This post is just my own opinion…
I tend to think that those canons were not infallible and not binding upon the whole Church… the reason I think so is because as a Catholic, I believe the Vatican has the “final say” in these matters, and since the Catholic Church does not officially teach this (even if it was once a* custom*), then it’s not a binding “dogma”.
The canons are valid and each of the canons were, on this issue, restating the same thing which was already listed in earlier canons going back to Timothy. Everyone’s New Testament contains the books 1 & 2 Timothy. The canons are seperate from Sacred Scripture - they are the “rules”, the “measuring stick” by which Christians are to live out their lives within the Faith.
But I was just thinking…
to be completely honest
I’m having difficulty with this whole concept. I don’t mean to challenge our Orthodox brothers and sisters or to speak against Orthodoxy in any way… but isn’t mortal sin the only thing that can block us from God, and thus from receiving Communion? I believe that Jesus wants us to receive Him in the Eucharist, and wants to come into our hearts… and just as a sick person can come to church and receive Communion, so can a woman come to church during her menstruation and receive… because menstruation isn’t a sin and it’s not something “impure”, it’s just something that happens in the body and no one can control it. I have a hard time imagining that Jesus would not want to unite Himself with a person in this situation…
There is no offense taken from your comments. Not everyone agrees with every thing that the Orthodox Church teaches - if they did, there would be more Orthodox - LOL
Just because someone abstains from approaching the Holy Eucharist does Not mean that the Holy Spirit is not with them. Just as husbands and wives, if they follows the teaching of the Church - actually a teaching which even pre-dates the Church, they abstain from sexual relations during menses, it is appropriate for a woman to abstain from the Holy Eucharist. Not having sexual relations during menses does not mean that the husband and wife don’t love each other, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t married anymore…what it does mean is that they respect each other. In the same way, it is disrespectful for a woman to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist during her menses.
also what about nuns, who typically receive Communion every day? female Saints have done this, I guess, and I can’t imagine they’d be sinning… how does menstruating make someone “unclean”? Didn’t Jesus allow a woman who was “bleeding for many years” to touch Him…and allowed lepers to touch Him, who were also considered unclean in their society?
Nuns do not receive Holy Communion during their menses. Go to any Orthodox Women’s Monastery and ask, they will tell you they abstain during that time. I do not know of any female Saint for whom it has been recorded that she went against the Church’s practice and received the Holy Eucharist during menses. The woman who was “bleeding for many years” followed the Jewish Tradition by refraining from all activities forbidden her due to her condition until after she’d been healed. Normal menses is not a condition which lasts for years but a very temporary condition; however, if a woman has such a condition as the woman we are referring to she should go to her priest for Holy Unction - where it’s possible for her to healed just like Jesus healed the woman.
I understand there were OT laws, but we’re living in the New Covenant now… maybe the reason this idea was in the canons, is just because it crept in from Jewish practices of the day?
Many OT laws are a part of the New Covenant - like not sleeping with an animal, or your father’s wife, like not having sex during menses, like not lying, like not murdering…I think you get the idea.
I hope that if I’m wrong, God would show me and guide me to the truth, and forgive me for speaking error
God expects you to follow what know to be right - even that can be difficult for us - you do not need to worry that God will hold you accountable for failing to do something or for doing something that to no fault of your own you had no idea about. In the meantime, now that you have heard about this teaching, it would be wise to ask God for discernment, to speak with a Spiritual Father or Spiritual Mother about it (if you don’t already have one, you can travel (take pilgrimage) to a monastery to seek one out) and of course to approach God in prayer about it. I believe this to be good advise.
When I first heard about it I was like: “WHAT?! That’s crazy!” But then I looked into it - I wish I remember exactly which really early Saint I read on the issue, but he said something like: “I can’t believe this issue has even mentioned! What devote Christian woman would ever even consider receiving the Eucharist during that time?”
Also to mention, that like in all the canons, rules, do to ekonomia a person’s Spiritual Father can allow those things that are normally forbidden - like for example, a convert to the Faith is unable to keep the no sexual relations with their spouse during the lengthy fasting seasons of the Church - for the sake of their salvation, it may be necessary for Spiritual Father to allow for some adjustment period for the couple.
That being said, personally, I can not think of any circumstances in which ekonomia would be used to allow a woman to receive Jesus in the Eucharist during her menses though - I can’t think of a situation where it would actually be necessary…oh wait, yes I can - if she about to die I’m sure the priest giving her Holy Unction may allow her to also receive the Eucharist. Other than that, I can’t think of any reason.