Question about Coptic and Eastern Orthodox Intercommunion

I have been talking with a Latin Catholic who swears that since the Copts and Eastern Orthodox supposedly excommunicated each other many centuries ago Holy Communion between the two is forbade and impossible.

But that does not match the reality I’ve seen. There was a Coptic family in my parish 100s of miles from any Coptic church. They were communed at my OCA parish regularly.

So what is the real story here? Is the OCA priest just exercising economia?

By Latins everything seems so cut and dry and perhaps a bit legalistic. I do not think that Latins recognize economia at all.

Isn’t this question better directed toward OCA people, rather than Copts? I don’t know what counts as economia for the OCA, but I do know that the OCA is one of two EO churches (the other being Bulgarian) in my home area that has a significant number of Ethiopians and Eritreans in it, as they’re essentially the entire OO community in my home area, which is far away from an OO church (hence I moved 1,200 miles from home in order to finally go to a Coptic church). I have heard from some EO online that such people are not accepted without conversion (via profession of faith, from what I gather), but that doesn’t quite match the situation back home from what I’ve asked of the Ethiopians I actually know (nor the situation that has been described to me by EOTC acquaintances in other places, though of course you’ll always find variation, so I don’t mean to imply anything about the OCA by stating a few personal experiences).

I would think that the most accurate thing I could say given the way the question is worded is that it is by no means impossible, but where you do find it there’s generally something else going on that explains why a particular situation is as it is. I’ve posted about this a bunch before, but when the Copts first started showing up in Albuquerque they communed at the local Greek Orthodox Church until they got a Coptic priest and were able to hold their own liturgies. This is probably a not uncommon situation in certain parts of the diaspora, given the relative size of any given OO communion outside of their traditional countries when compared to the older and more established Greek, Russian, etc. diasporas in the West. The situation that you mention with the Coptic family who is hundreds of miles away from the nearest Coptic church is also very common. The nearest Coptic church (where I was baptized) is 6 hours away by car, and that’s where our priest comes from to celebrate liturgy with us every few weeks. There really aren’t closer OO churches, thanks to the geography and demographics of this region (I know of the Ethiopian church in Denver, but that’s also about 6 hours away, and the churches in Texas are of a comparable distance thanks to Texas being huge).

Actually I live in far west texas, and the nearest Coptic or Eastern Catholic church for me is in Albuequerque as well. Quite a journey. Basically I would have to move :crying:


Just curious. Are there any Copts or Eastern Catholics there in Mexico? I think I may be closer to Mexico than Albaquerque.

I give up on ever learning to spell the “A” word. :smiley:

The only Coptic church that I know of in Mexico is St. Mary & St. Mark in Tlayacapan (central Mexico…I really doubt it is closer to you than Albuquerque). Here is their website, if you want to check them out:

Note: While their website is in English, their services are not (they’re in Spanish, with some Coptic and Greek like any other Coptic church would have).

I forgot to mention earlier, since you also mentioned Eastern Catholics, there are a lot of Maronites in Mexico, since most Mexican Middle Easterners are Lebanese or Syrian, and came to that country at a time (early 1900s) when most of the immigration from the Middle East was of Christians escaping the various persecutions by the Ottomans and Arabs (kind of like today, sadly, though there are now lots of Muslims coming, too; last I read Argentina, which has the largest Muslim population in Latin America, was approaching 3% Muslim thanks to recent immigration there in the past 30 years or so – about 75 to 100 thousand people, perhaps; Argentina also has the most Jews, but anyway…). In fact, the first place I ever heard of Mar Charbel was in Mexico, actually. Anyway, here is the webpage of St. Charbel Maronite Diocese in Mexico (it’s all in Spanish; I hope you can understand Spanish. If not, let me know and I can translate):

To me, this doesn’t indicate something about Orthodoxy so much as it indicates something about human nature: there are plenty of non-Orthodox who know very little about Orthodoxy, yet can’t seem to stop themselves from pontificating about Orthodoxy (just as there are plenty of non-Catholics who know very little about Catholicism, yet can’t seem to stop themselves from pontificating about Catholicism). :hmmm:

There was an anathema — at Chalcedon — that many of the Chalcedonians felt had excommunicated the Patriarch of Alexandria and his subjects, and ISTR there was a reciprocal one excommunicating the council Fathers for teaching heresy… but that was the initial schism that rent the two communions apart.

I can’t think of anything more recent.

Economia is recognized practice in the Catholic churches in the form of intentionally imprecise canons, and also in dispensations. Dispensations are quite frequent granted. There have been two trends in law for the Catholic Church, the northern influence of contract and the southern influence of charity. As a blend the law is applied with charity.

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