General Absolution in Melkite Liturgy?

I’m Latin Rite. I occasionally attend Melkite, Ruthenian Byzantine and Maronite liturgies. I attended the Divine Liturgy of ST. John Chrysostom at a Melkite parish today. The priest mentioned that there would be a general absolution service during the Divine Liturgy next Sunday.

AFAIK in the Latin Rite general absolution is restricted to extraordinary circumstances: sinking ship, crashing aircraft etc. etc. etc…

Is this a normative practice for the Melkite Greek Catholic Church?

I don’t know what the priest was referring to, actually. There might have been a translation issue, depending on the common language of the parish. I’ve never seen or heard of a “general absolution” at a Melkite parish, so I don’t know what is actually being described.

Peace and God bless!

The priest was ordained in the Latin rite and switched to the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. He’s a native English speaker. He said he had never done the general absolution before. Apparently another priest will be concelebrating. :shrug:

I’ve never heard of this being done in the Melkite Church or in ANY church of the Byzantine Tradition, Catholic or Orthodox as far as being included in the Divine Liturgy. There is no place for it to go.

There is a fairly modern practice of what’s called General Confession in some Orthodox Churches.

In this case, the entire Order of Confession (which is several pages) is celebrated out loud, usually after Vespers on Saturday night.

Just before the time of individual confessions (which are made in this), the priest leads a detailed self-examination which can take various forms.

As people come up individually to make their confessions, Psalms, Canons, and other prayers are read.

Evidently it goes at the beginning since it was mentioned that you would need to arrive first thing. It may precede the liturgy. :shrug:

I’m going to ring up the priest tomorrow and ask him for details.

I’ve not been able to contact the priest, but I have found this:

Canon 1 - The canons of this Code affect all and solely the Eastern Catholic Churches, unless, with regard to relations with the Latin Church, it is expressly stated otherwise.
Canon 720 - §1. Individual and integral confession and absolution constitute the ordinary way by which the Christian faithful who is aware of a serious sin is reconciled with God and the Church; only physical or moral impossibility excuses one from confession of this type, in which case reconciliation can take place in other ways.
§2. Absolution of many penitents at the same time without prior individual confession cannot be imparted unless:
1° the danger of death is imminent and there is not time for the priest or priests to administer the sacrament of penance to the individual penitents;
2° there is a grave necessity, that is, when in light of the number of penitents, a supply of priests is not available to administer the sacrament of penance to the individual penitents within a suitable time so that, through no fault of their own, they are forced for a long time to be deprived of sacramental grace or reception of the Divine Eucharist; it is not considered a sufficient necessity if confession cannot be readily available only because of the great number of penitents as can occur on the occasion of some great feast or pilgrimage.
§3. The eparchial bishop is competent to decide when such grave necessity exists and can determine such a case of necessity with general prescriptions having taken counsel with the patriarch and eparchial bishops of the other Churches sui iuris exercising power in the same territory.


With respect, 1holycatholic, remember that codes of canons are like any other law code.

You have to know EVERYTHING about them and their history and interpretation to understand how they are supposed to be used.

It COULD be that this particular priest might not have faculties to hear confessions in this particular church, or in the Melkite Church generally. I don’t know. It is not uncommon in Orthodoxy for a priest NOT to have faculties to hear confessions or preach, though this is rare in the USA.

There just might be something more here than you are aware of.

But wait till you start quoting canons

:confused: I don’t know everything about them, or the situation. That’s why I put the :shrug: at the end.

Don’t forget–each Eastern Catholic Church has its own particular law as well, which could easily modify, amend, or even abrogate a given canon in the Eastern Code.

For the time being, assume this extraordinary action is within the guidelines of the bishop.

And if this distresses your conscience, then simply go to Divine Liturgy elsewhere.

I haven’t been able to reach the priest.

I didn’t say it wasn’t acceptable with the bishop. I don’t know. Aide from the Oriental Code of Canon Law I haven’t been able to find anything about it. That’s why I asked.

One thing I have learned in my over half-century on this planet.

Whenever I see something in church that puzzles me, there’s USUALLY something going on that I really don’t know anything about, or need to know.

And it’s not under the control of either of us, in this case.

Is this Father Reinken by chance.

I don’t know who he is. :shrug:

I attended Holy Cross Melkite-Greek Catholic Church in placentia, CA for six years, and there was never any mention of general absolution.

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I am a Melkite priest. The phrase “general absolution” is kind of alien to us. But, for Melkites, it is common that during the various periods of fast (the forty day period prior to December 25 is one of those - it is called the Nativity Fast) to serve the Holy Mystery (Sacramemt of Unction) in preparation for the feast. Since this Holy Mystery is a healing of body and soul (the forgiveness of sins) is is possible that this what the priest was referring to. However, anyone who has serious sin must “if at all possible” first confess any “serious sin” prior to the reception of this or any Holy Mystery (sacrament). That being said, those who receive the Holy Mystery of Unction “in repentence” do receive the sacramental forgiveness and healing of Christ, the Divine Physician.

Welcome to the forums, Abouna! Always a pleasure to have another Melkite, and a priest at that!

Will you be attending the Convention in Seattle this year?


It didn’t happen at the liturgy last Sunday. The second priest was unable to attend.

It’s been rescheduled for this Sunday following the divine liturgy.

I didn’t catch the priest after the divine liturgy last Sunday, but after speaking to other parishioners it appears that it was a poorly described. I’m now told that it’s individual confessions with multiple priests like those held at Latin rite parishes during Lent.

It happened today. It preceded the liturgy of the Word. Penitents were encouraged to be properly disposed to receive the Sacrament and to come forward near the iconostasis for individual confession with a priest should they feel that it was necessary. A lengthy hymn to the Theotokos was sung. At the end of the hymn the following prayers were said:
Our Lord and God Jesus Christ, who gave this command to His divine and holy disciples and apostles; to loose and to bind the sins of people, forgives you from on high, all your sins and offenses. I, his unworthy servant, who have received from these Apostles the power to do the same, absolve you from all censures, in as much as I can and am able, according to your need of it. Moreover, I absolve you from all your sins which you have confessed before God and my unworthiness. In the name + of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

God through Nathan the prophet forgave David his sins; and Peter shedding bitter tears over his denial; and the Adulteress weeping at his feet; and the Publican and the Prodigal Son. May this same God, through me, a sinner, forgive + your everything in this life and in the life to come. And may he make you stand uncondemned before his awesome judgment-seat, for his blessed forever and ever. Amen.
Then the liturgy of the Word occurred. Prior to the liturgy of the Eucharist everyone received the anointing of the sick. :confused:

\Then the liturgy of the Word occurred. Prior to the liturgy of the Eucharist everyone received the anointing of the sick. \

**Why the shrug? That’s standard in the Melkite tradition at the 4 Fasting periods–to have a General Anointing.

Most of the other Byzanatine jurisdictions, including the Orthodox, do so during Holy Week, usually Holy Wednesday.

Preferred use, btw, is to have several priests celebrate this, indeally 7. Once I attended a pilgrimage where the Bishop and six priests celebrated Holy Unction. After the conclusion, the faithful came up to be anointed by the bishop and each priest in turn. Multiple anointings are the rule for this, the Oil of the Catechumens at Baptism, and at Chrismation.

I can give testimony to the power of even physical healing in Holy Unction (aka Prayer Oil).

What puzzles me, however, is why the two prayers of absolution were read aloud at the end. They are supposed to be said over each penitent individually. And actually, the prayer, “God through Nathan the Prophet…” is the traditional Form of Absolution. The other was imported from the Latin use.**

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