Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?

Salpy

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Why doesn't everybody just ask their own priest?

 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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I haven't read all of these posts, but I will try to eventually. Being new to Orthodoxy, I am very interested to know more about preparation and protocol for Communion. When I asked my Priest why most people at the Church did not take Communion, he said that this was a problem. He said that in our Ethiopian Orthodox Church there is too much fear about judgment coming to those who take Communion but still have some sin in their life. So, who of us is without sin, and thus Ethiopians abstain from the sacraments out of a paralyzing fear. At least this is what the Priest told me, and he viewed it as a problem that needed to be corrected. But I told him that it was better to have that problem than to have the people casually receive the sacraments without self-examination and repentance (as is the case in many Protestant Churches.) But to my understanding, the Archdeacon told me that I must fast from midnight in order to recive Communion, and that I must attend the entire Liturgy from 7:00 a.m. We only make it to the Church a few times a year, because it is seven hours away.  So, I do observe this rule because I definitely desire to receive the Mysteries if I travel that far. But this is all I know so far.
Selam
 

stashko

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ozgeorge said:
stashko said:
i rather take Holy communion Once or twice or four times a year worthily than approach every sunday unworthily.....some orthodox churches are following the latin example of monthly confession as well  .....people can fall into a trap thinking there sins are tiny minor and they approach holy communion unconfessed....
You seem to miss the point also. No one is suggesting that we receive Communion unprepared. What we are discussing here is what is the ancient tradition of the Orthodox Church, and the ancient tradition of the Orthodox Church is frequent Communion.
bstaining from Communion is not a "pious" practice, but a superstition which damages our spiritual health.

I repeat:
ozgeorge said:
"To abstain from Holy Communion, whether out of piety or laxity, was an evil and pernicious custom, one which in effect negates our baptism and separates us from what should be (but generally is not) our ‘daily bread’, the very Body and Blood of the Lord."(source)[/i]
The Fathers of the Holy Mountain have tried to reintroduce this ancient tradition:
" Indeed, the Kollyvades  Fathers, who advocated a return to frequent communion, were regarded as dangerous innovators in the face of such unenlightened customs passing as tradition, when in fact they were simply pleading for a restoration of the age-old practice of the Church."
Source "A Traditionalist Critique of The Orthodox Church"- Heromonk Patapios

It is not "Orthodox" to abstain from Communion.
I understand exactly what your saying but in my mind i can't seperate frequent and recieving unprepared ....im used to week preperation for the Holy Gifts maybe 4 or 5 times a year..that how i was raised...taught
 

Fr. George

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stashko said:
I understand exactly what your saying but in my mind i can't seperate frequent and recieving unprepared ....im used to week preperation for the Holy Gifts maybe 4 or 5 times a year..that how i was raised...taught
Those of us who support frequent communion are trying to get to the point where people are living their lives as best they can, always being prepared not only for communion, but for the dread Judgment Day.  We're striving for general holiness, not an intense burst a few times per year; we want to try and be holy just as He is Holy, asking Him to perfect our imperfect actions and intentions, and pleading that He accept our meager sacrifice as worthy of Him out of His compassion and mercy for us, not out of the inherent worthiness (which is zero) of the offering.

Supporting the fasts of the Church, praying, giving alms, asking forgiveness of those whom we may have wronged - this should be a regular practice of all Christians at all times; seeing a spiritual father regularly (2-6 times a year, maybe more, depending on your relationship; one should not feel totally 'independent,' but at the same time one should not be 'mindlessly dependent,' either) should happen regardless of frequency of reception of the Holy Mysteries.  Saying the prayers of preparation the evening before and morning of are useful and beneficial; but they'll be even more effective if they're part of a regular prayer routine.
 

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Irish Hermit said:
Thank you, Elpidophoros, it is useful to know the actual practices (3 days fast) of the parish to which you belong?    I guess it is a Greek parish?
Father bless!
I saw here some people have a morbid prejudice toward certain traditions,so I'll not reveal my parish and make it target of attack.
Our jurisdiction is EP, and I want to say that,as far as I saw,the"trimeron xerophagy" is a standard teaching in most parishes in the Church of Greece and Cyprus.
Maybe someone want to argue with me about that.Yes I know in many "greek parishes" do not observe it strictly.But it's oikonomia or barely bad habit.Just like many "greek papades" omit all litanies and prayers between evangelion and cheroubikon(some read them secretly during apostolos or even trisagion).Yes,they do this,by good word it's "oikonomia" ;by bad word,you can say it's a liturgical abuse.But even the same priests who do this,dare not call this practice standard or official.
In Hellas and Cyprus even in the most "lax" parish in which the same folk and papas who do not keep trimeron xerophagy ,dare not claim that the trimeron or metaleipseos are excrescent ,unnecessary or optional.They will tell you that for some reasons they do not follow it exactly,but dare not treat the established rule and traditon as stupid things or even cacodoxy......
 

