Communion When Concealing Sins

Schema-archimandrite Abraham (Reidman). Unworthy communion as an aspect of spiritual life.

Report at the conference "Life of the Eucharistic Community".

Schema-archimandrite Abraham (Reidman)

I hesitated for a long time which topic of the report I should choose. Today it is no longer necessary to insist on the benefits of frequent communion, because it is becoming a tradition of our Church. At the latest Bishops’ Council, decisions were made both about proper preparation for communion and about the need to receive communion often. For example, by the decisions of this Council, believers are allowed to take daily communion at the Bright Week, which at the time of my youth seemed completely impossible. Reflecting on what may be interesting and important for all of us, I decided to raise a question, perhaps reflecting the negative aspects of the Eucharistic life, however, relevant and useful. This is a question of unworthy communion.

First of all, I want to remind you of the famous words of the Apostle Paul from the First Epistle to the Corinthians about how the sacrament of the Eucharist was established and with what feelings and thoughts we should receive it.

This is what the apostle Paul says: For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. [1 Cor. 11, 23–26].

I would like to draw particular attention to the following words of the apostle: Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. [1 Cor. 11, 27]. Calvinists, for example, consider the Body and Blood of Christ, taken in communion, to be only the symbols of the true Body and Blood of Christ. But then what to talk about? What is our fault against the Body and Blood of the Lord? If you believe, then you accept the Body and Blood of Christ, and if you do not believe, that means you eat simple bread and wine. However, we – the Orthodox people – believe that the Body and Blood of Christ given to us during the Liturgy are truly the Body and Blood of the Lord. They are just, so to say, covered by the material properties of bread and wine, but in essence, they are the Body and Blood of that Christ, who sits on the right hand of the God and the Father. Therefore, the apostle Paul warns us that if we take communion unworthily, we will be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord.

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. [1 Cor. 11, 28]. What does it mean to examine yourself? It is to test one’s conscience if there are any sins on it, especially mortal ones. It is to prepare for the sacrament with reverence - we are encouraged to feel it by the appeal for communion: "With the fear of God, and faith, draw near." In the Greek churches, it sounds even fuller: "With the fear of God, faith, and love, draw near." With such feelings, we must receive the sacrament: on the one hand, realizing our unworthiness and repenting of it, on the other hand, having awe, fear of God and faith that we accept the true Body and Blood of Christ, with all our being we unite with the being of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord is present in the mystery of the Body and Blood not only with His gracious energies, but with His whole Being.

Now I would like to offer you some extracts from the patericons. These are mainly Greek sources, not yet fully translated into Russian. There are some narratives from Russian sources as well. This will entail the cases that have occurred recently. The earliest of them are recorded in the nineteenth century, and, basically, these are the narratives of the twentieth century, very close to our time. Since historically these cases have occurred literally these days, they will be more relevant for us, more impressive.

***

“As you know, the charter of Mount Athos requires monks to refrain not only from fish and dairy foods, but also from vegetable oil and wine, on the eve of Communion. One monk on the eve of the Divine Liturgy went to the monastery farm, where the monastery workers were just slaughtering cattle. They took the fat goat, butchered it and roasted it on a spit. Tempted by the smell of fried meat, the unfortunate monk cut a sizable piece and ate it.

When the next morning he came to take communion, the whole church heard his frightened cries. He did not manage to receive the Holy Gifts. When the brothers and the hegumen began to inquire from him what happened, he could not utter a single coherent word, only shouted: “Goat! Goat! It butts me, butts me! ”

The abbot led the unfortunate man into the aisle, reassured him as much as he could, and said: “Brother, you must have sinned in something. Try to remember what you were doing yesterday.” The monk, having somehow come to his senses, confessed that he succumbed to gluttony and ate meat. When he approached the Chalice, he saw a goat with sinisterly flickering eyes in front of the soleas, and it did not allow him to approach the Holy Gifts, reached out to him and wanted to hit him with his horns.

“Such are the fruits of your intemperance,” the hegumen concluded the monk’s story. - And praise God that the Lord did not allow you to take communion unworthily. Think for yourself whom you saw in the form of the goat. What power would you give him over you?” [Translated from: Andrew of Mount Athos, monk. The Athos Patericon. Athens: Athos Publishing House, 2009].

