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Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Practice of Infant Communion

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  • Rosemarie Lieffring
    Sometimes it is hard to find an Orthodox response to a Protestant interpretation...but hopefully someone has something on 1 Cor:27-28 that can help you. Infant
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 9, 2009
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      Sometimes it is hard to find an Orthodox response to a Protestant
      interpretation...but hopefully someone has something on 1 Cor:27-28 that can
      help you.

      Infant communion was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back for me
      in terms of realizing something was very wrong. It was obvious it has
      always been practiced, it was even more obvious how and when it was
      separated from Baptism and Chrismation / Confirmation in the evolution of
      the Roman Catholic Church.

      I don't know if you have already come across the Marinicic (memory eternal)
      and Gelbach (both Lutheran pastors) papers on the subject. If not, you are
      in for a genuine treat. You can find them under the "Papers" link HERE:
      http://wctc.net/~gehlbach/IC/index.htm

      I never knew what it was like to prepare for Holy Communion until I became
      Orthodox...the Orthodox take 1 Cor. 27 - 28 VERY seriously. In addition to
      having a recent confession (how recent depends on many things), the Orthodox
      fast and say special communion prayers in the home apart from corporate
      services. Generally, no roudy Saturday night parties before communion on
      Sunday. We are taught to approach the Chalice with fear and trembling!
      "Behold I approach Christ, our Immortal King and God!" So it is not an
      invisible set of verses for us. Children are taught these things when they
      are of an age to learn them and participate in them.

      I know this isn't exactly what you are looking for but maybe it's a start in
      the discussion.-----R



      On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 12:27 AM, oruaseht <oruaseht@...> wrote:

      >
      >
      > I have been studying this topic for quite some time and I am looking for an
      > Orthodox perspective on it. In Lutheran Church-Canada, the practice of
      > infant communion is not practiced because of two foundational
      > understandings.
      >
      > A) 1 Corinthians 11:27-28 (Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the
      > cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and
      > blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the
      > bread and drink of the cup. ESV) My own personal thoughts are that Lutherans
      > have read this passage with a Rationalistic lens, meaning, that a person
      > needs to have the rational ability/cognitive ability to "examine" ones self
      > PRIOR to receiving the sacrament. One could make the same argument for
      > Baptism (one can't rationally confess one's sins or confess Jesus is Lord
      > with the mouth as an infant either). I much prefer to view this passage in
      > terms of faith/relationship with God as the requirements for reception of
      > the Eucharist (Baptism) and growing into the examination part later in life,
      > as we do confession and repentance, etc.
      >
      > B) The Lutheran Confessions make it very clear that one must know the
      > catechism and those that don't are not to be counted as a Christian or be
      > admitted to any Sacrament -- hence, children aren't Christians and shouldn't
      > be baptized until they know the catechism . . . (tongue in cheek). But the
      > Rationalistic component of mental ability/understanding is still the flag
      > ship issue surrounding infant/child communion.
      >
      > I know that the Holy Orthodox Church practices infant communion. Is there
      > an Orthodox take on the exegesis of the Corinthians passages, and/or a voice
      > from Holy Tradition on the matter?
      >
      > Thanks!
      >
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • tantuslabor
      I don t think Luther counts as Orthodox :-)...but in his Table Talk he explicitly says the passage isn t talking about infants. Further, wrt the Hussites, who
      Message 2 of 7 , Apr 9, 2009
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        I don't think Luther counts as Orthodox :-)...but in his Table Talk he explicitly says the passage isn't talking about infants. Further, wrt the Hussites, who did practice infant communion, he said in essence "we won't do it, but nor will we condemn them."

        In the context of the passage, St. Paul is clearly talking about grown people. So infants fall outside the scope of the exhortation. That's the brief answer...

        The unworthy priest,

        Fr. Gregory

        --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, "oruaseht" <oruaseht@...> wrote:
        >
        > I have been studying this topic for quite some time and I am looking for an Orthodox perspective on it. In Lutheran Church-Canada, the practice of infant communion is not practiced because of two foundational understandings.
        >
        > A) 1 Corinthians 11:27-28 (Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. ESV) My own personal thoughts are that Lutherans have read this passage with a Rationalistic lens, meaning, that a person needs to have the rational ability/cognitive ability to "examine" ones self PRIOR to receiving the sacrament. One could make the same argument for Baptism (one can't rationally confess one's sins or confess Jesus is Lord with the mouth as an infant either). I much prefer to view this passage in terms of faith/relationship with God as the requirements for reception of the Eucharist (Baptism) and growing into the examination part later in life, as we do confession and repentance, etc.
        >
        > B) The Lutheran Confessions make it very clear that one must know the catechism and those that don't are not to be counted as a Christian or be admitted to any Sacrament -- hence, children aren't Christians and shouldn't be baptized until they know the catechism . . . (tongue in cheek). But the Rationalistic component of mental ability/understanding is still the flag ship issue surrounding infant/child communion.
        >
        > I know that the Holy Orthodox Church practices infant communion. Is there an Orthodox take on the exegesis of the Corinthians passages, and/or a voice from Holy Tradition on the matter?
        >
        > Thanks!
        >
      • Christopher Orr
        Lex orandi est lex credendi. Infant communion was the norm whenever an infant was baptized. This is the tradition. This is the rule of prayer from the
        Message 3 of 7 , Apr 9, 2009
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          Lex orandi est lex credendi.

