Holy Communion in the Greek Orthodox Church
Holy Communion in the Greek Orthodox Church, also known as Holy Eucharist, is one of the seven sacraments and is something that we are able to participate in on a weekly basis. However, taking Holy Communion does require advanced preparation. After all, we are receiving the body and blood of Christ and our bodies need to be in a pure state in order to accept that gift.
What Holy Eucharist Is
Holy Eucharist is derived from a Greek word that means “thanksgiving”. It has its roots in the Last Supper, which is the meal that Jesus prepared for His disciples shortly before He was crucified. It was more than a simple meal, however. During it, He instructed his disciples to offer this bread and wine to honor his memory.
In the Divine Liturgy service, Holy Eucharist is at its center. Everything we do as Orthodox Christians leads us on the path of receiving the body and blood of Christ as a celebration of His death and resurrection.
Body and Blood of Christ
When we take Holy Communion in the Greek Orthodox Church, we receive the body and blood of Christ. This means that his Divine Presence is within us. This is an incredible gift and one that we should take seriously. By preparing to receive Communion, we show God that, although we are never truly worthy, we are able to receive Him through His grace.
There is a part in the Divine Liturgy service when we all kneel down. During this, the wine and bread are mystically changed into Christ’s body and blood. This can be a confusing concept because when we look into the cup, we still, literally, see bread and wine. They key word here is “mystically”. The change occurs on a Divine level, even though the flavor may not any different.
Fasting in Order to Prepare for Communion
Many people believe that it is fasting that causes us to be ready to receive the body and blood of Christ. However, that is only partially true. Fasting, especially the morning of Holy Communion is a way to sharpen our spiritual appetite for Christ and enables us to be ready to receive the Eucharist.
However, many people use the inability to fast as a way to prevent them from taking Holy Communion. Some people are physically unable to undergo the dietary restrictions needed to fast. So, they either harm their bodies by fasting anyway, or they feel they can’t take Holy Communion all together. Please discuss any of your concerns with a priest and he will help you find a solution.
Live a Life of Prayer
Prayer is also an important aspect of preparing for Holy Communion. Most Greek Orthodox Christian prayer books have prayers that are designed for before and after communion. In addition, you should have an active prayer life. Ultimately, we should ask for forgiveness for any wrongs we have committed and have a heart filled with love for God and for all people.
Holy Communion is at the center of the Greek Orthodox Christian life. Because of it, we are able to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ as He instructed during the Last Supper. However, in order to receive it properly, we need to prepare.
Categorized in: Greek Orthodox Religious Information
This post was written by Greek Boston