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laymen (and women and children) distributing antidoron?


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#1 Geoffrey McKinney

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 02:55 AM

It is typical at my parish for many people immediately after partaking of Communion to take several pieces of antidoron and start passing them out to people who (for one reason or another) did not partake of Communion. Children especially do this, these latter giving the antidoron to everyone, whether he communicated or not.

 

I have several questions:

 

1. Is this normal?

 

2. Is this accounted a pious custom, or is it questionable?

 

3. How far back does the practice go of laymen distributing antidoron to others in the church? Did, for example, Romans do it back before A. D. 1453?

 

Any light you can shed on this will be appreciated.



#2 Ben Johnson

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 03:18 AM

I have not seen it in my small parish.  It will be interesting to see what the larger parishes have to say.



#3 Olga

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 07:26 AM

Antidoron is not only for those who have received communion, it is available to all who are present. This can be seen by the custom after the liturgy has ended of the entire congregation filing past the priest to kiss his hand and receive a piece of antidoron from him (Greek custom), or to kiss the priest's blessing cross and his hand, and take a piece of antidoron from the tray held by an altarboy (Russian custom).

 

I have seen this in every church and monastery I have attended over several decades, small or large, whether it be my regular parish at the time, or churches I have visited, here or overseas.



#4 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 03:41 PM

Antidoron is not only for those who have received communion, it is available to all who are present. This can be seen by the custom after the liturgy has ended of the entire congregation filing past the priest to kiss his hand and receive a piece of antidoron from him (Greek custom), or to kiss the priest's blessing cross and his hand, and take a piece of antidoron from the tray held by an altarboy (Russian custom).

 

I have seen this in every church and monastery I have attended over several decades, small or large, whether it be my regular parish at the time, or churches I have visited, here or overseas.

I recall on Mt Athos the monastics and pilgrims receiving the antidoron after fasting just as they would have if they had received communion.

 

I have often thought that if this became part of our normal practice then it would help remove the temptation of not receiving communion so that I don't have to fast.

 

As a pastoral practice this might be difficult to implement in a parish. But as a pious tradition it could well have a place.



#5 Seraphim of the Midwest

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 03:51 PM

It is typical at my parish for many people immediately after partaking of Communion to take several pieces of antidoron and start passing them out to people who (for one reason or another) did not partake of Communion. Children especially do this, these latter giving the antidoron to everyone, whether he communicated or not.

 

I have several questions:

 

1. Is this normal?

 

2. Is this accounted a pious custom, or is it questionable?

 

3. How far back does the practice go of laymen distributing antidoron to others in the church? Did, for example, Romans do it back before A. D. 1453?

 

Any light you can shed on this will be appreciated.

 

The way it was taught to me, this bread was to relieve those who had traveled to liturgy and kept the fast, regardless of partaking of the Eurcharist or not.  It was called bread for the way as well as antidoron (other than the gifts).

 

The practice of sharing it with everyone is not uniform.  In the Russian Church, I have only seen it handled by acolytes (who are not ordained, and even the presence of acolytes is inconsistent throughout the Tradition) and it is only taken by communicants.

 

I think the answer boils down to "do what your Bishop directs."  It is his responsibility to make sure such things are done according to that which is handed down.  It is blessed, so it shouldn't be cast on the ground or fed to the dogs.



#6 Father David Moser

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 03:55 PM

There are different approaches, I believe, between the Byzantine (Greek/Antiochian) practice and the Slavic (Russian) practice.  I have always been taught (in ROCOR) that the antidoron is given as a blessing particularly to those who did not receive Holy Communion.  Those who did not receive the Mysteries but who receive the antidoron are expected to have fasted and attended the services just as those who do who did receive.  Thus to indiscriminately hand out antidoron to anyone is putting that person "on the spot" as it were for if they had not fasted, they could not partake.  I recall at a clergy conference many years ago at the daily liturgy, the archbishop gave each of us who had not served or received that day a piece of antidoron when we came up to kiss the cross.  I have a very good friend who came up to me and handed me the bread that he had received.  He had run out and got a cup of coffee that morning and so couldn't eat the bread, but he didn't feel as though he could refuse taking it from the hand of the archbishop.  Now that's just my experience fwiw.