          Infant communion was the norm whenever an infant was baptized. This is the
          tradition. This is the rule of prayer from the beginning. Whatever we
          think a passage might mean has to be squared with the living reality of the
          Church over time in the most venerable, ancient apostolic churches. To my
          way of thinking, the West has to explain why it ceased an obviously
          apostolic practice.

          For patristic context, Chrysostom interprets the passages you referred to in
          this way:

          http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf112.iv.xxviii.html
          >
          > and
          >
          > http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf112.iv.xxix.html
          >

          Also helpful is this "Catena of Quotes from the Ancients" concerning infant
          communion assembled and commented on by Tim Gallant:

          The earliest support for paedocommunion can be found in the unity
          > presupposed between baptism and the Lord's Supper (cf. 1 Cor. 12:13). After
          > describing baptism as "regeneration," Clement of Alexandria (c. A.D.
          > 150-210) writes,
          >
          > As soon as we are regenerated, we are honoured by receiving the good
          > news of the hope of rest. . . receiving through what is material the pledge
          > of the sacred food.
          >
          > The Instructor, ch. VI
          >
          > Direct statements concerning paedocommunion come a few decades later, from
          > the pen of Cyprian, bishop of Carthage. We have two passages (written c.
          > A.D. 250) which demonstrate that children were communed at the Lord's table.
          > Both of these references come in the context of the terrible Decian
          > persecution, when Christians were ordered to engage in pagan rites honouring
          > the emperor, or face fatal consequences. In On the Lapsed, chapter 9,
          > Cyprian writes,
          >
          > But to many their own destruction was not sufficient. With mutual
          > exhortations, people were urged to their ruin; death was pledged by turns in
          > the deadly cup. And that nothing might be wanting to aggravate the crime,
          > infants also, in the arms of their parents, either carried or conducted,
          > lost, while yet little ones, what in the very first beginning of their
          > nativity they had gained. Will not they, when the day of judgment comes,
          > say, "We have done nothing; nor have we forsaken the Lord's bread and cup to
          > hasten freely to a profane contact; the faithlessness of others has ruined
          > us. We have found our parents our murderers; they have denied to us the
          > Church as a Mother; they have denied God as a Father: so that, while we were
          > little, and unforeseeing, and unconscious of such a crime, we were
          > associated by others to the partnership of wickedness, and we were snared by
          > the deceit of others?"
          >
          > The claim of not forsaking the Lord's bread and cup which Cyprian places
          > upon the lips of little ones whose parents have apostatized apparently
          > presupposes the fact that they were indeed participants at the Lord's table
          > by right.
          >
          > Even clearer is the passage later in the same work:
          >
          > Learn what occurred when I myself was present and a witness. Some
          > parents who by chance were escaping, being little careful on account of
          > their terror, left a little daughter under the care of a wet-nurse. The
          > nurse gave up the forsaken child to the magistrates. They gave it, in the
          > presence of an idol whither the people flocked (because it was not yet able
          > to eat flesh on account of its years), bread mingled with wine, which
          > however itself was the remainder of what had been used in the immolation of
          > those that had perished. Subsequently the mother recovered her child. But
          > the girl was no more able to speak, or to indicate the crime that had been
          > committed, than she had before been able to understand or to prevent it.
          > Therefore it happened unawares in their ignorance, that when we were
          > sacrificing, the mother brought it in with her. Moreover, the girl mingled
          > with the saints, became impatient of our prayer and supplications, and was
          > at one moment shaken with weeping, and at another tossed about like a wave
          > of the sea by the violent excitement of her mind; as if by the compulsion of
          > a torturer the soul of that still tender child confessed a consciousness of
          > the fact with such signs as it could. When, however, the solemnities were
          > finished, and the deacon began to offer the cup to those present, and when,
          > as the rest received it, its turn approached, the little child, by the
          > instinct of the divine majesty, turned away its face, compressed its mouth
          > with resisting lips, and refused the cup. Still the deacon persisted, and,
          > although against her efforts, forced on her some of the sacrament of the
          > cup. Then there followed a sobbing and vomiting. In a profane body and mouth
          > the Eucharist could not remain; the draught sanctified in the blood of the
          > Lord burst forth from the polluted stomach. So great is the Lord's power, so
          > great is His majesty. The secrets of darkness were disclosed under His
          > light, and not even hidden crimes deceived God's priest.
          >
          > This much about an infant, which was not yet of an age to speak of the
          > crime committed by others in respect of herself.
          >
          > On the Lapsed, ch. 25-26
          >
          > Here a small child, too young to even communicate what she had experienced
          > while in captivity, has "its turn" to partake of the eucharistic cup.
          > Cyprian gives no hint of anything abnormal in the fact that the sacrament
