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

Ainnir

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You believe that is the body and blood of Christ. So who are you to refuse to give it to someone he is asking for it. Just because he is not in the same club that you are.
Maybe this person he live in the Christ and it will be just his problem if he take what he don't deserve.
Really I cannot see this kind a problems just as a problem of egoism.
From 1 Corinthians 11 (NASB):
“23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. 30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.”

As the Body of the Lord also, the Church has a duty to protect both the Eucharist and those who would receive it by preparing them properly. The clergy particularly bear the burden of preparing those who wish to receive. Those who refuse to submit to the Church’s teachings but want to commune are not properly prepared. The Eucharist is a need, but it is also a privilege, not a right.
 
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Opus118

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The joke is letting someone that is not part of the Church participate in any Mystery.
I think this is dangerous. You seem to claim to know if, when and where the Holy Spirit blesses the Holy Mystery of Matrimony.
 

Mor Ephrem

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You believe that is the body and blood of Christ. So who are you to refuse to give it to someone he is asking for it. Just because he is not in the same club that you are.
Maybe this person he live in the Christ and it will be just his problem if he take what he don't deserve.
Really I cannot see this kind a problems just as a problem of egoism.
Yeah, I guess you’re right.
 

hecma925

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I think this is dangerous. You seem to claim to know if, when and where the Holy Spirit blesses the Holy Mystery of Matrimony.
No. Whether an Orthodox Christian receives the Mysteries within the Church is the issue.
 

Opus118

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I cannot conceive of questioning that. I cannot enter the church without feeling it.

To give you something to complain about, the most memorable event in my life was when there was a misinterpretation of the significance of lifting the anathemas between Rome and Constantinople in 1965. I wrote about this here, but it is missing. Hundreds of Roman Catholics came to the Divine Liturgy at my church and received the eucharist. It was beautiful/wonderful and and image of what could be (besides the extra hour of the service).
 

hecma925

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There should have been no misinterpretation, but there you go.
 
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How is Catholics receiving the mysteries without reptence of their heresies or errors, and being chrismated or baptized in Holy Orthodoxy a good thing, this smacks of Realitivism and Ecumenism regarding the mysteries, and the truth of our faith.
 

Fr. George

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I think this is dangerous. You seem to claim to know if, when and where the Holy Spirit blesses the Holy Mystery of Matrimony.
I'm not sure that this is what the point is.

A commonality between hecma's point, the common position of the Georgian Church, and the Archbishop's POV is that all 3 are expressing surprise at the concept of a "mixed marriage." We call marriage a sacrament, but don't treat it the same way we treat the other non-initiation rites. We don't ordain, commune, or anoint with unction the non-Orthodox. But somehow we confer a sacrament on them in Marriage.

I'm not saying I agree with any of them (i.e. hecma, the GP, or Abp. Elpidophoros) 100%, but I've heard the question enough times to see it.

It is true, though, that we haven't wrestled with the secondary implications of mixed marriages - because they're not really what St. Paul envisioned when he talks about the believing spouse edifying the unbelieving one (which was cases of existing marriage where one person became a Christian later).
 
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Opus118

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How is Catholics receiving the mysteries without reptence of their heresies or errors, and being chrismated or baptized in Holy Orthodoxy a good thing, this smacks of Realitivism and Ecumenism regarding the mysteries, and the truth of our faith.
As I said, there was at that time a misconception of the significance of lifting the anathemas. What I am relaying is what I felt at that time and still do. It was beautiful. We should be one. I am not the one to determine when and how that will be done, but I pray at some time that it will be done.

I could posit that relativism can lead us to the truth about how we should live and what we should believe. Christ did not come to save us at a random period of time, but when we were ready to hear the message of truth of what God expects of us. I am all for ecumenism, we were not created to be in some inclusive club. I do not understand anti-ecumenists.
 
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I thought the Gospel was the truth ( John 14:6) in which we trust & believe by keeping the commandments ( as best w can) of the Trinity ( John 14:15-18). That we are to be wary of world ( things like moral relativism) so as to not lose our souls to the world ( Matthew 16:25-26) to love our neighbor but not the world ( 1 John 2:7-17).
 

