Phanar hierarch: Virus can act through instruments of Communion

14 June 2020 01:14
Archbishop Job (right) and Patriarch Bartholomew. Photo: Archbishop Job (right) and Patriarch Bartholomew. Photo:

Archbishop Job of Telmessos believes that due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Orthodox Church should review some practical issues regarding the Eucharist.

Archbishop Job of Telmessos, Permanent Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the World Council of Churches believes that the common spoon for the Communion is an instrument through which the virus can be transmitted, reports the “Orthodox Times” website.

In his opinion, “’social distancing’ is a paradox, or at least an antinomy, in serving the Eucharist which implies sharing the same bread and partaking in the common cup”.

Archbishop Job of Telmessos continues: “The Anglican and the Roman Catholic, seem to avoid, at least at this point, sharing a common cup, and while receiving the body of Christ in the hands is raising some hygienic issues for them, the Orthodox Church is confronting debates regarding the use of the common spoon used for the communion of the faithful.”

“One has to keep in mind that the communion rites have evolved throughout history and that this is not the first time that the Church has confronted such debates in times of epidemic…. Therefore, one should not be surprised nor scandalized by the discussions and the hygienic prescriptions concerning the communion rites, since the matter of discussion is not the sanctity of the body and blood of Christ, 'the remedy of immortality', but the instruments being used, that is to say the practical means of its distribution that can be affected by the virus,” stressed the Phanar hierarch.

Archbishop Job of Telmessos resumed: “The communion spoon has never been a matter of faith but only an instrument used for the distribution of the Eucharist. May the challenges we are facing now in our participation in holy communion due to “social distancing” hygienic principles be the opportunity to consider and to reflect on the importance of the Eucharist for our spiritual life as well as for the communion of the Church in constituting the one body of Christ by being partakers of the same bread and of the common chalice.”

As reported earlier, Metropolitan Cosmas (Papachristos) of Aetolia and Acarnania of the Hellenic Orthodox Church believes that the period of the coronavirus pandemic was used to attempt to change the Orthodox faith.

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