          > was offered to one so young. His interest lies, not in arguing for the
          > practice, which he presupposes, but in showing the danger of partaking if
          > one has engaged in idolatrous practices - even involuntarily, as here.
          >
          > The liturgical instructions of the Apostolic Constitutions (late fourth
          > century) also attest to paedocommunion. Here are a couple of passages:
          >
          > Let none of the catechumens, let none of the hearers, let none of the
          > unbelievers, let none of the heterodox, stay here. You who have prayed the
          > foregoing prayer, depart. Let the mothers receive [or, take] their children;
          > let no one have anything against any one; let no one come in hypocrisy; let
          > us stand upright before the Lord with fear and trembling, to offer.
          >
          > Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, 8.2.12
          >
          > . . . . let the bishop partake, then the presbyters, and deacons, and
          > sub-deacons, and the readers, and the singers, and the ascetics; and then of
          > the women, the deaconesses, and the virgins, and the widows; then the
          > children; and then all the people in order, with reverence and godly fear,
          > without tumult.
          >
          > Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, 8.2.13
          >
          > It is important to notice that, as was common in the early centuries, the
          > visitors and even catechumens were dismissed from the service when the
          > Supper was to be celebrated. But not only did the children remain, they are
          > called upon specifically to partake. Thus, catechumens refers to converts
          > awaiting baptism, not to covenant children.
          >
          > Around the same time frame, Augustine (354-430) also mentions
          > paedocommunion repeatedly. Here are a few examples. Discussing original
          > sin, Augustine comments,
          >
          > They are infants, but they receive His sacraments. They are infants,
          > but they share in His table, in order to have life in themselves.
          >
          > Works, Vol. 5, Sermon 174:7
          >
          > Why is the blood, which of the likeness of sinful flesh was shed for the
          > remission of sins, ministered that the little one may drink, that he may
          > have life, unless he hath come to death by a beginning of sin on the part of
          > some one?
          >
          > In On the Forgiveness of Sins and the Baptism of Infants, Augustine argues
          > that the reference in John 6 to eating Christ's flesh and drinking His blood
          > refers to "the sacrament of His own holy table." He insists that the
          > requirement of John 6:53 is universal ("Except you eat of my flesh and drink
          > my blood, you shall have no life in you"), stressing the universality of
          > Christ's statement, including with reference to infants. This is in support
          > of his argument, which is meant to demonstrate the reality of original sin.
          > He concludes, "From all this it follows, that even for the life of infants
          > was His flesh given, which He gave for the life of the world; and that even
          > they will not have life if they eat not the flesh of the Son of man." (Book
          > I, ch. 26-27)
          >
          > A few chapters later, Augustine adds,
          >
          > And what else do they say who call the sacrament of the Lord's Supper
          > life, than that which is written: "I am the living bread which came down
          > from heaven;" and "The bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of
          > the world;" and "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His
          > blood, ye shall have no life in you?" If, therefore, as so many and such
          > divine witnesses agree, neither salvation nor eternal life can be hoped for
          > by any man without baptism and the Lord's body and blood, it is vain to
          > promise these blessings to infants without them. Moreover, if it be only
          > sins that separate man from salvation and eternal life, there is nothing
          > else in infants which these sacraments can be the means of removing, but the
          > guilt of sin. . .
          >
          > On the Forgiveness of Sins and the Baptism of Infants,
          > Bk. I, ch. 33
          >
          > Regardless of what we think of Augustine's notions of the absolute
          > necessity of the sacrament, it is beyond question that his argument here is
          > based on the fact of paedocommunion being widespread (and probably,
          > universal) practice. Augustine had been to Milan and Rome, and so knew the
          > practice of the broader Church. Furthermore, his primary opponent,
          > Pelagius, was from Britain, and Pelagius's disciples had travelled
          > extensively in the East. Consequently, Augustine could never have argued on
          > the basis of a practice which was unique to his own locale in North Africa.
          >
          > Leo the Great (Bishop of Rome A.D. 440-461) will serve as our final early
          > witness to paedocommunion. When asked what should be done in the case of
          > believers who were unsure if they had been baptized, he responds:
          >
          > Those who can remember that they used to go to church with their parents
          > can remember whether they received what used to be given to their parents.
          >
          > Letter CLXVII, Q. 17
          >
          > He then further concedes that they may not be able to remember even that,
          > which shows that he is clearly thinking of very young children indeed!
          >
          > [Compilation and comments by Tim Gallant. Special thanks is owed to Tommy
          > Lee for his excellent essay, "The History of Paedocommunion."]
          >
          > http://www.paedocommunion.com/articles/fathers_quotations.php
          >

