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Orthodox confession

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Irish45

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What are the difference between the sacrament of confession in the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church?

I understand that OC confession is face-to-face And tends to be less legalistic. Is that accurate? Are there differences between EO confession and OO confession?
 

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Former RC (and Eastern Catholic) here...RC Catholic confession can be face to face but typically takes place in a confessional. You are supposed to say how long it's been since your last confession and then say your sins (and the number of times committed!). There is advice given but there is also a penance given (usually just prayers...I was always given 2 Our Fathers and 2 Hail Marys....it's pretty generic. The UGCC form of confession is pretty much exactly the same as the RC.
The Orthodox form is definitely different. I went last evening actually (my second time since becoming Orthodox this past Easter). It's much more therapeutic and it isn't very rigid at all...I don't need to list the number of times I did anything or the last time i went to confession. It's done in front of an icon and the absolution involves the priest placing his stole on your head. There is no penance give but there is spiritual advice...annonymous confessions are not an option here as everything is face to face. Now, I'm only familiar with the Antiochian way of doing things...I'm not sure how it works in the Slavic or Greek traditions.

Edit: in Catholic confession (RC and UGCC) you have to say an act of Contrition as well. That doesn't happen in Orthodox confession.
 

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Confession in the Eastern Church is much, much more about sickness and healing than about a legal transaction of admitting to a wrongdoing and then accepting "just" or "due" punishment, i.e. penance, for it. Or so I understand.

And yes, penance CAN be given, but in my experience is relatively uncommon. Some say that just showing up for confession and knowing that others see you there and know that you have sinned is usually "penance" enough.
 
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In our parish, I have confessed either during the last stage of Matins ( prior to the Divine Liturgy), prior to Saturday vespers, various times during Holy Week, or when our priest has office hours ( which he indicates as good for his schedule). While confession can is visible, it is not overly audible. I have always appreciated our necessity for it, taken it seriously, and generally feel ok when it is done.

I am in the Antiochian Orthodox Church in the US; the history of confession and communion has been uneven in America within our archdiocese. In the earlier 20th c. laity confession & communion were often only annual. So from that standard, confession and communion were almost absolutely required in tandem. Now there is room for more discussion between priest and parishioner in various situations. Our archdiocese sets an annual minimum standard of 4 confessions per year ( receiving communion is within the individual sense of need or penitence) . Personally, I almost always confess prior to receiving communion but only do this about 6 times a year ( just my sense of necessity not another person’s).
 

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Confession is typically face-to-face—meaning face-to-Christ: the confessor is a witness. As for legalism, I should hope that the confession is done according to the rubrics, all Church rules, and with the proper blessing. For questions about penances generally, here is an older thread that discusses the subject of penances:

 

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Interesting short article I just came across. Maybe it will address, at least in part, some of the OP's questions.

And another--
 
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J Michael

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Most basically, in Orthodox confession, there is the grace of God.
Can't help but wonder, given the way you worded that, if you're not implying that in Catholic (specifically Roman Catholic) confession there is *not* the grace of God.
 

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Can't help but wonder, given the way you worded that, if you're not implying that in Catholic (specifically Roman Catholic) confession there is *not* the grace of God.
And if that's indeed what he is implying?
 

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And if that's indeed what he is implying?
It would be rather absurd to say that an act of repentance of sin does not manifest from the grace of God. That is akin to saying that we do not need God in order to become more holy which sounds rather blasphemous to me.
 

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It would be rather absurd to say that an act of repentance of sin does not manifest from the grace of God. That is akin to saying that we do not need God in order to become more holy which sounds rather blasphemous to me.
A Mystery is more specific than a general "act of repentance" though.
 

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A Mystery is more specific than a general "act of repentance" though.
Are you of the opinion that in Catholic confession, i.e. the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance, the grace of God is absent?
 

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Are you of the opinion that in Catholic confession, i.e. the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance, the grace of God is absent?
I am of the opinion that there is no Eucharist outside of the Orthodox Church. The rest of the sacraments are atleast doubtful.
 

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Interesting short article I just came across. Maybe it will address, at least in part, some of the OP's questions.

And another--
The article about repentance seems fine (though the translation makes it a bit obtuse), if a bit narrow in what the author thinks repentance in confession looks like.

