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SPIRITUAL PATH REMEMBERING SACRED TRADITION AND REFERRING TO THE HOLY FATHERS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH Canons of the Holy Apostles 8. If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or anyone else in the sacerdotal list, fail to partake of communion when the oblation has been offered, he must tell the reason, and if it is good excuse, he shall receive a pardon. But if he refuses to tell it, he shall be excommunicated, on the ground that he has become a cause of harm to the laity and has instilled a suspicion as against the offerer of it that the latter has failed to present it in a sound manner. Interpretation. It is the intention of the present Canon that all, and especially those in holy orders, should be prepared beforehand and worthy to partake of the divine mysteries when the oblation is offered, or what amounts to the sacred service of the body of Christ. In case any one of them fail to partake when present at the divine liturgy, or communion, he is required to tell the reason or cause why he did not partake: then if it is a just and righteous and reasonable one, he is to receive a pardon, or be excused; but if he refuses to tell it, he is to be excommunicated, since he also becomes a cause of harm to the laity by leading the multitude to suspect that that priest who officiated at liturgy was not worthy and that it was on this account that the person in question refused to communicate from him. 9. All those faithful who enter and listen to the Scriptures, but do not stay for prayer and Holy Communion must be excommunicated, on the ground that they are causing the Church a breach of order. (Canon LXVI of the 6th; c. II of Antioch; cc. Ill, XIII of Tim.). Interpretation. Both exegetes of the sacred Canons — Zonaras, I mean, and Balsamon — in interpreting the present Apostolical Canon agree in saying that all Christians who enter the church when the divine liturgy is being celebrated, and who listen to the divine Scriptures, but do not remain to the end nor partake, must be excommunicated, as causing a disorder to the church. Thus Zonaras says verbatim: “The present Canon demands that all those who are in the church when the holy sacrifice is being performed shall patiently remain to the end for prayer and holy communion.” For even the laity then were required to partake continually. Balsamon says: “The ordainment of the present Canon is very acrid; for it excommunicates those attending church but not staying to the end nor partaking.” Concord. Agreeably with the present Canon c. II of Antioch ordains that all those who enter the church during the time of divine liturgy and listen to the Scriptures, but turn away and avoid (which is the same as to say, on account of pretended reverence and humility they shun, according to interpretation of the best interpreter, Zonaras) divine communion in a disorderly manner are to be excommunicated. The continuity of communion is confirmed also by c. LXVI of the 6th, which commands Christians throughout Novational Week (i.e., Easter Week) to take time off for psalms and hymns, and to indulge in the divine mysteries to their hearts’ content. But indeed even from the third canon of St. Timothy the continuity of communion can be inferred. For if he permits one possessed by demons to partake, not however every day, but only on Sunday (though in other copies it is written, on occasions only), it is likely that those riot possessed by demons are permitted to communicate even more frequently. Some contend that for this reason it was that the same Timothy, in c. Ill, ordains that on Saturday and Sunday that a man and his wife should not have mutual intercourse, in order, that is, that they might partake, since in that period it was only on those days, as we have said, that the divine liturgy was celebrated. This opinion of theirs is confirmed by divine Justin, who says in his second apology that “on the day of the sun” — meaning, Sunday — all Christians used to assemble in the churches (which on this account were also called “Kyriaka,” i.e., places of the Lord) and partook of the divine mysteries. That, on the other hand, all Christians ought to frequent divine communion is confirmed from the West by divine Ambrose, who says thus: “We see many brethren coming to church negligently, and indeed on Sundays not even being present at the mysteries.” And again, in blaming those who fail to partake continually, the same saint says of the mystic bread: “God gave us this bread as a daily affair, and we make it a yearly affair.” From Asia, on the other hand, divine Chrysostom demands this of Christians, and, indeed, par excellence. And see in his preamble to his commentary of the Epistle to the Romans, discourse VIII, and to the Hebrews, discourse XVIII, on the Acts, and Sermon V on the First Epistle to Timothy, and Sermon XVII on the Epistle to the Hebrews, and his discourse on those at first fasting on Easter, Sermon III to the Ephesians, discourse addressed to those who leave the divine assemblies (synaxeis), Sermon XXVIII on the First Epistle to the Corinthians, a discourse addressed to blissful Philogonius, and a discourse about fasting. Therein you can see how that goodly tongue strives and how many exhortations it rhetorically urges in order to induce Christians to partake at the same time, and worthily, and continually. But see also Basil the Great, in his epistle to Caesaria Patricia and in his first discourse about baptism. But then how can it be thought that whoever pays any attention to the prayers of all the divine liturgy can fail to see plainly enough that all of these are aimed at having it arranged that Christians assembled at the divine liturgy should partake — as many, that is to say, as are worthy? 10. If anyone pray in company with one who has been excommunicated, he shall be excommunicated himself. Interpretation. The noun akoinonetos has three significations: for, either it denotes one standing in church and praying in company with the rest of the Christians, but not communing with the divine mysteries; or it denotes one who neither communes nor stands and prays with the faithful in the church, but who has been excommunicated from them and is excluded from church and prayer; or finally it may denote any clergyman who becomes excommunicated from the clergy, as, say, a bishop from his fellow bishops, or a presbyter from his fellow presbyters, or a deacon from his fellow deacons, and so on. Accordingly, every akoinonetos is the same as saying excommunicated from the faithful who are in the church; and he is at the same time also excommunicated from the Mysteries. But not everyone that is excommunicated from the Mysteries is also excommunicated from the congregation of the faithful, as are deposed clergymen; and from the peni‐ tents those who stand together and who neither commune nor stay out of the church like catechumens, as we have said. In the present Canon the word akoinonetos is taken in the second sense of the word. That is why it says that whoever prays in company with one who has been excommunicated because of sin from the congregation and prayer of the faithful, even though he should not pray along with them in church, but in a house, whether he be in holy orders or a layman, he is to be excommunicated in the same way as he was from church and prayer with Christians: because that common engagement in prayer which he performs in conjunction with a person that has been excommunicated, wittingly and knowingly him to be such, is aimed at dishonoring and condemning the excommunicator, and traduces him as having excommunicated him wrongly and unjustly.
Frequent Reception of the Holy Mysteries is Beneficial and Salvific Part II, Chapter 2 from Concerning Frequent Communion by St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite Buy the book from “Uncut Mountain Supply” http://www.uncutmountainsupply.com/proddetail.asp?prod=cfc Webmaster Note: This book should be read by all pious Orthodox Christians. It is not a ʺbook only for clergy.ʺ Rather it is one that contains rich Patristic content, written for all the Faithful, and in a way that moves the heart deeply. It will help you draw closer to God by instructing you in the two‐fold action of regular ascetic struggle and reception of the Holy Mysteries. This book teaches clearly and convincingly that much Grace is given to those who frequently and worthily partake of Holy Communion. In reading this book you will gain a new appreciation for Holy Communion; will increase your efforts to watch over yourself more carefully; and will endeavor to partake whenever possible. What follows is the second of three chapters in Part II, ʺConcerning Frequent Communion.ʺ Take note of the other two chapter titles: ʺIs is necessary for the Orthodox to Partake frequently of the Divine body and blood of our Lord,ʺ and ʺInfrequent Communion causes great harm.ʺ Both the soul and the body of the Christian receive great benefit from the divine Mysteries—before he communes, when he communes, and after he communes. Before one communes, he must perform the necessary preparation, namely, confess to his Spiritual Father, have contrition, amend his ways, have compunction, learn to watch over himself carefully, and keep himself from passionate thoughts (as much as possible) and from every evil. The more the Christian practices self‐control, prays, and keeps vigil, the more pious he becomes and the more he performs every other good work, contemplating what a fearful King he will receive inside of himself. This is even more true when he considers that he will receive grace from Holy Communion in proportion to his preparation. The more often someone prepares himself, the more benefit he receives.  When a Christian partakes of Communion, who can comprehend the gifts and the charismata he receives? Or how can our inept tongue enumerate them? For this reason, let us again bring forward one by one the sacred teachers of the Church to tell us about these gifts, with their eloquent and God‐inspired mouths. Gregory the Theologian says: When the most sacred body of Christ is received and eaten in a proper manner, it becomes a weapon against those who war against us, it returns to God those who had left Him, it strengthens the weak, it causes the healthy to be glad, it heals sicknesses, and it preserves health. Through it we become meek and more willing to accept correction, more longsuffering in our pains, more fervent in our love, more detailed in our knowledge, more willing to do obedience, and keener in the workings of the charismata of the Spirit. But all the opposite happens to those who do not receive Communion in a proper manner.  Those who do not receive Communion frequently suffer totally opposite things, because they are not sealed with the precious blood of our Lord, as the same Gregory the Theologian says: Then the Lamb is slain, and with the precious blood are sealed action and reason, that is, habit and mental activity, the sideposts of our doors. I mean, of course, by doors, the movements and notions of the intellect, which are opened and closed correctly through spiritual vision.  