          Here also is an online discussion of infant communion in the Orthodox
          Church:

          http://www.monachos.net/forum/showthread.php?t=4872
          >

          Christopher




          On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 7:25 AM, tantuslabor <stoic1348@...> wrote:
          >t
          >
          > I don't think Luther counts as Orthodox :-)...but in his Table Talk he
          > explicitly says the passage isn't talking about infants. Further, wrt the
          > Hussites, who did practice infant communion, he said in essence "we won't
          do
          > it, but nor will we condemn them."
          >
          > In the context of the passage, St. Paul is clearly talking about grown
          > people. So infants fall outside the scope of the exhortation. That's the
          > brief answer...
          >
          > The unworthy priest,
          >
          > Fr. Gregory
          >
          > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, "oruaseht" <oruaseht@...>
          > wrote:
          >>
          >> I have been studying this topic for quite some time and I am looking for
          >> an Orthodox perspective on it. In Lutheran Church-Canada, the practice of
          >> infant communion is not practiced because of two foundational
          >> understandings.
          >>
          >> A) 1 Corinthians 11:27-28 (Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks
          >> the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the
          body
          >> and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat
          of
          >> the bread and drink of the cup. ESV) My own personal thoughts are that
          >> Lutherans have read this passage with a Rationalistic lens, meaning, that
          a
          >> person needs to have the rational ability/cognitive ability to "examine"
          >> ones self PRIOR to receiving the sacrament. One could make the same
          argument
          >> for Baptism (one can't rationally confess one's sins or confess Jesus is
          >> Lord with the mouth as an infant either). I much prefer to view this
          passage
          >> in terms of faith/relationship with God as the requirements for reception
          of
          >> the Eucharist (Baptism) and growing into the examination part later in
          life,
          >> as we do confession and repentance, etc.
          >>
          >> B) The Lutheran Confessions make it very clear that one must know the
          >> catechism and those that don't are not to be counted as a Christian or be
          >> admitted to any Sacrament -- hence, children aren't Christians and
          shouldn't
          >> be baptized until they know the catechism . . . (tongue in cheek). But
          the
          >> Rationalistic component of mental ability/understanding is still the flag
          >> ship issue surrounding infant/child communion.
          >>
          >> I know that the Holy Orthodox Church practices infant communion. Is there
          >> an Orthodox take on the exegesis of the Corinthians passages, and/or a
          voice
          >> from Holy Tradition on the matter?
          >>
          >> Thanks!
          >>
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Christopher Orr
          Sorry, my initial comment sounded like Moses coming down from Sinai. I simply meant to share my way of thinking about why we do it - we do it because that s
          Message 4 of 7 , Apr 9, 2009
          • 0 Attachment
            Sorry, my initial comment sounded like Moses coming down from Sinai. I
            simply meant to share my way of thinking about why we do it - we do it
            because that's how it's always been done. It was changed along the way in
            the West, rightly or wrongly.

            The rest is simply material that may be helpful in understanding the whys
            and wherefores.

            I remember infant communion and the epiklesis as two of the (only?) primary
            differentiators listed in a spares definition of what Eastern Orthodoxy
            'was' in what I think was an Oxford dictionary of religion of something. My
            roommate junior year of college was Orthodox - his mother was actually a
            Russian princess, but alas she married a commoner - so I looked up what it
            was. Not a lot of info to go on. The first was sort of shocking to my
            sensibilities, the second nonsensical.

            My non-Orthodox wife and her mother (Catholics), and my mother (Lutheran)
            were all rather aghast at the idea that my/our 2 month old was going to be
            given communion. They couldn't really understand why - or why not.