I cannot figure out the article about hospital vs courtroom. The idea that sin is sickness is quite ancient, though the legal metaphors should not be entirely discarded: we're talking about a reality that transcends both analogies. Further, there is nothing about a medical analogy that prevents an impersonal relationship: "get a pill and go on your way" is no more a healthy view of a sacrament than is a court drama.

But where the article really gets problematic is in creating a false understanding of confession. Penances are not about healing, not in some direct way, because canons are not directly about sickness (or sin), but first about ecclesial discipline. Then there is the idea that the Church is a spiritual hospital, which we've already discussed here: http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/threads/is-the-church-a-spiritual-hospital.79431/ ; if you have found further ancient sources, post them there. To make a long story short, Jesus Christ is our physician, but it is very unclear if there much support for the Church (vs the Kingdom) being a hospital for souls. That "Church as hospital" has become not just an accepted analogy but almost the overarching metaphor during the last few decades is a sign of serious innovation, not traditional Christianity.
 

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Penances are not about healing, not in some direct way, because canons are not directly about sickness (or sin), but first about ecclesial discipline.
Simply erroneous.

To make a long story short, Jesus Christ is our physician, but it is very unclear if there much support for the Church (vs the Kingdom) being a hospital for souls. That "Church as hospital" has become not just an accepted analogy but almost the overarching metaphor during the last few decades is a sign of serious innovation, not traditional Christianity.
Nonsense. And the member who posted pages from a book on the thread you link to on the "spiritual hospital" shows that this is dead wrong, whatever the manner in which the book was interpreted on the aforementioned thread. Also, the juxtaposition you make between "Church" and "Kingdom" is absurd in this context, and manifests profoundly disconnected concepts of ecclesiology and eschatology.
 
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I am of the opinion that there is no Eucharist outside of the Orthodox Church. The rest of the sacraments are atleast doubtful.
If the eucharist doesn't exist outside of the Orthodox Church, why would any of the other sacraments?
 

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If the eucharist doesn't exist outside of the Orthodox Church, why would any of the other sacraments?
I am not sure if they 'exist' in the same way. A friend of mine, who used to be Lutheran and is now Orthodox, feels very strongly about the grace that worked through confession as a Lutheran being efficacious. At the same time the spiritual life of pretty much every RC I know is wholly centered around confession, and not at all around the Eucharist or Holy Communion. So I guess God can work grace despite the hollow forms these groups are using. That is I think still wholly a different landmark from God actually gifting himself in his body and blood to his church in the context of the Divine Liturgy.
 

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I am not sure if they 'exist' in the same way. A friend of mine, who used to be Lutheran and is now Orthodox, feels very strongly about the grace that worked through confession as a Lutheran being efficacious. At the same time the spiritual life of pretty much every RC I know is wholly centered around confession, and not at all around the Eucharist or Holy Communion. So I guess God can work grace despite the hollow forms these groups are using.
Not being Roman Catholic myself I can't pretend to speak for them or to completely understand, let alone accept, their mindset. I would venture to guess though, at least from the comments of devout RC's I've spoken with or heard from over the years, including my priest, that they put such a strong emphasis on Confession because a) they are aware that they are sinners like all the rest of us, b) they wish to repent of their sins, and c) they wish to partake of Holy Communion worthily, as much as any of us who are unworthy are able to do so.

I also don't think you need to "guess" that "God can work grace despite..." God is God and can and does "work grace" where and when He chooses. Or so it seems to me.
 

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Not being Roman Catholic myself
Stop being ridiculous. Any difference at all between you and any Latin is due to your group trying to imitate Orthodoxy as closely as possible, not due to the supposed grace inherent to the sacraments of it.

I can't pretend to speak for them or to completely understand, let alone accept, their mindset. I would venture to guess though, at least from the comments of devout RC's I've spoken with or heard from over the years, including my priest, that they put such a strong emphasis on Confession because a) they are aware that they are sinners like all the rest of us, b) they wish to repent of their sins, and c) they wish to partake of Holy Communion worthily, as much as any of us who are unworthy are able to do so.
Na, that's pietistic blabla. They kinda make it clear that communion itself is an empty experience for them (that's why some rather cling to 'Eucharistic Adoration' and such). I funnily enough have a friend who is Orthodox and communed in an RC church a couple of times due to religious indifference at the time and having an RC boyfriend, and she also very sincerely told me that it felt empty and hollow compared to an Orthodox communion. And at the time she was very "open" and tried to desperately convince herself that she felt different about that experience.

