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True Orthodox Diocese of Western Europe

Russian True Orthodox Church (RTOC)

Is it really Your Decision or as You Say Usually the Ecumenical Patriarch’s Decision?

3 min read

source: https://orthochristian.com/

ABP. ELPIDOPHOROS PUBLICLY REITERATES HIS STANCE ON OPEN COMMUNION FOR NON-ORTHODOX SPOUSES

New York, April 12, 2020

livemedia.com

livemedia.com    

In a virtual town hall meeting held yesterday, Saturday, April 11, Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of the Patriarchate of Constantinople publicly reiterated his belief that non-Orthodox spouses who were married in the Orthodox Church should be allowed to receive Holy Communion in the Orthodox Church.

“Personally, I would offer … the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist,” to non-Orthodox spouses, he said.

During the meeting, the Archbishop confirmed OrthoChristian’s earlier report that he had expressed this same view at the Leadership 100 conference in Florida in February.

Yesterday’s town hall began with a word from Abp. Elpidophoros largely focused on the current coronavirus pandemic. The question of communing non-Orthodox spouses arose during the Question and Answer session, as it had during the Leadership 100 meeting.

The moderator, Demetria Kalodimos, relayed to the Archbishop the question: “I’d like to know when priests will receive directives to permit Communion to non-Orthodox spouse married in the Orthodox Church. Can you explain this?”

The Archbishop responded by recounting what occurred at the Leadership 100 Conference, which OrthoChristian had reported on:

These kinds of decisions in general are made by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, by the head of our Church.

I understand that you are referring to a question that I answered during a webinar, a meeting we had last February, with the Leadership 100 meeting in Florida, where somebody asked me what my opinion was about this issue. And there I said, I asked myself, “How can I offer the Sacrament of Marriage to a Christian who is a not a member of my Church?” You know we do this with mixed marriages. We accept to the Sacrament of Marriage non-Orthodox faithful from other churches. They get married in the Orthodox Church and then they get separated when they have to attend the service and the Eucharist.

So, can you imagine, two people married and blessed in the Orthodox Church, and you remember the prayers that we say in the Church, that these two now become one, and they become one with the blessing of the Orthodox Church. And after becoming one, we force them to separate when the Eucharist comes. And I asked myself in public before all the members of Leadership 100, saying, “How can we do that?” And I said that personally I do not agree; personally, I would offer the other Sacrament—the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist—to those couples who are married and who received the Sacrament of Marriage in the Orthodox Church and in this way I save the whole family, because otherwise I lose the children and I lose the whole family.

And I remind you that mixed marriages in the United States in our Archdiocese are over 65%. Over 65%. So, if we are not inclusive of these families in our Archdiocese, every year, every year we will lose 65% of our members, of our families. Who can afford that? Can a pastor take that responsibility and lose our people because of that only?

The question begins at 34:04:

2 thoughts on “Is it really Your Decision or as You Say Usually the Ecumenical Patriarch’s Decision?

  1. Your Eminence, I am not Christ to judge the leaders of His Church who were entrusted with the mystery of the Priesthood, I would rather leave the judgment to Him. However, I like to express my thoughts before God. As the Lord Christ said: “out of your own mouth I will judge you”

    If your concern about not giving the Holy mystery of communion to non-orthodox people who were giving the Holy mystery of Matrimony in the Orthodox Church, then IT IS YOUR MISTAKE. Your eminence, you should have first Catechized, then Baptized, then Chrismated that person to become faithful, then, and only then you will have no concern of losing the numbers you spoke about.
    Why on earth for the sake of these numbers do you have to trample on the body and blood of Christ by giving it to the dogs and swine? Why for heaven’s sake, your concern was not focused more on God’s rights than human rights? Did you love man first more than God? or did not the infinite number of God appeal as much to you!

    Your eminence, your case is losing either way. Because if you think you will not lose them by giving them the Holy unworthily, you will lose them when they are going to turn around and tear you.

    Another dangerous consequences you should worry more about than the numbers is that, when you give them the mysteries unworthily, you will convict them of the crime against the Body and Blood of the Lord as St Paul warned us.
    If you truly love them that much not just the numbers, then Catechize them and make them worthy members to receive the Holy Body and Blood of the Lord.

    Your problem is that you are discriminating between the mysteries of the Holy Spirit and making them unequal, as one is more precious than the other.

    St Chrysostom said: “such marriage is not from God but from man”

    1. Very good points, Emad! We don’t judge about life, but as St. John Chrysostom says, we do judge concerning matters of the Faith and this is one!

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