            Christopher



            On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 9:23 AM, Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...> wrote:

            > Lex orandi est lex credendi.
            >
            > Infant communion was the norm whenever an infant was baptized. This is the
            > tradition. This is the rule of prayer from the beginning. Whatever we
            > think a passage might mean has to be squared with the living reality of the
            > Church over time in the most venerable, ancient apostolic churches. To my
            > way of thinking, the West has to explain why it ceased an obviously
            > apostolic practice.
            >
            > For patristic context, Chrysostom interprets the passages you referred to
            > in this way:
            >
            > http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf112.iv.xxviii.html
            >>
            >> and
            >>
            >> http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf112.iv.xxix.html
            >>
            >
            > Also helpful is this "Catena of Quotes from the Ancients" concerning infant
            > communion assembled and commented on by Tim Gallant:
            >
            > The earliest support for paedocommunion can be found in the unity
            >> presupposed between baptism and the Lord's Supper (cf. 1 Cor. 12:13). After
            >> describing baptism as "regeneration," Clement of Alexandria (c. A.D.
            >> 150-210) writes,
            >>
            >> As soon as we are regenerated, we are honoured by receiving the good
            >> news of the hope of rest. . . receiving through what is material the pledge
            >> of the sacred food.
            >>
            >> The Instructor, ch. VI
            >>
            >> Direct statements concerning paedocommunion come a few decades later, from
            >> the pen of Cyprian, bishop of Carthage. We have two passages (written c.
            >> A.D. 250) which demonstrate that children were communed at the Lord's table.
            >> Both of these references come in the context of the terrible Decian
            >> persecution, when Christians were ordered to engage in pagan rites honouring
            >> the emperor, or face fatal consequences. In On the Lapsed, chapter 9,
            >> Cyprian writes,
            >>
            >> But to many their own destruction was not sufficient. With mutual
            >> exhortations, people were urged to their ruin; death was pledged by turns in
            >> the deadly cup. And that nothing might be wanting to aggravate the crime,
            >> infants also, in the arms of their parents, either carried or conducted,
            >> lost, while yet little ones, what in the very first beginning of their
            >> nativity they had gained. Will not they, when the day of judgment comes,
            >> say, "We have done nothing; nor have we forsaken the Lord's bread and cup to
            >> hasten freely to a profane contact; the faithlessness of others has ruined
            >> us. We have found our parents our murderers; they have denied to us the
            >> Church as a Mother; they have denied God as a Father: so that, while we were
            >> little, and unforeseeing, and unconscious of such a crime, we were
            >> associated by others to the partnership of wickedness, and we were snared by
            >> the deceit of others?"
            >>
            >> The claim of not forsaking the Lord's bread and cup which Cyprian places
            >> upon the lips of little ones whose parents have apostatized apparently
            >> presupposes the fact that they were indeed participants at the Lord's table
            >> by right.
            >>
            >> Even clearer is the passage later in the same work:
            >>
            >> Learn what occurred when I myself was present and a witness. Some
            >> parents who by chance were escaping, being little careful on account of
            >> their terror, left a little daughter under the care of a wet-nurse. The
            >> nurse gave up the forsaken child to the magistrates. They gave it, in the
            >> presence of an idol whither the people flocked (because it was not yet able
            >> to eat flesh on account of its years), bread mingled with wine, which
            >> however itself was the remainder of what had been used in the immolation of
            >> those that had perished. Subsequently the mother recovered her child. But
            >> the girl was no more able to speak, or to indicate the crime that had been
            >> committed, than she had before been able to understand or to prevent it.
            >> Therefore it happened unawares in their ignorance, that when we were
            >> sacrificing, the mother brought it in with her. Moreover, the girl mingled
            >> with the saints, became impatient of our prayer and supplications, and was
            >> at one moment shaken with weeping, and at another tossed about like a wave
            >> of the sea by the violent excitement of her mind; as if by the compulsion of
            >> a torturer the soul of that still tender child confessed a consciousness of
            >> the fact with such signs as it could. When, however, the solemnities were
            >> finished, and the deacon began to offer the cup to those present, and when,
            >> as the rest received it, its turn approached, the little child, by the
            >> instinct of the divine majesty, turned away its face, compressed its mouth
            >> with resisting lips, and refused the cup. Still the deacon persisted, and,
            >> although against her efforts, forced on her some of the sacrament of the
            >> cup. Then there followed a sobbing and vomiting. In a profane body and mouth
            >> the Eucharist could not remain; the draught sanctified in the blood of the
            >> Lord burst forth from the polluted stomach. So great is the Lord's power, so
            >> great is His majesty. The secrets of darkness were disclosed under His
            >> light, and not even hidden crimes deceived God's priest.
            >>
            >> This much about an infant, which was not yet of an age to speak of the
            >> crime committed by others in respect of herself.
            >>
            >> On the Lapsed, ch. 25-26
            >>
            >> Here a small child, too young to even communicate what she had experienced
            >> while in captivity, has "its turn" to partake of the eucharistic cup.
            >> Cyprian gives no hint of anything abnormal in the fact that the sacrament
            >> was offered to one so young. His interest lies, not in arguing for the
            >> practice, which he presupposes, but in showing the danger of partaking if
            >> one has engaged in idolatrous practices - even involuntarily, as here.
            >>
            >> The liturgical instructions of the Apostolic Constitutions (late fourth
            >> century) also attest to paedocommunion. Here are a couple of passages:
            >>
            >> Let none of the catechumens, let none of the hearers, let none of the
            >> unbelievers, let none of the heterodox, stay here. You who have prayed the
            >> foregoing prayer, depart. Let the mothers receive [or, take] their children;
            >> let no one have anything against any one; let no one come in hypocrisy; let
            >> us stand upright before the Lord with fear and trembling, to offer.
            >>
            >> Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, 8.2.12
            >>
            >> . . . . let the bishop partake, then the presbyters, and deacons, and
            >> sub-deacons, and the readers, and the singers, and the ascetics; and then of
            >> the women, the deaconesses, and the virgins, and the widows; then the
            >> children; and then all the people in order, with reverence and godly fear,
            >> without tumult.
            >>
            >> Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, 8.2.13
            >>
            >> It is important to notice that, as was common in the early centuries, the
            >> visitors and even catechumens were dismissed from the service when the
            >> Supper was to be celebrated. But not only did the children remain, they are
            >> called upon specifically to partake. Thus, catechumens refers to converts
            >> awaiting baptism, not to covenant children.