St. Ephraim the Syrian writes: Brothers, let us practice stillness, fasting, prayer, and tears; gather together in the Church; work with our hands; speak about the Holy Fathers; be obedient to the truth; and listen to the divine Scriptures; so that our minds do not become barren (and sprout the thorns of evil thoughts). And let us certainly make ourselves worthy of partaking of the divine and immaculate Mysteries, so that our soul may be purified from thoughts of unbelief and impurity, and so that the Lord will dwell within us and deliver us from the evil one. The divine Cyril of Alexandria says that, because of divine Communion, those noetic thieves the demons find no opportunity to enter into our souls through the senses: You must consider your senses as the door to a house. Through the senses all images of things enter into the heart, and, through the senses, the innumerable multitude of lusts pour into it. The Prophet Joel calls the senses windows, saying: They shall enter in at our windows like a thief (Jl. 2:9), because these windows have not been marked with the precious blood of Christ. Moreover, the Law commanded that, after the slaughter (of the lamb), the Israelites were to smear the doorposts and the lintels of their houses with its blood, showing by this that the precious blood of Christ protects our own earthly dwelling‐place, which is to say, our body, and that the death brought about by the transgression is repelled through our enjoyment of the partaking of life (that is, of life‐giving Communion). Further, through our sealing (with the blood of Christ) we distance from ourselves the destroyer.  The same divine Cyril says in another place that, through Communion, we are cleansed from every impurity of soul and receive eagerness and fervor to do good: The precious blood of Christ not only frees us from every corruption, but it also cleanses us from every impurity lying hidden within us, and it does not allow us to grow cold on account of sloth, but rather makes us fervent in the Spirit.  St. Theodore the Studite wondrously describes the benefit one receives from frequent Communion: Tears and contrition have great power. But the Communion of the sanctified Gifts, above all, has especially great power and benefit, and, seeing that you are so indifferent towards it and do not frequently receive it, I am in wonder and great amazement. For I see that you only receive Communion on Sundays, but, if there is a Liturgy on any other day, you do not commune, though when I was in the monastery each one of you had permission to commune every day, if you so desired. But now the Liturgy is less frequently celebrated, and you still do not commune. I say these things to you, not because I wish for you simply to commune—haphazardly, without preparation (for it is written: But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the Bread, and drink of the Cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lords body and blood [1 Cor. 11:2829]). No, I am not saying this. God forbid! I say that we should, out of our desire for Communion, purify ourselves as much as possible and make ourselves worthy of the Gift. For the Bread which came down from heaven is participation in life: If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world (Jn. 6:51). Again He says: He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him (Jn. 6:58). Do you see the ineffable gift? He not only died for us, but He also gives Himself to us as food. What could show more love than this? What is more salvific to the soul? Moreover, no one fails to partake every day of the food and drink of the common table. And, if it happens that someone does not eat, he becomes greatly dismayed. And we are not speaking here about ordinary bread, but about the Bread of life; not about an ordinary cup, but about the Cup of immortality. And do we consider Communion an indifferent matter, entirely unnecessary? How is this thought not irrational and foolish? If this is how it has been up until now, my children, I ask that we henceforth take heed to ourselves, and, knowing the power of the Gift, let us purify ourselves as much as possible and partake of the sanctified Things. And if it happens that we are occupied with a handicraft, as soon as we hear the sounding‐board calling us to Church, let us put our work aside and go partake of the Gift with great desire. And this (that is, frequent Communion) will certainly benefit us, for we keep ourselves pure through our preparation for Communion. If we do not commune frequently, it is impossible for us not to become subject to the passions. Frequent Communion will become for us a companion unto eternal life.  So, my brothers, if we practice what the divine Fathers have ordered and frequently commune, we not only will have the support and help of divine grace in this short life, but also will have the angels of God as helpers, and the very Master of the angels Himself. Furthermore, the inimical demons will be greatly distanced from us, as the divine Chrysostom says: Let us then return from that Table like lions breathing fire, having become fearsome to the devil, thinking about our Head (Christ) and the love He has shown for us. This blood causes the image of our King to be fresh within us, it produces unspeakable beauty, and, watering and nourishing our soul frequently, it does not permit its nobility to waste away. This blood, worthily received, drives away demons and keeps them far from us, while it calls to us the angels and the Master of angels. For wherever they see the Masters blood, devils flee and angels run to gather together. This blood is the salvation of our souls. By it the soul is washed, is made beautiful, and is inflamed; and it causes our intellect to be brighter than fire and makes the soul gleam more than gold....Those who partake of this blood stand with the angels and the powers that are above, clothed in the kingly robe itself, armed with spiritual weapons. But I have not yet said anything great by this: for they are clothed even with the King Himself.  Do you see, my beloved brother, how many wonderful charismata you receive if you frequently commune? Do you see that with frequent Communion the intellect is illumined, the mind is made to shine, and all of the powers of the soul are purified? If you also desire to kill the passions of the flesh, go to Communion frequently and you will succeed. Cyril of Alexandria confirms this for us: Receive Holy Communion believing that it liberates us not only from death, but also from every illness. And this is because, when Christ dwells within us through frequent Communion, He pacifies and calms the fierce war of the flesh, ignites piety toward God, and deadens the passions.  Thus, without frequent Communion we cannot be freed from the passions and ascend to the heights of dispassion; just as the Israelites, if they had not eaten the passover in Egypt, would not have been able to be freed. For Egypt means an impassioned life, and if we do not frequently receive the precious body and blood of our Lord (every day if it be possible), we will not be able to be freed from the noetic Pharaonians (that is, the passions and the demons). According to Cyril of Alexandria, As long as those of Israel were slaves to the Egyptians, they slaughtered the lamb and ate the passover. This shows that the soul of man cannot be freed from the tyranny of the devil by any other means except the partaking of Christ. For He Himself says: If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed (Jn. 8:36).  Again St. Cyril says, They had to sacrifice the lamb, being that it was a type of Christ, for they could not have been freed by any other means.  So if we also desire to flee Egypt, namely, dark and oppressive sin, and to flee Pharaoh, that is, the noetic tyrant (according to Gregory the Theologian),  and inherit the land of the heart and the promise, we must
DEMANDING A STRICT FAST ON SATURDAYS IS THE FIRST HERESY OF THE PAPISTS In his two letters to Fr. Pedro, in several other writings on the internet, as well as through his verbal discussions, Bp. Kirykos presents the idea that a Christian is forbidden to ever commune on a Sunday, except by “economia,” and that if per chance a Christian is granted this “economia,” he would nevertheless be compelled to fast strictly without oil on the Saturday, that is, the day prior to receiving Holy Communion. For instance, outside of fasting periods, Bp. Kirykos, his sister, Vincentia, and the “theologian” Mr. Eleutherios Gkoutzidis insist that laymen must fast for seven days without meat, five days without dairy, three days without oil, and one day without even olives or sesame pulp, for fear of these things containing oil. If someone prepares to commune on a Sunday, this means that from the previous Sunday he cannot eat meat. From the Tuesday onwards he cannot eat dairy either. On the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday he cannot partake of oil or wine. While on the Saturday he must perform a xerophagy in which he cannot have any processed foods, and not even olives or sesame pulp. This means that the strictest fast will be performed on the Saturday, in violation of the Canons. This also means that for a layman to ever be able to commune every Sunday, he would need to fast for his entire life long. Yet, Bp. Kirykos and his priests exempt themselves from this rule, and are allowed to partake of any foods all week long except for Wednesday and Friday. They can even partake of all foods as late as midnight on Saturday night, and commune on Sunday morning without feeling the least bit “unworthy.” But should a layman dare to partake of oil even once on a Saturday, he is brushed off as “unworthy” for Communion on Sunday. Meanwhile during fasting periods such as Great Lent, since Monday to Friday is without oil anyway, Bp. Kirykos, Sister Vincentia and Mr. Gkoutzidis believe that laymen should also fast on Saturday without oil, and even without olives and sesame pulp, in order for such laymen to be able to commune on Sunday. Thus again they require a layman to violate Apostolic, Ecumenical, Local and Patristic Canons, and even fall under the penalty of excommunication (according to these same canons) in order to be “worthy” of communion. What an absurdity! What a monstrosity! A layman must become worthy of excommunication in order to become “worthy” of Communion! The 9th Canon of the Holy Apostles advises: “If any clergyman be found fasting on Sunday, or on Saturday (except for one only), let him be deposed from office. If, however, he is a layman, let him be excommunicated.” The term “fasting” refers to the strict form of fasting, not permitting oil or wine. The term “except for one” refers to Holy and Great Saturday, the only day of the year upon which fasting without oil and wine is expected. But it was not only the Holy Apostles who commanded against this Pharisaic Sabbatian practice of fasting on Saturdays. But this issue was also addressed by the Quintisext Council (Πενδέκτη Σύνοδος = Fifth‐and‐Sixth Council), which was convened for the purpose of setting Ecclesiastical Canons, since the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils had