suggesting that the current church members take more frequent communion (eg. if i was only able to take it 4 times a year, that would be like punishment!) as one of the ways to strengthen their spiritual life so they can reach out to others in God's strength.
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« Reply #266 on: March 29, 2011, 04:51:23 AM »

I Watching a Video Of a Serbian Orthodox Bishop giving a Sermon on the serbian Holy Feast  Day that we celebrate ,named  Vidov Dan ,The day of seeing that bring's to memory the Martyrdom of Holy and Blessed Knez Tsar Lazar and his soldiers, on the Field of Black Birds in Kosovo by the invading Turks.....

The Bishop from Shumadija in his sermon said, a persecuted Church and it's people for their faith are more religious and faithful in the times of persecutions .....Granted there will always be those few during pesecution that will side with the persecutors to ease their suffering.......But the Majority won't......Russia is a perfect Example of Churches being build and restored every day what communisim tried to obliterate......

Look at egypt the Coptic Orthodox Church ,what strong faith they have ,due to persecution by the muslims...Onces persecution ceases, for some im sure there faith will grow cold........
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« Reply #267 on: March 29, 2011, 04:59:37 AM »


are you a priest?
should i say 'father irish hermit?'

Yes, a priest in the Russian Church, but a pretty bad one, I'm afraid.
I like "Father Irish Hermit"   

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« Reply #268 on: March 29, 2011, 09:19:48 PM »


You may well be right. However, there are two equally valid aspects to this: one of effect on piety and the other of theology and ecclesiology. I do not think that infrequent communion and rigid 1:1 can be justified with sound Orthodox theology and ecclesiology. I am still waiting for an argument different than one that repeats the rules.


If we whittle this down to this one topic, I believe that you are right in that neither practice, as they are currently executed, can be justified with sound Orthodox theology.  I believe that Christ's own words would tip the scales in your direction (frequent communion) since He says "do the OFTEN in remembrance of me."  I also believe that the open and public confession of the early Church also would have fulfilled the confession requirement.  I believe that the General Confession of the Mass and Lutheran Liturgies with the Absolution therein are remnants of this.  I believe that infrequent communion is caused by our current hardness of heart and refusal to follow the guidelines set for us by the Church.  I think that the only real place where we may disagree is that I do not believe that infrequent communion is caused by 1:1 confession, but that 1:1 confession may be more of a result of the difference of piety between the early Church and the current Church.  I still think that the main deciding factor of whether a jurisdiction goes for frequent communion and infrequent confession vs infrequent communion with confession prior is how the jurisdiction views the necessity of absolution.  In the West, this necessity was so great that the Absolution was made part of the Mass.  I don't recall such a thing in the Eastern Liturgy.

Below is the part of the Mass to which I refer:

S. I confess to Almighty God, to Blessed Mary ever Virgin, to Blessed Michael the Archangel, to Blessed John the Baptist, to the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the angels and saints, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, deed.(here one strikes one's breast three times) through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault, and I ask Blessed Mary ever Virgin, Blessed Michael the Archangel, Blessed John the Baptist, the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, all the Angels and Saints, and you my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

S. Amen.    

P. May Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you your sins, and bring you to everlasting life.

From the Lutheran Mass:

PC: O Almighty God, merciful Father, I, helpless, sorry sinner, confess
all my sins and law-breaking. With same I offend You and truly
earned Your punishment now and forever. But I am sorry from
heart about sins and honestly repent about sins. And I pray You
from Your great mercy and because holy, blame- less, bitter
sufferings and death belong Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ,
show me mercy, because I helpless sinner.
P: Finished this your confession, because my duty, as called and
ordained servant God His Word, I announce grace from God to
you. And in-place-of and with command from my Lord Jesus
Christ I forgive you all your sins in name God Father, Son and
Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #269 on: March 29, 2011, 10:27:24 PM »


 I believe that Christ's own words would tip the scales in your direction (frequent communion) since He says "do the OFTEN in remembrance of me." 


Punch, you make excellent points in your message but this one statement above will not fly and it does not tip any scales.    There is no "OFTEN"  in Christ's words.

You may be thinking of Saint Paul in 1 Corinthians where he speaks of "But as often as you shall eat this bread and drink this blood" but this is another context and quite another meaning.
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