Greek Archbishop of America Declares Open Communion for Non-Orthodox Spouses

EmperorConstantine

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Wow.

As multiple participants in the conference are reporting, in front of dozens of participants, Abp. Elpidophoros declared that anyone who was married in the Orthodox Church can receive Communion in the Orthodox Church, regardless of whether they are Orthodox or not.

As the Orthodox Church firmly teaches that only baptized and chrismated members of the Church can commune, the Archbishop’s statement upset many people.
Thoughts?

GREEK ARCHBISHOP OF AMERICA DECLARES OPEN COMMUNION FOR NON-ORTHODOX SPOUSES
https://orthochristian.com/128712.html
 

Ainnir

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Not a fan.  But then, I'm not sure what I really think about marrying an Orthodox/non-Orthodox couple in the Church to begin with.  I realize things get messy in life, but...

Edit: Is the alternative to marrying a mixed faith couple in the Church simply that the Orthodox spouse can't commune at all?  If so, it makes sense they make the exception.  Still not a fan of opening it to the non-Orthodox spouse.
 

hecma925

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If someone isn't wanting to become Orthodox, there's no reason for him to receive communion.  If he actually is going to Church, he can sit down (it is GOAA, after all), shut up, and smell the incense like everyone else.
 

Arachne

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According to Fr. George, this is fake news. We'll hear more once it's cleared.
 

Ainnir

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Oh dear.  Do keep us updated.
 

EmperorConstantine

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Arachne said:
According to Fr. George, this is fake news. We'll hear more once it's cleared.
I sure hope so!  If you hear some clarification please keep us in the loop.
 

rakovsky

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Supposedly the issue was that a metropolitan in that region was instructing priests that they shouldn't announce the rule ahead of communion that only Orthodox can commune.
 

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According to the Pappas Post this does appear to be true. Christ Have Mercy


How does one continue to be a member of the Greek Archdiocese and be a faithful Orthodox Christian if the very Archbishop of the archdiocese and individual bishops (Chicago) enforce this?
 

Ainnir

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Mercurius1 said:
According to the Pappas Post this does appear to be true. Christ Have Mercy


How does one continue to be a member of the Greek Archdiocese and be a faithful Orthodox Christian if the very Archbishop of the archdiocese and individual bishops (Chicago) enforce this?
Link?
 

Ainnir

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Nevermind.  Here: https://www.pappaspost.com/archbishop-elpidophoros-of-america-ok-for-non-orthodox-christian-spouses-to-receive-communion/

Specifically, the Archbishop was responding to a question by a member of the audience who asked why the Orthodox Church wouldn’t administer Holy Communion to non-Orthodox spouses.

The Archbishop answered the question pointedly suggesting that since a non-Orthodox spouse has already participated in a sacrament of the Orthodox Church (marriage), why wouldn’t he or she be allowed to participate in the sacrament of Holy Communion.
 

rakovsky

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OK, I was confused. There are two separate events.
1. The GOARCH Metropolitan of the Chicago area instructed his priests that they must not make the announcement before communion that the Eucharist is only for Orthodox. (SOURCE: https://nftu.net/abp-nathanael-of-chicago-establishes-open-communion-and-yes-thats-exactly-what-it-sounds-like/)
The lack of an announcement doesn't necessarily mean that the priests allow non-Orthodox to commune, although it makes it easier for it to occur.

2. Abp. Elpidophoros (the Archbishop mentioned in the OP) made an answer during a Q&A session that runs:
Every faithful marriage is a miracle marriage—a miracle of God’s love and a Mystery to be celebrated with joy and embraced with thanksgiving. Whether or not the spouse joins the Church in a formal way through Chrismation, they are still 100% part of our community, and should be embraced as such. If we are to be a Church that truly serves and embraces our young people who live in a technologically advanced and pluralistic world, we must embrace the strangers in our midst—make them strangers no more, and embrace all the members of our community and our Country.
I find the statement ambiguous. It doesn't necessarily mean open communion. It could be what they call "puffing" in the business community.
The Abp. could be making an announcement that those who don't formally join the Church through Chrismation are still "100%" part of the "community", and those two terms are ambiguous. 100% in what way? Like in every way? That they are now 100% communing & believing Greek Orthodox, or that we treat them with 100% friendliness as if they were 100% our friend? Does "community" mean "Church" or the Greek "cultural community"?