not provided any. The reason why this Holy Ecumenical Council addressed this issue is because the Church of Old Rome had slowly been influenced by the Arian Visigoths and Ostrogoths who invaded from the north, by the Manicheans who migrated from Africa and from the East through the Balkans, as well as by the Jews and Judaizers, who had also migrated to the West from various parts of the East, seeking asylum in Western lands that were no longer under Roman (Byzantine) rule. Thus there arose in the West a most Judaizing practice of clergy forcing the laymen to fast from oil and wine on every Saturday during Great Lent, instead of permitting this only on Holy and Great Saturday. Thus, in the 55th Canon of the Fifth‐and‐Sixth Ecumenical Council, we read: “Since we have learned that those in the city of the Romans during the holy fast of Lent are fasting on the Saturdays thereof, contrary to the ecclesiastical practice handed down, it has seemed best to the Holy Council for the Church of the Romans to hold rigorously the Canon saying: If any clergyman be found fasting on Sunday, or on Saturday, with the exception of one only, let him be deposed from office. If, however, a layman, let him be excommunicated.” Thus the Westerners were admonished by the Holy Ecumenical Council, and requested to refrain from this unorthodox practice of demanding a strict fast on Saturdays. Now, just in case anyone thinks that a different kind of fast was observed on the Saturdays by the Romans, by Divine Economy, the very next canon admonishes the Armenians for not fasting properly on Saturdays during Great Lent. Thus the 56th Canon of the Fifth‐and‐Sixth Council reads: “Likewise we have learned that in the country of the Armenians and in other regions on the Saturdays and on the Sundays of Holy Lent some persons eat eggs and cheese. It has therefore seemed best to decree also this, that the Church of God throughout the inhabited earth, carefully following a single procedure, shall carry out fasting, and abstain, precisely as from every kind of thing sacrificed, so and especially from eggs and cheese, which are fruit and produce from which we have to abstain. As for those who fail to observe this rule, if they are clergymen, let them be deposed from office; but if they are laymen, let them be excommunicated.” Thus, just as the Roman Church was admonished for fasting strictly on the Saturdays within Great Lent, the Armenian Church is equally admonished for overly relaxing the fast of Saturdays in Great Lent. Here the Holy Fifth‐and‐Sixth Ecumenical Council clearly gives us the exact definition of what the Holy Fathers deem fit for consumption on Saturdays during Great Lent. For if this canon forbids the Armenians to consume eggs and cheese on the Saturdays of Great Lent, whereas the previous canon forbids the Westerners to fast on the Saturdays of Great Lent, it means that the midway between these two extremes is the Orthodox definition of fasting on Saturdays of Great Lent. The Orthodox definition is clearly marked in the Typicon as well as most calendar almanacs produced by the various Local Orthodox Churches, including the very almanac as well as the wall calendar published yearly by Bp. Kirykos himself. These all mark that oil, wine and various forms of seafood are to be consumed on Saturdays during Great Lent, except of course for Holy and Great Saturday which is marked as a strict fast without oil, in keeping with the Apostolic Canon. Now, if one is to assume that partaking of oil, wine and various seafood on the Saturdays of Great Lent is only for those who are not planning to commune on the Sundays of Great Lent, may he consider the following. The very meaning of the term “excommunicate” is to forbid a layman to receive Holy Communion. So then, if people who partake of oil, wine and various permissible seafood on Saturdays during Great Lent are supposedly forbidden to commune on the Sundays of Great Lent, then this means that the 55th Canon of the Fifth‐and‐Sixth Council would be entirely without purpose. For if those who do partake of such foods on Saturdays are supposedly disqualified from communion on Sundays, then what is the purpose of also disqualifying those who do not partake of oil on Saturdays from being able to commune on Sundays, since this canon requires their excommunication? In other words, such a faulty interpretation of the canons by anyone bearing such a notion would need to call the Holy Fathers hypocrites. They would need to consider that the Holy Fathers in their Canon Law operated with a system whereby “you’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t!” Thus, according to this faulty interpretation, if you do partake of oil and wine on Saturdays of Great lent, you are disqualified from communion due to your consumption of those foods. But if you do not partake of these foods on Saturday you are also disqualified from communion on Sunday, for this canon demands your excommunication. In other words, whatever you do you cannot win! Fast without oil or fast with oil, you are still disqualified the next day. So how does Bp. Kirykos interpret this Canon in order to keep his Pharisaical custom? He declares that “all Christians” are excommunicated from ever being able to commune on a Sunday! He demands that only by extreme economy can Christians commune on Sunday, and that they are to only commune on Saturdays, declaring this the day “all Christians” ought to “know” to be their day of receiving Holy Communion! Thus the very trap that Bp. Kirykos has dug for himself is based entirely on his inability to interpret the canons correctly. Yet hypocritically, in his second letter to Fr. Pedro he condemns others of supposedly “not interpreting the canons correctly,” simply because they disagree with his Pharisaical Sabbatianism! But the hypocrisies continue. Bp. Kirykos continuously parades himself in his printed periodicals, on his websites, and on his various online blogs, as some kind of “confessor” of Orthodoxy against Papism and Ecumenism. He even dares to openly call himself a “confessor” on Facebook, where he spends several hours per day in gossip and idletalk as can be seen by his frequent status updates and constant chatting. This kind of pastime is clearly unbecoming for an Orthodox Christian, let alone a hierarch who claims to be “Genuine Orthodox” and a “confessor.” So great is his “confession,” that when the entire Kiousis Synod, representatives from the Makarian Synod, the Abbot of Esphigmenou, members from all other Old Calendarist Synods in Greece, as well as members of the State Hierarchy, had gathered in Athens forming crowds of clergy and thousands of laity, to protest against the Greek Government’s antagonism towards Greek culture and religion, our wonderful “confessor” Bp. Kirykos was spending that whole day chatting on Facebook. The people present at the protest made a joke about Bp. Kirykos’s absence by writing the following remark on an empty seat: “Bp. Kirykos, too busy being an online confessor to bother taking part in a real life confession.” When various monastics and laymen of Bp. Kirykos’s own metropolis informed him that he should have been there, he yelled at them and told them “This is all rubbish, I don’t care about these issues, the only real issue is the cheirothesia of 1971.” How lovely. Greece is on the verge of geopolitical and economical self‐destruction, and Bp. Kirykos’s only care is for his own personal issue that he has repeated time and time again for three decades, boring us to death. But what does Bp. Kirykos claim to “confess” against, really? He claims he confesses against “Papo‐Ecumenism.” In other words, he views himself as a fighter against the idea of the Orthodox Church entering into a syncretistic and ecumenistic union with Papism. Yet Bp. Kirykos does not realize that he has already fallen into what St. Photius the Great has called “the first heresy of the Westerners!” For as indicated above, in the 55th Canon of the Fifth‐and‐ Sixth Ecumenical Council, it was the “Church of the Romans” (that is what became the Papists) that fell into the unorthodox practice of demanding laymen to fast strictly on Saturdays during Great Lent, as a prerequisite to receiving Holy Communion on the Sundays of Great Lent. This indeed was the first error of the Papists. It arrived at the same time the filioque also arrived, to wit, during the 6th and 7th centuries. This is why St. Photius the Great, who was a real confessor against Papism, calls the error of enforced fasting without oil on Saturdays “the first heresy of the Westerners.” Thus, let us depart from the hypocrisies of Bp. Kirykos and listen to the voice of a real confessor against Papism. Let us read the opinion of St. Photius the Great, that glorious champion and Pillar of Orthodoxy! In his Encyclical to the Eastern Patriarchs (written in 866), our Holy Father, St. Photius the Great (+6 February, 893), Archbishop of the Imperial City of Constantinople New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch, writes: St. Photius the Great: Encyclical to the Eastern Patriarchs (866) Countless have been the evils devised by the cunning devil against the race of men, from the beginning up to the coming of the Lord. But even afterwards, he has not ceased through errors and heresies to beguile and deceive those who listen to him. Before our times, the Church, witnessed variously the godless errors of Arius, Macedonius, Nestorius, Eutyches, Discorus, and a foul host of others, against which the holy Ecumenical Synods were convened, and against which our Holy and God‐ bearing Fathers battled with the sword of the Holy Spirit. Yet, even after these heresies had been overcome and peace reigned, and from the Imperial Capital the streams of Orthodoxy flowed throughout the world; after some people who had been afflicted by the Monophysite heresy returned to the True Faith because of your holy prayers; and after other barbarian peoples, such as the Bulgarians, had turned from idolatry to the knowledge of God and the Christian Faith: then was the cunning devil stirred up because of his envy. For the Bulgarians had not been baptised even two years when dishonourable men emerged out of the darkness (that is, the West), and poured down like hail or, better, charged like wild boars upon the newly‐planted vineyard of the Lord, destroying it with hoof and tusk, which is to say, by their shameful lives and corrupted dogmas. For the papal missionaries and clergy wanted these Orthodox Christians to depart from the correct and pure dogmas of our irreproachable Faith. The first error of the Westerners was to compel the faithful to fast on Saturdays. I mention this seemingly small point because the least departure from Tradition can lead to a scorning of every dogma of our Faith. Next, they convinced the faithful to despise the marriage of priests, thereby sowing in their souls the seeds of the Manichean heresy. Likewise, they persuaded them that all who had been chrismated by priests had to be anointed again by bishops. In this way, they hoped to show that Chrismation by priests had no value, thereby ridiculing this divine and supernatural Christian Mystery. From whence comes this law forbidding priests
