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Germs in the Chalice?

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  • James Morgan
    Appropos of nothing, I thought this might be of interest to the list. The addition of hot water to the chalice is, I believe, not done in the west, but is
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 8, 2006
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      Appropos of nothing, I thought this might be of interest to the list. The
      addition of hot water to the chalice is, I believe, not done in the west,
      but is part of the Orthodox Eastern tradition.

      Rdr. James Morgan
      Olympia, WA
      =====================================
      Canadian Orthodox Messenger, Spring 1995

      A MEDICAL OPINION:

      "...to the Healing of soul and body..."
      By Emanuel Kolyvas, M.D., The Sign [of the Theotokos], Montreal

      Contrary to popular opinion, wine, and other beverages of antiquity produced

      through fermentation, were probably more important in providing disease-free

      drinking fluids than in their tendency to intoxicate. Ancient Greeks drank
      their water mixed with wine, and also used wine to cleanse wounds and soak
      dressings. More recently, military physicians of the last century observed
      that
      during epidemics of cholera, wine drinkers were relatively spared by the
      disease,
      and troops were advised to mix wine into the water.

      Wine has been shown to be an effective antiseptic even when the alcohol is
      removed. In fact, 10% alcohol is a poor antiseptic, and alcohol only
      becomes
      optimally effective at concentrations of 70%. The antiseptic substances in
      wine
      are inactive in fresh grapes because these molecules are bound to complex
      sugars. During fermentation these antiseptic substances are split off from
      the
      sugars and in this way become active. These molecules are " polyphenols" ,
      a
      class of substances used in hospitals to disinfect surfaces and instruments.

      The polyphenol of wine has been shown to be some thirty-three times more
      powerful than the phenol used by Lister when he pioneered antiseptic
      surgery.

      Same year wines can be diluted up to ten times before beginning to show a
      decrease in their antiseptic effect. The better wines gradually improve
      with age
      over the first ten years and can be diluted twenty times without a decrease
      of the antiseptic effect. This effect then remains more or less constant
      over
      the next twenty years and becomes equivalent to a new wine after another
      twenty-five years. (Modern antiseptics and antibiotics for disinfecting
      wounds have
      surpassed wine effectiveness because the active ingredients in wine are
      rapidly bound and inactivated by proteins in body tissues.)

      In preparing communion, the hot water that is added to the wine will
      increase
      greatly the antiseptic effect of the polyphenols. Disinfection occurs more
      rapidly and more effectively at 45 degrees centigrade than at room
      temperature
      (22-25 degrees). Another contribution to the antiseptic effect comes from
      the
      silver, copper, zinc that make up the chalice itself, ensuring that microbes

      are unable to survive on its surface.

      Throughout the centuries no disease has ever been transmitted by the
      taking of Holy Communion. Diseases, such as Hepatitis B, known to be
      transmitted
      by shared eating utensils, have never been acquired from the communion
      spoon.
      HIV is known not to be transmitted through shared eating utensils, and
      considering the antiseptic qualities of the Holy Communion received by the
      faithful,
      there is no likelihood ofacquiring HIV infection through the Common Cup.
    • Pastor Art Hebbeler STS
      There is a report out of Calgary, Alberta, that was updated in 2001 on this issue as well with a similar report. Of course, I have found that even WITH such
      Message 2 of 5 , Aug 8, 2006
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        There is a report out of Calgary, Alberta, that was updated in 2001 on this
        issue as well with a similar report.

        Of course, I have found that even WITH such studies in hands, folks don't
        like to be confused by the facts <G>

        Art+
        Pastor Art Hebbeler, STS
        Pastor and Head of Schools
        Abiding Presence Lutheran Church www.AbidingPresence-Beltsville.org
        The Augsburg Academy www.AugsburgAcademy.net
        The Korean School of the Abiding Presence
        ---This email was virus-checked before sending---

        | -----Original Message-----
        | From: liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com [mailto:liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com] On
        Behalf Of James
        | Morgan
        | Sent: Tuesday, August 08, 2006 12:43 PM
        | To: liturgy-l
        | Subject: [liturgy-l] Germs in the Chalice?
        |
        |
        |
        | Appropos of nothing, I thought this might be of interest to the list. The
        | addition of hot water to the chalice is, I believe, not done in the west,
        | but is part of the Orthodox Eastern tradition.
      • Janet Roth
        Yes, I remember reading somewhere that the O. use hot water to symbolize the warmth of the Holy Spirit. ((but like some explanations in the Western Church,
        Message 3 of 5 , Aug 8, 2006
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          Yes, I remember reading somewhere that the O. use hot water to
          symbolize the warmth of the Holy Spirit. ((but like some
          explanations in the Western Church, I wondered at the time if it was
          perhaps an explanation which came after to explain some practical
          aspect of liturgical business. That is - for whatever practical
          reason - hot water was used and then an explanation was offered later.)

          Janet Roth
          On Aug 8, 2006, at 9:43 AM, James Morgan wrote:

          > Appropos of nothing, I thought this might be of interest to the list.
          > The
          > addition of hot water to the chalice is, I believe, not done in the
          > west,
          > but is part of the Orthodox Eastern tradition.
          >
          > Rdr. James Morgan
          > Olympia, WA
        • asteresplanetai
          ... not disagreeing that explanations often came after the fact, but i am quite sure hot water was NOT added in order to increase the antiseptic effect of the
          Message 4 of 5 , Aug 9, 2006
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            +++

            > Germs in the Chalice?
            > Posted by: "Janet Roth" jproth@...
            > Date: Tue Aug 8, 2006 9:56 am (PDT)

            >> Appropos of nothing, I thought this might be of interest to the list.
            >> The
            >> addition of hot water to the chalice is, I believe, not done in the
            >> west, but is part of the Orthodox Eastern tradition.

            > Yes, I remember reading somewhere that the O. use hot water to
            > symbolize the warmth of the Holy Spirit. ((but like some
            > explanations in the Western Church, I wondered at the time if it was
            > perhaps an explanation which came after to explain some practical
            > aspect of liturgical business. That is - for whatever practical
            > reason - hot water was used and then an explanation was offered
            > later.)


            not disagreeing that explanations often came after the fact, but i am
            quite sure hot water was NOT added in order to "increase the
            antiseptic effect of the wine" (or rather in this case the divine
            blood)!

            Given a choice, i'll take symbolism over euhemerism most any day.

            regards from cold kampala,

            john burnett
          • Janet Roth
            I had thought that the practical might not be so much about germs, but perhaps it developed in a particularly cold setting where the sacristan had to put out
            Message 5 of 5 , Aug 9, 2006
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              I had thought that the practical might not be so much about germs, but
              perhaps it developed in a particularly cold setting where the sacristan
              had to put out hot water (which cooled) in order to keep the water from
              freezing before it could be added to the wine.....

              (With visions of this having originated in a frozen Russian Orthdox
              church perhaps ---- you know, images of Dr. Zhivago with and ice
              encrusted beard.... )
              Janet
              On Aug 9, 2006, at 9:37 AM, asteresplanetai wrote:

              > not disagreeing that explanations often came after the fact, but i am
              > quite sure hot water was NOT added in order to "increase the
              > antiseptic effect of the wine" (or rather in this case the divine
              > blood)!
              >
              > Given a choice, i'll take symbolism over euhemerism most any day.
              >
              > regards from cold kampala,
              >
              > john burnett
              >
              >
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