            >>
            >> Around the same time frame, Augustine (354-430) also mentions
            >> paedocommunion repeatedly. Here are a few examples. Discussing original
            >> sin, Augustine comments,
            >>
            >> They are infants, but they receive His sacraments. They are infants,
            >> but they share in His table, in order to have life in themselves.
            >>
            >> Works, Vol. 5, Sermon 174:7
            >>
            >> Why is the blood, which of the likeness of sinful flesh was shed for
            >> the remission of sins, ministered that the little one may drink, that he may
            >> have life, unless he hath come to death by a beginning of sin on the part of
            >> some one?
            >>
            >> In On the Forgiveness of Sins and the Baptism of Infants, Augustine argues
            >> that the reference in John 6 to eating Christ's flesh and drinking His blood
            >> refers to "the sacrament of His own holy table." He insists that the
            >> requirement of John 6:53 is universal ("Except you eat of my flesh and drink
            >> my blood, you shall have no life in you"), stressing the universality of
            >> Christ's statement, including with reference to infants. This is in support
            >> of his argument, which is meant to demonstrate the reality of original sin.
            >> He concludes, "From all this it follows, that even for the life of infants
            >> was His flesh given, which He gave for the life of the world; and that even
            >> they will not have life if they eat not the flesh of the Son of man." (Book
            >> I, ch. 26-27)
            >>
            >> A few chapters later, Augustine adds,
            >>
            >> And what else do they say who call the sacrament of the Lord's Supper
            >> life, than that which is written: "I am the living bread which came down
            >> from heaven;" and "The bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of
            >> the world;" and "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His
            >> blood, ye shall have no life in you?" If, therefore, as so many and such
            >> divine witnesses agree, neither salvation nor eternal life can be hoped for
            >> by any man without baptism and the Lord's body and blood, it is vain to
            >> promise these blessings to infants without them. Moreover, if it be only
            >> sins that separate man from salvation and eternal life, there is nothing
            >> else in infants which these sacraments can be the means of removing, but the
            >> guilt of sin. . .
            >>
            >> On the Forgiveness of Sins and the Baptism of Infants,
            >> Bk. I, ch. 33
            >>
            >> Regardless of what we think of Augustine's notions of the absolute
            >> necessity of the sacrament, it is beyond question that his argument here is
            >> based on the fact of paedocommunion being widespread (and probably,
            >> universal) practice. Augustine had been to Milan and Rome, and so knew the
            >> practice of the broader Church. Furthermore, his primary opponent,
            >> Pelagius, was from Britain, and Pelagius's disciples had travelled
            >> extensively in the East. Consequently, Augustine could never have argued on
            >> the basis of a practice which was unique to his own locale in North Africa.
            >>
            >> Leo the Great (Bishop of Rome A.D. 440-461) will serve as our final early
            >> witness to paedocommunion. When asked what should be done in the case of
            >> believers who were unsure if they had been baptized, he responds:
            >>
            >> Those who can remember that they used to go to church with their
            >> parents can remember whether they received what used to be given to their
            >> parents.
            >>
            >> Letter CLXVII, Q. 17
            >>
            >> He then further concedes that they may not be able to remember even that,
            >> which shows that he is clearly thinking of very young children indeed!
            >>
            >> [Compilation and comments by Tim Gallant. Special thanks is owed to Tommy
            >> Lee for his excellent essay, "The History of Paedocommunion."]
            >>
            >> http://www.paedocommunion.com/articles/fathers_quotations.php
            >>
            >
            > Here also is an online discussion of infant communion in the Orthodox
            > Church:
            >
            > http://www.monachos.net/forum/showthread.php?t=4872
            >>
            >
            > Christopher
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 7:25 AM, tantuslabor <stoic1348@...>
            > wrote:
            > >t
            >
            > >
            > > I don't think Luther counts as Orthodox :-)...but in his Table Talk he
            > > explicitly says the passage isn't talking about infants. Further, wrt the
            > > Hussites, who did practice infant communion, he said in essence "we won't
            > do
            > > it, but nor will we condemn them."
            > >
            > > In the context of the passage, St. Paul is clearly talking about grown
            > > people. So infants fall outside the scope of the exhortation. That's the
            > > brief answer...
            > >
            > > The unworthy priest,
            > >
            > > Fr. Gregory
            > >
            > > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, "oruaseht" <oruaseht@...>
            > > wrote:
            > >>
            > >> I have been studying this topic for quite some time and I am looking for
            > >> an Orthodox perspective on it. In Lutheran Church-Canada, the practice
            > of
            > >> infant communion is not practiced because of two foundational
            > >> understandings.
            > >>
            > >> A) 1 Corinthians 11:27-28 (Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks
            > >> the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the
            > body
            > >> and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat
            > of
            > >> the bread and drink of the cup. ESV) My own personal thoughts are that
            > >> Lutherans have read this passage with a Rationalistic lens, meaning,
            > that a
            > >> person needs to have the rational ability/cognitive ability to "examine"
            > >> ones self PRIOR to receiving the sacrament. One could make the same
            > argument
            > >> for Baptism (one can't rationally confess one's sins or confess Jesus is
            > >> Lord with the mouth as an infant either). I much prefer to view this
            > passage
            > >> in terms of faith/relationship with God as the requirements for
            > reception of
            > >> the Eucharist (Baptism) and growing into the examination part later in
            > life,
            > >> as we do confession and repentance, etc.
            > >>
            > >> B) The Lutheran Confessions make it very clear that one must know the
            > >> catechism and those that don't are not to be counted as a Christian or
            > be
            > >> admitted to any Sacrament -- hence, children aren't Christians and
            > shouldn't
            > >> be baptized until they know the catechism . . . (tongue in cheek). But
            > the
            > >> Rationalistic component of mental ability/understanding is still the
            > flag
            > >> ship issue surrounding infant/child communion.
            > >>
            > >> I know that the Holy Orthodox Church practices infant communion. Is
            > there
            > >> an Orthodox take on the exegesis of the Corinthians passages, and/or a
            > voice
            > >> from Holy Tradition on the matter?
            > >>
            > >> Thanks!
            > >>
            > >
            > >
            >
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • randall hay
            Sorry to respond so long after the fact, but I ve been out of town, away from a computer. You seem to have hit the nail on the head as far as the issue of
            Message 5 of 7 , Apr 14, 2009
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              Sorry to respond so long after the fact, but I've been out of town, away from a computer.