***

“One monk in the monastery of St. Basil succumbed to lustful thoughts and at night fell into the sin of lust with himself. The next day was the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Whom all the residents of Mount Athos especially worship and celebrate Her memory with the universal communion.

Out of false shame, fearing that if he did not partake of the communion, then the monks of the monastery would suspect him of something bad, this sinner went to the Chalice together with others. Oh, immense egoism! Oh fearlessness and insolence! We are afraid of the judgment of men and not trembling before the judgment of God, awful, impartial and eternal!

When this monk took into his mouth a particle of the Holy Gifts, he felt as if his jaws were numb: he could neither swallow the Holy Gifts nor close his mouth. Therefore, with his mouth open, he emerged from the katholicon and spewed out the particle. It fell onto the flowerbed, and the monk, being afraid of prying eyes, again hastily entered the temple.

When the brothers left the katholicon, they were amazed to see an extraordinary sight: daisies growing on a flowerbed, the most unpretentious flowers that could only bloom on this slope of Athos, bowed their heads in front of the particle of the Body, giving reverence to the One who was rejected by this aweless unfortunate monk. Out of nowhere, the butterflies came and fluttered the particle with their colorful wings, like deacons with rhipidions.

Shocked, the monk repented of his sin and unworthy communion of the Holy Gifts. The particle was carefully lifted and laid on the Holy Table. This incident has been told on the Holy Mountain for a long time, as an example of unworthy communion ”[Translated from: Elder Daniel Katunakiotis. Narratives of the Fathers of the Holy Mountain. Edition of the Danilei cell, 1999]

***

“I knew one man, a pious layman. I can’t tell his name since he is still alive today [it was written at the beginning of the XXI century]. He told me from his own experience:

“I came from a religious family. We regularly went to church, kept fasts, and we prayed at home for a long time in front of the icons. Despite this, my parents believed that it was enough to receive communion only three times a year: at Christmas, Easter and at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers received communion in this way, they said, so we will also receive communion that way. Thus, I received communion for a long time in this manner.

But somehow, there came the period in my life when the bustle of everyday life engrossed me. I showed the cold shoulder to everything spiritual. The time has come when, in my opinion, I could receive communion - the holy day of the Assumption, the summer Easter, as the Greeks call this holiday. Formally, I was ready for communion. I went to my confessor in the village and repented of my sins, I didn’t eat or drink from midnight, I arrived at the beginning of the Proskomedia, I read prayers before communion at home ... But I wasn’t ready spiritually. The consciousness that I am preparing to receive the great Guest, that this is the most important event in my life died in my soul. I did not feel the holiday, but received communion out of habit: because this is required, because the day has come when it needs to be done.

And a terrible thing happened. I still remember this event as the worst nightmare in my life. When I took a particle from the Communion spoon and tried to chew it, it crumbled into small pebbles in my mouth. You understand, it was completely impossible to swallow them. I stood not far from the Chalice, moving jaws frantically, and inwardly all numb with horror. “God! I sincerely prayed. “Forgive me, I am a great sinner.” I am not worthy to accept You into my heart! Have pity on me, God! ”

After the end of the Liturgy, the priest, seeing that something incomprehensible was happening to me, led me to the altar and began to question me. Hardly getting my tongue round, I said that I could not swallow the Gifts, but I couldn’t say more. He covered me with the epitrachelion and said a prayer of absolution. Even when my head was bowed under the epitrachelion, I felt the stones in my mouth turn back into the particle. I was able to swallow it.

After I told the priest about everything: both about my life, and about the habit of taking communion “by duty”, and about what happened during the sacrament, this reverend priest, hieromonk from Mount Athos said: “My beloved brother in Christ! Leave this habit: to take communion three times a year without proper preparation, only according to the “pious custom”. This custom is not pious, it is devilish. Take communion at least every Sunday and all the great holidays, but get ready: not only regularly confess, observe all the fasts and read the prayer rule, but, most importantly, internally keep yourself in humility, deep repentance, in the feeling of unworthiness. None of us is worthy to receive Christ, only by great mercy He comes to us. And only one who realizes this from the heart and soul can take communion.”

