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Communion to non-Orthodox


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#1 Algernon

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 11:40 AM

I visited a local parish last weekend and witnessed the priest give Communion to people who I know (and who I know he knows) are not Orthodox. I asked him about it and he said that's what he does.

 

I'm totally scandalized by this and don't plan on ever going back.

 

Am I over-reacting?

 

Thanks

 

A



#2 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 01:29 PM

I don't think you over-reacting, but I don't know how you are internally only you know that, just try not to let it disrupt you. What you need to do is calmly write to his bishop about it explain exactly what is happing and leave it with him. Whether you go to that parish or not again is upto you, I presume by your post there are other parishes which you attend so it would not stop you going to church. I  know I would feel uncomfortable attending in such a situation, so I wouldn't say it is an over-reaction. The only other think I would say is try not to judge those involved and try to not let it trouble you too much.

 

In Christ.

Rdr Daniel,



#3 Phoebe K.

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 04:28 PM

You have reacted in a perfectly natural way to such a situation, I have to say I would have done the same thing (would probably also have broken my obedience about receiving and not received in such a situation).  In my opinyan you acted as any who loves the Lord and is sensitive would in the situation.  

 

As Reader Daniel indicates it is a healthy response in this situation, and I agree with him the thing you need to do is write to this Priest's bishop and explain exactly what occurred and your conversation with the Priest then leave it to him, as it is the Bishop's responsibility to see that the cannons are adhered to in his diocese.

 

St Paul speaks about how situations with presbyters should be dealt with when he writes to Timothy (1 Timothy 5:19-22) on handling controversies and accusations against presbyters in his young church.  St Paul also warns about disrespecting the blood of the new covenert in his letter to the Hebrews (Hebrews 10:29-31).  of course Christ himself warned about scandalizing or putting a stumbling block in the way of the little ones of the faith.

 

I hope this is of some help

Phoebe



#4 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 04:38 PM

If you know others who feel as you do, collectively make your views known to this priest and if he will not listen, report the matter to his bishop.


Edited by Reader Andreas, 21 September 2014 - 04:38 PM.


#5 Algernon

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Posted 22 September 2014 - 01:03 PM

...and not received in such a situation.

 

I did not. I decided to sit that one out.

 

...it is the Bishop's responsibility to see that the cannons are adhered to in his diocese.

 

Do you happen to know what canons those would be? Thanks.

 

A



#6 Phoebe K.

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Posted 22 September 2014 - 02:03 PM

Algernon,

 

I am not shore of the exact cannons, I know there are some saying that we should not share communion with the heretics, along with a number of events including miricals which have shown this.  Holy Tradition also makes it clear that we should not, in the Liturgy the Caticumins (the unbaptized) are dismissed after the sermon so should not be present during the liturgy of the faithful, unforchantly this is not enforced in most places which is a unfortunate and not atuly what is best for those who are in the process of becoming Orthodox (hear I speak from experience of my own catichisam).

 

If you know others who have attended that Church and like you disagree with the actions of the Priest together you should contact the Bishop as Reader Andereas says, the Bishop should know what the proper reaction is to this.  Although even if you do not know others it is still a good thing to write to the Bishop so he can look into what is happening for the sake of the flock.

 

Phoebe



#7 Algernon

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 05:31 PM

Is there anyone else who can tell me what canons state that Communion is only for baptized Orthodox Christians?

 

Thanks,

A



#8 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 09:51 PM

According to Metropolitan Kallistos, the Ecumenical Patriarchate issued an encyclical in March 1967 forbidding the giving of Holy Communion to non-Orthodox. Also, SCOBA pronounced in January 1965 that it is the unalterable teaching of the Church that Holy Communion may not be given to non-Orthodox, nor may Orthodox receive communion outside the Orthodox Church.



#9 Kosta

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 08:03 AM

Algernon,

 

All the canons pertaining to the reception of converts  clearly teach that admittance to Holy Communion can only take place AFTER the individual is officially recieved into the Church, never before. 

 

Furthermore in the decree of the 7th Ecumenical council when certain unlawful practises were introduced the Fathers of that council  stated:

 

Those, therefore who dare to think or teach otherwise, or as wicked heretics to spurn the traditions of the Church and to invent some novelty, or else to reject some of those things which the Church hath received (e.g., the Book of the Gospels, or the image of the cross, or the pictorial icons, or the holy reliques of a martyr), or evilly and sharply to devise anything subversive of the lawful traditions of the Catholic Church or to turn to common uses the sacred vessels or the venerable monasteries,  if they be Bishops or Clerics, we command that they be deposed; if religious or laics, that they be cut off from communion.