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ialmisry said:
For someone Chinese, you use an awful lot of Greek in your English.
Those words are "ecclesiastical" rather than "greek",right?( like 'epitrachelion','phelonion'...klp...)
 

Keble

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
Irish Hermit said:
The new practice of weekly Communion is only a few decades old.  It is too early to see what the final fruits of it will be. 
New? I seem to remember St. Paul saying, "As often as you meet together." Now, perhaps you want to argue that people did not meet together weekly before 1950. Even if that were true (and I'm not convinced it is), communing weekly would still not be a new practice, because then people have always communed as often as they met together. The only thing which has changed is that automobile ownership has allowed many more people to come to church and commune more frequently.
Historically the obligation was to attend church every week, no matter what church. Even if one didn't partake, one attended; and from medieval times on, most people came, but most people didn't partake. In other words, most people came to seem communion offered. One even finds RC manuals stating that the job of the laity in the liturgy was to watch.
 

PeterTheAleut

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Elpidophoros said:
ialmisry said:
For someone Chinese, you use an awful lot of Greek in your English.
Those words are "ecclesiastical" rather than "greek",right?( like 'epitrachelion','phelonion'...klp...)
Well, isn't the word "ecclesiastical" itself a Greek word?  Derived from εκκλησία (ekklesia), which is Greek for "church".  I imagine, then, that most of the words we deem ecclesiastical are Greek in origin. ;)
 

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I thought you had to have approval from your priest and approval of the priest at the parish you visit in order to have communion. If that is the case wouldn't you ask what the requirements are for a given parish and follow them? It seems like an issue of respect to me. I don't take off my shoes as I enter my house. But I have friends that do so at their homes. So when I visit their house I take off my shoes as I enter. But that doesn't mean that I have to change my practice at my own home.
 

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Elpidophoros said:
ialmisry said:
For someone Chinese, you use an awful lot of Greek in your English.
Those words are "ecclesiastical" rather than "greek",right?( like 'epitrachelion','phelonion'...klp...)
They're ecclesiastical if there's no English word that's equivalent or refers to the same thing; they're Greek if there is.
 

BTRAKAS

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Here's a translation from an American born Greek speaker, but not literate in Greek, of the Greek phonetics in Reply # 145.  All the terms are ecclesiastical terminology which does translate into the English language.

"trimeron xerophagy"  The 3 day (dry) fast.  (My note:  A GOAA priest taught that this practice emanates from when the Kolivades movement was taking place in Greece, they preached following the annual guide to fasting (lenten periods, Wed. & Fri., other special fast days called for on the ecclesiastical calendar) and receipt of Communion at every Liturgy; weekly attendance.  In order to address the practice they confronted of fasting and communing 4 times annually, they recommended fasting, once, for 3 days, prior to returning to weekly communal participation.)

"oikonomia,"  economy.

"papdes," priests

"evangelio,"  The Gospel Reading

"cheroubikon," The Cherubic Hymn

"metalepseos"  I'm not sure about the exact translation, but it refers to the receipt of Communion.  It is used in the formal name of the "Communion of the Apostles" Icon.

"cocodoxy" This is not a term I've ever encountered, but "caco"="bad" (Orthodoxy) "glory," seems to be what the writer may be attempting to refer to.
 

ozgeorge

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cleveland said:
Those of us who support frequent communion are trying to get to the point where people are living their lives as best they can, always being prepared not only for communion, but for the dread Judgment Day. 
Exactly. If we are not prepared for Holy Communion, then we are not prepared to face the Dreadful Judgement Seat of Christ either.

Quinault said:
I thought you had to have approval from your priest and approval of the priest at the parish you visit in order to have communion. If that is the case wouldn't you ask what the requirements are for a given parish and follow them? It seems like an issue of respect to me. I don't take off my shoes as I enter my house. But I have friends that do so at their homes. So when I visit their house I take off my shoes as I enter. But that doesn't mean that I have to change my practice at my own home.
I don't think it's as simple as that. This is not about "different practices" which no doubt obviously exist, what it is about is: "what is the teaching of the Orthodox Church? Does the Church advocate frequent Communion or infrequent Communion?" If a week's fasting is a "requirement" then clearly, to Commune weekly would require the Faithful to perpetualy fast (which is actually forbidden by the Church). Such practices as requiring a week of fasting before Communion are innovations and not the original practice of the Orthodox Church.
 

ialmisry

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Elpidophoros said:
ialmisry said:
For someone Chinese, you use an awful lot of Greek in your English.
Those words are "ecclesiastical" rather than "greek",right?( like 'epitrachelion','phelonion'...klp...)
Actually, no.  For example:

Hellas.  It's Greece in English, nothing ecclesiastical about that.

Kata lathos.  It's by mistake in English.  Kata lathos is jargon in English. 

Arabic, unlike English, has linguistic constraints that impede wholescale adoption of Greek.  Chinese likewise has constraints too (though not the same ones), so I was just suprised to see so much Greek.
 