I'm inclined to take it that he doesn't actually mean that they get communion. If they don't formally join the Church by Chrismation as a ritual, it makes sense that they aren't "formally" joining it by the ritual of communion either.

Another issue is that Ekklesia (Church) is more ambiguous in Greek. It can mean Church or Assembly. In English, Church specifically means a religious house of worship, not necessarily a group. So if he has Greek on his mind and he says Ekklesia/"Church", he could be saying that they are informallyy joining the religion, or he could be saying that informally they are part of the Greek's assembly in their cultural community.

He doesn't really have the authority to overturn the EO practice in this area in conflict with what the EP does, so I think that he is stuck with the normal EO position on this question. Unlike the new EP teaching of EP Supremacy over World Orthodoxy (or however you want to call it), the EP doesn't have a new teaching of Open Communion yet.
 

Ainnir

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I don't recall hearing anyone announce that non-Orthodox could not partake.  But I've also only ever attended/visited small parishes.

Abp. Elpidophoros is saying, "Why not?"  I don't think he's being ambiguous at all, but it sounds like he's not overturning anything. I only agree with him that non-Orthodox spouses should be welcomed among the community, but that's it.  It may lead to conversion and it may not.  If and when it does, then they can commune.  Until then, there's antidoron.  I'm not sure how that affects how they're treated within the community.
 
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I guess this will eventually include “non traditional” marriages. Did not the EP say Orthodoxy resides in him or something like that?
 
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Ainnir said:
Nevermind.  Here: https://www.pappaspost.com/archbishop-elpidophoros-of-america-ok-for-non-orthodox-christian-spouses-to-receive-communion/

Specifically, the Archbishop was responding to a question by a member of the audience who asked why the Orthodox Church wouldn’t administer Holy Communion to non-Orthodox spouses.

The Archbishop answered the question pointedly suggesting that since a non-Orthodox spouse has already participated in a sacrament of the Orthodox Church (marriage), why wouldn’t he or she be allowed to participate in the sacrament of Holy Communion.
Lord have mercy :(
 

Ainnir

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rakovsky said:
seekeroftruth777 said:
Lord have mercy :(
I think that the explicit quote by him was what I quoted above.
What you quoted is someone's interpretation of his statement, I take it.
What you quoted was something he said last October.  What I quoted was (presumably) a paraphrase of whatever he said in that Q&A session at the leadership conference (which is still in progress).  I guess we can question the accuracy of the paraphrase.
 

rakovsky

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The Archbishop answered the question pointedly suggesting that since a non-Orthodox spouse has already participated in a sacrament of the Orthodox Church (marriage), why wouldn’t he or she be allowed to participate in the sacrament of Holy Communion.
If that is a close paraphrase of his words, then he is implying that they should participate in Communion due to already participating in an EO sacrament. But he is not giving his implication as a formal decision for the Church. Maybe a hierarch or priest thinks that the EO Church should do something a certain way, and the hierarch even gives his opinion, but it doesn't mean that his opinion is a formal decision.

My impression if I heard him say this in the audience is that he is trying to encourage his audience to think along the lines of accepting open communion for heterodox spouses, but he is not making it as a formal decision for his Church. I heard that in Egypt there is a new decision for EOs and OOs to have intercommunion between spouses. So this kind of decision would not be totally without precedent. Already the EP announced a position of allowing communion from the RC, Anglican, and OO Churches in exceptional cases in the Thyateira Confession. Still, it would be a significant change for the current GOARCH practice.



 

Ainnir

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I agree he’s simply stating his opinion, and somewhat understand his logic.  I just completely disagree, even knowing how nice communing with one’s spouse would be.  That’s just not the way to go about it.
 

SolEX01

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I vehemently disagree with His Eminence's stance.  His Eminence is like the priest in My Big Fat Greek Wedding who said that Ian was Greek because he married a Greek woman.  I wonder if Tom Hanks is at the Leadership 100 Conference?  ???
 

EmperorConstantine

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Mercurius1 said:
According to the Pappas Post this does appear to be true. Christ Have Mercy


How does one continue to be a member of the Greek Archdiocese and be a faithful Orthodox Christian if the very Archbishop of the archdiocese and individual bishops (Chicago) enforce this?
I'm with you on that.  It's going to hit a point where even that laity within the GOARCH can't tolerate it.
 