 

 

In the 8th proceeding of that same council this canon was added:

 

" If anyone breaks any ecclesiastical tradition, written or unwritten, let him be anathema"



#10 Michał

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 08:26 AM

If you know others who feel as you do, collectively make your views known to this priest and if he will not listen, report the matter to his bishop.

 

This. Writing to the bishop before informing priest first sounds rather not very fair.



#11 Phoebe K.

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 08:15 PM

Looking for other things I found this in the Didache, in chapter 9, "But let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist, unless they have been baptized into the name of the Lord; for concerning this also the Lord has said, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs.""

 

This I think may be the tipe of text you were looking for.

 

Phoebe



#12 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 08:47 PM

This. Writing to the bishop before informing priest first sounds rather not very fair.

 

I did not say they should not inform the priest.

 

The best writing on this topic is Communion and Intercommunion by Metropolitan Kallistos. His eminence sets out very clearly why Holy Communion cannot be given to non-Orthodox.


Edited by Reader Andreas, 24 September 2014 - 08:49 PM.


#13 Mark Harris

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 08:55 PM

If the Priest is serving them Communion doesn't that also mean he is aware that they have been fasting and has also received their confession as well? Our Priest turns people away from the queue awaiting Communion if they have not been to confession beforehand.

#14 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 09:16 PM

The practice of confession before each Holy Communion is not a universal practice; it is not the norm in the Greek Churches, and Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow has recently said that this practice is not strictly binding.

 

In churches in England, it is usual for the priest to ask someone he does not know, 'are you Orthodox?' When I am in Russia and we go to a church where we are not known, my wife has a word with the priest beforehand to explain that I am Orthodox. He asks, 'who received him?', and the answer 'a Greek bishop' is accepted.


Edited by Reader Andreas, 24 September 2014 - 09:25 PM.


#15 Mark Harris

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 09:45 PM

The practice of confession before each Holy Communion is not a universal practice; it is not the norm in the Greek Churches, and Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow has recently said that this practice is not strictly binding.
 
In churches in England, it is usual for the priest to ask someone he does not know, 'are you Orthodox?' When I am in Russia and we go to a church where we are not known, my wife has a word with the priest beforehand to explain that I am Orthodox. He asks, 'who received him?', and the answer 'a Greek bishop' is accepted.


Thank you- I did not know that it was not universal . In Romania it is usual to only go for communion a few times (4 or so) a year due to the fasting period before confession ( usually 2 weeks ) .

#16 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 11:12 PM

In Russia, the Church is trying to encourage more frequent communion without necessarily confessing every time. It is the people, mostly the babushka, who resist this - for no sound reason than custom.



#17 Paul Fowler

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 01:23 PM

Every posting has assumed that the Priest is wrong-afterall Algernon, you were only visiting and why should the Priest discuss pastoral matters with anyone else, especially a complete stranger, which by definition are of a private_matter? The other thing I wondered about is what you meant when you say you knew they were "not Orthodox"? Were they Oriental Orthodox? There seems to be something of a grey area here. The Antiochian and Alexandrian Patriarchates seem to practise some form of intercommunion here. Pope Shenouda's Christology is acceptable to Chalcedonian Christians, yet some Eastern Orthodox Christians refuse to commune OO Christians, even shrieking " Heretic!" when HAH the Ecumenical Patriarch attended an Armenian Liturgy recently!

#18 Michał

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 01:51 PM

I did not say they should not inform the priest.

 

That's why I agreeded with you in contrary to Daniel and Phoebe wrote.



#19 Phoebe K.

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 02:34 PM

I did not say just to write to the bishop, but acnolaged that Algernon had already spoken to the Priest as is implicent in  he first post, where he says " I asked him about it and he said that's what he does."  which to me means that he had spoken tot he Priest and got an unsatisfactory reply so was asking what to do next.

 

I have never encouraged not would I to do  other than to do as thew Gospels say which is to first challenge someone in privet, then with one or two witness and only if that dose not work to bring it before the Church (to the Parish priest or bishop as appropriate).

 

This is my understanding, however I suspect that Reader Danial was working from the same premise as me.

 

Phoebe



#20 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 04:15 PM

Paul Fowler describes the matter as 'pastoral' and a 'private matter'. If the facts were that the priest concerned gave Holy Communion to a non-Orthodox person who was not an Oriental Orthodox for whom the priest had permission to administer the holy gifts, then this is neither a pastoral nor private matter but one of Church discipline which is of general concern.






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