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Oriental Orthodox receiving Communion in Orthodox Church


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#21 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 01:41 PM

Canon LXV of the Holy Apostles:
"If any clergymen, or laymen, enter a synagogue of Jews, or of heretics, to pray, let him be both deposed and excommunicated."
 
Canon XXXIII of Laodicia
"One must not join in prayer with heretics or schismatics."
 
10th Canon of the Holy Apostles:
"If anyone pray in company with one who has been excommunicated, he shall be excommunicated himself."
 

 

Many might say that but until they except the 4th Ecumenical Council, profess our creed and become absorbed into the Eastern Orthodox Church, lets call it what it is. 

"If any clergymen, or laymen, enter a synagogue of Jews, or of heretics, to pray, let him be both deposed and excommunicated."

 

"One must not join in prayer with heretics or schismatics."

 

"If anyone pray in company with one who has been excommunicated, he shall be excommunicated himself."

 

Attending a service, say a wedding, does not mean that one is joining in with the prayers said therein. The point of the cannons are to prevent Orthodox Christians from joining in with the prayers which may well be, indeed likely are, heretical, and thereby making false confession of God and injuring their faith. They are not there to prevent a person attending his cousin's wedding.

 

It is important to consider why the canons are there before we try to understand how they apply. Another cannon, I forget which, says we must not call for a Jewish doctor when sick. Why? Because at the time it was written there where problems with Jews proselytizing Christians. In the 21st century this is far less likely to be the case, modern Jews for the most part do not proselytize, nor are doctors regally called to attend people alone, hence this cannon does not mean we are to refuse the treatment of a Jewish doctor when in hospital. It is therefore important that we look at all these thinks when reading church cannons.

 

In Christ.

Daniel,



#22 Jean-Serge

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 03:27 PM

We are not supposed to remain passive when bishops grossly violate canons.



#23 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 08:10 PM

We are not supposed to remain passive when bishops grossly violate canons.

 

What specifically did you have in mind?



#24 Reader Nektarios

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 04:39 AM

Nektarios, it is the job of bishops, not laymen, to interpret and implement church canons.

 

"The road to hell is paved with the skulls of priest and bishops". The Bishops wrote the cannons and we can be fairly certain that their meaning was clear. We are not to pray with those outside of the Church, not matter what your clerical or non-clerical status is. 



#25 Olga

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 04:53 AM

"The road to hell is paved with the skulls of priest and bishops". The Bishops wrote the cannons and we can be fairly certain that their meaning was clear. We are not to pray with those outside of the Church, not matter what your clerical or non-clerical status is. 

 

Nektarios, you remain a layman. You are not a bishop, so it's not your call as to how canons are to be used.

 

(putting moderator's hat on)

 

I ask that everyone keep to the thread topic, and to discuss it in a civil and fruitful manner. Any posts of an argumentative or aggressive tone will be dealt with swiftly.



#26 Reader Nektarios

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 04:59 AM

Nektarios, you remain a layman. You are not a bishop, so it's not your call as to how canons are to be used.

 

(putting moderator's hat on)

 

I ask that everyone keep to the thread topic, and to discuss it in a civil and fruitful manner. Any posts of an argumentative or aggressive tone will be dealt with swiftly.

 

 

This is related to the thread topic. Just because you find that praying with heretics/schismatics is ok and I do not doesn't mean we're off topic. Also, you are making assumptions in regards to my status in the Church. I'm not using the canons I'm just posting what they are. We do not need an Ecumenical council to see what their intentions are. Next time I'll post the Church Fathers interpretations along with the cited canon. 


Edited by Nektarios, 11 December 2014 - 05:01 AM.


#27 Reader Nektarios

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 05:04 AM

The present Canon reckons it a great sin for a Christian to enter a synagogue of Jews or of heretics in order to pray. “For what portion hath a believer with an infidel?” (II Cor. 6:15), according to the divine Apostle. For if the Jews themselves are violating the Law by going into their synagogues and offering sacrifices, in view of the fact that the offering of sacrifices anywhere outside of Jerusalem is forbidden, according to the Law (as is attested by divine St. Justin in his dialogue with Tryphon, and by Sozomenus in his Ecclesiastical History, Book 5, ch. 21, and by St. Chrysostom in his second discourse against the Jews), how much more is not that Christian violating the law who prays along with the crucifiers of Christ? Moreover, it is also to be emphasized that any church of heretics, or any religious meeting of theirs, ought not to be honored or attended, but rather ought to be despised and rejected, on the ground that they believe things contrary to the beliefs of Orthodox Christians. Hence it is that the present Canon ordains that if any clergyman or layman enters the synagogue of the Jews or that of heretics for the sake of prayer, the clergyman shall be deposed from office and at the same time be excommunicated on the ground that he has committed a great sin, but as for the layman he is to be excommunicated only, since, inasmuch as he is a layman, he has sinned to a less degree than has the clergyman, in so doing, and because as a layman he is not liable to deposition and cannot therefore be deposed. Or, to speak more correctly, as others interpret the matter, the clergyman that enters a synagogue of Jews or heretics to pray shall be deposed from office, while any layman that does the same thing shall be excommunicated.  - Saint Nikodemos


#28 Olga

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 05:07 AM

This is related to the thread topic. Just because you find that praying with heretics/schismatics is ok and I do not doesn't mean we're off topic. Also, you are making assumptions in regards to my status in the Church. 