FROM THE PRAYERS OF PREPARATION FOR COMMUNION REGARDING “WORTHINESS” OF THE HOLY MYSTERIES In the prayers for preparation for Holy Communion, written by several different Holy Fathers, we find the repetition of this belief in utter unworthiness for Holy Communion, whether one has fasted or not. Note also, that among the Fathers who wrote these prayers are St. Basil the Great and St. John Chrysostom, the greatest luminaries among the Anatolian‐Cappadocian Fathers. Yet these most awesome and splendid examples of sanctity, whether they fasted “in the finer and broader sense,” as Metropolitan Kirykos calls it, by no means considered themselves “worthy to commune.” For it is not abstaining from foods that make one worthy, but rather abstaining from sins, and all men have sinned save Christ who alone is perfect, and save Theotokos who is the purest temple of the Lord from her very childhood, but was hallowed, sanctified and consecrated by God at the hour of the Annunciation. The rest of us are sinners, even the saints, but their holiness is owing to God’s mercy upon them due to their purity of life, and their theosis is owing to the grace of God that overshadowed them, as they lived every day in Christ. The fact that the saints were not worthy in and of themselves, but by the grace of God, can be well understood by reading their prayers of preparation for Holy Communion. For these prayers were written by saints who, in their shortcomings, were also sinners; and they wrote these prayers for the sake of sinners who, just like them, strive by God’s grace to become saints. Thus, in the second troparion in the preparation for Holy Communion we read: “How can I, the unworthy one, shamelessly dare to partake of Thy Holy Gifts?” In the last few troparia in the service of preparation for Holy Communion, we read: “Into the splendor of Thy Saints how shall I, the unworthy one, enter?...” and again “O Man‐befriending Master, Lord Jesus my God, let not these holy Gifts be unto me for judgment through mine unworthiness…” St. Basil the Great (+ 1 January, 397), in his first prayer of preparation for Holy Communion, writes: “… For I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned against Heaven and before Thee, and I am not worthy to gaze upon the height of Thy glory… Wherefore, though I am unworthy of both heaven and earth, and even of this transient life…” In his second prayer we read: “I know, O Lord, that I partake of Thine immaculate Body and precious Blood unworthily, and that I am guilty, and eat and drink judgment to myself, not discerning the Body and Blood of Thee, my Christ and God…” St. John Chrysostom (+14 September, 407), in his first prayer of preparation for Holy Communion, writes: “O Lord my God, I know that I am not worthy, nor sufficient, that Thou shouldest come under the roof of the house of my soul, for all is desolate and fallen, and Thou hast not in me a place worthy to lay Thy head…” In his third prayer we read: “O Lord Jesus Christ my God, loose, remit, forgive, and pardon the failings, faults, and offences which I, Thy sinful, unprofitable, and unworthy servant have committed from my youth, up to the present day and hour…” If in any place in the prayers of preparation for Holy Communion there is a statement of worthiness within man, it is claimed that Christ and the Mysteries themselves are the source of that worthiness. By no means are mankind’s own works, such as fasting, considered to make one worthy. Thus, Blessed Chrysostom writes: “I believe, O Lord, and I confess that thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, who didst come into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. And I believe that this is truly Thine own immaculate Body, and that this is truly Thine own precious Blood. Wherefore I pray thee, have mercy upon me and forgive my transgressions both voluntary and involuntary, of word and of deed, of knowledge and of ignorance; and make me worthy to partake without condemnation of Thine immaculate Mysteries, unto remission of my sins and unto life everlasting. Amen.” St. Symeon the Translator (+9 November, c. 950) writes: “…O Christ Jesus, Wisdom and Peace and Power of God, Who in Thy assumption of our nature didst suffer Thy life‐giving and saving Passion, the Cross, the Nails, the Spear, and Death, mortify all the deadly passions of my body. Thou Who in Thy burial didst spoil the dominions of hell, bury with good thoughts my evil schemes and scatter the spirits of wickedness. Thou Who by Thy life‐giving Resurrection on the third day didst raise up our fallen first Parent, raise me up who am sunk in sin and suggest to me ways of repentance. Thou Who by Thy glorious Ascension didst deify our nature which Thou hadst assumed and didst honor it by Thy session at the right hand of the Father, make me worthy by partaking of Thy holy Mysteries of a place at Thy right hand among those who are saved. Thou Who by the descent of the Spirit, the Paraclete, didst make Thy holy Disciples worthy vessels, make me also a recipient of His coming. Thou Who art to come again to judge the World with justice, grant me also to meet Thee on the clouds, my Maker and Creator, with all Thy Saints, that I may unendingly glorify and praise Thee with Thy Eternal Father and Thy all‐holy and good and life‐giving Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.” St. Symeon the New Theologian (+12 March, 1022) wrote a poem that clearly explains how a communicant must regard himself as utterly unworthy to receive the Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, and entirely hope in God’s mercy: From sullied lips, From an abominable heart, From an unclean tongue, Out of a polluted soul, Receive my prayer, O my Christ. Reject me not, Nor my words, nor my ways, Nor even my shamelessness, But give me courage to say What I desire, my Christ. And even more, teach me What to do and say. I have sinned more than the harlot… And all my sins Take from me, O God of all, That with a clean heart, Trembling mind And contrite spirit I may partake of Thy pure And all‐holy Mysteries By which all who eat and drink Thee With sincerity of heart Are quickened and deified… Therefore I fall at Thy feet And fervently cry to Thee: As Thou receivedst the Prodigal And the Harlot who drew near to Thee, So have compassion and receive me, The profligate and the prodigal, As with contrite spirit I now draw near to Thee. I know, O Saviour, that no other Has sinned against Thee as I, Nor has done the deeds That I have committed. But this again I know That not the greatness of my offences Nor the multitude of my sins Surpasses the great patience Of my God, And His extreme love for men. But with the oil of compassion Those who fervently repent Thou dost purify and enlighten And makest them children of the light, Sharers of Thy Divine Nature… St. John Damascene (+4 December, 749), in his first prayer of preparation for Holy Communion, thus writes: “O Lord and Master Jesus Christ, our God, who alone hath power to forgive the sins of men, do thou, O Good One who lovest mankind, forgive all the sins that I have committed in knowledge or in ignorance, and make me worthy to receive without condemnation thy divine, glorious, immaculate and life‐giving Mysteries; not unto punishment or unto increase of sin; but unto purification, and sanctification and a promise of thy Kingdom and the Life to come; as a protection and a help to overthrow the adversaries, and to blot out my many sins. For thou art a God of Mercy and compassion and love toward mankind, and unto Thee we ascribe glory together with the Father and the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.” In his second prayer he writes: “I stand before the gates of thy Temple, and yet I refrain not from my evil thoughts. But do thou, O Christ my God, who didst justify the publican, and hadst mercy on the Canaanite woman, and opened the gates of Paradise to the thief; open unto me the compassion of thy love toward mankind, and receive me as I approach and touch thee, like the sinful woman and the woman with the issue of blood; for the one, by embracing thy feet received the forgiveness of her sins, and the other by but touching the hem of thy garment was healed. And I, most sinful, dare to partake of thy whole Body. Let me not be consumed but receive me as thou didst receive them, and enlighten the perceptions of my soul, consuming the accusations of my sins; through the intercessions of Her that without stain gave Thee birth, and of the heavenly Powers; for thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.” While waiting in line to receive Holy Communion, the following verses of the Blessed Translator are read: Behold I approach for Divine Communion. O Creator, let me not be burnt by communicating, For Thou art Fire which burns the unworthy. But purify me from every stain. Tremble, O man, when you see the deifying Blood, For it is coal that burns the unworthy. The Body of God both deifies and nourishes; It deifies the spirit and wondrously nourishes the mind. The following troparion clearly expresses with what mindset and manner one must approach the Mysteries. Let it not be thought that a Christian is meant to state the following simply as an act of false humility. On the contrary, the Christian must truly deny any sense of his self‐worth in the eyes of Christ, and must therefore submit himself entirely to Christ’s judgment, praying that the Lord will judge according to his great mercy and not according to our sins. The troparion reads: “Of thy Mystic Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of thy Mystery to Thine enemies, neither will I give thee a kiss as did Judas; but like the thief will I confess thee: Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom. Remember me, O Master, in Thy Kingdom. Remember me, O Holy One, when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom.” After a few other troparia, the following prayer is read: “Sovereign Lover of men, Lord Jesus my God, let not these Holy Things be to me for judgment through my being unworthy, but for the purification and sanctification of my soul and body, and as a pledge of the life and kingdom to come. For it is good for me to cling to God and to place in the Lord my hope of salvation.” As one approaches the Holy Chalice, one should crosswise fold his hands over his chest, and reflect in his mind the following petition: “Neither unto judgement, nor unto condemnation be my partaking of thy Holy Mysteries, O Lord, but unto the healing of soul and body.” When the priest administers the Holy Communion he announces: “The servant of God, [name], partakes of the precious, most holy and most pure Body and Blood of our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins and life everlasting. Amen.” Then, the communicant kisses the bottom of the chalice, thinking of himself as the harlot who kissed the feet of the Lord while anointing them with precious myrrh and her penitent tears, while contemplating the Seraphim who touched a burning coal to the mouth of Isaiah, saying: “Behold, This hath touched thy lips, and will take away thine iniquities, and will purge thy sins (Isaiah 6:7).”