 

I am of the impression from my experience that the tradition among the Greeks and Antiochenes is different and that's fine.  In the end it is the parish priest - and his bishop - who are the ones responsible for the proper instruction of their parishes, so I really don't worry about it.

 

Fr David



#7 Phoebe K.

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 06:01 PM

I was tort as a catacumin that it was proper to fast before receiving the antidoron, and was encouraged to do this fast even before I was baptized (I know however some people are given special dispensation for medical reasons to eat before attending a liturgy or shorten the fast before an evening liturgy).

 

I have noticed in both the Greek parish I go to for some feasts and in my home parish that most people will take one or two peaces after receiving, then everyone comes up to receive some at the end of the service.  In my home parish one or two of the children take extra but they tend to eat it themselves having not eaten since at least the beginning of the service (apart form the under 4s all our children fast to some extent before liturgy, increasing as they get older).

 

It is custom in our parish that one of the children or another member of the faithful holds the basket of antidoron for people to take some after receiving communion, at the end of the server holds the basket for the priest to distribute (in the Romanian practice each person is anointed with blessed oil at this point as well).  In our parish those who have eaten are encouraged to take the antidoron home and eat it the following morning before breakfast, some of us keep it in our icon coiners eating a little each day we do not attend a liturgy during the week.

 

In the Parish I attend sometimes we have antidoron left over and at that point the server asks people ho help themselves as we have no way to store it for the following week, the children are often the best at helping to finish any leftovers (especially when they know that the parish meal will be a while since we are packing up the church, we are in rented accommodation which has other uses in the week).

 

​I know little of early medieval practice in western Eroupe, their are probably records but no one has translated it form Latin, St Bede dose not memntion it to my memory.



#8 Geoffrey McKinney

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 07:10 PM

Thanks to all who have replied.

 

I would like to emphasize that I am not asking under what circumstances it is appropriate for people to eat antidoron. Rather, I am asking if it is appropriate for a layman (man, woman, or child) to take the antidoron and start giving it to people. It occurs like this:

 

Bob, a simple layman, has just taken Communion. He then immediately gets 5 pieces of antidoron and walks up to Ian and gives Ian a piece. Then he walks up to a visiting couple, and gives them two pieces. Finally he walks up to Mike and Jennifer and gives them each a piece of antidoron.

 

While Bob is doing this, a 6-year-old child named Mary has also taken 3 pieces of antidoron, and she starts wandering about the church, wondering who she will give it to. She bumps into her friend, Hannah, so she gives Hannah a piece. Then she decides that it would be a good idea to give a piece to Hannah's father. Finally, she decides to give a piece to each of her friends Eli and Michael. Oops! She has only one piece left. So she breaks it in half and gives half to Eli and half to Michael.

 

While Bob and Mary are doing this, at least 6 or 8 other laypeople are also wandering the church, handing out antidoron in similar fashion. This is all happening while people are approaching the Chalice.

 

Is this a good situation, or a bad situation, or a gray area? Further, were Roman Christians and their children doing this each Sunday, or is this a modern development?



#9 Phoebe K.

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 07:38 PM

As a parish sacristan I would discourage the behavior (in most part as it can create mess and disrupts the service), Adults I would explain to that if people do not receive Communion it is proper for them to receive Antidoron at the end from the Priest, and that it is not revenchal to the presence of Christ in the Chalice to be walking around unnecessarily during the distribution of Communion.

 

With Children I would explain as they can understand, if I had one who was particularly prone to it I would give them a job to do such as holding the basket  for others to take after receiving communion to keep them occupied, but make it clear that if they do not do as asked they will lose that privilege.  I may also ask the perents to explain to the child the proper way to behave at a service.  There is benefit in this of having boys serve at the alter and both in the choir as they provide a model of how it should be done.

