Why Can't Orthodox commune in a Catholic Church?

I noticed in another thread that Roman Catholics can if they find themselves where there is no Catholic church that they can receive Communion in an Orthodox church but a member of the Orthodox church cannot receive Communion in the Roman Catholic church.

Why is this?

I thought if any it would be the other way around between the two?


Catholics are bound to maintain communion with the Catholic Church and demonstrate that also, so any demonstration of indifferentism is unacceptable.

Orthodox are bound to maintain communion with their Orthodox Church and demonstrate that also, so any demonstration of indifferentism is unacceptable.

Orthodox receive in Catholic churches if they ask freely, however, OCA states that it is not permitted for their members to receive in the Catholic churches nor for Catholics to receive in their churches. Reception is a sign of unity in faith and Orthodox and Catholic are not in full communion.


Though the West looks towards our brothers in the East with benevolence and love, it is not reciprocated. For me to have been allowed to commune in an EO church, I would have had to deny the supremacy of Peter’s seat and I could not do that.

…and for me to commune in a RC church, I’d have to deny the authority of my bishop. Seems pretty reciprocal to me. I do tire of this romanticized “benevolence and love” of the West.


I have found Roman Catholics in practice and by what is stated in the above catechism, to be very gracious to Eastern Orthodox. An EO simply verbalizes a confession of faith to belong, and commune. As a once EO inquirer and catechumen I was reminded by the EO parishners that I was not accepted there, as was any visitor to their church. If you are not EO, you are ‘nothing’. I have not based my observation on only one ‘jurisdiction’, but several.

Your comment just proves my observations.

FWLIW, I do too.

The fact of the matter is that all three sides, RC (including EC & OC), EO, and OO (including, for the purpose of this post, the ACoE), each all the while touting its own wares and superiority, do generally permit inter-communion, whether on a (semi-)formal, or ad hoc basis. We have, for example, the semi-formal agreements among the EO, RC, and OO in the Middle East, which seem, again on an ad hoc basis, to extend to the diaspora as well. Anyway, beyond the rigors of the OCA that I’ve seen in this forum, the major exception is the Alexandrenes. And even there, I know of ad hoc cases where non OO have been communed in the COC, and also where COC have been communed in OC churches with no repercussions from the COC bishop.

There’s no one answer to these questions; however, the author of The Orthodox Church, Bp Kalistos Ware says that there can be circumstances in which an Orthodox priest could give communion to a non-Orthodox Christian, but that an Orthodox Christian may never receive from a non-Orthodox minister.

Alright, if “RC” is short for “Roman Communion”. (If it is short for “Roman Catholic” then I’ll have to say: naughty naughty naughty :tsktsk: :tsktsk: :tsktsk:.)

Why has the title of this thread been changed?


OK Peter … read it whichever way you prefer. As it see it, the terms are synonymous, with the latter in the forefront and the former but a innovative extension of same. :nerd: :wink:

BTW, nothing to do with you, but with the change in sub-forum, I’m unsubscribing from this thread.


No, but seriously, on this forum I find that “Roman Catholic” is almost always a shortened form of “Roman-Rite Catholic”. Granted, things are probably different in different venues, but I prefer not to be called “Roman Catholic”. :cool:


I found this in my own personal experience as well. Doesn’t mean it’s the norm, however strange as it seems, I feel more welcomed by Protestant parishioners than Orthodox parishioners in the various churches I have visited. Yet theologically speaking I suppose we have more in common with Orthodoxy. The clergy seem to be making some positive headway in their relationship at least.

See I always thought the term “Roman Catholic” was used to identify the Catholic Church in its whole with respect to other denominations that claim use of the word “catholic” (Lutherans, Orthodox…).

My RCIA teacher told me that “Roman Catholic” was a derogatory term coined by Anglicans. That it has always just been the Catholic Church.

She said that term is exclusive and unfair to and excludes Eastern Catholics who are also Catholic.

The problem here seems to be that you’re conflating “love” with “being nice to”, which is very common in our modern society.

Allowing us to commune in your church without restriction causes issues, it causes people to lose sight of what differences there are - for the Catholic side that would include the necessity of the Pope as bishop of the entire Church. It gives us a false sense of unity that is not there, and if we lose sight of all of that then actual unity becomes that much harder to achieve.

My sister frequently tells her son that he can not have sweets. Does her denial of her desires mean that she does not love him, or rather does it show the opposite, that she in fact does love him, cares for him, and wants him to be safe?

We Orthodox want unity, but we do not want it falsely. We will not offer you communion not because of a lack of love - in fact our theology says that since all people are made in the image of God, are in that way icons of Christ, that we are to cherish everyone - but rather because we do care. Because there is an issue that has to be dealt with.

You may accuse us of hating you when we do something like that, just like people often accuse those who get in the way of doing what they want of hate, but that is just not true, and we can only pray that some day you might come to understand that.

The Episcopalians allow just about anyone to receive communion, yet the Catholic Church will not permit them to commune. Looks like they have much more unreciprocated love and benevolence than the Catholic Church.

The equivalent of Episcopalian communion is antidiron not the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist.

That’s fine in so far as it goes. However, I have no problem receiving antidoron in a non-Catholic church, whereas I would certainly not receive communion in an Episcopalian church.

I find that statements like this reduce the Eucharist to magic which only happens when conditions x, y, and z are fulfilled. Who are we to decide what it is in other churches? How come they are able to bless bread if God would not even deign to accept their Eucharistic sacrifice?

They have decided what it is to them. Catholics cannot say with certainly that it is equivalent because the Episcopalians do not have the same intention to confect the Holy Eucharist as shown by comparision. “The Catholic Church holds that Christ in the Eucharist makes himself present sacramentally and substantially when under the species of bread and wine these earthly realities are changed into the reality of his Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity.”

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