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FROM THE ANAPHORAE OF THE ANCIENT CHURCH REGARDING “WORTHINESS” OF HOLY COMMUNION This can also be demonstrated by the secret prayers within Divine Liturgy. From the early Apostolic Liturgies, right down to the various Liturgies of the Local Churches of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, Rome, Gallia, Hispania, Britannia, Cappadocia, Armenia, Persia, India and Ethiopia, in Liturgies that were once vibrant in the Orthodox Church, prior to the Nestorian, Monophysite and Papist schisms, as well as those Liturgies still in common use today among the Orthodox Christians (namely, the Liturgies of St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great and the Presanctified Liturgy of St. Gregory the Dialogist), the message is quite clear in all the mystic prayers that the clergy and the laity are referred to as entirely unworthy, and truly they are to believe they are unworthy, and that no action of their own can make them worthy (i.e. not even fasting), but that only the Lord’s mercy and grace through the Gifts themselves will allow them to receive communion without condemnation. To demonstrate this, let us begin with the early Apostolic Liturgies, and from there work our way through as many of the oblations used throughout history, as have been found in ancient manuscripts, among them those still offered within Orthodoxy today. St. James the Brother‐of‐God (+23 October, 62), First Bishop of Jerusalem, begins his anaphora as follows: “O Sovereign Lord our God, condemn me not, defiled with a multitude of sins: for, behold, I have come to this Thy divine and heavenly mystery, not as being worthy; but looking only to Thy goodness, I direct my voice to Thee: God be merciful to me, a sinner; I have sinned against Heaven, and before Thee, and am unworthy to come into the presence of this Thy holy and spiritual table, upon which Thy only‐begotten Son, and our Lord Jesus Christ, is mystically set forth as a sacrifice for me, a sinner, and stained with every spot.” Following the creed, the following prayer is read: “God and Sovereign of all, make us, who are unworthy, worthy of this hour, lover of mankind; that being pure from all deceit and all hypocrisy, we may be united with one another by the bond of peace and love, being confirmed by the sanctification of Thy divine knowledge through Thine only‐begotten Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, with whom Thou art blessed, together with Thy all‐holy, and good, and quickening Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” Then right before the clergy are to partake of Communion, the following is recited: “O Lord our God, the heavenly bread, the life of the universe, I have sinned against Heaven, and before Thee, and am not worthy to partake of Thy pure Mysteries; but as a merciful God, make me worthy by Thy grace, without condemnation to partake of Thy holy body and precious blood, for the remission of sins, and life everlasting.” After all the clergy and laity have received Communion, this prayer is read: “O God, who through Thy great and unspeakable love didst condescend to the weakness of Thy servants, and hast counted us worthy to partake of this heavenly table, condemn not us sinners for the participation of Thy pure Mysteries; but keep us, O good One, in the sanctification of Thy Holy Spirit, that being made holy, we may find part and inheritance with all Thy saints that have been well‐pleasing to Thee since the world began, in the light of Thy countenance, through the mercy of Thy only‐begotten Son, our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, with whom Thou art blessed, together with Thy all‐holy, and good, and quickening Spirit: for blessed and glorified is Thy all‐precious and glorious name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.” From these prayers is it not clear that no one is worthy of Holy Communion, whether they have fasted or not, but that it is God’s mercy that bestows worthiness upon mankind through participation in the Mystery of Confession and receiving Holy Communion? This was most certainly the belief of the early Christians of Jerusalem, quite contrary to Bp. Kirykos’ ideology of early Christians supposedly being “worthy of communion” because they supposedly “fasted in the finer and broader sense.” St. Mark the Evangelist (+25 April, 63), First Bishop of Alexandria, in his Divine Liturgy, writes: “O Sovereign and Almighty Lord, look down from heaven on Thy Church, on all Thy people, and on all Thy flock. Save us all, Thine unworthy servants, the sheep of Thy fold. Give us Thy peace, Thy help, and Thy love, and send to us the gift of Thy Holy Spirit, that with a pure heart and a good conscience we may salute one another with an holy kiss, without hypocrisy, and with no hostile purpose, but guileless and pure in one spirit, in the bond of peace and love, one body and one spirit, in one faith, even as we have been called in one hope of our calling, that we may all meet in the divine and boundless love, in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom Thou art blessed, with Thine all‐holy, good, and life‐creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” Later in the Liturgy the following is read: “Be mindful also of us, O Lord, Thy sinful and unworthy servants, and blot out our sins in Thy goodness and mercy.” Again we read: “O holy, highest, awe‐inspiring God, who dwellest among the saints, sanctify us by the word of Thy grace and by the inspiration of Thy all‐ holy Spirit; for Thou hast said, O Lord our God, Be ye holy; for I am holy. O Word of God, past finding out, consubstantial and co‐eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and sharer of their sovereignty, accept the pure song which cherubim and seraphim, and the unworthy lips of Thy sinful and unworthy servant, sing aloud.” Thus it is clear that whether he had fasted or not, St. Mark and his clergy and flock still considered themselves unworthy. By no means did they ever entertain the theory that “they fasted in the finer and broader sense, that is, they were worthy of communion,” as Bp. Kirykos dares to say. On the contrary, St. Mark and the early Christians of Alexandria believed any worthiness they could achieve would be through partaking of the Holy Mysteries themselves. Thus, St. Mark wrote the following prayer to be read immediately after Communion: “O Sovereign Lord our God, we thank Thee that we have partaken of Thy holy, pure, immortal, and heavenly Mysteries, which Thou hast given for our good, and for the sanctification and salvation of our souls and bodies. We pray and beseech Thee, O Lord, to grant in Thy good mercy, that by partaking of the holy body and precious blood of Thine only‐begotten Son, we may have faith that is not ashamed, love that is unfeigned, fullness of holiness, power to eschew evil and keep Thy commandments, provision for eternal life, and an acceptable defense before the awful tribunal of Thy Christ: Through whom and with whom be glory and power to Thee, with Thine all‐holy, good, and life‐creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” St. Peter the Apostle (+29 June, 67), First Bishop of Antioch, and later Bishop of Old Rome, in his Divine Liturgy, writes: “For unto Thee do I draw nigh, and, bowing my neck, I pray Thee: Turn not Thy countenance away from me, neither cast me out from among Thy children, but graciously vouchsafe that I, Thy sinful and unworthy servant, may offer unto Thee these Holy Gifts.” Again we read: “With soul defiled and lips unclean, with base hands and earthen tongue, wholly in sins, mean and unrepentant, I beseech Thee, O Lover of mankind, Saviour of the hopeless and Haven of those in danger, Who callest sinners to repentance, O Lord God, loose, remit, forgive me a sinner my transgressions, whether deliberate or unintentional, whether of word or deed, whether committed in knowledge or in ignorance.” St. Thomas the Apostle (+6 October, 72), Enlightener of Edessa, Mesopotamia, Persia, Bactria, Parthia and India, and First Bishop of Maliapor in India, in his Divine Liturgy, conveyed through his disciples, St. Thaddeus (+21 August, 66), St. Haggai (+23 December, 87), and St. Maris (+5 August, 120), delivered the following prayer in the anaphora which is to be read while kneeling: “O our Lord and God, look not on the multitude of our sins, and let not Thy dignity be turned away on account of the heinousness of our iniquities; but through Thine unspeakable grace sanctify this sacrifice of Thine, and grant through it power and capability, so that Thou mayest forget our many sins, and be merciful when Thou shalt appear at the end of time, in the man whom Thou hast assumed from among us, and we may find before Thee grace and mercy, and be rendered worthy to praise Thee with spiritual assemblies.” Upon standing, the following is read: “We thank Thee, O our Lord and God, for the abundant riches of Thy grace to us: we who were sinful and degraded, on account of the multitude of Thy clemency, Thou hast made worthy to celebrate the holy Mysteries of the body and blood of Thy Christ. We beg aid from Thee for the strengthening of our souls, that in perfect love and true faith we may administer Thy gift to us.” And again: “O our Lord and God, restrain our thoughts, that they wander not amid the vanities of this world. O Lord our God, grant that I may be united to the affection of Thy love, unworthy though I be. Glory to Thee, O Christ.” The priest then reads this prayer on behalf of the faithful: “O Lord God Almighty, accept this oblation for the whole Holy Catholic Church, and for all the pious and righteous fathers who have been pleasing to Thee, and for all the prophets and apostles, and for all the martyrs and confessors, and for all that mourn, that are in straits, and are sick, and for all that are under difficulties and trials, and for all the weak and the oppressed, and for all the dead that have gone from amongst us; then for all that ask a prayer from our weakness, and for me, a degraded and feeble sinner. O Lord our God, according to Thy mercies and the multitude of Thy favours, look upon Thy people, and on me, a feeble man, not according to my sins and my follies, but that they may become worthy of the forgiveness of their sins through this holy body, which they receive with faith, through the grace of Thy mercy, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” The following prayer also indicates that the officiators consider themselves unworthy but look for the reception of the Holy Mysteries to give them remission of sins: “We, Thy degraded, weak, and feeble servants who are congregated in Thy name, and now stand before Thee, and have received with joy the form which is from Thee, praising, glorifying, and exalting, commemorate and celebrate this great, awful, holy, and divine mystery of the passion, death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And may Thy Holy Spirit come, O Lord, and rest upon this oblation of Thy servants which they offer, and bless and sanctify it; and may it be unto us, O Lord, for the propitiation of our offences and the forgiveness of our sins, and for a grand hope of resurrection from the dead, and for a new life in the Kingdom of the heavens, with all who have been pleasing before Him. And on account of the whole of Thy wonderful dispensation towards us, we shall render thanks unto Thee, and glorify Thee without ceasing in Thy Church, redeemed by the precious blood of Thy Christ, with open mouths and joyful countenances: Ascribing praise, honour, thanksgiving, and adoration to Thy holy, loving, and life‐creating name, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” Finally, the following petition indicates quite clearly the belief that the officiators and entire congregation are unworthy of receiving the Mysteries: “The clemency of Thy grace, O our Lord and God, gives us access to these renowned, holy, life‐creating, and Divine Mysteries, unworthy though we be.” St. Luke the Evangelist (+18 October, 86), Bishop of Thebes in Greece, in his Divine Liturgy, writes: “Bless, O Lord, Thy faithful people who are bowed down before Thee; deliver us from injuries and temptations; make us worthy to receive these Holy Mysteries in purity and virtue, and may we be absolved and sanctified by them. We offer Thee praise and thanksgiving and to Thine Only‐ begotten Son and to Thy Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” St. Dionysius the Areopagite (+3 October, 96), Bishop of Athens, in his Divine Liturgy, writes: “Giver of Holiness, and distributor of every good, O Lord, Who sanctifiest every rational creature with sanctification, which is from Thee; sanctify, through Thy Holy Spirit, us Thy servants, who bow before Thee; free us from all servile passions of sin, from envy, treachery, deceit, hatred, enmities, and from him, who works the same, that we may be worthy, holily to complete the ministry of these life‐giving Mysteries, through the heavenly Master, Jesus Christ, Thine Only‐begotten Son, through Whom, and with Whom, is due to Thee, glory and honour, together with Thine All‐holy, Good and Life‐creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” Thus, it is God that offers sanctification to mankind, purifies mankind from sins, and makes mankind worthy of the Mysteries. This worthiness is not achieved by fasting. In the same Anaphora we read: “Essentially existing, and from all ages; Whose nature is incomprehensible, Who art near and present to all, without any change of Thy sublimity; Whose goodness every existing thing longs for and desires; the intelligible indeed, and creature endowed with intelligence, through intelligence; those endowed with sense, through their senses; Who, although Thou art One essentially, nevertheless art present with us, and amongst us, in this hour, in which Thou hast called and led us to these Thy holy Mysteries; and hast made us worthy to stand before the sublime throne of Thy majesty, and to handle the sacred vessels of Thy ministry with our impure hands: take away from us, O Lord, the cloak of iniquity in which we are enfolded, as from Jesus, the son of Josedec the High Priest, thou didst take away the filthy garments, and adorn us with piety and justice, as Thou didst adorn him with a vestment of glory; that clothed with Thee alone, as it were with a garment, and being like temples crowned with glory, we may see Thee unveiled with a mind divinely illuminated, and may feast, whilst we, by communicating therein, enjoy this sacrifice set before us; and that we may render to Thee glory and praise, together with Thine Only‐begotten Son, and Thine All‐holy, Good and Life‐creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” Once again, worthiness derives from God and not from fasting. In the same Liturgy we read: “I invoke Thee, O God the Father, have mercy upon us, and wash away, through Thy grace, the uncleanness of my evil deeds; destroy, through Thy mercy, what I have done, worthy of wrath; for I do not