 

I can only speak of my experience in a high Anglican church, that such things were not a problem but the culture is very different and the children are often out at a Sunday school not in the service.  The services of the Anglican church and mostly the modern catholic church bare so little resemblance to the Orthodox liturgy there is not a viable comparison really (that is speaking with my theological training and study of western liturgies).



#10 Lakis Papas

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 09:46 PM

@Geoffrey McKinney
 
 
I believe it is a modern development.
 
Information of distribution of antidoron in the Byzantium is presented by St Cavasilas in his book " Interpretation of the Divine Liturgy":

After the believers commune, they pray that the sanctification which they received may remain within them, and that they not betray the grace nor lose the gift.
 
The priest now calls them to thank God with zeal for the divine Communion. For this reason he says, “Let us stand worthily, let us thank the Lord.” Not lying down or sitting, in other words, but elevating the soul and body toward Him. With the scriptural words the believers glorify God, Who is the cause and granter of all good things: “May the name of the Lord be blessed, from now and unto the ages” (Psalm 112:2). After they chant this hymn three times, the priest comes out of the Altar, stands before the multitude and addresses the last prayer: “Christ our true God…” He asks the Lord to save us with His mercy, because from our own selves we have nothing worthy of salvation to show. For this reason also, he commemorates many saints, and especially His all Holy Mother, as  intercessors.
 
Finally, the liturgist distributes the antidoron. This has been sanctified, as it is coming from the initial bread that we offer to God for the performance of the divine Eucharist. The believers piously take the antidoron, kissing the priest’s right hand. Because this hand has just touched the all-holy Body of Christ. It received sanctification from that and imparts it now to those who kiss it.
 
Here the Divine Liturgy reaches its end and the mystery of divine Eucharist is completed. Because the gifts that we offered God were sanctified, and they sanctified the priest, and they imparted sanctification to the remaining pleroma of the Church.


Edited by Olga, 25 March 2015 - 10:20 PM.
corrected paragraph formatting for clarity


#11 Niko Barounis

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 03:18 AM

its called......"sharing". didnt you go to kindigarden?



#12 Deacon John Martin

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 03:22 AM

A layman giving his antidoron to somebody else is not the same thing as a priest handing out antidoron at the end of a service. Since everyone is supposed to get antidoron from the priest anyway there’s not much of a reason to give it to someone else. However, I have given away my antidoron when eating it would be inappropriate (i.e. I didn’t fast). Also a gluten-intolerant friend of mine often gives me his antidoron.


Edited by John Martin, 26 March 2015 - 03:25 AM.


#13 Seraphim of the Midwest

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 04:44 AM

Before we came into the Russian Church, we were in the OCA (Metropolia).  There, we were encouraged to bring antidoron after communion and share it with catechumens.  As I look back on it, the practice was somewhat sentimental.  I expect it to be modernist, used in a way like the Roman Catholic "gee it's good to meet you" handshake during mass.

 

In the Russian Church, we do not do this.  The bread is distributed by the priest directly or set on the table to the side of the Amvon for taking bread and wine.  At the end, at the veneration of the cross, it is available to all who fasted at the same table (or given directly by the priest).



#14 Geoffrey McKinney

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 02:30 PM

Sorry, double post. 


Edited by Geoffrey McKinney, 26 March 2015 - 02:35 PM.


#15 Geoffrey McKinney

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 02:35 PM

Before we came into the Russian Church, we were in the OCA (Metropolia).  There, we were encouraged to bring antidoron after communion and share it with catechumens.  As I look back on it, the practice was somewhat sentimental.  I expect it to be modernist, used in a way like the Roman Catholic "gee it's good to meet you" handshake during mass.

 

I should mention that I am in an OCA parish. This practice strikes me the same way: It feels modern and sentimental. Most of our congregation is convert. We have a couple from Ukraine and a couple from Lebanon, and none of these four people does what I'm describing. Nor do any of the handful of Slavic "cradle Orthodox" members that we have. It's only some of the American converts who do this (which disparity was what got me thinking about this topic in the first place).


