St. John the Theologian Orthodox Church
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Receiving Holy Communion, non-Orthodox Christians

Again, welcome. Thanks for visiting the mission. When you arrive, feel free to light a candle, say a prayer, and venerate the icons. There are Divine Liturgy books available in the narthex of the church so that you can follow along. We'll make sure that somebody greets you and shows you where we are in the service. We view the holy Eucharist as the fruit of a unity already achieved, not as a means to that unity. While only Orthodox Christians may receive Holy Communion, we encourage our non-Orthodox friends to join in receiving Holy Bread at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy. Also, we extend a warm invitation for you to join us during coffee hour in our fellowship hall after the service. Have a bite to eat. Give us the opportunity to introduce ourselves and talk with you.

Receiving Holy Communion, Orthodox Christians

The Divine Liturgy assumes preparation and that you intend to partake of the precious and all-holy Body and Blood of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ. An Orthodox Christian must prepare to receive Holy Communion through prayer, fasting, and confession.

In his book The Mind of the Orthodox Church, the Metropolitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos addresses the issue very well when he says, "Liturgical life without the ascetic life does not help effectively in the regeneration of the church congregation."

As a starting point, when you approach the Holy Cup you must have abstained from food and drink for a minimum of 12 hours, attended Divine Liturgy with regularity, been to confession recently, and be at peace with all men in so far as you are able. Other individual considerations are at the discretion of the pastor.

The Manner in Which We Receive Holy Communion

After the priest says with the fear of God, with faith and love draw near you may begin forming a single line in the middle of the church. This is a holy time. Be mindful of what you are doing and whom you are approaching. Pray while you are waiting to receive Holy Communion.

  • Make the sign of the cross before you step to the Holy Cup, not as you're standing in front of the Cup. That way we avoid accidentally bumping the Holy Chalice.
  • Tell the priest your baptismal name. Those who are taller may have to bend their knees just a bit. Your head should not be higher than the Holy Cup.
  • Very reverently move near and place the communion cloth under your chin.
  • Open your mouth wide. The priest will place the precious and all-Holy Body and Blood of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ into your mouth.
  • Close your mouth completely around the Communion Spoon and receive that which is offered to you.
  • Wipe your lips on the communion cloth.
  • Step away from the Holy Chalice and then make the sign of the cross again.
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