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Question 377

I was told by an orthodox priest that its not OK to receive communion at an English Christian Church. Why is that if that's the only church I'm able to get to? 



Answer to Question 377


Many people today have been influenced by the Protestant idea that we are all Christians and it doesn’t matter what church you belong to or where you pray. If this is true then why aren’t all the so called Christian churches in communion with each other? Why aren’t we one church? The simple answer is that we do not all teach and preach the same God and if you knew the differences we have you would agree that we worship different Gods.


The Orthodox Church claims to be the only Catholic and Apostolic Church. If this claim is true then the other churches are not true churches because there can only be one church. Christ the High-priest established the church and gave spiritual authority to his Apostles. This authority was then conferred by the Apostles to others who were chosen to be ordained with the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority. This authority is known as the Priesthood and consist of a hierarchical order of first Bishops, then Priests and then Deacons. No one can enter this priesthood by himself, a bishop must be ordained by other bishops within the same body of the Church that Christ established. This is because there is only one Christ, therefore only one church of which he is the head. If a bishop breaks away from this church he automatically forfeits the priesthood, because the Body of Christ cannot be divided. One either remains within this Body or leaves and loses the sacramental authority.


Up until 1054 the Church in the East, now known as the Orthodox Church and the Church in the West, now known as the Roman Catholic Church were in complete union because they were one Church with the same Church Fathers, the same Saints, the same doctrines, the same Sacraments, but more especially the same priesthood. When The Roman Catholic Church chose to separate themselves from this union in 1054 they placed themselves outside of the Body of Christ. This means that they automatically lost the grace of the priesthood because they broke the chain of Apostolic Succession. Without the Apostolic Succession of the Priesthood, they were now in fact just ordinary laymen and had no authority either to baptize or to ordain anyone. 


There is no need to mention whether the Anglican and Protestant Churches have Apostolic Succession because if the Roman Catholic Church has lost the Priesthood, then by logical reasoning these churches which broke away from Rome definitely cannot have it. 


This is not an attack on other churches: it is basic historical facts and logical reasoning concerning the body of Christ which cannot be divided and which is verified by the Canons of the Church. Christ cannot be divided therefore the Church cannot be divided and cut into 1000s of small pieces each presenting itself as the Church of Christ. St. Paul said “There is One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God.” Eph 4:4-6) You can enter a non Orthodox Church and sit down and pray but be aware they do not pray to the same God as you. If you believe that there is only one God and that we all have the same God then you might as well enter a mosque and pray because Muslims also pray to a Monotheistic God. As for taking communion in the another church, we do not accept their priesthood so for us they cannot have the true Body and Blood of our Lord. If you have partaken of holy communion in another church then what you have partaken of is nothing more than a wafer or bread and wine. The error you would be making is if you actually believe it is the body and blood of Christ.