Confession in the Eastern Orthodox Church?


#1

I have heard that in the Orthodox church confession is beneficial but not necessary, unlike in the Roman Catholic Church.

How true is this statement, and what qualifies a person for confession? If a person sins, Is it necessary for them to go for confession or is is optional?

Please advise,
Thanks,
Lucien


#2

[quote="lucien123, post:1, topic:283613"]
I have heard that in the Orthodox church confession is beneficial but not necessary, unlike in the Roman Catholic Church.

How true is this statement, and what qualifies a person for confession? If a person sins, Is it necessary for them to go for confession or is is optional?

Please advise,
Thanks,
Lucien

[/quote]

Confession is done differently in the Orthodox tradition. It is never done anonymously, and one could receive a penance involving a period of excommunication depending on the severity of the sins he has confessed. That being said, the traditional understanding of confession was that the penitent was absolved after being readmitted to the eucharist which is given for the remission of sins, with the prayers of absolution only being added later to confession as a pastoral provision. That is the only way one could say that confession (a sacramental absolution divorced from the eucharist) is "not necessary", because it clearly was not a sacrament in the early church. Most priests, however, will urge, if not require their parishioners to confess. As guardians of the chalice, this is their prerogative.


#3

[quote="Cavaradossi, post:2, topic:283613"]
Confession is done differently in the Orthodox tradition. It is never done anonymously, and one could receive a penance involving a period of excommunication depending on the severity of the sins he has confessed. That being said, the traditional understanding of confession was that the penitent was absolved after being readmitted to the eucharist which is given for the remission of sins, with the prayers of absolution only being added later to confession as a pastoral provision. That is the only way one could say that confession (a sacramental absolution divorced from the eucharist) is "not necessary", because it clearly was not a sacrament in the early church. Most priests, however, will urge, if not require their parishioners to confess. As guardians of the chalice, this is their prerogative.

[/quote]

Yes. And as Orthodox Christians, we are urged to have a spiritual father/mother who can guide us unto the path of salvation and give us an appropriate prayer rule. Oftentimes, one's spiritual father is also one's confessor.


#4

[quote="Mickey, post:3, topic:283613"]
Yes. And as Orthodox Christians, we are urged to have a spiritual father/mother who can guide us unto the path of salvation and give us an appropriate prayer rule. Oftentimes, one's spiritual father is also one's confessor.

[/quote]

In fact the spiritual father is so important that it is possible to confess one's sins to his or her spiritual father and receive the prayers of absolution from another priest. I have heard of some priests who will do just that while traveling.


#5

Is that the same person as the priest or someone else?


#6

[quote="Padraig1972, post:5, topic:283613"]
Is that the same person as the priest or someone else?

[/quote]

Typically, you'll probably wind up with your parish priest acting as your spiritual father, but it is possible that you'll find somebody else.


#7

That is interesting and one of those things i have been missing and in my present situation being told: "no, we don`t do that here".

It is a good thing i think, a very good one too as it strengthen you and gives you as a faithful one good guidances to a prayerlife which is important (i know how much it is missed and longed for).


#8

[quote="Cavaradossi, post:4, topic:283613"]
In fact the spiritual father is so important that it is possible to confess one's sins to his or her spiritual father and receive the prayers of absolution from another priest. I have heard of some priests who will do just that while traveling.

[/quote]

Yes.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.