On the advice of this priest, I began to take communion every week. From my own experience, I can say that when I kept prayer and attention to myself, communion brought me grace, inner joy and even more attentive prayer. However, if I received communion, at least in some way ignoring the voice of my conscience, for example, not having read the prayer rule and without the proper feeling of contrition, the terrible burden, darkness, spiritual blindness and deafness began to torment my soul. And this went on until I was in a hurry to wash myself in sincere repentance” [Translated from: Hieromonk Gregory. Divine Eucharist and Divine Communion. Holy Mountain, Kutlumush cell of St. John the Theologian, 2009]

***

“Nowadays, on the Holy Mountain, in the Little St. Anne's Skete, there was such a case. One monk, who often sinned by slyness and disobedience towards his elder, negligent in prayer and prone to secret eating, according to the custom of skete-dwellers, decided to receive Holy Mysteries on Maundy Thursday. Before the communion, he confessed to the spiritual father, but inappropriately, deliberately hiding from him some of his sins.

During the liturgy, he was attacked by petrified insensibility and disbelief in the truth of the Holy Mysteries. Taking the particle into his mouth, he suddenly felt his larynx contracting and not letting the Holy Gifts into him. The muscles seemed to be petrified, he could not swallow the holy communion. Having tormented up to the end of the liturgy, he went into his cell, took the particle from his mouth, wrapped it in a clean handkerchief and put it in a closet.

Alarmed, he went into the courtyard of the cell and began to rush back and forth, overwhelmed by thoughts. To go to the confessor and repent? He was hindered by the false shame imposed by demons. To leave it like that? But here is clearly a miracle of God.

So, having not decided on anything, he went back into the cell. He was struck that a soft golden light flooded the entire cell. Soft and gentle, it seemed to warm from the inside. The light came from the closet, from the shelf on which the monk put the particle of the Gifts. But when he opened the cabinet door, the radiance became so unbearable and hurt his eyes so much that he fell from fear in a dead faint. As soon as he came to his senses, he already having no doubts ran to the spiritual father and confessed everything to him. The spiritual father imposed penance on the monk, and consumed the particle, having come to him in his cell, with reverence.

This incident shocked the monk so much that he became one of the most strict ascetics of the skete ”[Translated from: Andrew of Mount Athos, monk. The Athos Patericon. Athens: Athos Publishing House, 2009]

***

The housekeeper of a Greek convent told us a case that also happened in our days: “In a convent, a nun named Eudocia delivered glasses of water during a meal for the sisters. One sister, who envied her and hated her, tripped her up. Eudocia stumbled, the glasses fell and broke. Hegumeness scolded Eudocia for carelessness and imposed penance - not to receive communion tomorrow. The nun did not try to vindicate herself, but with humility accepted the penance.

The next morning, during the Liturgy, Eudocia stood in the church behind the pillar and prayed. The sisters approached to receive communion, among them there was the one who tripped Eudocia up. Suddenly Eudocia felt the taste of the Holy Gifts in her mouth, unusually sweet and pleasant. She experienced unusual tenderness and love to everyone, so she stood and cried with joy. She did not notice how the service ended, and did not go to the meal, and just stood behind the pillar and cried.

When the hegumeness was told about this, she thought that Eudocia was crying because she was punished. She called her and asked:

“What happened to you, my child?”

Only then Eudocia told her that the day before she was not guilty of breaking the dishes. She told about her experiences during the communion. The hegumeness called another nun to her, who hated Eudocia, and asked if there was anything special with her during communion.

“Yes, mother, it was,” the nun answered. - When I took communion, I saw the particle in the Communion spoon, but did not feel any communion in my mouth. Like the Communion spoon was empty. The hegumeness understood then that the grace of communion was taken away from the envious woman and given to the humble and innocent Eudocia. ”

***

The following stories are taken from a Russian source - the book of Protopriest Vyacheslav Tulupov "The Miracle of Holy Communion."

“Once, a highly educated gentleman wanted to take communion in a monastery, where the famous Greek elder Jacob of Evia lived (he died in 1991). Father Jacob, with his spiritual eye looking at the soul of this man, realized that he should not receive communion, since he was burdened with many sins. In the evening, on the eve of Communion, the elder in a long conversation tried to bring the man to senses and set his heart to repentance. However, this work turned out to be in vain.