ANCIENT AND CONTEMPORARY FATHERS REGARDING SO‐CALLED “WORTHINESS” OF THE HOLY MYSTERIES St. John Cassian (+29 February, 435) totally disagrees with the notion of Bp. Kirykos that the early Christians communed frequently supposedly because “they fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune.” Blessed Cassian does not approve of Christians shunning communion because they think of themselves as unworthy, and supposedly different to the early Christians. Thus whichever side one takes in this supposed dispute of Semipelagianism, be it the side of Blessed Augustine or that of Blessed Cassian, the truth is that both of these Holy Fathers condemn the notions held by Bp. Kirykos. Blessed Cassian writes: “We must not avoid communion because we deem ourselves to be sinful. We must approach it more often for the healing of the soul and the purification of the spirit, but with such humility and faith that considering ourselves unworthy, we would desire even more the medicine for our wounds. Otherwise it is impossible to receive communion once a year, as certain people do, considering the sanctification of heavenly Mysteries as available only to saints. It is better to think that by giving us grace, the sacrament makes us pure and holy. Such people [who commune rarely] manifest more pride than humility, for when they receive, they think of themselves as worthy. It is much better if, in humility of heart, knowing that we are never worthy of the Holy Mysteries we would receive them every Sunday for the healing of our diseases, rather than, blinded by pride, think that after one year we become worthy of receiving them.” (John Cassian, Conference 23, Chapter 21) Now, as for those who may think the above notion is only applicable for the Christians living at the time of St. John Cassian (5th century), and that the people at that time were justified in confessing their sins frequently and also communing frequently, throughout the year, while that supposedly this does not apply to contemporary Orthodox Christians, such a notion does not hold any validity, because contemporary Holy Fathers, among them the Hesychastic Fathers and Kollyvades Fathers, have taught exactly the same thing as we have read above in the writings of Blessed Cassian. Thus St. Gregory Palamas, St. Symeon the New Theologian, St. Macarius Notaras of Corinth, St. Nicodemus of Athos, St. Arsenius of Paros, St. Pachomius of Chios, St. Nectarius of Aegina, St. Matthew of Bresthena, St. Moses of Athikia, and so many other contemporary Orthodox Saints agree with the positions of the Blessed Cassian. The various quotes from these Holy Fathers are to be provided in another study regarding the letter of Bp. Kirykos to Fr. Pedro. In any case, not only contemporary Greek Fathers, but even contemporary Syrian, Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian and Romanian Fathers concur. St. Arsenius the Russian of Stavronikita (+24 March, 1846), for example, writes: “One can sometimes hear people say that they avoid approaching the Holy Mysteries because they consider themselves unworthy. But who is worthy of it? No one on earth is worthy of it, but whoever confesses his sins with heartfelt contrition and approaches the Chalice of Christ with consciousness of his unworthiness the Lord will not reject, in accordance with His words, Him that cometh to Me I shall in no wise cast out (John 6:37).” (Athonite Monastery of St. Panteleimon, Athonite Leaflets, No. 105, published in 1905) St. John Chrysostom (+14 September, 407), Archbishop of the Imperial City of Constantinople New Rome, speaks very much against the idea of making fasting and communing a mere custom. He instead insists on making true repentance of tears and communion with God a daily ritual. For no one passes a single day without sinning at least in thought if not also in word and deed. Likewise, no one can live a true life in Christ without daily repentance and frequent Communion. But in fact, the greatest method to abstain from sins is by the fear of communing unworthily. Thus, through frequent Communion one is guided towards abstinence from sins. Of course, the grace of the Mysteries themselves are essential in this process of cleansing the brain, heart and bowel of the body, as well as cleansing the mind, spirit and word of the soul. But the fear of hellfire as experienced in the partaking of communion unworthily is most definitely a means of preventing sins. But if one thinks that fasting for seven days without meat, five days without dairy, three days without oil, and one day without anything but xerophagy, is a means to make one “worthy” of Communion, whereas the communicant then returns to his life of sin until the next year when he decides to commune again, then not only was this one week of fasting worthless, not only would 40 days of lent be unprofitable, but even an entire lifetime of fasting will be useless. For such a person makes fasting and Communion a mere custom, rather than a way of Life in Christ. Blessed Chrysostom writes: “But since I have mentioned this sacrifice, I wish to say a little in reference to you who have been initiated; little in quantity, but possessing great force and profit, for it is not our own, but the words of Divine Spirit. What then is it? Many partake of this sacrifice once in the whole year; others twice; others many times. Our word then is to all; not to those only who are here, but to those also who are settled in the desert. For they partake once in the year, and often indeed at intervals of two years. What then? Which shall we approve? Those [who receive] once [in the year]? Those who [receive] many times? Those who [receive] few times? Neither those [who receive] once, nor those [who receive] often, nor those [who receive] seldom, but those [who come] with a pure conscience, from a pure heart, with an irreproachable life. Let such draw near continually; but those who are not such, not even once. Why, you will ask? Because they receive to themselves judgment, yea and condemnation, and punishment, and vengeance. And do not wonder. For as food, nourishing by nature, if received by a person without appetite, ruins and corrupts all [the system], and becomes an occasion of disease, so surely is it also with respect to the awful mysteries. Do you feast at a spiritual table, a royal table, and again pollute your mouth with mire? Do you anoint yourself with sweet ointment, and again fill yourself with ill savors? Tell me, I beseech you, when after a year you partake of the Communion, do you think that the Forty Days are sufficient for you for the purifying of the sins of all that time? And again, when a week has passed, do you give yourself up to the former things? Tell me now, if when you have been well for forty days after a long illness, you should again give yourself up to the food which caused the sickness, have you not lost your former labor too? For if natural things are changed, much more those which depend on choice. As for instance, by nature we see, and naturally we have healthy eyes; but oftentimes from a bad habit [of body] our power of vision is injured. If then natural things are changed, much more those of choice. Thou assignest forty days for the health of the soul, or perhaps not even forty, and do you expect to propitiate God? Tell me, are you in sport? These things I say, not as forbidding you the one and annual coming, but as wishing you to draw near continually.” (John Chrysostom, Homily 17, on Hebrews 10:2‐9) The Holy Fathers also stress the importance of confession of sins as the ultimate prerequisite for Holy Communion, while remaining completely silent about any specific fast that is somehow generally applicable to all laymen equally. It is true that the spiritual father (who hears the confession of the penitent Orthodox Christian layman) does have the authority to require his spiritual son to fulfill a fast of repentance before communion. But the local bishop (who is not the layman’s spiritual father but only a distant observer) most certainly does not have the authority to demand the priests to enforce a single method of preparation common to all laymen without distinction, such as what Bp. Kirykos does in his letter to Fr. Pedro. For man cannot be made “worthy” due to such a pharisaic fast that is conducted for mere custom’s sake rather than serving as a true form of repentance. Indeed it is possible for mankind to become worthy of Holy Communion. But this worthiness is derived from the grace of God which directs the soul away from sins, and it is derived from the Mysteries themselves, particularly the Mystery of Repentance (also called Confession or Absolution) and the Mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ (also called the Eucharist or Holy Communion). St. Nicholas Cabasilas (+20 June, 1391), Archbishop of Thessalonica, writes: “The Bread which truly strengthens the heart of man will obtain this for us; it will enkindle in us ardor for contemplation, destroying the torpor that weighs down our soul; it is the Bread which has come down from heaven to bring Life; it is the Bread that we must seek in every way. We must be continually occupied with this Eucharistic banquet lest we suffer famine. We must guard against allowing our soul to grow anemic and sickly, keeping away from this food under the pretext of reverence for the sacrament. On the contrary, after telling our sins to the priest, we must drink of the expiating Blood.” (St. Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ). St. Matthew Carpathaces (+14 May, 1950), Archbishop of Athens, while still an Archimandrite, published a book in 1933 in which he wrote five pages regarding the Mystery of Holy Communion. In these five pages he addresses the issue of Holy Communion, worthiness and preparation. Nowhere in it does he speak of any particular pre‐communion fast. On the contrary, in the rest of the book he speaks only about the fasts of Wednesday and Friday throughout the year, and the four Lenten seasons of Nativity, Pascha, Apostles and Dormition. He also mentions that married couples should avoid marital relations on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Aside from these fasts and abstaining, he mentions no such thing about a pre‐communion fast anywhere in the book, and the book is over 300 pages long. In the section where he speaks specifically regarding Holy Communion, Blessed Matthew speaks only of confession of sins as a prerequisite to Holy Communion, and he mentions the importance of abstaining from sins. Nowhere does he suggest that partaking of foods on the days the Orthodox Church permits is supposedly a sin. For to claim such a thing is a product of Manicheanism and is anathematized by several councils. But Blessed Matthew of Bresthena was no Manichean, he was a Genuine Orthodox Christian, a preserver of Orthodoxy in its fullness. The fact he had 600 nuns and 200 monks flock around him during his episcopate in Greece is proof of his spiritual heights and that he was an Orthodox Christian not only in thought and word, but also in deed. Yet Bp. Kirykos, who in his thirty years as a pastor has not managed to produce a single spiritual offspring, dares to claim that Blessed Matthew of Bresthena is the source of his corrupt and heretical views. But nothing could be further from the truth. In Blessed Matthew’s written works, which are manifold and well‐ preserved, nowhere does he suggest that clergy can simply follow the common fasting rules of the Orthodox Church and commune several times per week, while if laymen follow the same Orthodox rules of fasting just as do the priests, they are supposedly not free to commune but must undergo some kind of extra fast. Nowhere does he demand this fast that is not as a punishment for laymen’s sins, but is implemented merely because they are laymen, since this fast is being demanded irrespective of the outcome of their confession to the priest. Yet despite all of this, Bp. Kirykos arbitrarily uses the name of Bishop Matthew as supposedly agreeing with his positions. The following quote from the works of Blessed Matthew will shatter Kirykos’s notion that “fasting in the finer and broader sense” can make a Christian “worthy to commune,” without mentioning the Holy Mysteries of Confession and Communion themselves as the source of that worthiness. The following quote will shatter Bp. Kirykos’ attempt to misrepresent the positions of Blessed Matthew, which is something that Bp. Kirykos is guilty of doing for the past 30 years, tarnishing the name of Blessed Matthew, and causing division and self‐destruction within the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece, while at the same time boasting of somehow being Bishop Matthew’s only real follower. It is time for Bp. Kirykos’ three‐decades‐long façade to be shattered. This shattering shall not only apply to the façade regarding the pharisaic‐style fast, but even the façade regarding the post‐1976 ecclesiology held by Bp. Kirykos and his associate, Mr. Gkoutzidis—an ecclesiology which is found nowhere in the encyclicals of the Genuine Orthodox Church from 1935 until the 1970s. That was the time that Mr. Gkoutzidis and the then layman Mr. Kontogiannis (now Bp. Kirykos) began controlling the Matthewite Synod. On the contrary, many historic encyclicals of the Genuine Orthodox Church contradict this post‐1976 Gkoutzidian‐ Kontogiannian ecclesiology, for which reason the duo has kept these documents hidden in the Synodal archives for three decades. But let us begin the shattering of the façade with the position of Blessed Matthew regarding frequent Communion. For God has willed that this be the first article by Bishop Matthew to be translated into English that is not of an ecclesiological nature, but a work in regards to Orthopraxia, something rarely spoken and seldom found in the endlessly repetitive periodicals of the Kirykite faction.