Opus118

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I thought the Gospel was the truth ( John 14:6) in which we trust & believe by keeping the commandments ( as best w can) of the Trinity ( John 14:15-18). That we are to be wary of world ( things like moral relativism) so as to not lose our souls to the world ( Matthew 16:25-26) to love our neighbor but not the world ( 1 John 2:7-17).
I agree with this except that those that harp about moral relativism, are often themselves amoral relativists. I started reading Fr. Andrew Damick's book. Once I got beyond Lutherans it was just too disturbing to me and I had to stop. The same goes with horror movies and uncomfortable scenes in situation comedies.
 

Ainnir

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Ainnir

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Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy: Finding the Way to Christ in a Complicated Religious Landscape
Why was it disturbing? I listened to the podcast twice, but have never read the book.
 
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I have ( heard of) not read Fr Andrew’s book but I would think it is written to distinguish the concepts of Orthodox Christian Faith vs the varying orthodox & non orthodox tendencies of other Christian groups. Next, I would think he proceeds to distinguish Christianity vs the beliefs of non Christians. Why does that make him an “amoral relativist”?

Over 10 years ago, when my thought process was sharper ( such as it was even then), I attended a lecture at St. Tikhon’s by a priest ( whose name I cannot recall, not Fr Andrew of course ) about Orthodoxy & mostly non Christian beliefs.

I simply asked that if it is reasonable to understand that Christians & non Christians alike can share the Beatitudes ( except the final Beatitude). The lecturing priest said surely anyone can possibly do so & I do not recall anyone objected. Ecumenism was not being discussed but just an understanding of moral qualities shared among people in general (like what St. Paul says in Philippians 4:8). Clearly on a personal basis, the morals of anyone will be equally praised or judged by God.

Would a book like “Orthodoxy & the Religion of the Future” by the late Fr Seraphim Rose be considered an example of amoral relativism? Personally, I found the book interesting but too discouraging of having hope in general that I decided not to pursue the writer’s teachings.

I can understand criticism of aspects of various teachings, not universally held, within Orthodoxy but implying an Orthodox theologian is an amoral relativist is concerning.
 

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St. Theodore the Studite (d. 826) didn't consider marriage to be a sacrament, and that's good enough for me. "It is tradition, seek no further!"
 

xariskai

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To summarize a key point from rakovsky:

In April he seems to say he is just giving his personal view and says only the EP can make such a decision (youtube transcript below).

But in March he is directing priests not to exclude them.

rakovsky said:
in Q&A in April, he said... he had just been giving his own view on the topic, not setting the Church's rule...

...in the text from the March publication in Greek News Online ...he is saying that he gives instructions to the priests

"They already have received the sacrament of matrimony, so my direction to the priest is that we cannot exclude one Orthodox member from the Holy Communion. You know I follow always the directions and the principles that our Lord Jesus Christ Gave us: ‘Ο άνθρωπος δεν έγινε για το Σάββατο. Το Σάββατο έγινε για τον άνθρωπο.’[ie. Mark 2:27: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath."

So he is saying that he gives instructions to the priests that we cannot exclude an "Orthodox member" from Communion, and by "Orthodox member", he apparently means the heterodox spouse, not the Orthodox spouse
Whatever the archbishop meant or intended his remarks taken together aren't clarifying in the least .

The opinion expressed at Monarchos blog is still a bit hard for me to swallow:
"traditionally minded Orthodox are already reeling from his suggestion that non-Orthodox spouses should receive Communion. ...it is beginning to dawn on folks that this is really an end-run around the whole gay-marriage issue. Have a same sex marriage performed outside the Church and then receive communion with your same sex spouse." http://www.monomakhos.com/looks-like-the-natives-are-getting-restless/

The archbishop is referring to marriages performed in the Orthodox Church, not outside. Until or unless gay marriages are performed in the Orthodox Church or the archbishop expresses the opinion that marriages performed outside of the Orthodox Church are sacramental the conclusion expressed at Monarchos does not immediately follow of itself from any of the archbishop's specific remarks that I have seen.

