Proof of Confession (Teachings of the Orthodox Church) Christianity. Orthodoxy. Catholicism. Sense of life. Articles for Christians.
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Proof of Confession (Teachings of the Orthodox Church)


If I choose a Father confessor other than my local Priest, am I required to provide written proof that I have performed an act of penitance and received absolution to my local priest.

Can he refuse me communion?

If he will accept my unlying word, how long can I receive communion before I make another confession?


In general, every Orthodox Christian should have a Father Confessor. Ideally this should be the person’s parish priest. If, for some worthy reason, a person desires to confess in the presence of another priest and to consider him as his or her Father Confessor, he or she should, out of respect and in an open and honest manner, discuss his or her reasons with his or her parish priest and seek his blessing. While I have never heard of providing written proof for confessing or receiving absolution from one’s Father Confessor, it stands to reason that, if one’s parish priest is aware of the circumstance, one would choose to maintain communication with his or her parish priest and inform him of the occasions on which he or she went to Confession.

With regard to whether or not the parish priest can refuse to give an individual Communion, it must be understood that the priest is the guardian of the Holy Mysteries which, as the Holy Fathers warn, can be to our condemnation as well as our salvation. Technically a priest does not "refuse" to give Communion to someone; it would be more correct to say that the priest must discern, recognize, and respond to any circumstances by which an individual has cut off himself or herself from the Eucharist or any other sacrament. In other words it is not the priest who "refuses" to offer the sacrament but, rather, the circumstance in which the person is involved which makes it impossible for the priest to offer the sacrament.

Concerning the frequency of the reception of Holy Communion and its relationship to the frequency of Confession, this is a matter which must be thoroughly discussed with one’s parish priest and one’s Father Confessor, should they be two separate persons. There is no "standard" here, just as there is no "standard" frequency that should be followed in tending to physical ailments and needs under the guidance and direction of one’s family physician.

In every instance, it is always best to discuss such concerns with one’s pastor and to follow his guidance, just as one would discuss one’s physical health with one’s physician and follow his or her advice and direction.

Published in January 2011.

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