HT coaches attend four-day ALL-INCLUSIVE National Training Institute (Boston/LA) Institute (Boston/LA/NOLA) All coaches in regions where booster trainings are occuring are - All coaches in regions where booster trainings are occuring are invited to attend invited to attend National Days of Service All Coaches must partake in one National Days of Service (NDOS) in their region All Coaches must partake in one National Days of Service (NDOS) in their region Job Description -70% Direct Service - 20% Training - 10% Fundraising/Capacity Building 600 hours (2/3) MUST be Direct Service America Learns Time Sheets Coaches must enter their hours in the America Learns system &
Then I would partake in the daily standup where I could see if there are any blockers and check the general progress towards the sprint goals.
an underground supper and events club started by Mickey Corona and Brian Riggenbach, which invites guests to partake in:
18-19 (NIV) CONCLUSION In our suffering, we have the opportunity to partake in the sufferings of Christ and the assurance of receiving the crown of life.
Yes Yes No No Yes No Is there any other reasons you feel a YP may not be able to partake in any physical activity?
A DIALOGUE BETWEEN AN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN AND A RATIONALIST ON THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST Vladimir Moss Orthodox. My friend, I would like to ask you a question: what do you understand by the words: “We are saved by the Blood of Christ”? Rationalist. That we are saved by the Sacrifice of Christ Crucified, whereby He washed away our sins in His Blood shed on the Cross. Orthodox. I agree. And how precisely are our sins washed away? Rationalist. By true faith, and by partaking of the Holy Mysteries of the Church with faith and love, and especially the Mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. Orthodox. Excellent! So you agree that in the Mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ we partake of the very same Body that was nailed to the Cross and the very same Blood that was shed from the side of the Saviour? Rationalist. Er, yes… Orthodox. I see that you hesitate, my friend. Is there something wrong in what I have said. Rationalist. Not exactly… However, you must be careful not to understand the Mystery in a cannibalistic sense. Orthodox. Cannibalistic? What do you mean, my friend? What is cannibalistic here? Rationalist. Well, I mean that we must not understand the Body of Christ in the Eucharist to be a hunk of meat. That would be close to cannibalism – to paganism. Orthodox. You know, the early Christians were accused of being cannibals by their enemies. However, cannibals eat dead meat. In the Mystery we do not partake of dead meat, but of living flesh, the Flesh of the God‐Man. It is alive not only through Its union with His human Soul, but also through Its union with the Divine Spirit. And that makes It not only alive, but Life‐giving. Rationalist. Still, you mustn’t understand this in too literal a way. Did not the Lord say: “The flesh is of little use; it is the spirit that gives life”(John 6.63)? Orthodox. Yes indeed, but you must understand this passage as the Holy Fathers understand it. St. John Chrysostom says that in these words the Lord was not referring to His own Flesh (God forbid!), but to a carnal understanding of His words. And “this is what carnal understanding means – looking on things in a simple manner without representing anything more. We should not judge in this manner about the visible, but we must look into all its mysteries with internal eyes.” 1 If you think about the Flesh of Christ 1 St.
for we all partake of the one loaf.” “ The loaf which we break, is it not a participation of the body of the Anointed one?”— 1 Cor.
The clan does not partake in clan-wars as its main purpose is not to compete with others but instead to have fun while playing games.
The music they provide should instill the attendees with the required inspiration and vigour to partake in the singing, dancing, and clapping associated with the ritual, the culmination of which should hopefully provoke a possession trance in an individual or in multiple individuals throughout the evening.
SPIRITUAL PATH REMEMBERING SACRED TRADITION AND REFERRING TO THE HOLY FATHERS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH Quotes from St. Basil the Great A. Holy Tradition. Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or publicly enjoined which are preserved in the Church some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have received delivered to us ʺin a mysteryʺ by the tradition of the apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force. And these no one will gainsay—no one, at all events, who is even moderately versed in the institutions of the Church. For were we to attempt to reject such customs as have no written authority, on the ground that the importance they possess is small, we should unintentionally injure the Gospel in its very vitals; or, rather, should make our public definition a mere phrase and nothing more. For instance, to take the first and most general example, who is thence who has taught us in writing to sign with the sign of the cross those who have trusted in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ? What writing has taught us to turn to the East at the prayer? Which of the saints has left us in writing the words of the invocation at the displaying of the bread of the Eucharist and the cup of blessing? For we are not, as is well known, content with what the apostle or the Gospel has recorded, but both in preface and conclusion we add other words as being of great importance to the validity of the ministry, and these we derive from unwritten teaching. (Quote from St. Basil the Great’s work “On the Holy Spirit,” Patrologia Graeca 32, 188) B. Frequent Holy Communion. To commune each day and to partake of the holy Body and Blood of Christ is good and beneficial; for He says quite plainly: “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life.” Who can doubt that to share continually in life is the same thing as having life abundantly? We ourselves commune four times a week: on the Lord’s Day (i.e., Sunday), on the Third Day (i.e., Wednesday), on the Preparation Day (i.e., Friday) and on the Sabbath Day (i.e., Saturday); and on other days if there is a commemoration of any saint. (Quote from 93rd Epistle of St. Basil the Great’s work “To Caesarea Patricia Regarding Communion,” Patrologia Graeca 32, 484)
e., they must partake of those human rights and privileges which his sacrifice secured for all, either in this age by faith, or in the next age actually, else they will have no life rights, either to make sacrifice of now, or to enjoy (without the privilege of sacrificing them) hereafter.
