Confession and Communion

edited December 1969 in Coptic Orthodox Church
I could ask a Coptic priest the answer to this question but I would like to ask for your experiences.

In the Russian (but not the Greek) church it is usual to go to confession before going to communion. I lined up for communion once after having been to confession and commuinion a couple of days earlier and the bishop announced that no one could partake who had not been to confession that day. A priest saw me turn back and 'confessed' me.

What is the usual practicse in your church? How does confession 'work' and how is it linked to holy communion?

I have watched people receiving communion in  a coptic church but I couldn't really make head or tail out of what was happening.

Please pray for me as you read this


  • Confession is technically a requirement before you take communion. We are supposed to be pure in body mind and heart before communion. There isn't a requirement it be that day, but in general it should be before you take communion. These days lately, people confess on average I'd say once every one to two months. That is between them their FOC and God. This is a quote from the confession of the priest that was posted a while ago. It was taken out because it was felt that it was too harsh. I think it should have stayed in.
    "من كان طاهراَ فليقرب ومن كان نجساً فليخرج إلا لأن يحترق بنار اللاهوت" "Whoever is pure let him approach, and who ever is defiled let him leave so he doesn’t burn from the fire of the divinity." Divine Liturgy Confession of the Priest
  • yeah, what i have seen fits with what jydeacon has said.
    if you are repenting of your sins every day to God, you only need to confess once every few weeks or less. unless, of course, you have stolen something, been fornicating or have some other heavy burden of guilt on your heart, then you should clear it up before having communion. james 5 verse 16 gives the command for confession but does not specify how often.
    the Bible does not say either how often the early Christians had communion, but we know from the writings of the early fathers it was about once a week.
    so maybe confession should be once a week. i would be very interested to know what others think of this idea.
    in practice, it tends to depend on how many priests there are for the congregation, and how long the person needs to talk to the priest for.
    i have noticed that in churches where confession is very frequent, it tends to be quite superficial, and i don't think this is better than going once a month for a spiritual check up, like we do, where you talk not only of what is obviously sin, but also about what is bothering you and your lack of faith and lack of patience with what God is doing in your life (this is also sin, but you may not realise it, and may just focus on the pens your stole at work instead of going to the root problem, which is your lack of dependance on God to supply all your needs, for example).
    i asked a catholic priest about this last year and he said confessions used to be just 5 minutes, but now tend to take about 15. well, maybe i am very sinful, but i can't do it in less than 20 to 30 mins, and i wonder if a 5 min job is just a bit superficial. this priest told me his congregation now also come for advice instead of just mentioning their sins then praying and leaving. what do others think? it seems to me this priest is learning more about the deeper function of confession, which is to put the sinner back on the right path.

    also you should not take communion if you have an on-going argument with another Christian (matthew 5:24 ' leave your gift on the altar and then go and be reconciled to your brother, then offer your gift')
    this is just as important as confession, because if we think we are right with God yet do not love our brother for whom Christ died, we are sinning by not truly loving God enough to show humility in front of a child of God and being reconciled to him (even if he is 'in the wrong'!)
    so lets all confess to God and the priest and leave all our futile arguments in preparation to partake of the precious body and blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ this paschal feast.
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