Elder Jacob spent all night without sleep. He considered what to do with the gentleman who wanted to receive communion in the morning. On the one hand, he could not be admitted to the communion due to unrepented sins. On the other hand, this unreasonable Christian will perceive excommunication as a personal insult and may fall away from the Church. What to do? After reflection and prayers, the elder decided to rely on the will of God.

In the morning at the liturgy, the gentleman went to the chalice and allegedly took communion. At that moment, one pious Christian who was present at the service had a revelation. He suddenly saw how an extraordinary radiance emanated from the Communion spoon with the Holy Gifts, and then as a golden ray passed over the priest’s shoulder to the discos that stood on the Holy Table. It was the particle of the Holy Mysteries. By the will of God, it departed from the mouth of an unworthy communicant, so that the communion would not become condemnation for him ”[Protopriest. V. Tulupov. The miracle of Holy Communion. Sergiev Posad: Church of the Archangel Michael, 2006]

***

“The biography of Venerable Seraphim of Vyritsa, an outstanding Russian ascetic of the 20th century, contains such a case.

During the fast at the end of the liturgy with many receivers of Holy Communion, the priest went out onto the soleas, and everyone thought that, as usual, he would deliver a sermon. However, instead, he led a little girl out of the crowd of worshipers and placed her beside him on the ambon. This act attracted attention of everyone in the church. The priest loudly declared:

- Now this girl, four-year-old little Helen, will give a sermon, listen to her.

The sermon? What does it mean? The priest clearly puzzled his parishioners with completely incomprehensible words. However, Helen said the sermon, and this sermon was the one that was forever printed on minds of her listeners.

It turned out that during the service the girl saw the guardian angels of those parishioners who partook of the Holy Mysteries. The angels of some of the parishioners were near them, while the angels of others stood in the distance and cried. Talking about this, the girl suddenly began to call the names of those that took communion and point at them.

After such an unusual sermon, the priest addressed the people:

- Those with angels crying took the communion in condemnation. You have unrepentant sins. Whoever desires, let him come to me and confess the hidden sin to all, then the Lord will forgive him.

Many of those whom Helen pointed out were struck by God's conviction and, casting aside false shame, publicly repented of their sins hidden in the confession” [Protopriest. V. Tulupov. The miracle of Holy Communion. Sergiev Posad: Church of the Archangel Michael, 2006]

***

The following incident occurred in Russia around the middle of the 19th century. You know that at that time, students, teachers, and people holding some official position should have received communion at least once a year. Most often, the communion day fell on Lent. All these people confessed, sincerely or formally, and all received communion, whether worthily or unworthy. One such case of unworthy communion is described in the following narrative:

“Once in the Great Lent, the pupils of the Page Corps were led in an orderly manner in the church to the Holy Chalice. Dmitry Shepelev, a young man enlightened with “advanced” ideas of that time, shared with his comrade who was walking next to him his opinion about what was happening: although he was made to receive Communion, he still did not believe that the Body and the Blood of Christ were in the chalice. In this mood, Dmitry received the Holy Gifts. However, instead of bread and wine, he tasted meat in his mouth, and the cold skepticism of his mind instantly disappeared under the pressure of icy horror that gripped an unbelieving soul. Numb, Dmitry froze before the priest, unable to swallow the particle. The priest noticed that something unusual had happened to the young man, and asked him to enter the altar. Here, having come to his senses a little, with the particle in his mouth, Dmitry repented of his doubt and only after that could swallow the Holy Gifts given to him.

After the miracle that happened to him, Dmitry Aleksandrovich Shepelev became a deeply religious person. No fashionable atheistic trends could already shake his faith in God and the Holy Mysteries acquired by personal experience” [Protopriest V. Tulupov. The miracle of Holy Communion. Sergiev Posad: Church of the Archangel Michael, 2006]

***

“Bishop Innocent (Yastrebov), the vicar of the Kiev diocese, received a phone call from Governor General Trepov who said that a protopriest had died in mysterious circumstances in Vinnitsa. He was not buried at once since they were waiting for the representatives of the supreme church authority.

The bishop Innocent hastily arrived in Vinnitsa. The deceased protopriest turned out to be a middle-aged man. At the autopsy of his body, all organs were found intact, except for the stomach. This organ was black in appearance and completely charred. When it was pulled out, it crumbled into small black coals.

