In both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form Of The Roman Rite, I’ve seen it, anyone can and mostly do and receive the Blessed Sacrament; especially in the Ordinary Form, even if they aren’t Catholic or right off the street in their jogging attire.
Now, In The Byzantine Liturgy, You Can’t Do That, because the Priest or Abbot or Bishop or Patriarch will ask are you Catholic, to prove it, you must kiss the chalice on which both the Sacred Body & Blood Of Our Lord Is Present, Plus, They Guard This Holy Of Holies, even in the Orthodox Church.
The Practice of Closed Communion in the Orthodox Church When a stranger approaches the Holy Gifts during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy it is the norm in the Orthodox Church for the priest to ask the person to “kiss the chalice”. Not knowing if the person is Orthodox, or whether they are in good standing with the Church, the priest can not give them communion.This “closed communion” is not meant as a way of separating ourselves from visitors as though we were better than them, but as our way of guarding the Holy Mysteries from being received by someone who is not part of the Church and who may hold to views concerning the Eucharist that are in opposition to the teachings of scripture and the dogmas of the Ancient Apostolic and Catholic Church.Priests are guardians of the Holy Mysteries and must make sure they are not defiled. The priest must also protect the person who may receive without proper preparation and belief. Every Orthodox Christian is expected to have prepared for communion by abstaining from all food and drink from midnight on, as well as having said the pre-communion prayers. A good confession is also an important part of proper preparation for Holy Communion.When a person believes that the things which the Orthodox Church teaches are true, and has received baptism in the Orthodox Church, and is living a life in Christ, communion is not simply common bread or common wine we are receiving, but the very Body and Blood of the Saviour.
The Logos took on our flesh for the salvation of the world and is received into our bodies through the action of the Holy Spirit and the prayer of His word (this is my body….this is my blood). At this moment our blood and flesh, by transmutation, are nourished with the flesh and blood of Jesus Who was made flesh.Closed communion is the way the Church protects anyone who does not hold to these beliefs from receiving unworthily and therefore hurting their soul. As well, when the priest co-mingles the commemoration particles after the communion of the faithful, with the Body and Blood of Christ, he commemorates the union we have with each other as members of the Body of Christ, the Church.This union is not just with those who are communing with us in this Liturgy, but a union of both the Church Militant here on earth, and the Church Triumphant in heaven. Within the life of the Church there is no separation from each other at death.
The Body of Christ is made up of both those who have gone on before us and those who are still here on earth, for we are all alive in Christ. In a very real sense we are not only communing of Christ’s true Body and Blood, but we are communing of each other as the Body of Christ, the Church!
Love in Christ,Abbot Tryphon
I apologize for the lateness of this post, but following the young men’s retreat, I am totally exhausted, and even though this article was posted on my Ancient Faith blog, I forgot to post it here. Forgive me.”
I always say, “I was born in the wrong time period” because I find the practice of the Eastern Rite Catholiics more beautiful, reverent than in the West, when I went to my first Byzantine Rite Divine Liturgy at Saint Nicholas of Smyrna in Orlando at the monastery there, where the Divine Liturgy was chanted from start to finish in Greek, incense constantly, the reverent Holy Communion and this practice as taught by the Abbot. What a beautiful way to defend and Protect Our Blessed Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.