"It appears the lack of faith of some hierarchs has resulted in that very lack of faith itself being fulfilled. This apparently confirms that the supposed “safety” measures regarding Communion are indeed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as some holy elders were suggesting a couple of years ago. . ."
For nearly two years now, some have avoided church services for fear of becoming ill. According to the Orthodox Faith, however, such fear indicates a lack of faith.
On May 1, 2018, Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver, Greek Archdiocese of America, issued an encyclical regarding parishioners who “insist that the priest not give to them the Body of Christ but only His Blood” after their doctors “tell them not to eat any kind of bread because it will harm them.”
In response to this issue, he writes:
If there are Orthodox Christians in our parishes who believe that, after the Holy Spirit consecrates the Bread and the Wine during the Divine Liturgy, the gifts are still bread and wine, they should never again receive the divine Body and Blood again, until they believe that the holy sacrament of our Lord Himself is His spiritual presence, that is, both His Body and His Blood.
After citing Saint Paul’s warning about receiving communion “in an unworthy manner,” quoting from the eleventh chapter of Saint Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians, Metropolitan Isaiah continues:
In regard to these powerful words of Saint Paul, are there parishioners who are ill, possibly because they have not prepared themselves to receive the divine gifts of our Lord’s spiritual Body and Blood? And, if the doctor’s instructions to them about not eating the Body (bread) because of the doctor’s medical knowledge are considered more important than the Holy Eucharist, then they should not receive the Holy Eucharist of the Lord, unless or until they believe that the Creator of all has more knowledge regarding eternal life than all the medical science of this fallen world.
Regarding the Church of Finland’s recent investigation into the possibility of providing gluten-free Communion to those who suffer from celiac disease, an announcement from the Holy Metropolis of Piraeus, Church of Greece, concludes:
In this case, raising the issue of the supposedly “harmful” natural substance of wheat, gluten, in the consecrated Bread, is a clear challenge to the sanctifying and redemptive power of the Eucharist. It is also a direct insult against the Holy Spirit, a desecration of the Holy Mysteries, and disrespect to the Church and its two-thousand year tradition.
We hope and wish the Ecumenical Patriarchate to reject this horrible innovation, the disrespectful experimentation and intervention in the Most Holy Mystery and the Hierarchs of the Finnish Orthodox Church to realize their great mistake, to apologize to God and the most severely offended people of God!
The Body and Blood of Christ is described by Saint Ignatius of Antioch as “the medicine of immortality and the antidote against death.” However, the Holy Mysteries are not the only means of communicating the uncreated grace of God. Grace is also communicated via the holy objects of the common cup and spoon, the holy icons, the hands of Christ’s holy clergy, the greetings with a holy kiss, and the holy temple itself, which is heaven on earth.
As Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra writes in the book The Church at Prayer:
Where is Christ? Here and everywhere! Above all, Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity, is seated within the Holy of Holies, at the right hand of the heavenly Father. So don’t think that when we go to church, we are simply entering and exiting an ordinary building. Instead, we go up to, and make our entrance into, the Holy of Holies, into the heavens themselves. As we open the curtain of the Royal Doors, and Christ is present in the Holy Chalice, so to do we sinners open the doors of heaven and enter! Although we are sinners, when we enter into the Liturgy, we go up to the heavenly Jerusalem. It is then that you will realize what greatness our souls can experience! We sit down at the right hand of the Father, receiving honor from the honor of Christ, and taking the most honorable flesh of our Lord and God.
When we enter church, then, we are traversing the distance from earth to heaven. We pass beyond the stars, we leave the angels below us, and we rise up to the heights of the Holy Trinity. This is the mystery of our Church… The same mystery is enacted here, outside the space of the sanctuary. In front of us we see various images, above us are the lamps, each hanging next to the other. But that’s wrong. These too are a part of the mystery. We are not here. We are up there, together with the assemblies of the Saints, together with the ranks of the angels, with the six-winged Seraphim – whose swift movements teach us to hasten day and night to Christ – together with the cherubim of many eyes, so that our own eyes can become accustomed to seeing Christ. This is a sacrament. This is what a “Mystery” of the Church means…
While the above described belief should calm any fears of catching Covid from attending Orthodox services, it should also counter the possibility of contact with the “vaccinated” harming the “unvaccinated,” at least within the Temple. An increasing amount of data has accumulated over the last year regarding adverse affects suffered by those who chose not to receive Covid “vaccination” after spending time with those who have received Covid “vaccination.” A year ago, doctors and scientists were suggesting this “shedding,” which is different from normal shedding caused by traditional vaccines, would occur from physical contact. However, it has become apparent that actual physical contact is not even necessary for the “vaccinated” to have negative affects on the “unvaccinated,”such as increasing D-dimer in the blood. Since many, including clergy, have ignored the warnings of Saint Paisios of Mount Athos, Elder Justin Parvu of Romania, Elder Savvas Achilleos of Athens, and others, including many doctors and scientists, concerning the dangers of Covid “vaccination,” church services would be a harmful place for the “unvaccinated” if not for the above described belief.
To the dismay of some, attending church services are having as much of a negative affect on them as shopping or other public activities where there are “vaccinated” people. This may appear to contradict the two-thousand year tradition of the Orthodox Church; however, it actually confirms it because this is happening in churches where the practice of administering Holy Communion has been changed for fear of spreading illness. It appears the lack of faith of some hierarchs has resulted in that very lack of faith itself being fulfilled. This apparently confirms that the supposed “safety” measures regarding Communion are indeed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as some holy elders were suggesting a couple of years ago.
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