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Re: Receiving communion - Reverence for the Eucharist #76601 05/22/02 08:21 PM
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Orthodox Catholic Offline
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Dear Bob,

No offense, please understand, but what are you saying here?

The change in these practices is what horrified you so as to seek Orthodoxy?

And if you saw a similar "catastrophe" in your current jurisdiction, would that justify moving to another?

Alex

Re: Receiving communion - Reverence for the Eucharist #76602 05/22/02 08:31 PM
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Bob King Offline OP
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Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Dear Bob,
No offense, please understand, but what are you saying here?
The change in these practices is what horrified you so as to seek Orthodoxy?
And if you saw a similar "catastrophe" in your current jurisdiction, would that justify moving to another?
Alex


Alex,

No offense taken. I'm just at a loss sometimes to understand. I remember an RC saying once that a Protestant said to him (whew!) that RCs (and others by extension I would say) don't really believe in the Real Presence because of the way they walk up to receive (a Protestant talking not me here). He said if Catholics really believed in the Real Presence they would 'crawl up to communion on their bellies.' Now, I do not necessarily agree with that but it gives some food for thought. That is my point. Some are talking about the frequency of communion, this is important. Some are talking about preparation, that too is important. I think however that actions speak louder than words sometimes. I am saddened by what appears to be a lack of reverence, that's it, no more no less.

I did not seek Orthodoxy due to the way BCs receive communion, nor would I leave Orthodoxy (or my jurisdiction) over something like that. I would not use the word catastrophe to describe any of what I have read or written on this thread. Is it a catastrophe for you?

Bob

Re: Receiving communion - Reverence for the Eucharist #76603 05/22/02 08:36 PM
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Orthodox Catholic Offline
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Dear Bob,

Well, yes, disrespect or a lack of respect for the Mystery of Holy Communion is quite catastrophic!

Most of the miracles involving the Eucharist are a response to an act of disrespect at the time.

You raise an interesting question with respect to demonstrative respect, and I agree that there is less of that around.

I'm wondering is that a "cultural" thing? Is it a true slackening of religious observance? And why would Orthodoxy have more of it than the Catholic Church? Does this characterize all Orthodox Churches?

And, if I may ask, what was the "last straw" that opened to you the way of Orthodoxy?

Take your time, we can talk tomorrow. smile

Alex

Re: Receiving communion - Reverence for the Eucharist #76604 05/22/02 08:58 PM
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Bob King Offline OP
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Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Dear Bob,
And, if I may ask, what was the "last straw" that opened to you the way of Orthodoxy?
Alex


Alex,

There were, I think, many last straws. If you wish you may contact me privately to discuss this matter. Suffice it to say I am happy with my decision and do not regret it.

Bob

Re: Receiving communion - Reverence for the Eucharist #76605 05/22/02 09:59 PM
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Hmmmm,

As usual a bit behindhand.

OK can I put my own bit in here speaking as an RC and as a Special Minister [ don't all scream and shudder at once please]

I have Received frequently in my own Parish - but remember I am post Vat II convert so am not used to the older [!!] customs. However in Portugal I find that the altar boys [ occasionally adult servers] still put forward the discos but are usually 2 Communicants behind ! And I am forced to say that on the whole I do not see a great deal of reverence - almost running up to the altar. They do seem in a rush - and many do not Receive. At home , we no longer use the Discos and Communion is normally under Both Kinds but our Communicants wait quietly and reverently in the slow moving queue. It is good to see the outward sign of reverence that many make - not self consciously at all and usually before Reception. However occasionally we have a family of Eastern Catholics with us and I have to admit that I am very conscious of their stillness and complete awareness that it is the Body and Blood of their Saviour that they are Receiving - even their 2 small chidren - they are totally oblivious of everything else around them - and this seeems to spread to those near them.

Speaking of my own personal experience when in Lourdes [ since at the moment that is my only experience of the Eastern Church] I am very aware of the Presence of my Lord and Saviour and my own unworthyness to share in this Mystery. It is actually the only time I feel that I should kneel before Him.

