Can Eastern Orthodox Receive Communion From Oriental Orthodox?


#1

For example if a person is Baptised as Serbian Orthodox, and they live abroad where no Eastern church is present, is it Permissible for them to Receive communion from an Oriental church, such as the Ethiopian Orthodox Church? Or Maybe a Roman Catholic church?

Please advise, I’m curious.
thanks,
Lucien


#2

There are seriously important issues with Christology between the non-Chlacedonian ‘Oriental’ Orthodox, who would be Miaphysites and the Diaphysite churches.

Both the Serbian Orthodox (per your example, all Orthodox actually) and the Roman Catholic church are Diaphysite.

So the answer is no. Ordinarily an Orthodox would not commune in a non-Orthodox church without prior approval from his/her bishop, which may not be forthcoming. Exceptions are possible, but it would require a blessing from the person’s priest (who would need to know his bishop’s position on the matter). Extreme circumstances (desperate health and safety) would mitigate this, of course.

Some people have come to the idea that we are not really that far apart on Christology, it could be mostly a misunderstanding, but the churches have not formally resolved the issue so the prohibition stands.


#3

While I'm not particularly knowledgeable about Oriental Orthodox practice, I know that generally communion between the two churches is not practiced. Whether permission would be given would be up to the Oriental Orthodox priest according to economia as dictated by his bishop. So basically one could ask if the situation arose, but not be hopeful for a positive answer :)


#4

No. This has been asked of our priests here in Albuquerque, and they said in no circumstances will we commune Chalcedonians, either Orthodox or Catholic (and we do have Catholics who regularly visit us and participate in the liturgy, but they do not commune). This is not an extreme or minority opinion, and it makes sense when you consider that there are already Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox (Greek) churches in this area, so it is not possible or necessary that there be exceptions made. Before about 16 years ago (when the Oriental Orthodox first began celebrating liturgy here) apparently local Copts communed at the Greek Orthodox Church. This was done with the full knowledge of the priests (knowing that there are no OO churches anywhere for hundreds and hundreds of miles), and with no effort to obscure the ecclesiastical identity of the communicants, so there's no problem with this situation. But now that the situation has changed, it is no longer allowed.


#5

Pi Ekhristos aftonf!

This is a similar situation here in Roanoke. There were Copts and Syriacs who wanted to commune in our church, but my priest said he would need to get approval from their bishop and our bishop (who would have permitted it, given the circumstances). Eventually, the local Coptic church got a regular priest, as did the Syriac mission. We are on good terms with the Copts, but haven’t had a chance to interact with the Syriacs that much.

But, to further answer the OP, my Church will permit it, but only in circumstances that are beyond the persons control. For instance, if there was a Non-Chalcedonian Orthodox parish in my town and no Chalcedonian Orthodox church and I was in a situation where I would be away from my own church for a while, my bishop would allow me to commune in a OO church, assuming their bishop would agree.

In Christ,
Andrew


#6

Khen oumethmi aftonf!

But, to further answer the OP, my Church will permit it, but only in circumstances that are beyond the persons control. For instance, if there was a Non-Chalcedonian Orthodox parish in my town and no Chalcedonian Orthodox church and I was in a situation where I would be away from my own church for a while, my bishop would allow me to commune in a OO church, assuming their bishop would agree.

In Christ,
Andrew

This is also how it is for the local OO back home in Northern California (Ethiopians and Eritreans; I am not aware of any other OO communities in the area, or presumably the Ethiopian/Eritrean Orthodox would go to their churches instead), who are communed in both the OCA and Bulgarian churches. Wonderful people, all of them, and as far as my experience with the local EO at St. Seraphim of Sarov Church/OCA </shameless plug> showed me during the near-decade of my visiting there, there is no division observed among communicants there. This leads me to believe that if OO/EO intercommunion will ever be realized, it will be with these local situations to turn to as exemplars.


#7

The interesting part here is the non-Chalcedonians are closer to communion with both the Eastern Orthodox and the Catholics than the Eastern Orthodox and Catholics are to each other. Although they still haven’t achieved full communion with either. I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens sooner rather than later. I’m curious which one will be first to reunite with the “Orientals”.


#8

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:7, topic:284623"]
The interesting part here is the non-Chalcedonians are closer to communion with both the Eastern Orthodox and the Catholics than the Eastern Orthodox and Catholics are to each other. Although they still haven't achieved full communion with either. I wouldn't be surprised if this happens sooner rather than later. I'm curious which one will be first to reunite with the "Orientals".

[/quote]

They are?


#9

:ehh:

Who we find holds the Orthodox faith as we hold it. This is no doubt what the EO would also say. Because this is the only position that is right to hold, it probably will not be the Catholics. But either way, we are not clamoring for union with either of you. I really wish there was a way to make this position understandable without causing offense (or resulting in a “my agreed statements; let me show you them” moment from many people here), but on the other hand…the fact that it is essentially the same as the EO position (though of course they would have us confess the dyophysitism that they hold via the Tome of Leo, which I honestly cannot imagine ever happening; Christ will return before that happens…and then once He’s here we won’t have to!) shows that there is more hope to be placed in EO-OO reunion than others. While we do not have exactly the same ecclesiology, we view ecclesiology and related matters in similar ways, so leaders of both communions can be assured that their interlocutors of the other communion are serious and committed to true union.

