Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church

Serving the Orthodox Christians of West Central Florida


The Faithful Receiving Holy Communion


As Orthodox, we recognize that none of us is worthy of the great Gifts God gives us, and paramount and above all other such Gifts are the Gifts of His Body and Blood in the Holy Communion. Nevertheless, the Orthodox Churchís Holy Tradition knows and keeps the necessity of preparation for Communion. While, since all are unworthy, no one can or should be prevented from communing because of unworthiness in itself, anyone who is not prepared for the Holy Communion can and must be prevented from placing him or herself in great spiritual and bodily danger by communing, in the unlikely event such an unprepared person might contemplate doing so. Our Holy Church traditionally considers preparation to be fervent and extraordinary prayer, especially on the eve and morning before Holy Communion; strict fasting, at least from midnight, but preferably from the early evening; taking positive and persistent steps towards reconciliation with all, especially with those with whom one has had a definite falling out, and Penance. Repentance/penance is the basis of that forgiveness that comes from God in Holy Confession and Holy Communion. It is clear from Christís Holy Gospel that He forgives those who repent and not those who do not repent. One way He put this was to state that He had come to save sinners, not the righteous. One way to define these "righteous" is those who have no need of Penance, of Confession, and forgiveness by their fellow human beings, especially those comprising Christís Holy Body, the Church. While all are capable of forgiving and while all are required to forgive, Christ appointed binding and loosing specially to His Apostles, and their successors, Bishops and Priests appointed by them. That is the teaching of our Church, teaching supported and protected by all the Faithful of the Church. In the nineteenth century the Eastern Patriarchs announced publicly that the Orthodox Church needed no Pope to define the Dogmas of Faith, since in the Orthodox Church it was the Faithful that were the Guardians of the Faith that never changed.


After having first prepared one self spiritually and physically as indicated above, the Orthodox Christian approaches the Chalice quietly, reverently and with humility. Prior to getting in line, such items as lipstick should be removed.

When it is their turn to receive: The Orthodox Christian makes the sign of the cross and repeats unto themselves the Jesus Prayer: ďJesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinnerĒ, announces their baptismal name clearly and loudly (even if the priest knows who you are as you are announcing your presence and intent to Christ) and then places the red cloth under their chin in order to partake.

The Orthodox Christian should close their mouth around the communion spoon and carefully make sure all its contents have been removed so as to insure Our Lordís Body and Blood does not accidentally spill or fall to the floor.

Note: When small children and babies are receiving, the parent should hold the infant over their right arm (head resting on parents right shoulder) in order to facilitate the logistics of giving communion.

One then carefully dabs their lips in case a small crumb or drop of wine remains and proceeds to the icon stand where they reverence the icon of the day.

Subsequently, the Orthodox Christian takes a piece of antidoron and consumes it on their way back to their seat. The purpose of the antidoron is to assist in consuming any remnants of communion which may remain in the mouth.

Those not receiving stand quietly and reverently while those who have prepared themselves appropriately partake.

Upon returning to their seat, the prayers of thanksgiving are quietly read from the Divine Liturgy book.


Note to Non-Orthodox Visitors

Orthodoxy maintains and considers herself the protector of the Faith and strives to insure that nothing is added or taken away from the original practices of the early Christian Church. Although we pray for the unity of all Christians, Orthodoxy is a closed Communion and only confirmed Orthodox may participate in the sacraments.