Confession Before Communion
Is Confession necessary before receiving Holy Communion?
• In general, two views emerge concerning Confession and
the Eucharist. The first sees Confession as necessary
before each participation in the Eucharist. The second
sees Confession as a periodic practice not required before
every participation in the Eucharist.
The result of viewing Confession as a pre-requisite to
every participation in the Eucharist is that it does not
enhance one's spiritual life but hinders it. It hinders it
because Confession becomes an excuse not to take Holy
Communion, much like fasting becomes an excuse to stay
away from the Chalice.
Confession itself, of course, is not a hindrance, but people make it a hindrance. It is not uncommon to hear from individuals that they are not regular participants in the Eucharist because they have not been to Confession.
• The Church, does not require a Confession from her
people every time they wish to partake of the Eucharist.
However, if it is your practice to receive the Eucharist
only a few times per year at certain times, your spiritual
father may rightfully insist that you go to Confession. If
it is your practice to partake of the Eucharist rarely, it
is probable that your whole approach to the Eucharist
could, and should, be questioned.
If you resolve to be a regular participant in the Eucharist, as every Orthodox should be, you should plan on periodic Confession. This is defined by your spiritual father and usually it means anywhere from once a month to once every six months.
• It is not acceptable in the tradition of the Church to keep away from the Eucharist using Confession as an excuse. The Sacrament of Confession exists to enhance our approach to the Eucharist, not to impede it.