Maybe these differences are due to the differences in spirituality . I do know in which Church I prefer to Receive Communion - and more importantly to me - why. Maybe one day soon.

Angela

Re: Receiving communion - Reverence for the Eucharist #76606 05/22/02 10:01 PM
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Bob,

The priest/deacon edition of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom published by the Byzantine Seminary Press, 1965 following the directives of the Ordo Celebrationis published by the Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Churches, 1944 states:

"Then those who wish to receive approach. After the Prayer: O Lord I believe and profess... they come one after the other, and they bow reverently and with fear, hands folded upon the breast; and each receives the Divine Mysteries" (43).

The Ordo Celebrationis further states:

"The deacon holds the diskarion under the chin of the communicant" (58).

One would assume then that the priest (or server) should hold it if a deacon is not there. This is what is done by my priest and I have done this when serving at Uniontown. Some tend to see this preference for the diskos as a Latinization in imitation of the Latin paten. However, I see in it a certain amount of practicality. The diskos is better at catching falling particles of the Holy Gifts and is more easier to perform ablutions on. The drops of the Precious Blood you saw on the diskos are washed into the cahlice with water and consumed. On the otherhand, lentions have to soaked in the sacrarium before washing.

On a personal note, the only time I have seen the Holy Gifts dropped was when a person was holding the lention for themselves. They could not adjust the lention to catch and hold the falling Gifts, which rolled right off.

I think it is better to do as our books instruct and leave the rest to the priest or deacon.

In Christ,
Lance


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
Re: Receiving communion - Reverence for the Eucharist #76607 05/22/02 10:12 PM
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Communion is judgement - life for the living and death for the dead.

Through communion we are His Body which is why you should not cause yourself to bleed, or spit, if you throw-up it should be in a sink, not the toilet (symbolism), ect.

Some of what has been talked about can be said for many aspects of Church life - after all, if someone deep down in their soul doesn't believe in the real presence, then that attitude is by extension true for everything else they think of about the Church.

Besides all of the typical preparatory prayers (ie, the night before, morning of, and thanksgiving), we have a tradition of a 3 day fast before communion.

Now I know this was started somehow under the Turks and is not Holy Tradition, but it is certainly a good tool to make people (myself included) very conscience that they are in a preparatory mode of repentence.

And true repentence is not just saying "I'm sorry", true repentence is struggling with tears to remove yourself from those sins even after communion.

I have heard people say that the 3-day fast is a cause for many not to go to Communion. While this is not a problem in my own Church, I would reply with the idea that it should be of little consequence for a true believing Orthodox Christian.

Now I'm not giving any lectures here, Lord indeed knows I am no saint.

[ 05-22-2002: Message edited by: OrthodoxyOrDeath ]

Re: Receiving communion - Reverence for the Eucharist #76608 05/22/02 10:22 PM
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The journey to restore authentic Byzantine praxis in our parishes is indeed a long one.

The OCA is certainly a generation or more in restoring all things Eastern that we are but we Byzantine Catholics are certainly half a generation ahead of those Orthodox in the Johnstown Diocese. One must be careful not to associate the essence of what it means to be a Byzantine Christian with Byzantine praxis on any particular custom. The Patriarch of Constantinople who received the peoples of the Johnstown Diocese into Orthodoxy (Photios II, I think) only asked that they commemorate him in all the Divine Services. He made no other real requirements - not even a demand to remove the filioque from the Creed. The Johnstown parish near where I grew up sang it into the 1970s (this particular parish dropped it when they first started using English). The patriarch gave an excellent example of the need for patience and gentleness in all things.

--

Regarding Bob King's specific questions:

Q1: The communion cloth is simply very practical. It is to prevent any accidents and to make sure that the Eucharist is not disrespected. How can that not be part of the BC tradition?

The vast majority of our parishes do use the communion cloth. Some of our older priests prefer to use the patton which is indeed latinized. The same custom is still observed in most Johnstown parishes and one can see it for himself if one joins any of their parishes in greater Pittsburgh for Divine Liturgy. The parish I belong to has never used anything but the red cloth but the local custom is for it to be held by two altar servers rather than by the person receiving communion. This makes sense as many priests fear holding the cloth themselves as the person communicating could pull it too hard and topple the chalice!