The doctors who participated in the autopsy could not establish the cause of the death of the protopriest. Then they began to question the wife of the deceased. She told with tears that over the past year her husband began to show strangeness: every morning, before going to the liturgy, he ate and drank. At first, the protopriest did not complain about anything, then he began to feel a burning sensation in his stomach, then - constant burning. Because of this, he stopped eating, and before his death, he cried out incessantly:

- Fire, fire inside!!!

After hearing the story of the Protopriest’s wife, Bishop Innocent said:

“Apparently, an Angel performed the Divine Eucharist instead of the deceased, and the Holy Gifts burned the blasphemer” [Protopriest V. Tulupov. The miracle of Holy Communion. Sergiev Posad: Church of the Archangel Michael, 2006].

I have given, perhaps, terrible examples of what can happen and does happen with unworthy communion. It’s good that these cases became obvious, and it’s bad when we take communion unworthily, only according to custom, and we don’t understand it ourselves.

One of the examples I gave showed that rare communion does not mean that we are preparing well for it, but frequent communion does not automatically make a person blessed as well. The whole life of a person who takes communion should be illuminated with the light of this sacrament. As the holy righteous John of Kronstadt said, the Eucharist is the axis of the earth. Around this sacrament all life should revolve. But automatically it does not sanctify us. Sanctification requires constant prayer, faith, reverence, fear of God, love of God and neighbor. First of all, repentance is necessary, as St. Ignatius says, because thanks to it we gain everything else. If there is no repentance, then there is a danger of falling into some exaltation.

It’s good to take communion often, it’s good to love the Liturgy, but we must prepare ourselves for communion internally, and not only by confession, but, most importantly, by reverent feelings. In particular, it seems to me that this requires the love of God, which is so openly proclaimed in the Greek churches: "With the fear of God, faith, and love, draw near!"

Discussion of the lecture

Question: How do you feel about the practice of communion without confession the day before? Is it not a sin to confess once every two weeks, but to receive communion every Sunday?

Answer: This question is now being actively discussed, one might even say, passionately. In Russia, it is a custom to confess before communion, and to confess the day before, and at the Liturgy just to stand and pray, not even thinking about confession, about the line to the priest, about what to say – not to be distracted from the service.

This is, of course, a good practice, but not always a possible one. I talked with some experienced Moscow priests. In Moscow, there are huge parishes, parishioners of hundreds of people. To confess them all on the eve of the sacrament is simply not possible. Reality itself requires a different solution.

In addition, some people, although often confessing, do it formally. A man came, for example, and said that he had sinned with irritability. Indeed, few are able to get rid of their passions, and it is good if we are able to at least take a hold on ourselves. A person sins with the passion of anger that he always had, maybe from childhood and will be until old age. And he will always say the same thing in confession: I was angry, angry, angry ... At the same time, before the communion, one must necessarily confess, and the priest does not have the opportunity to accept his confession.

It is particularly difficult during the holidays. For believers, a holiday is a day off, and for a priest, it is a busy day. What is the usual Sunday of the parish priest? He should serve the Liturgy, fulfill the occasional offices: a prayer service and requiem, baptism, maybe a wedding. And all this must be done in one day! We are talking about a one-priest parish, where there is one priest. If he confesses in addition to everything, how will it look in practice? The priest served the Liturgy, took communion, and now goes to confess and is confessing for an hour and a half, and all the parishioners are waiting to be communed.

I do not insist on my point of view. Our Russian practice is good if confession did not turn into a formality, but would be a genuine confession. And for this, you need to teach people to confess: briefly and specifically, precisely. Came - say: "I quarreled with relatives", for example, or: "Judged my friend." It's enough. To endlessly list everything that you read in one of the many guides for confession is of no use. It is clear that I am talking about those believers who are constant church-goers and strictly observant, and not about those people who come to us for the first time and need the so-called general confession.

Therefore, you need to look for a way to confess people often, but connecting confession directly with communion is inconvenient. Even at a time when people rarely received communion, village priests were allowed to confess all week before communion. Usually they received communion at the first week of Lent, many people could abstain from confession or communion for the whole year, and if the priest began to confess the parishioners the day before, on Saturday or Friday, he would simply fail to be in time. Naturally, there was only one priest in the village, maybe there was a deacon, but he is not an assistant when performing the sacrament of confession.