Irish Hermit

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Is It Necessary to Abstain from Meat for One Week Before Communion?

Would it be useful to now make some sort of summation which answers the question posed?

There are three ways of abstaining from meat before Communion...

1.  Abstaining from meat for one week before Communion

2.  Abstaining from meat for three days before Communion

3.  Abstaining from meat from the Saturday midnight before Communion.


What should I do personally in the matter of how long to abstain from meat?

1.  If you live in one of the "home countries" of Orthodoxy there will be an already established praxis in your parish or your monastery.  In humility and obedience, simply abide by that.  If you believe your circumstances warrant something different, go to your spiritual father and seek his direction and blessing.   You can always return to him if you believe it needs adjusting later.

2.  If you live in the "diaspora" and there is no clear-cut praxis in your parish, then you need to seek out your parish priest or spiritual father and ask him for his direction and blessing.  In all cases one should strive to act obediently and with humility.
 

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Actually, xerophagia (literally; dry eating) means more than abstaining from meat. It means observing the entire fasting discipline, abstaining from meat, fish, eggs, dairy, wine and oil.

We might also consider Our Lord's own words addressed to us in every Liturgy:

Piete ex aftou, pantes   .... Piite ot neia, Vsii.......Drink of this, All of you

Note:`  Our Lord said  "All of You"  not some of you !

The fact is that until later centuries, those who did not commune were required to leave the church with the penitents and catachumens. From the most ancient times, regular participation (koinonia) has been the rule, not the exception.

The fact is that many of the customs received from the Synodal period of the Russian church are defective, and were due to the civil government interference in the life of the church. Peter the Great abolished the Patriarchate, closed nearly all the monasteries, and made the clergy into government employees. The rules for extensive preparation for communion (it's called "goveniye" in Russian) date from this time, when the laity only came to communion once a year, in order to fulfill a legal requirement. In those times, very few of the laity observed the church's appointed fasts, and only confessed once a year; and so special preparation was necessary.

As Christians, we must remember that Our Lord's commandments are more important than any custom invented by men. Even so, all of us should prepare for participation in the Eucharist according to the directions of our spiritual father and the parish priest who is serving the Liturgy.
 

Irish Hermit

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frost said:
Actually, xerophagia (literally; dry eating) means more than abstaining from meat. It means observing the entire fasting discipline, abstaining from meat, fish, eggs, dairy, wine and oil.
Yes, it is understood that when we say "abstaining from meat" it includes all the foods which are lower on the Fasting triangle.


1.  Meat, milk, eggs

2.  Fish

3.  Wine and oil


 

Irish Hermit

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frost said:
The fact is that many of the customs received from the Synodal period of the Russian church are defective, and were due to the civil government interference in the life of the church.
These were not customs which resulted from the Synodal period in Russia. Russia simply shared the universal customs of the Orthodox Churches.

For example at the time of Peter the Great these Russian customs were also the norm throughout Greece and Mount Athos and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  I don't know about Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch but since they came within the Greek sphere of influence these customs probably applied there too.

The Kollyvades movement coincides roughly with Peter's reign.  Their desire to introduce frequent communion caused uproar and division on the Holy Mountain.  It was so disruptive that several Patriarchs tried to intervene and pour oil on troubled waters.

For example there is this from Patriarch Theodosius II to the Athonite monks
in about 1770:

"He wrote to the monks of Athos saying that the early Christians
received Holy Communion every Sunday, while those of the subsequent
period received it every forty days, after penance; he advised
that whoever felt himself prepared should follow the former, whereas
if he did not he should follow the latter."

http://www.synodinresistance.org/pdfs/2008/11/29/20081129bMannafromAthos.pdf
 

Irish Hermit

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frost said:
We might also consider Our Lord's own words addressed to us in every Liturgy:

Piete ex aftou, pantes   .... Piite ot neia, Vsii.......Drink of this, All of you

Note:`  Our Lord said   "All of You"   not some of you !

The fact is that until later centuries, those who did not commune were required to leave the church with the penitents and catachumens.
Not sure how that would be implemented?  During the period when I was a young monk I attended Liturgy every day.  Likewise many people,  especially the retired people, came to daily Liturgy at the monastery or at the parish churches.  It seems a bit mean to have asked these pious daily attenders (not to mention the monks and nuns, and the bishop in attendance in the Altar every morning) to leave the church at the start of the Anaphora!!
 

Demetrios G.

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Irish Hermit said:
frost said:
Actually, xerophagia (literally; dry eating) means more than abstaining from meat. It means observing the entire fasting discipline, abstaining from meat, fish, eggs, dairy, wine and oil.
Yes, it is understood that when we say "abstaining from meat" it includes all the foods which are lower on the Fasting triangle.


1.  Meat, milk, eggs

2.  Fish

3.  Wine and oil
I thought wine and oil is allowed on Saturday in observance of the sabbath. ???
 
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