ARE CHRISTIANS MEANT TO COMMUNE ONLY ON A SATURDAY AND NEVER ON A SUNDAY? In the second paragraph of his first letter to Fr. Pedro, Bp. Kirykos writes: “Also, all Christians, when they are going to commune, know that they must approach Holy Communion on Saturday (since it is preceded by the fast of Friday) and on Sunday only by economia, so that they are not compelled to break the fast of Saturday and violate the relevant Holy Canon [sic: here he accidentally speaks of breaking the fast of Saturday, but he most likely means observing a fast on Saturday, because that is what violates the canons].” The first striking remark is “All Christians.” Does Bp. Kirykos consider himself to be a Christian? If so, why does he commune every Sunday without exception, seeing as though “all Christians” are supposed to “know” that they are only allowed to commune on a Saturday, and never on Sunday, except by “economia.” Or perhaps Bp. Kirykos does not consider himself a Christian, and for this reason he is exempt of this rule for “all Christians.” It makes perfect sense that he excludes himself from those called Christians because his very ideas and practices are not Christian at all. Is communion on Saturdays alone, and never on Sundays, really a Christian practice? Is this what Christians have always believed? Was Saturday the day that the early Christians ʺbroke breadʺ (i.e., communed)? Let us look at what the Holy Scriptures have to say. St. Luke the Evangelist (+18 October, 86), in the Acts of the Holy Apostles, writes: “And on the first day of the week, when we were assembled to break bread, Paul discoursed with them, being to depart on the morrow (Acts 20:7).” Thus the Holy Apostle Paul would meet with the faithful on the first day of the week, to wit, Sunday, and on this day he would break bread, that is, he would serve Holy Communion. St. Paul the Apostle (+29 June, 67) also advises in his first epistle to the Corinthians: “On the first day of the week, let every one of you put apart with himself, laying up what it shall well please him: that when I come, the collections be not then to be made (1 Corinthians 16:2).” Thus St. Paul indicates that the Christians would meet with one another on the first day of the week, that is, Sunday, not only for Liturgy, but also for collection of goods for the poor. The reason why the Christians would meet for prayer and breaking of bread on Sunday is because our Lord Jesus Christ arose from the dead on one day after the Sabbath, on the first day of the week, that is, the Lordʹs Day or Sunday (Matt. 28:1‐7; Mark 16:2,9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). Another reason for the Christians meeting together on Sundays is because the Holy Spirit was delivered to the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, which was a Sunday, and this event signified the beginning of the Christian community. That Pentecost took place on a Sunday is clear from Godʹs command in the Old Testament Scriptures: “You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord (Leviticus 23:16).” The reference to “fifty days” and “seventh Sabbath” refers to counting fifty days from the first Sabbath, or seven weeks plus one day; while “the day after the seventh Sabbath” clearly refers to a Sunday, since the day after the Sabbath day (Saturday) is always the Lord’s Day (Sunday). It was on the Sunday of Pentecost that the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles. Thus we read: “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance (Acts 2:1‐4).” A final reason for Sunday being the day that the Christians met for prayer and breaking of bread was in order to remember the promised Second Coming or rather Second Appearance (Δευτέρα Παρουσία) of the Lord. The reference to Sunday is found in the Book of Revelation, in which Christ appeared and delivered the prophecy to St. John the Theologian on “Kyriake” (Κυριακή), which means “the main day,” or “the first day,” but more correctly means “the Lordʹs Day.” (Revelation 1:10). For the above three reasons (that Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, the Pentecost and the Second Appearance) the Apostles themselves, and the early Christians immediately made Sunday the new Sabbath, the new day of rest, and the new day for Godʹs people to gather together for prayer (i.e., Liturgy) and breaking of bread (i.e., Holy Communion) Thus we read in the Didache of the Holy Apostles: “On the Lordʹs Day (i.e., Kyriake) come together and break bread. And give thanks (i.e., offer the Eucharist), after confessing your sins that your sacrifice may be pure (Didache 14).” Thus the Christians met together on the Lord’s Day, that is, Sunday, for the breaking of bread and giving of thanks, to wit, the Divine Liturgy and Holy Eucharist. St. Barnabas the Apostle (+11 June, 61), First Bishop of Salamis in Cyprus, in the Epistle of Barnabas, writes: “Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead (Barnabas 15).” The eighth day is a reference to Sunday, which is known as the first as well as the eighth day of the week. How more appropriate to keep the eighth day with joyfulness other than by communing of the joyous Gifts? St. Ignatius the God‐bearer (+20 December, 108), Bishop of Antioch, in his Epistle to the Magnesians, insists that the Jews who became Christian should be “no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s Day, on which also our Life rose again (Magnesians 9).” What could commemorate the Lord’s Day as the day Life rose again, other than by receiving Life incarnate, to wit, that precious Body and Blood of Christ? For he who partakes of it shall never die but live forever! St. Clemes, also known as St. Clement (+24 November, 101), Bishop of Rome, in the Apostolic Constitutions, also declares that Divine Liturgy is especially for Sundays more than any other day. Thus we read: “On the day of the resurrection of the Lord, that is, the Lord’s day, assemble yourselves together, without fail, giving thanks to God, and praising Him for those mercies God has bestowed upon you through Christ, and has delivered you from ignorance, error, and bondage, that your sacrifice may be unspotted, and acceptable to God, who has said concerning His universal Church: In every place shall incense and a pure sacrifice be offered unto me; for I am a great King, saith the Lord Almighty, and my name is wonderful among the nations (Apostolic Constitutions, ch. 30).” The reference to “pure sacrifice” is the oblation of Christ’s Body and Blood; “giving thanks to God” is the celebration of the Eucharist (εὐχαριστία = giving thanks). The Apostolic Constitutions also state clearly that Sunday is not only the most important day for Divine Liturgy, but that it is also the ideal day for receiving Holy Communion. It is written: “And on the day of our Lord’s resurrection, which is the Lord’s day, meet more diligently, sending praise to God that made the universe by Jesus, and sent Him to us, and condescended to let Him suffer, and raised Him from the dead. Otherwise what apology will he make to God who does not assemble on that day to hear the saving word concerning the resurrection, on which we pray thrice standing in memory of Him who arose in three days, in which is performed the reading of the prophets, the preaching of the Gospel, the oblation of the sacrifice, the gift of the holy food? (Apostolic Constitutions, ch. 59).” The “gift of the holy food” refers to Holy Communion. The Holy Canons of the Orthodox Church also distinguish Sunday as the day of Divine Liturgy and Holy Communion. The 19th Canon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council mentions the importance of Sunday as a day for gathering and preaching the Gospel sermon: “We declare that the deans of churches, on every day, but more especially on Sundays, must teach all the clergy and the laity words of truth out of the Holy Bible…” The 80th Canon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council states that all clergy and laity are forbidden to be absent from Divine Liturgy for three consecutive Sundays: “In case any bishop or presbyter or deacon or anyone else on the list of the clergy, or any layman, without any grave necessity or any particular difficulty compelling him to absent himself from his own church for a very long time, fails to attend church on Sundays for three consecutive weeks, while living in the city, if he be a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be removed from communion.” Take note that if one attends Divine Liturgy for three consecutive Saturdays, but not on the Sundays, he still falls under the penalty of this canon because it does not reprimand someone who simply doesn’t attend Divine Liturgy for three weeks, but rather one who “fails to attend church on Sundays.” The reference to “church” must refer to a parish where Holy Communion is offered every Sunday, for an individual who does not attend for three consecutive Sundays cannot be punished by being “removed from communion” if this is not even offered to begin with. Also, the fact that this is the penalty must mean that the norm is for the faithful to commune every Sunday, or at least every third Sunday. The 9th Canon of the Holy Apostles declares that: “All those faithful who enter and listen to the Scriptures, but do not stay for prayer and Holy Communion must be excommunicated, on the ground that they are causing the Church a breach of order.” The 2nd Canon of the Council of Antioch states: “As for all those persons who enter the church and listen to the sacred Scriptures, but who fail to commune in prayer together and at the same time with the laity, or who shun the participation of the Eucharist, in accordance with some irregularity, we decree that these persons be outcasts from the Church until, after going to confession and exhibiting fruits of repentance and begging forgiveness, they succeed in obtaining a pardon…” Both of these canons prove quite clearly that all faithful who attend Divine Liturgy and are not under any kind of penance or excommunication, must partake of Holy Communion. Thus, if clergy and laity are equally expected to attend Divine Liturgy every Sunday, or at least every third Sunday, they are equally expected to Commune every Sunday, or at least every third Sunday. Should they fail, they are to be excommunicated. St. Timothy of Alexandria (+20 July, 384), in his Questions and Answers, and specifically in the 3rd Canon, writes: “Question: If anyone who is a believer is possessed of a demon, ought he to partake of the Holy Mysteries, or not? Answer: If he does not repudiate the Mystery, nor otherwise in any way blaspheme, let him have communion, not, however, every day in the week, for it is sufficient for him on the Lord’s Day only.” So then, if even those who are possessed with demons are permitted to commune on every Sunday, how is it that Bp. Kirykos advises that all Christians are only permitted to commune on a Saturday, and never on a Sunday except by extreme economia? Are today’s healthy, faithful and practicing Orthodox Christians, who do not have a canon of penance or any excommunication, and who desire communion every Sunday, forbidden this, despite the fact that of old even those possessed of demons were permitted it? The above Holy Canons of the Orthodox Church are the Law of God that the Church abides to in order to prevent scandal or discord. Let us now compare this Law of God to the “traditions of men,” namely, the Sabbatian, Pharisaic statement found in Bp. Kirykos’s first letter to Fr. Pedro: “… I request of you the avoidance of disorder and scandal regarding this issue, and to recommend to those who confess to you, that in order to approach Holy Communion, they must prepare by fasting, and to prefer approaching on Saturday and not Sunday.“ Clearly, Bp. Kirykos has turned the whole world upside down, and has made the Holy Canons and the Law of the Church of God as a matter of “discord and scandal,” and instead insists upon his own self‐invented “tradition” which is nowhere to be found in the writings of the Holy Fathers, in the Holy Canons, or in the Holy Tradition of Orthodoxy. The truth is that Bp. Kirykos himself is the one who introduced “disorder and scandal” when he trampled all over the Holy Canons and insisted that his priest, Fr. Pedro, and other laymen do likewise! The truth is that Fr. Pedro and the laymen supporting him are not at all causing “disorder and scandal” in the Church, but they are the ones preventing disorder and scandal by objecting to the unorthodox demands of Bp. Kirykos. Throughout the history of the Orthodox Church, Sunday has always been the day of Divine Liturgy and Holy Communion. This was declared so by the Holy Apostles themselves, was also maintained in the post‐apostolic era, and continues even until our day. Nowhere in the doctrines, practices or history of Orthodox Christianity is there ever a teaching that laymen are supposedly only to commune on a Saturday and never on a Sunday. The only day of the week throughout the year upon which Liturgy is guaranteed to be celebrated is on a Sunday. The Liturgy is only performed on a few Saturdays per year in most parishes, and mostly only during the Great Fast or on the Saturday of Souls. Liturgy is more seldom on weekdays as the Liturgies of Wednesday and Friday nights have been made Pre‐sanctified and limited to only within the Great Fast. Liturgy is now only performed on weekdays if it is a feastday of a major saint. But Liturgy is always performed on a Sunday without fail, in every city, village and countryside, because it is the Lord’s Day. The purpose of Liturgy is to receive Holy Communion, and the reason for it being celebrated on the Lord’s Day without fail is because this is the day of salvation, and therefore the most important day of the week, especially for receiving Holy Communion. For, “This is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).” What greater way to rejoice on the Lord’s Day than to commune of the very Lord Himself? The theory of diminishing Sunday as the day of salvation and communion, and instead opting for Saturday, is actually a heresy known as
It was pleasing to see the participants at ease so quickly and able to open up and partake in group discussions.
THE PATH TO RESURRECTION The message in this tract is very crucial for anyone that wants to partake in the rapture of the saints.