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Holy Communion (Eucharist)

Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood
has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day - John 6:54

What is Holy Communion?

In the Divine Liturgy, bread and wine are offered up God, who in turn offers Himself back to us through them by turning them into the Body and Blood of Christ. By partaking of the Body and Blood of the Lord, we become united with Him and, through Him, to one another. This is the "daily bread" we pray for in the Lord's Prayer, and it is as necessary for our spiritual well being as ordinary food and drink are for our bodily health. Holy Communion is also called the Eucharist, which means Thanksgiving.

How often should I receive Holy Communion?

It is the duty of every Orthodox Christian to partake in Holy Communion and we ought to partake regularly. If possible, we should partake whenever the Divine Liturgy is served (and not simply two or four times a year). However, regular reception of Holy Communion must not become the cause of disrespect towards the Body and Blood of Christ, and we should not participate without adequate preparation.

Who can receive Holy Communion?

Holy Communion may only be received by members of the Orthodox Church - that is to say, thsoe who are members in good standing of the Orthodox Churches in eucharistic communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

For worthy participation of the Sacrament, we ought:
(i) to have unshakable faith in Christ our Saviour and in the teachings of the Orthodox Church.
(ii) to attend church regularly, and to pray regularly;
(iii) to observe the weekly fast on Wednesday and Friday, as well as the other periods of fasting throughout the year;
(iv) to cleanse our consciences of evil deeds, hate and injustice, forgiving all those who have injured us from the depth of our hearts; and we ought also to have peaceful relations and charity even towards those who are our enemies;
(v) to make a sincere confession of our sins and offences in the presence of a spiritual father.

It is forbidden to receive Holy Communion without the prior permission of a spiritual father; and the ideal is that it should be preceded by Confession, which is the second Baptism cleansing the stains on our souls and restoring our relations with God.

What must I do before receiving Holy Communion?

Those wishing to receive Holy Communion should abstain from food and drink from midnight of the day on which Holy Communion is to be received, unless prevented by illness or infirmity. Most Orthodox prayer books also contain Prayers of Preparation for Holy Communion, which we are encouraged to read in the evening or morning before receiving, if possible.

What if I can't come to Church?

When people cannot attend Church due to illness or physical infirmity, a priest or deacon may bring the Holy Communion to them. In order to arrange a home or hospital visit, please contact the Church by telephone.