This might, ironically, make things more difficult for us, as we are less open to even the idea of compromise, but it does mean that we are generally more likely to see each other as substantially Orthodox on an individual level, which may one day (by the grace of God) result in union.

The RC communion has a lot more to repudiate to even be considered, I’m sorry to say. In some ways, the EO-OO divide is a mirror image of the EO-RC divide: The EO say that we do not accept all that is necessary to be rightly called Orthodox, just as the RC say that the EO do not accept all that is necessary to be considered as conforming completely to the true faith. In a (polemical) way, the EO are our RC. :smiley:

(braces for gnashing of teeth and such from all sides)


#10

Actually Dzheremi, I've known far more EO who have no objections to OO views, than I have those who do, and that includes on the internet where divides seem so much bigger. The only issue I've ever seen brought up is the place of the fourth council - Does it need to be accepted, can the OO just agree with the principles it was trying to get across rather than the language, should it just be ignored by both sides, or should it be thrown out by the EO...

The answer to that issue, if one were ever found, would answer the approach to the next three councils (OO practice already being in keeping with them, even if they don't acknowledge them).


#11

[quote="Nine_Two, post:10, topic:284623"]
Actually Dzheremi, I've known far more EO who have no objections to OO views, than I have those who do, and that includes on the internet where divides seem so much bigger.

[/quote]

Yes, me too. From where I'm sitting the problem is not the numbers on either side who would not reunite, but their relative position. As the EO monks of Mt. Athos are no lightweights, some of the things that I have read emanating from that part of the EO church leave me with less than high hopes for future dialogues with the EO. Same could be said about some of what I've heard from Copts (though not necessarily monastics).

The only issue I've ever seen brought up is the place of the fourth council - Does it need to be accepted, can the OO just agree with the principles it was trying to get across rather than the language, should it just be ignored by both sides, or should it be thrown out by the EO...

Most of the discussion I've had with our priests and laypeople concerning the Council has centered around OO objection to the Tome of Leo and the anathema against Dioscoros, whom the OO consider a saint. These are not things to be bargained on, as I'm sure you can appreciate (what EO would give them up on principle?).

The answer to that issue, if one were ever found, would answer the approach to the next three councils (OO practice already being in keeping with them, even if they don't acknowledge them).

Indeed.

There are a great many other things, some of which are imbued with religious significance that at least some EO I have talked to (both on and off the internet) found objectionable (e.g, our understanding and use of the Trisagion), but I think to a great degree much of this would just have to be accepted as a consequence of welcoming the OO to communion, in the same way that no OO church could or should insist that EOs give up their practices.


#12

[quote="Nine_Two, post:8, topic:284623"]
They are?

[/quote]

Well, an Orthodox priest told me that. He gave a ranking of other Churches who are closer to Orthodoxy. Roman Catholics, and he includes Eastern Catholics, is I think 3rd or 4th on the list. Non-Chalcedonians are 1st.


#13

From what I have been told from an Eastern Greek Orthodox friend of mine, no. According to her an Eastern Orthodox Christian cannot receive the sacraments from an Oriental Orthodox Church or the Catholic Church.


#14

The divisions in Christianity must make God weep. As Jesus predicted, they cause the world not to believe in Him (Jn 17:23)..


#15

[quote="dzheremi, post:4, topic:284623"]
No. This has been asked of our priests here in Albuquerque, and they said in no circumstances will we commune Chalcedonians, either Orthodox or Catholic (and we do have Catholics who regularly visit us and participate in the liturgy, but they do not commune). This is not an extreme or minority opinion, and it makes sense when you consider that there are already Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox (Greek) churches in this area, so it is not possible or necessary that there be exceptions made. Before about 16 years ago (when the Oriental Orthodox first began celebrating liturgy here) apparently local Copts communed at the Greek Orthodox Church. This was done with the full knowledge of the priests (knowing that there are no OO churches anywhere for hundreds and hundreds of miles), and with no effort to obscure the ecclesiastical identity of the communicants, so there's no problem with this situation. But now that the situation has changed, it is no longer allowed.

[/quote]

We have had Copts to commune in my former OCA church (now closed) and in my current Antiochian parish.

Here as well there are no Coptic churches for 100s of miles.

Are there few Coptic churches in the US?


#16

There are actually quite a few; I don’t know the exact number, but I think our Southern U.S. diocese has about 30. The problem is that they are concentrated in a few specific areas, so for instance if you are in Southern California or New Jersey you have many churches, but if you are in New Mexico, where I am, the closest actual church is about five hundred miles away, in Phoenix (so guess where I get to go on Sunday to get baptized? ;)). For places that don’t have physical churches, they often have “Coptic communities”, which are those that are large enough to request and be granted a priest to serve them, but too small to have their own church and permanent priests. This is our situation in NM, and also in OK and AL. Other places have many churches and Coptic communities, like TX and FL, while still other places have more communities than churches (LA), or an even number (AZ and GA).


#17

[quote="dzheremi, post:16, topic:284623"]
so guess where I get to go on Sunday to get baptized?

[/quote]

Off-topic, but congratulations! :thumbsup:


#18

Congrats on your upcoming soon baptism. I was born in NM myself and now live right across the border in Texas


#19

Thanks for your good wishes, wynd and andrewstx.


#20

Count me in!

Prayers my friend. Many years! :slight_smile:


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