Is there a better choice when distant from a church than sharing the Lord's cup with outsiders?


Is there not a better choice when distant from a church than sharing the Lord's cup in a strange church?

I understand often when in solitude or when far from a more orthodox church for a long time, one considers going and sharing the Lord's Supper with what some have called the 'heretical' or the 'false prophet'. 

I do not judge in this matter. But I ask, is it not better before going to the heretic to simply pray the liturgy oneself in solitude asking the Lord's absolution to bless what you do have as his Holy Kurbana -- as to absolve the barrier from communing with Him?

There was one I knew once that would drive as often as he could to one of his own distant yet more orthodox churches in another city hours away. But often when finances could not finance such travel, he would not be able to travel so far.

He visited a less orthodox church once. He figured that since it has been such a long time since he had taken of the holy communion -- he would take such there. 

However, he became very vividly sick afterwards. So he decided to ask Lord as he was convinced that the angels would not accept communion with a heretic. He pleaded to the Lord and even the Lord's human mother. 

In the end he had what seemed like a vision that the Lord would not accept that he share communion with the less orthodox. This continued despite much effort to convince otherwise. 

However, later on when alone in a very isolated place. He was praying the sacred prayers and worshipping God. Yet several times of doing this on various occasions he would always skip the Holy Kurbana out of respect. 

But he would plead each time to the Lord and his hosts to absolve him and permit him to take of the holy cup. One day, the Lord's wonderful mother appeared in what appeared like another vision and said that it would be permitted. So he decided that when far from a church for a long time that this would be his practice from then on.

With only one exception did he do otherwise. He felt strongly and insistently moved by the Lord to take of communion when he was visiting another less orthodox church. But God had demonstrated in this very rare exception that he was strangely behind this specific spiritual father in an unordinary way despite appearances.

Other than that exceptions he never would share the Lord's sacred supper in a less orthodox church. 


PS: The reason I used the words less 'orthodox' and more 'orthodox' is that I fear that the greatest weakness we have as orthodox is thinking we are more 'orthodox' than what we actually are. 

So I find it both more humble to say 'more orthodox' than 'orthodox', so that I do not think of myself as greater than others -- and so fall to into the same temptation that corrupted the devil. 

I also figured it would be more humbler to call others 'less orthodox' than 'heretics' as they still would seem to be at least brothers in the sense of 'christiandem' -- even if some of them have lost their way. 

Also if there's any confusion about the terms: Holy Communion, Lord's Supper, Holy Cup, Communing and the Holy Qurbana -- most of these are various local terms for the "divine liturgy' in plain English. 'The Holy Qurbana' would be the exception as it is the term our sister churches use in Syria and India.

Anyhow, does any of the spiritual fathers have anything to share on this matter?

Pray for me a sinner.

Comments

  • Very quickly...Orthodoxy is Orthodoxy. There isn't a faith that is 'more' or 'less' orthodox than another. It's either you follow what you believe is the truth (ie Orthodox), or you don't, in which case one is just fooling themselves in running around to 'find the truth'--enjoying the adventure more than the endgoal and searching for what "feels" better than what's better for their eternity--knowing and ignoring the truth in front of them and not attesting to it.


    But, the main answer to all this is: whatever the father of confession of that person says and allows or not allow. That's it. It's that simple. And if that person doesn't want to follow the guidance of his spiritual father, or even not have one... then there are much more problems with that person's relationship with the Church than "taking communion in another church." No need to discuss that here.
  • Thanks Mina for sharing.


    Please excuse me as I may not be so talented at explaining myself clearly sometimes. 

    Please be patient with me as I try to explain better. To try to explain, you might be familiar with how Romanists or "Catholics" often call themselves "Catholic". Yet often we might say that they are not Catholic by definition, at least not based on the way the word is used in Acts 9 (Proxies), where the word first appears at least in our holy literature. Ex. Ekklesia Katholis.

     Quite often a 'Catholic' might think of himself as being more 'catholic' than what he really is due to a lack of understanding the old meaning. Every translation I can find all translate the term "catholic church" in Acts of the Apostles (Chapter 9) as "the churches throughout". 
     
     I can not find another translation of this text. Nor was St. John the Baptist a member of the Baptist church but so many of these words have changed over time. I do hope you understand where I'm going. Often Baptists tend to think of themselves as Baptist without understanding that the true definition was one of St. John the Baptizers followers from long ago like St. Andrew and St. John. 
     
     In both of these cases there is a great weakness of either thinking too highly of themselves and part of it is due to their misunderstanding of what these words used to mean.

    So when I use the term 'orthodox' I am not using it in the way we use it today but by the looser older definitions in it's broader context. 

    Ex. At least in English as this is the language we are writing in, the UK's English Oxford dictionary defines orthodox as "the traditional or generally accepted" -- the aged way.

    If not mistaken, I believe the Greek and Coptic versions hints at "the straight and narrow way" as a more literal definition -- or to be short, "the old-school way."

    This is difficult to accept but what's unique is that, we obviously are doing things very different than the old way of our early brothers in Jerusalem. 

    This is also true compared to the ways of way has changed along the way from the period of the developing church but that doesn't mean our faith has changed in it's core. In fact many things were laxed to make it easier for people to become christians (ex. Acts of the Apostles 15). Despite the old school ways of the apostles who did not want to change anything, we read that His Holy Spirit insisted on multiple changes. 