I also don't think you need to "guess" that "God can work grace despite..." God is God and can and does "work grace" where and when He chooses. Or so it seems to me.
Yes, of course. But that is a different question from sacramentology in a narrow sense. Especially since your group also does not see Lutheran 'sacraments' as such, while I made an example refering to them.
 

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Re: Katechon in the previous post

I'll try to ignore the underlying triumphalistic and insulting tone of your post. Ooops...I failed :oops:.

Granted that there are far too many in the Roman Catholic Church who have little sense of the sacred and that, as you say, "... communion itself is an empty experience for them ..." but for those who are devout and pious you're just dead wrong. And, as an Orthodox friend of mine is fond of saying, "Church (and all that implies and includes), Orthodox or otherwise, isn't about our 'feelings'".

I too, "prefer" the experience of Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Confession and Holy Communion to that of the Roman Catholic Church. But that doesn't diminish or negate whatever grace and efficacy exists in the Roman sacraments.
 

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Re: Katechon in the previous post

I'll try to ignore the underlying triumphalistic and insulting tone of your post. Ooops...I failed :oops:.

Granted that there are far too many in the Roman Catholic Church who have little sense of the sacred and that, as you say, "... communion itself is an empty experience for them ..." but for those who are devout and pious you're just dead wrong. And, as an Orthodox friend of mine is fond of saying, "Church (and all that implies and includes), Orthodox or otherwise, isn't about our 'feelings'".
Of course it's not, I was just trying to illustrate the point I was making. Objectively speaking there is of course no reason to believe that groups outside of the church have communion whatsoever.

I too, "prefer" the experience of Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Confession and Holy Communion to that of the Roman Catholic Church. But that doesn't diminish or negate whatever grace and efficacy exists in the Roman sacraments.
As you adequately put, this is not a question of preference.
 

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Stop being ridiculous. Any difference at all between you and any Latin is due to your group trying to imitate Orthodoxy as closely as possible, not due to the supposed grace inherent to the sacraments of it.
This is absurd, and it's (Offensive word removed) comments like these that make it difficult to take much of what you say seriously. I respect the opinion of Orthodox that Eastern Catholics aren't truly Orthodox. I wouldn't expect you to see us as such any more than Roman Catholics see Anglo-Catholics as true Catholics. No Eastern Catholic group, with perhaps the exception of Russian Catholics, is trying to imitate Orthodoxy, though. They are practicing the Orthodoxy they received when their Orthodox ancestors entered into communion with Rome. They are not Latin Catholics who decided to LARP East. The idea that we're just imitating you is patently false.

Na, that's pietistic blabla. They kinda make it clear that communion itself is an empty experience for them (that's why some rather cling to 'Eucharistic Adoration' and such). I funnily enough have a friend who is Orthodox and communed in an RC church a couple of times due to religious indifference at the time and having an RC boyfriend, and she also very sincerely told me that it felt empty and hollow compared to an Orthodox communion. And at the time she was very "open" and tried to desperately convince herself that she felt different about that experience.
The pietism I hear from Latin Catholics today is not about how they feel in adoration, but how they feel after having received communion. If you're correct about the emptiness of Catholic eucharist, then perhaps what they are feeling is not true eucharistic grace, but it's wrong to say that receiving communion is an empty experience for them.

Also, shouldn't her religious indifference at the time be an indicator of the probable flaw in her judgement?

Offensive word removed.
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J Michael

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Of course it's not, I was just trying to illustrate the point I was making.
Yeah, it was...but never mind.

Objectively speaking there is of course no reason to believe that groups outside of the church have communion whatsoever.
That's where, one might say, it gets... interesting. Maybe you know better than others just where that is.
 