Q2: How can that not be part of the BC tradition? If suplikacio/benediction was so much a part of BC tradition, why was it so since reverence for the Sacrament isn't part of that tradition?

Lack of proper catechesis. There are, of course, two separate issues here. Lack of respect for the Eucharist is important. The use of a communion cloth instead of a latin patton is not an essential to the faith nor does it have anything to do with reverence for the Sacramental Mystery of the Eucharist.

Frequent communion brings with it a familiarity with the custom of partaking of the Eucharist. This familiarity has its plusses and minuses. I am not sure that the people Bob is complaining about are any more sinful than the good Greek Orthodox Christian who shows up in the middle of the Divine Liturgy on Holy Saturday, pays his dues and gets in the communion line, receives and then leaves, not to return for another year.

--

Dmitri asked:

Why is is that Byzantine Catholics receive so frequently?

How can we not partake of the invitation to partake of the Body and Blood of the Lord at every opportunity? One should certainly should properly prepare themselves to receive the Sacred Mysteries but how can one turn down the invitation to receive week after week? Especially with the evidence of the early Christians taking the Eucharist home with them to Communicate themselves and their families during the week? I think the Lord established this Mystery to nourish us, not to train us to be respectful (we should be respectful in all cases). Tim Bullard comments on the difference between "worthiness" and "preparedness" are excellent.


Bob King asks:

Q2-1: What is your source for "our tradition"? This is an honest question not an attack, please reply.

Lance has provide the proper references. The use of the patton was a latinization that has slowly been replaced by the use of the red cloth in the most recent generation. The use of the red cloth is the more historical and traditional use in our Church.

Q2-2: What do the faithful do when neither deacon nor server holds a cloth or discos/paten under the chin? (this seems to be the usual case)

I've never seen this before so I'm not sure it can be considered to be "the usual case". I think that if anyone observes the distribution of the Eucharist without either the cloth or patton held in an appropriate way then one should bring the matter to the attention of the priest distributing the Eucharist or his bishop.

Q3-3: I was altar boy/server for some years in BC churches and at the Uniontown pilgrimage, and I saw people start to walk away with the Precious Blood (or some fluid) on the outside of their mouths. Also, when there was a person (deacon/server) holding the discos/paten oftentimes there was a small amount of splash or droplets on it.

Again, there is always an ongoing need for catechesis. Ignorance neither proves or disproves anything. If you were the server holding the cloth than you could have politely tapped them on the shoulder and offered them the cloth.

Re: Receiving communion - Reverence for the Eucharist #76609 05/23/02 05:21 AM
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Bob - I have seen most of the "abuses" you originally mentioned present in more than one OCA parish I have visited. Whenever I serve as subdeacon in the UGCC, I am very conscious of the gravity of the Mysteries and try to be attentive to the discos or towel for the communicants.

Along the lines St. John of Kronstadt Alexander Schmemann lamented the lack of frequent communion often in his lectures. He tried to promote this practice within the OCA.

I would love to have been at one of St. John's services when the congregation were all yelling out their sins simultaneously (I would have plenty to add) biggrin
Subdeacon Randolph, a sinner

Re: Receiving communion - Reverence for the Eucharist #76610 05/23/02 01:20 PM
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Dear Diak,

Yes, and I believe there is even an ancient canon with respect to the Communion of the Laity that resembles that of the Communion of the Clergy during the Divine Liturgy.

Clergy of course are obliged to partake of Holy Communion during a concelebrated Liturgy and, according to the canon, if they cannot they are to give a reason why, and, on the basis of the reason, they are liable to be suspended etc.

Similarly, Laity attending Divine Liturgy, if they cannot receive, are to give a reason on the spot to justify why. They too, under the terms and conditions of the canon, can be excommunicated!

Ah, the good old days . . . smile

Alex

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