    There is nothing wrong with this, but if we define things by being the oldest or the most original than I feel we should not forget we are less old-school then before things were laxed. Also many councils and fathers have always laxed things to make it easier on the church. This is not a bad thing. It's just that I feel we should not fool ourselves that we are doing things as in the beginning.

    To use the word orthodox seems to imply that we are doing everything exactly like in Jerusalem when it started, so I hope you understand why I use the term "more orthodox" to describe ourselves as "Orientals" as no matter how straight a line we walk, we still fall greatly being much less straight and narrow as the "old way" in Jerusalem.

    But I think we make a mistake when we think we are doing things in an older way than Jerusalem as the gospel first went from Antioch first before Alexandria.

    We can always find someone following the straight road better than us.

    Pray for me a sinner. I fear sometimes these matters lead us to thinking higher of ourselves than what we are. 

    Sometimes I get the impression that this is the same sin that got the devil kicked out of heaven. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but it seemed that the devil wanted all the attention -- as if he wanted everyone to see how committed and dedicated he was to worshiping God with the Seraphim. He seemed to want to look more straight and more religious than all the others. I could be wrong, but I believe eventually this is what what led to his jealousy of God. He cared more about how others saw him then how God saw him. Sometimes I fear that we will fall into the same condemnation of the devil. 


    End of the day, we are 'orthodox' in the sense that this is the path we have chosen, love and embrace. I just know that the devil tends to use our greatest strengths against us at times. I read so many of the stories of the desert fathers and how the would battle with the fight between humility and pride.

    Pray for me a sinner

    Kurie eleson pi Kristos.









  • edited March 19
    @tasmin

    I truly enjoy your detail and passion about this subject. Nonetheless, I can also tell you're fairly young.

    You're entire point of view is merely external and focused on what one should be outwardly.

    I've found that some members of our church may have 2,000 icons in their home, car, cell phone cover and in their office. Yet, they fast for two weeks during Lent.

    Your entire argument is subjective and based solely on your own interpretation, this specific situation and your geographical location.

    I have an hour drive to church. I also am blessed with two small children. If I take a swig of water before I jump in the car and drive, does that mean I am a sinner?

    Did those who created the strict fasting rules think one day we'd have churches across the planet, in different climates and take large, metal vehicles long distances before we got to church? I may have just spent an hour getting them ready, feeding them and I need to drink something to drive such a distance. Does that mean I'm going against the "Orthodox" practice of fasting before communion?

    Keep in mind, the first few centuries of the Church, communion was given BEFORE the Liturgy to follow the Last Supper. But, changes were made, logically of course in hindsight.

    This sounds like a specific situation to this person. Just as others have said, it's up to the person's Father Confessor and their specific situation.

    Although, it is nice to see your feverience on this subject. Please pray for me and my family and have a blessed Great Fast!
  • I knew someone long ago who's spirtual father would always tell him that he asked too many questions and that he needed to learn to think more for himself and turn to God more rather than bothering his spiritual father all the time.

    This person before coming to orthodoxy was in a very strange sub North American church where he had to get permission for the smallest things. Ex. permission on how to spend his money, permission on where he could work, permission on what days and hours he could work, permission when he could visit family, permission on how long he could visit family, permission on how he spend his time, permission on where he could travel, etc...

    Well when he became Orthodox, he really wanted to know the orthodox way to handle everything so he was asking his spiritual father questions every day. 

    In the end his spiritual father became overwhealmed with constant questions until the spiritual father told him he needed to learn to think more for himself and look to God for answers instead of asking him questions all the time.

    So often anytime someone says you need to ask your spiritual father, he doesn't really know how to respond to such. I think he may have a small head injury too so I think God gives him a little extra grace in the fact that he struggles to make sense of very simple things sometimes.




  • interesting posts, thank you all.
    we don't ask our spiritual fathers what colour clothes to wear, but when it comes to Holy Communion, this is definitely one of those things we should ask them.

    it also depends on the situation.
    for example, one spiritual father allowed me to take Holy Communion with eastern orthodox Christians on a visit to eastern europe (no coptic church there, and the armenian orthodox one had closed 60 years previously due to emigration). he was my spiritual father when i moved far away from my original one.
    however, the other spiritual father (original one) did not let me take Holy Communion in the EO church near me when the EO churches opened sooner than our church after the virus outbreaks. this was because i just had to learn to be a bit patient and it benefitted me spiritually.
    so we can't tell you exactly what to do as 1. we don't know the details and 2. we are not your spiritual fathers.
  • My title might not had been so clear. I understand that often due to agreements with other churches communion will be taken outside when far from our church. However, the point of the question is that I was wondering why we don't consider other options before even considering going to outsiders? That's all.

    Sometimes it may seem better to pray the liturgy alone without communion instead of going to those who have lost their way. 

    Don't misunderstand me, I am a big believer in inter-faith dialog and ecumenical efforts to bring the churches back together. I am not questioning this. But the concern was over the Holy Qurbana. It seems like there is a spiritual force behind this. So even if it might not make sense logically, it seems that it matters to the angels at least -- especially if someone could get sick over such. Reminds me of 1 Cor 7 where some would get sick from communion or even die. Anyhow, I do respect what ever the fathers decided concerning agreements between churches. I just kind of wonder why we are currently as a church sharing communion at all. I've known some to see some real supernatural things, even leading them to Orthodoxy when they knew nothing of it.


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