Can Greek Orthodox receive Catholic Communion?

I have a friend who is Greek Orthodox. He was married to a Roman Catholic in a Roman Catholic Church and his children are being raised Catholic. However, he doesn’t receive the Eucharist although he regularly attends Mass each week. Do the Greek Orthodox believe in the Real Presence? Is it permissible for him to receive Communion in the Roman Catholic Church? Unfortunately, his own knowledge of Greek Orthodoxy is pretty sketchy.

[quote=Audrey]Do the Greek Orthodox believe in the Real Presence?

Yes. The Orthodox churches also have a valid Communion.

[quote=Audrey]Is it permissible for him to receive Communion in the Roman Catholic Church?

These are the Guidelines for the Reception of Communion from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB):

Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to holy Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law (canon 844 § 4). Members of the Orthodox churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church are urged to respect the discipline of their own churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of communion by Christians of these churches (canon 844 § 3).

Orthodox churches usually require their flocks to refrain from receiving Communion in a Catholic church. Your friend can check with an Orthodox priest for more information about the requirements of Orthodox eucharistic discipline.

[quote=Audrey]Unfortunately, his own knowledge of Greek Orthodoxy is pretty sketchy.

If your friend is not attached to Orthodoxy, is regularly attending a Catholic church with his wife, and is allowing his children to be raised Catholic, perhaps he might be interested in joining Catholicism. If his Eastern heritage is important to him, he might wish to join one of the Eastern rites that are in union with Rome, such as the Byzantine rite.

It is also possible that if he does join an Eastern rite that is in union with Rome, if they wish to do so, his wife and children may be able to enter that Eastern rite with him. From the Code of Canon Law:

§1 After the reception of baptism, the following become members of another autonomous ritual church: 1° those who have obtained permission from the Apostolic See; 2° a spouse who, on entering marriage or during its course, has declared that he or she is transferring to the autonomous ritual church of the other spouse; on the dissolution of the marriage, however, that person may freely return to the Latin church; 3° the children of those mentioned in nn. 1 and 2 who have not completed their fourteenth year, and likewise in a mixed marriage the children of a Catholic party who has lawfully transferred to another ritual church; on completion of their fourteenth year, however, they may return to the Latin church.

§2 The practice, however long standing, of receiving the sacraments according to the rite of an autonomous ritual church, does not bring with it membership of that church (canon 112).

If he is interested, put him in touch with your diocese which can, in turn, refer him to the closest Eastern Catholic eparchy. Considerations such as joining an Eastern Catholic rite and a possible change of Catholic rites by his wife and children, if they so desire, are questions that should be directed to an Eastern Catholic priest.

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