Edited by Geoffrey McKinney, 26 March 2015 - 02:37 PM.


#16 Deacon John Martin

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 11:11 PM

Thanks to all who have replied.

 

I would like to emphasize that I am not asking under what circumstances it is appropriate for people to eat antidoron. Rather, I am asking if it is appropriate for a layman (man, woman, or child) to take the antidoron and start giving it to people. It occurs like this:

 

Bob, a simple layman, has just taken Communion. He then immediately gets 5 pieces of antidoron and walks up to Ian and gives Ian a piece. Then he walks up to a visiting couple, and gives them two pieces. Finally he walks up to Mike and Jennifer and gives them each a piece of antidoron.

 

While Bob is doing this, a 6-year-old child named Mary has also taken 3 pieces of antidoron, and she starts wandering about the church, wondering who she will give it to. She bumps into her friend, Hannah, so she gives Hannah a piece. Then she decides that it would be a good idea to give a piece to Hannah's father. Finally, she decides to give a piece to each of her friends Eli and Michael. Oops! She has only one piece left. So she breaks it in half and gives half to Eli and half to Michael.

 

While Bob and Mary are doing this, at least 6 or 8 other laypeople are also wandering the church, handing out antidoron in similar fashion. This is all happening while people are approaching the Chalice.

 

Is this a good situation, or a bad situation, or a gray area? Further, were Roman Christians and their children doing this each Sunday, or is this a modern development?

 

Ah, you mean that antidoron. That is supposed to be eaten after Holy Communion and drunk with wine (in the Russian tradition) in order to make sure no particles of HC are left in the mouth. Technically speaking that’s not antidoron (though it’s the same bread) because antidoron (“instead of the Gifts”) is the bread given to non-communicants at the end of liturgy. What you’re describing goes against proper order because 1) those pieces of bread are meant for the communicants for a particular purpose, 2) the time to receive antidoron is at the end of liturgy from the priest, and 3) to have this going on during the Communion is disruptive. If you feel that this is disruptive, perhaps you can discuss it with your priest?


Edited by John Martin, 26 March 2015 - 11:13 PM.


#17 Niko Barounis

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 12:26 AM

A layman giving his antidoron to somebody else is not the same thing as a priest handing out antidoron at the end of a service. Since everyone is supposed to get antidoron from the priest anyway there’s not much of a reason to give it to someone else. However, I have given away my antidoron when eating it would be inappropriate (i.e. I didn’t fast). Also a gluten-intolerant friend of mine often gives me his antidoron.

you dont need to "fast" to have antidoron!?



#18 Geoffrey McKinney

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 12:52 AM

 Technically speaking that’s not antidoron (though it’s the same bread) because antidoron (“instead of the Gifts”) is the bread given to non-communicants at the end of liturgy.

 

Since "antidoron" is not the ideal term to use in this context, what is a better term?  :)



#19 Deacon John Martin

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 01:12 AM

you dont need to "fast" to have antidoron!?

 

From what I learned in Pastoral Theology class (I go to a Russian Orthodox seminary), we should fast before receiving antidoron in the same way that we fast before Communion, because it is received “instead of the gifts.” I don’t think that’s as strictly enforced as the eucharistic fast, but it is the ideal.

 

Since "antidoron" is not the ideal term to use in this context, what is a better term?  :)

 

I’ve always called it simply “prosphora.”



#20 Olga

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 01:20 AM

In the Russian Church, we do not do this.  The bread is distributed by the priest directly or set on the table to the side of the Amvon for taking bread and wine.  At the end, at the veneration of the cross, it is available to all who fasted at the same table (or given directly by the priest).

 

What is often seen in the Russian church is people collecting their small prosphoron after communing and partaking of the zapivka (antidoron and a sip of blessed wine diluted with warm water), breaking up this prosphoron, and distributing it to others, in memory of a named loved one, much like the sharing of kollyva or other food at funerals and memorials.






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