Here is youtube transcript of the brief relevant section from April, which begins 34 minutes and 47 seconds into the video:[1]

"Zoe Anagnos asks "I'd like to know when priests will receive directives to permit communion to non-orthodox spouses
married in the Orthodox Church can you explain this?"
[Archbishop Elpidophoros]
"You know that these kind of decisions generall are made by the Ecumenical Patriarch, by the head of our Church. I understand that you are referring to a question that I answered during our webinar in a meeting we had last February with the leadership 100 meeting
in Florida where somebody asked me what my opinion was about this issue and then I said I asked myself how can I offer the sacrament of marriage to a Christian who is not member of my church you know do we do this with the mixed marriages we accept to the sacrament of marriage and non-orthodox faithful from other churches and we they get married in the Orthodox Church and then they get separated when they have to attend the service and the Eucharist so can you imagine two people married and blessed in the Orthodox Church and and you remember the prayers that we say in the church that these two now become one and they become one with the blessing of the Orthodox Church and after becoming one we force them to separate when the Eucharist comes and I asked myself in public before all the members of the leadership 100 say how can we do that and that I said that personally I do not agree personally I would offer the other sacrament the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist to those couples who are married and they received the sacrament of marriage in the Orthodox Church and in this way I saved the whole family because otherwise I lose the children and I lose the whole family and I remind you that the mixed marriages in the United States in our archdiocese is over 65% over 65% so if we do not if we are not inclusive of these families in our archdiocese every year every year we will lose 65% of our members of our families who can afford us can a pastor take that responsibility and lose our people because of that only?"
The last word "only" almost seems to treat the matter as if it is a mere trifle. Who could object to a mere trifle?

Archbishop Elpidophoros said:
“Is there a categorizing? Can we distinguish between Sacraments? Is there a category of Sacraments we can attend, and a category we cannot? If we are accepted in one sacrament, we cannot exclude another sacrament. That’s my principle."
Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, echoing as I understand it the likes of St. Maximos the Confessor, has remarked that "...the contemplation of nature means that we see all things, persons, and moments as signs and sacraments of God... In earlier chapters we have indicated the theological basis for this contemplation of nature. All things are permeated and maintained in being by the uncreated energies of God, and all things are a theophany that mediates his presence (pp. 22-23). At the heart of each thing is its inner principle, or logos, implanted within it by the Creator Logos; and so through the logos we enter into communion with the Logos (p.33)." (Met. Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way, p119).

The latter I take it is the Tradition; sacraments are as infinite as Christ who the book of Ephesians tells us is with all, in all, and through all things.

Archbishop Elpidophoros personal belief so far as I can tell, not so much Perhaps he will clarify his remarks.

Meanwhile, for me, the archbishop's various remarks on Holy Communion taken as a whole remain apparently incoherent and extremely disappointing.

____________
[1](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veR4kioP920)
 
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xariskai

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EDIT/ partial retraction. In my previous post I wrote:

"The archbishop is referring to marriages performed in the Orthodox Church, not outside." But that is not true for the archbishop at all.
An "Orthodox wedding" according to the archbishop can actually be a wedding in a heterodox church. Just have a priest there "with his vestments" pray "bless this marriage," issue a marriage certificate and stamp it "Orthodox" and presto: it is an Orthodox sacramental wedding. I guess a quick prayer and a rubber stamp is the latest form of Orthodox sacramental marriage."

[Archbishop Elpidophoros /March 2020] "...let your [Orthodox] son get married in the Roman Catholic Church. Ask your parish priest to be present with his vestments to read a prayer there. And then your parish priest can issue a marriage certificate—Orthodox.’” To audience laughter, His Eminence continued, “Why not? He was there. And there you go; you have the family getting married with the blessing of the Orthodox Church.... Be practical and find solutions where people see challenges and problems. This is what I say to my priests.” https://www.greeknewsonline.com/arc...hodox-church-his-views-on-priests-appearance/

So this archbishop teaches not only if a heterodox spouse has an Orthodox wedding they should be allowed the Orthodox Eucharist, but also that an Orthodox wedding can be a heterodox wedding with an Orthodox priest in the pew willing to sign a certificate. So perhaps the Monarchos blog is right after all at least theoretically homosexual spouses might easily be issued a certificate at a heterodox wedding blessed by a willing priest in the pew with a certificate in his briefcase.
 
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