Frequency of Receiving Holy Communion

How Often Should One Receive the Holy Communion?

Father T. Avramis answers it this way. Did you know that the first Orthodox Christians took Holy Communion every day? So strongly did the early Orthodox Christians feel about this that they introduced the 9th Apostolic Canon that anyone who did not stay for prayer and Holy Communion must be excommunicated. This shows how seriously the Eucharist should be taken when offered on Sundays.


Christians sin constantly. Sin is part of our life. Therefore forgiveness must also be a part of our life. Constant sin requires constant forgiveness. "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (John 1:8).


The Eucharist, approached in the correct manner, takes away our sin and gives us the strength to draw closer to God. What is the correct manner? The answer is found in the liturgy itself when the Priest presents the Chalice and intones, "With the fear of God, faith and love, draw near". Therefore, if you do not have a valid reason for not partaking, you are obliged to receive the Eucharist. If you have kept the Eucharistic Fast (i.e. not eaten or drunk anything after waking up in the morning), and if you approach with "fear of God, faith and love", and there is no moral or canonical reason to impede you - you must go forward when you hear the call.


You may fail to be regular in your partaking of the Eucharist because you feel unworthy. In this case, ask yourself, when will you be worthy? One of the reasons we must constantly go forward is precisely because we are unworthy.
If you are not able to accept the fact that you should be a regular participant in the Eucharist, ask, Why do you feel this way? Only the devil stands to gain by your staying away from the Chalice. The longer you stay away from the Eucharist, the stronger the devil's influence in your life. The Body of God both deifies and nourishes. It heals, purifies, enlightens and sanctifies the body and soul. It helps us to turn away from every fantasy, evil practice and diabolical activity which work subconsciously in our members. It increases virtue and perfection for Communion with the Holy Spirit as a provision of salvation and eternal life.


If you know that you will receive the Body and Blood of Christ on Sunday then during the week you will begin to discipline yourself and make a determined effort to overcome your passions and make every effort not to sin. You will pray and fast with relative ease for you are preparing your body and soul to receive Christ. You will be able to approach the chalice with a contrite heart, knowing you are unworthy and seeking the help from our God, accepting His most valuable gift given freely by Him for your assistance.


Saint John Chrysostom

Dearly beloved and most cherished brethren, who are gathered in this holy temple to adore the living God in piety and justice and partake of the holy, immortal, spotless, and awesome mysteries of Christ: hear me, humble and unworthy as I am, for it is not I who speak and teach you, but the grace of the all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit. I speak, not on my own, but as I was taught by the Holy Canons, the God-bearing Fathers, and the ways of our Holy Church as received by the holy apostles, instructed by God. I am the humblest and smallest of men: I do not know your actions nor do I know your needs, but I do know the fear of God which commands each and every one of us, both men and women, small and great: Let none of you who is guilty of sin and who is gnawed by his or her conscience dare to draw near this sacred Fire before repenting and confessing or to come in ridicule, because God is a consuming Fire.


To those who draw near in faith and fear of Him who is our God and King and the judge of all mankind, He will completely burn away your sins and will fill your souls with light and sanctification.


But to the faithless who draw near without shame, He burns and sears both soul and body. “For this reason there are many among you who are sick and, being sick, sleep”; that is, many die without having repented or been forgiven.


Therefore, my brethren, I implore you and say: let no blasphemer, perjurer or liar, no fornicator, adulterer or sodomite, no magician or fortune teller, no thief or heretic draw near to the awesome mysteries of Christ or touch them without having confessed and prepared himself, for “it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

It is an obligation of every Orthodox Christian to receive Holy Communion.

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life. (John 6:53-54)

It unites us with the Lord.

He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. (John 6:56)

It nourishes the soul and body and aids our spiritual growth.

He who feeds on Me will live because of Me. (John 6:57)

It pledges of future resurrection and eternal life.

He who eats this bread will live forever. (John 6:58)


Additional Information:

• How Often Should we Receive Holy Communion? by Macarias Notaras