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This is absurd,
It is precisely not absurd, and that has been raised to your attention already multiple times in this forum:

I mean, almost all Eastern Catholics I've known in the Middle East are quite adamant that they're not 'Easterners' like the Orthodox and see their Catholicism as a badge of Westernness... My Melkite Catholic landlady for a while when I lived in Beirut would complain, in the working language of her Holy Synod, about her Orthodox husband by saying 'Les orthodoxes, ils sont trop orientaux....'
I mean, the Maronites are for all intents and purposes lightly Syriacized Latins. A few decades ago much of their clergy, particularly their monastics, were willing to have blood on their hands to assert their Western cultural-political orientation.

Then as for Melkites, originally, under Euthymius Sayfi (uncle of the first Melkite Catholic 'patriarch', Seraphim/Cyril Tanas) they intended to do just that. He went so far as to translate the Tridentine liturgy into Arabic and intended for that to replace the traditional liturgy. Of course, this horrified both people who were loyally Orthodox and many of the Latin missionaries, who realized that it would severely limit their ability to convert Orthodox. In the event, of course, the movement that coalesced around Tanas eventually received recognition from Rome, but that took remarkably long and involved a much more toned-down latinization than had been intended. Add to this, of course, that those who converted did so largely because it gave them new legal status as sort of quasi-Frenchmen, so the core of the Melkite Catholic movement was always extremely Francophile and French has always been the working language of the hierarchy. The independent streak they sometimes have towards Rome in fact doesn't come from contact with Orthodoxy, but from contact with Gallicanism-- Germanus Adam translated Gallican texts into Arabic and strongly promoted that and Jansenism-- the Synod of Qarqafe (nullified a couple decades later in the Papal decree Melchitarum catholicorum ) was basically a Syrian localization of the Synod of Pistoia. Immediately after Vatican II, there was a rediscovery among the Melkites of their Byzantine heritage to a degree, which was part of what led to Bp Zoghby's movement, but that movement was always doomed to fail for a whole host of reasons-- including that it had very little lay support. Since then, even the Melkite Catholic clergy in the Middle East has come to place more emphasis on their Catholic identity than their ties to Orthodoxy and Rome has taken a much heavier hand in their clergy education-- which, at the advanced level, is all handled by Maronites and Jesuits at Kaslik.
This is one of those things where what I'm told about specific cases in North America sounds nothing like what I've seen as the norm in the Middle East, where virtually no one is imitating Orthodoxy, to say the least.
and it's Orthodicks comments like these that make it difficult to take much of what you say seriously. I respect the opinion of Orthodox that Eastern Catholics aren't truly Orthodox. I wouldn't expect you to see us as such any more than Roman Catholics see Anglo-Catholics as true Catholics. No Eastern Catholic group, with perhaps the exception of Russian Catholics, is trying to imitate Orthodoxy, though. They are practicing the Orthodoxy they received when their Orthodox ancestors entered into communion with Rome. They are not Latin Catholics who decided to LARP East. The idea that we're just imitating you is patently false.
The Orthodoxy they received from their ancestors? Like here?


If that was really the case, there wouldn't have been a need to introduce a policy of delatinization in your group after V2, that called for precisely that. Sheptytskyism and then Zoghbyism are just attempts of your group at reinventing itself in the face of history.

The pietism I hear from Latin Catholics today is not about how they feel in adoration, but how they feel after having received communion. If you're correct about the emptiness of Catholic eucharist, then perhaps what they are feeling is not true eucharistic grace, but it's wrong to say that receiving communion is an empty experience for them.
Well, comparing experiences are of course not an argument for either position. As I said, those were illustrations. I see the massive growth of Charismaticism in your group as a vindication of my assertment though.

Also, shouldn't her religious indifference at the time be an indicator of the probable flaw in her judgement?
As I said, she tried to be on board with it precisely due to her indifference, but she couldn't.
 

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It is precisely not absurd, and that has been raised to your attention already multiple times in this forum:
You're trying to have it both ways. Are Eastern Catholics imitating Orthodoxy, or are we imitating Latin Catholicism? If Eastern Catholic churches are so heavily latinized in the Middle East that they barely resemble the Orthodox, it is a senseless accusation to say they are imitating Orthodoxy. It seems you think we're fake if we do, and fake if we don't.
 