              You seem to have hit the nail on the head as far as the issue of self-examination.

              I mean, if you have to have a certain level of rational functioning to commune, then retarded individuals, demented elderly individuals, people with severe illnesses, people on certain medications that effect cognition and mentally ill people must be barred from the altar along with the children.

              Reason is not our highest spiritual faculty! Our highest spiritual faculty is the "nous" or "kardia." The term nous is translated out of the English Bible, but it was a Greek term for the deepest part of man since at least Plato and Aristotle. (The West didn't reject the faculty of the nous formally till the 14th century, when Rome attacked the teaching of St Gregory Palamas.)

              "Heart" is left mostly intact in English translations (not entirely so), but we need to be sure we see it as the depths or essence of the soul, rather than emotions, which are our most superficial part. There is very little association of the heart with emotions in Scripture...in fact, there isn't even a word for "emotions."

              At any rate, while there is a certain lack of precision in the Biblical terminology (people are not precise beings), the nous and kardia are clearly shown to be the eye and the essence of the soul.

              While infants may not have the ability to reason, they certainly do have a nous and a kardia, a God-breathed soul as deep as ours...only not as polluted and blinded by habitual sins. It's obvious to any parent. Little ones can apprehend Christ more clearly and directly than we can through these faculties. They know more clearly that He is God who loves them, and we are not God.

              We rational adults give ourselves way more credit for divine insight and ominscience and godlliness than they do....in other words, we are really lousy at Christian self-examination. We diminish God and exalt ourselves. We haveless theology.

              Hence Christ doesn't say children need to become like us; He says we need to become like them if we are going to be saved.