 

1. I have said nothing on whether praying with heretics or schismatics is OK. Do not put words in my mouth.

 

2. If you are an Orthodox priest or bishop, then please say so, by PM to a moderator if you prefer, so that your profile details can be amended accordingly, as required by this forum's terms and conditions from the Community Handbook:

 

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#29 Reader Nektarios

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 05:09 AM

1. I have said nothing on whether praying with heretics or schismatics is OK. Do not put words in my mouth.

 

2. If you are an Orthodox priest or bishop, then please say so, by PM to a moderator if you prefer, so that your profile details can be amended accordingly, as required by this forum's terms and conditions from the Community Handbook:

 

I didn't say that either your just taking on assumptions which you shouldn't do. Good night. 


Edited by Nektarios, 11 December 2014 - 05:10 AM.


#30 Olga

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 05:15 AM

Note to all:

 

Any further argumentation or blank quoting of canons will result in this thread being moved to the Special Consideration section, where every post submitted will be moderated.



#31 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 07:41 AM

This thread is about OO receiving communion in the Orthodox Church, not the other way round: it is absolutely clear that Orthodox Christians may not take communion outside the Church, and since no one has said otherwise, it is irrelevant to bring up the point. (I would add that we may not participate, as opposed to merely attend, in the services of OO nor take their antidioron.) I have come across one instance where a devout Coptic Christian was temporarily here in the UK and far away from any Coptic church but just minutes away from a Greek Orthodox church; the Orthodox priest was given permission by his metropolitan bishop to give her communion.



#32 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 03:27 PM

An interesting conversation that much relates to many current pastoral issues.

 

Two points come to mind here that need discussion:

 

i) what was the context of the canons that were quoted. It is only when we understand the larger context that a canon is connected to that we can go from there to apply it in our current circumstances.

 

ii) connected with the above point is, what does 'pray in the company of heretics' actually mean? If we attend the baptism, or marriage, or funeral of a non-Orthodox family member- is this 'praying in the company of heretics' or not?



#33 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 03:51 PM

I suggest that the meaning of 'pray in the company of heretics' does not mean praying our own Orthodox way when there is a gathering of heretics around us. It may mean, as I indicated, participating in a heterodox service, for example, joining in their hymn singing. To me, 'attending' as at a family wedding in a heterodox church means being present without at all joining in and probably saying Orthodox prayers to oneself. Whether one should, in any circumstances, enter a synagogue or mosque, is another matter.


Edited by Reader Andreas, 11 December 2014 - 03:52 PM.


#34 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 05:15 PM

This is also how I am thinking of this Andreas.

 

Which means that there is a difference in terms of the canon's injunction between praying in a non Orthodox temple; being present at a non Orthodox service; and participating in that service.

 

An example of the first would be when we are on pilgrimage in the Holy Land and we venerate relics or holy sites that are in Catholic run churches; the second would be attending a wedding of funeral of a non Orthodox family member; and the third woud be not participating in the service (or serving if you are clergy)



#35 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 03:36 PM

I would say that the meaning of these canons is to warn us against praying in one spirit with heretics and those of other religions.



#36 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 03:48 PM

Indeed. As with Holy Communion, we should only pray the prayers of the faith held by our own bishop.



#37 Anton S.

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 11:24 AM

The idea that the differences between the Orthodox Church and the non-Chalcedonean Oriental communities are due to a simple 'misunderstanding' seems to imply too much indifference on the part of God to humanity. If it had been just a misunderstanding God would have hardly allowed it to persist for such a long time.

 

Another point has been raised, namely that some non-Orthodox Oriental Christians show more loving kindness than some strictly canonical Orthodox believers. This is hardly a valid argument for intercommunion. The fact of affiliation with a canonical Orthodox jurisdiction does not automatically make anyone loving, kind or saintly. Some people who are formally members of the Church may be spiritually as alien to her as any atheist or heathen. Moreover, even if a person genuinely believes in Christ and in the teaching of the Orthodox Church and fights against his or her passions, this person still remains imperfect. So, if you are not a very loving person by nature and you fight against your lack of love and make some minor achievements, you may be a worthier Christian than someone who is naturally very kind and sweet but does nothing to increase this virtue in himself.

 

It is not a degree to which a virtue is developed in a person, but the direction of his or her spiritual progress that matters. And, of course, the amount of effort he or she takes in spiritual struggle.

 

Therefore, let us not jump to hasty conclusions when we see a Copt, a Catholic, a Muslim, a Buddhist or an atheist to show more loving kindness (or honesty, or courage, or chastity...) than some Orthodox Christians we might know (including ourselves). Let us love non-Orthodox people and respect their excellent qualities, but let this not influence our approach to any deviations from the Orthodox Christian way to God.

 

My conclusion would be that it is wrong to allow Holy Communion to people who are not part of our Church no matter how good these people are and how much we love them. It simply will not do them any good, on the contrary, they might even suffer for taking it. We will also suffer for such a frivolous attitude to the Body of the Lord.

 

I understand (and, to a great extent, share) the urge to be inclusive, to be nice and sweet to everyone. But niceness and sweetness are not quite the same as Christian love. In fact, niceness and sweetness sometimes help to bring about horrible things.






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