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Confession as I remember it from Romania -on the Hungarian border, was very brief, a couple of minutes. The priest would ask “have you done this or that? “ a as dit “ Are you enemies with anyone? “
It was only expected that you confessed during Lent ( or the elderly women could confess during the other fasts too) ; the priests do’s couraged not just frequent communion but even communing say twice during Lent. At most liturgies nobody commued, but the priest. Now in more recent years some pious parents started bringing up their infants for communion in more places, but the adults don’t commune.
 

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A bit further north and east where the formerly GC influence lingered, I understand they had a custom of more frequent communion and longer confession with penance. But we inherited the spirit and customs of the Karlovits patriarchate which was very modern in many was. Some Serbs will understand .
 

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You're trying to have it both ways. Are Eastern Catholics imitating Orthodoxy, or are we imitating Latin Catholicism? If Eastern Catholic churches are so heavily latinized in the Middle East that they barely resemble the Orthodox, it is a senseless accusation to say they are imitating Orthodoxy. It seems you think we're fake if we do, and fake if we don't.
I think I made the point clear: "Eastern Catholicism" is Latins imitating Orthodoxy. And the examples I (or rather Samn) brought up illustrate that. "Delatinization" is propaganda quack, which is especially apparent with the Novusordoization that happened instead.
 

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They are practicing the Orthodoxy they received when their Orthodox ancestors entered into communion with Rome.
Not really, many EC churches were reformed after the Second Vatican Council, in order to look more like their respective EO/OO/Nestorian counterparts. The reform of Chaldeans (mirrored on the Assyrian Church of the East) was specially polemical across the RCC, and that of the Ukrainians triggered a schism called the SSJK, a living relic of how it looked like before Metropolitan Andrey's reforms. Maronites did some heavy liturgical archeology to restore their older practices, but I can't say how much of it was internal and how much of it looked to sources from the Syriac Orthodox and others. I believe the communion of children was a general no-go.

A bit further north and east where the formerly GC influence lingered, I understand they had a custom of more frequent communion and longer confession with penance. But we inherited the spirit and customs of the Karlovits patriarchate which was very modern in many was. Some Serbs will understand .
Actually, it's frequent communion that came back with the modern patristic revival of the Kollyvades.
 

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In Habsburg lands the GC tended to have more frequent communion than the Orthodox. And also there seems to have been more popular piety among the GC than the orthodox . Much of it is due no doubt to the existence in all GC parishes of Marian reunions and other such lay societies. Their influence lingers to this day, after they become orthodox, in many places. Where there were no GC the spirit is different in some ways. I was only talking about the Habsburg monarchy where the Kollyvadex had no influence whatsoever. But among the Romanians across the Carpathians that were so to speak, sheltered from
Non orthodox influence, the situation isn’t necessarily better. But they are different in other ways. There is a monastic influence there that is non existent in the Habsburg monarchy.
 

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In Habsburg lands the GC tended to have more frequent communion than the Orthodox. And also there seems to have been more popular piety among the GC than the orthodox . Much of it is due no doubt to the existence in all GC parishes of Marian reunions and other such lay societies. Their influence lingers to this day, after they become orthodox, in many places. Where there were no GC the spirit is different in some ways. I was only talking about the Habsburg monarchy where the Kollyvadex had no influence whatsoever. But among the Romanians across the Carpathians that were so to speak, sheltered from
Non orthodox influence, the situation isn’t necessarily better. But they are different in other ways. There is a monastic influence there that is non existent in the Habsburg monarchy.
Frequent communion faded away very soon in the history of Christianity due to widespread self-consciousness, but Roman Catholics eventually restored it along with the devotion to the Sacred Heart, while the Kollyvades Fathers independently restored it with their Patristic revival. I think the simplest explanation is that the Sacred Heart got to the RGCC much earlier than the Kollyvades' ripple effect got to Romanian Orthodox churches.
 

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Melkite Catholic
Jurisdiction
Eparchy of Newton
I think I made the point clear: "Eastern Catholicism" is Latins imitating Orthodoxy. And the examples I (or rather Samn) brought up illustrate that. "Delatinization" is propaganda quack, which is especially apparent with the Novusordoization that happened instead.
I can't speak for all ECs, but I'm not a Latin. If you're not able to recognize that at least some ECs are truly Eastern, then your view is detached from reality.
 
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