              ---One further comment, which hopefully won't sound critical: if Lutherans are going to bar children from communion because they can't examine themselves, that means the adults have to really and truly do it. They can't go through their whole lives, Sunday after Sunday after Sunday, without self-examination. "Oh, yeah, I'm really a sinner" doesn't cut it for self-examining...that's just repeating a catchphrase. Self-examining means critically scrutinizing how you've treated people, your own thoughts, sins; small movements of the soul, etc., in detail.

              As far as I can see, self-examination isn't a signifant piece of Lutheran piety at present. I never even recall it being taught in seminary, much less in the pews.

              Perhaps it was more so in previous times. At any rate, for me the crucial point at issue is seeing Reason as the only faculty that can do self-examination.

              In Christ,

              Subdeacon Randy




              ________________________________
              From: oruaseht <oruaseht@...>
              To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Thursday, April 9, 2009 12:27:32 AM
              Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Practice of Infant Communion





              I have been studying this topic for quite some time and I am looking for an Orthodox perspective on it. In Lutheran Church-Canada, the practice of infant communion is not practiced because of two foundational understandings.

              A) 1 Corinthians 11:27-28 (Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. ESV) My own personal thoughts are that Lutherans have read this passage with a Rationalistic lens, meaning, that a person needs to have the rational ability/cognitive ability to "examine" ones self PRIOR to receiving the sacrament. One could make the same argument for Baptism (one can't rationally confess one's sins or confess Jesus is Lord with the mouth as an infant either). I much prefer to view this passage in terms of faith/relationship with God as the requirements for reception of the Eucharist (Baptism) and growing into the examination part later in life, as we do confession and repentance, etc.

              B) The Lutheran Confessions make it very clear that one must know the catechism and those that don't are not to be counted as a Christian or be admitted to any Sacrament -- hence, children aren't Christians and shouldn't be baptized until they know the catechism . . . (tongue in cheek). But the Rationalistic component of mental ability/understandi ng is still the flag ship issue surrounding infant/child communion.

              I know that the Holy Orthodox Church practices infant communion. Is there an Orthodox take on the exegesis of the Corinthians passages, and/or a voice from Holy Tradition on the matter?

              Thanks!




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • oruaseht
              Thank you so much for your post. I have finally had a chance to read these papers and they are very helpful. It s just as I feared though... I m completely
              Message 6 of 7 , Apr 17, 2009
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                Thank you so much for your post. I have finally had a chance to read these papers and they are very helpful. It's just as I feared though... I'm completely Orthodox on this matter!!! Some of my other Lutheran Pastor brothers and I have been discussing this issue for some time now (particularly how the Eucharist relates with Lutheran Confirmation), so these posts in this forum really give me another approach to the Spiritual life which is truly wonderful and inspiring.

                Closely related to this is the subject of Closed Communion. Would anyone care to comment on the Orthodox Practice of "Closed Communion" - particularly as it relates to who may be admitted to the Eucharist in the Orthodox Church? Is it closed to all non-Orthodox (not Baptized & Chrismated, I'm guessing?) Hence, Orthodox infants would be permitted to the sacrament based on their identity in Christ and in the Holy Orthodox Church? Later these requirements change to include confession & repentance?? Any feedback would be helpful. Thanks again for the posts!

                --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, Rosemarie Lieffring <rose.lieffring@...> wrote:
                >
                > Sometimes it is hard to find an Orthodox response to a Protestant
                > interpretation...but hopefully someone has something on 1 Cor:27-28 that can
                > help you.
                >
                > Infant communion was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back for me
                > in terms of realizing something was very wrong. It was obvious it has
                > always been practiced, it was even more obvious how and when it was
                > separated from Baptism and Chrismation / Confirmation in the evolution of
                > the Roman Catholic Church.
                >
                > I don't know if you have already come across the Marinicic (memory eternal)
                > and Gelbach (both Lutheran pastors) papers on the subject. If not, you are
                > in for a genuine treat. You can find them under the "Papers" link HERE:
                > http://wctc.net/~gehlbach/IC/index.htm
                >
                > I never knew what it was like to prepare for Holy Communion until I became
                > Orthodox...the Orthodox take 1 Cor. 27 - 28 VERY seriously. In addition to
                > having a recent confession (how recent depends on many things), the Orthodox
                > fast and say special communion prayers in the home apart from corporate
                > services. Generally, no roudy Saturday night parties before communion on
                > Sunday. We are taught to approach the Chalice with fear and trembling!
                > "Behold I approach Christ, our Immortal King and God!" So it is not an
                > invisible set of verses for us. Children are taught these things when they
                > are of an age to learn them and participate in them.
                >
                > I know this isn't exactly what you are looking for but maybe it's a start in
                > the discussion.-----R
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