Therefore, I believe that you can confess a day or two before the sacrament, but at the same time, you need to have a clear church consciousness: when you can approach communion without a confession the day before, and when you can’t. If conscience is not even burdened with mortal sin, but with some embarrassing misconduct, then, of course, you must first be cleansed by the sacrament of repentance.

Greeks rarely confess, literally once every few months. Their spiritual father is a special position, very honorable, this is the second person after the bishop. The confessor is appointed by special decree; not every priest can be a confessor. In Greece, people come to confession when they really have some burning issue, something serious. They can talk with the priest for a long time, open everything to him and listen to his advice.

It would be good to combine a frequent confession and a specific, vital, informal confession. Then this would be the way out. However, in general, I can give such practical advice: you need to listen to your priest. If you go to a certain church and you have a confessor there, do as he tells you. Obedience is above fasting and prayer. We must listen to the priest and not enter into confrontation with him because we read or heard another teaching somewhere. I deliberately stipulate this so that you do not accept my just expressed arguments as binding ones.

Question: Is reading prayers of preparation before Holy Communion a requirement or recommendation?

Answer: In some Athos monasteries, reading prayers before the sacrament is replaced by praying with prayer beads, that is, the performance of a certain number of Jesus prayers. But this is rather an exception. It is assumed that the brethren live a tense spiritual life and Jesus prayer, or, as St. Ignatius says, their prayer of repentance is such that it can replace all other prayers.

For all of us, the prayers of preparation before Holy Communion are necessary. It is customary to read three canons before the sacrament, and then the prayers of preparation before Holy Communion. I am of the opinion that in our time, it is difficult and preparation for the sacrament should consist in the fact that a person attends the service on the eve, for example, the all-night vigil on Saturday night, and the Liturgy itself on Sunday. This should be done on holidays as well, when he wants to approach the Chalice. And, besides, the communicant should read the prayers of preparation before Holy Communion and, in due time, morning and evening prayers, not replace the morning prayers with the prayers of preparation before Holy Communion.

Reading these prayers prepares a person for the sacrament and sets up a certain mood. Coming to the Liturgy, a man is already internally ready for the Holy Mysteries. He did not just pray, he prayed with prayers that taught him, inspired him with certain reverent feelings. Therefore, I believe that the prayers of preparation before communion are not just a recommendation that can be fulfilled or not, but a necessity. This also applies to prayers after communion.

In some parishes, it is customary to recite prayers after the pre-communion verse, before bringing out the Chalice. But sometimes we begin to talk at this time, greet our friends and so on. This, of course, is wrong, this is where our distraction manifests itself. It happens that priests are in a hurry for some reason to finish the service, and prayers are not read to the end. Therefore, it is better to read everything at home.

It is advisable to hear prayers of thanksgiving in the church in order to leave the church with a calm conscience, thanking God for the great gift that we received in the communion of the Holy Mysteries. But if we feel that we are scattered, we realize that we walked around the church a lot, talked, listened to these prayers distractedly, then it’s better to read them at home again.

I believe that the prayers of preparation before Holy Communion is a very edifying church rule. This is not just a recommendation, but a very important aspect of spiritual life. If we want, for example, to be employed to work, we prepare our CV. We describe our education, profession, we try to present everything in such a favorable light so as to achieve our goal, all the more we should make efforts to prepare ourselves to receive The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who, in the prayer read during the Cherubic Hymn, is called the Lord of Seraphims and the King of Israel.

I repeat: I think that reading the prayers of preparation is necessary. Maybe this seems to be taken for granted, but if a person has some doubts, then you definitely need to say this. I also want to clarify when it is absolutely impossible to receive communion. You can’t take communion if there was intimacy between the spouses, if you are in a fuss, not prepared for this internally, not set your heart on it, women cannot receive communion on certain days, and it is not allowed to receive communion more than once a day. These are the exceptions that are stipulated by the canons.

Everything else is possible, but we should take into account our forces. Can we take communion every day? No, we are busy. How can we, having receiver communion, go to work or indulge in vanity, conversations, and so on? Therefore, there is the norm that was worked out during the Council of 1917-1918, approved by Patriarch Tikhon and is now implemented more and more confidently - this is a weekly communion. This is the best. In addition, you can receive the communion on great holidays, given the fact that a person should prepare with certain prayers. If we want to take Christ into ourselves, we must do at least something small for it.

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