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A poster in the Orthodox subforum in CF has said that GOARCH has refuted this report.

https://www.christianforums.com/threads/head-of-goarch-says-that-non-orthodox-spouses-may-receive-communion.8150229/ 

My comment in reply #12 is to be rejected.
 

Mor Ephrem

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recent convert said:
A poster in the Orthodox subforum in CF has said that GOARCH has refuted this report.

https://www.christianforums.com/threads/head-of-goarch-says-that-non-orthodox-spouses-may-receive-communion.8150229/ 

My comment in reply #12 is to be rejected.
Where can one read the refutation on the GOARCH website or other official organ?
 

Brilko

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The linked article is garbage. The headline claims that open communion has been declared. It then provides zero quotes that declare open communion. I wouldn’t trust this article even if I had written it. It’s best to ignore stuff such as this.
 
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See this link from Christ the Savior Orthodox Church:

https://m.facebook.com/ChristTheSaviorOrthodox
 

rakovsky

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recent convert said:
See this link from Christ the Savior Orthodox Church:

https://m.facebook.com/ChristTheSaviorOrthodox
I think that the link that you mean is:
"ALERT: There is an Article being Passed Around..."
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2473077246132166&id=390223014417610

Unfortunately the Christ the Savior link doesn't clear up the issue. It just notes that the OrthoChristian webpage article is quoting from the October speech, and then concludes that the Archbishop didn't say this, since he didn't ssay it in October.
As Ainnir noted, the OrthoChristian article is actually quoting the October speech and also saying that he gave this position at a new discussion in the Q&A from this February.
 

biro

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I love when a couple people wet themselves in fear and it turns out not to have been true at all.
 

LizaSymonenko

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It saddens me to see how active the devil is among the Orthodox... and I’m not referring to the hierarch.

This falsity has been published and republished hundreds of times across various social media channels... shared thousands of times... and so many many faithful have thrown stones at the Metropolitan... without actually knowing what he said, or truly meant.

We are our own worst enemies.

I rarely see an Orthodox faithful laud, praise, support or show compassion to any other Orthodox faithful from a jurisdiction they deem to be apostate for some reason.

We are more than happy to jump at the jugular of any exposed and harassed Orthodox hierarch.. or even Patriarch. 

...and then we defend our malice by stating we are defending the true Church, and her tenets.

Wake up.

This fruit is sour and putrid... and not of Christ.

With Great Lent upon us... we must pause and be more discerning of whom we judge of what.

This statement above is one such falsity... that has succeeded in growing malice and division among the faithful.

The devil is laughing as pious Orthodox rip each other to shreds. 

May the Lord help us... grant us wisdom, and unity in Him.

I am beyond words after reading all the trash talk this whole weekend.
 

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At least three eyewitnesses confirm the report in the thread here: https://www.facebook.com/ReadThePappasPost/posts/10163636818335131
 

Luke

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The Archdiocese has been sending emails when the Archbishop says something.  I have not received any pertaining to this, plus it is not on the Goarch page.  Unless I read or hear something official, I consider it fake news.
 

Ainnir

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Luke said:
The Archdiocese has been sending emails when the Archbishop says something.  I have not received any pertaining to this, plus it is not on the Goarch page.  Unless I read or hear something official, I consider it fake news.
Says something official?  Or says anything?  It's pretty clear to me it was a statement of opinion rather than a pronouncement about a new economy "effective immediately."  I doubt they'd send out an email in that case.
 

