Archbishop Elpidophoros of America published a video on Facebook on Monday to explain his position on Holy Communion in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The archbishop’s video comes in response to debates that have ensued within the Orthodox community after he approved the use of single-use spoons to distribute communion.
The pandemic has created a complex problem for Orthodox Christian Churches which serve their most important sacrament from a common spoon and cup.
In the Facebook video, Archbishop Elpidophoros responded to the following question:
“Parishioners are concerned about how Holy Communion is distributed with a common spoon. Is that something that will change even if it’s temporarily?”
“This is really a very difficult, but at the same time, very important discussion,” the archbishop said. “I am sure you all know that I already opened this issue of the one Common Spoon for consideration and I asked a very simple question, ‘What is more important for all of us, the Communion, the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ, or the way we receive the Body and Blood?'”
The answer, Elpidophoros said, is easy. “It’s not the way [in which we receive], it’s the Communion itself that saves us and gives us eternal life. So anything else, like the Common Spoon, or whatever the Church has been practicing, even in the last 1000 years, everything else can change, even temporarily or not temporarily.”
He then said that the common spoon tradition is not a matter which is decided by an Ecumenical Council or Orthodox Synod but rather a practice which became widespread without any imposition due to its “effective” and “practical” nature.
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