rakovsky

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Thanks, Samn.
From your link:
Christina Piperis
He did not make an official statement. Instead, he expressed his view and believes non-Orthodox spouses should be able to take communion with their families if they were married in the Orthodox Church. He wants families to worship together—in the Greek Orthodox Church.
... I just wanted to clarify that he indeed made the statement.
Jane Lambert Patsakos TO: Christina Piperis , I am not trying to be picky here. But the first paragraph says the following:
Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, declared in a public forum that Christians who have been married in the Orthodox Church but are not Greek Orthodox themselves, MAY receive Holy Communion. That makes it sound as if it has been decided.
Christina Piperis That is exactly what he said.
He said it. I was in the room, too. Most were stunned and asked him to elaborate. He wants to embrace the spouses of Greek Orthodox faithful if they were married in the Orthodox Church.
I promise you, I heard this and it was not misinterpreted. After His Eminence said this, people from the audience asked him to make an official statement to the entire Archdiocese.
Some were confused whether his statement made the change official.
Nikos Marinopoulos I was in the room. This was at Leadership 100 in Palm Beach. He CERTAINLY said this. 100% true. I was there.
Nick Papadopoulos My wife was in the room. (I was at the pool)... this was at the Breakers Hotel at the Leadership 100 conference and indeed everyone was talking about this and everyone STILL is talking about this. He certainly said this. There was applause in the room, even shock.
Also:
Tom X2/23/2020 5:05 pm
(It was during the Q&A that he mentioned non-greek spouses can begin receiving communion. In fact, two different questions were posed by two couples (mixed religions) and he reiterated that non Greek Orthodox spouse can in fact receive. It’s not in his speech.) This is what say a person who is a part of L100 and it was over there at this moment !!!
https://orthochristian.com/128712.html
 

Ainnir

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Simple: just see what happens at the chalice.
 

SolEX01

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This morning, my priest said that Holy Communion was only for Orthodox Christians.  He didn't mention anything about the non-Orthodox spouses receiving Communion.
 

rakovsky

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I don't know how close the Fordham Orthodox Center and its Public Orthodoxy blog are close to the Archbishop and his future direction, but they have a blog article encouraging Open Communion:
https://publicorthodoxy.org/2019/05/31/eating-disorders-open-communion/

I feel like there is enough evidence at this point (eg. four witnesses' claims, his statement in October about the spouses who didn't "formally" join the Church, the Public Orthodoxy Blog, the new instruction from the Chicago Diocese Abp. against making the Closed Communion announcement each liturgy) that if the Archdiocese doesn't give a quote or explanation of what was said that one could make the case that he probably said this kind of thing verbally as an unofficial or off-the-record policy or practice.

Personally, if I could set a policy for Orthodoxy, I would have Open Communion for people who accept the objective real presence. But I don't get to set the rules of Orthodoxy, and I wouldn't try to make my own preferences on such a question to be Church policy if I were the hierarch.

My real beef is over the EP's new supremacy claims and how he is using his influential role in the Orthodox world to hurt the MP and UOC-MP.
 

hecma925

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I know how close the Fordham Orthodox Center and its Public Orthodoxy blog are close to the Archbishop and his future direction, but they have a blog article encouraging Open Communion:
https://publicorthodoxy.org/2019/05/31/eating-disorders-open-communion/
So not only does she have a mental disorder, but she's poorly catechized as well.  Cool.
 

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If it's a new policy and it hasn't come from the Synod, then it raises a question of who has the authority to make this kind of decision and how the decision was reached (eg. a decision from the EP himself with the Archbishop, or a decision from the Archbishop alone).
 

rakovsky

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The Monomakhos blog has a photo of Gregory Pappas at the Leadership 100 Conference this year, and Pappas published the article on his blog:
Archbishop Elpidophoros of America: OK for Non-Orthodox Christian Spouses to Receive Communion
Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, declared in a public forum that Christians who have been married in the Orthodox Church but are not Greek Orthodox themselves, may receive Holy Communion.
His statement came in a question and answer session during the annual conference of Leadership 100, an organization of Greek Orthodox Church donors, which was holding its annual event in Palm Beach, Florida.
https://www.pappaspost.com/archbishop-elpidophoros-of-america-ok-for-non-orthodox-christian-spouses-to-receive-communion/?fbclid=IwAR3BjM9wt0ypUG2hfpx0psXWNzKSRi_6AXyAQXLFcyhOvUQYvuKpAxwWR9g
So the fact that the author of the article was present at the same conference tends to suggest that the Abp. announced that it was OK, although it is not given in the article as a direct quote.
Make that five named witnesses now.
 

SolEX01

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rakovsky said:
If it's a new policy and it hasn't come from the Synod, then it raises a question of who has the authority to make this kind of decision and how the decision was reached (eg. a decision from the EP himself with the Archbishop, or a decision from the Archbishop alone).
Perhaps His Eminence and His All Holiness use WhatsApp to send encrypted messages from their cell phones.
 
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