Berlin, May 19, 2020
A dialogue must be opened with the state and a way forward for how to commune the faithful must be found, or the Church will be forced to take the matter to the German Constitutional Court, Metropolitan Augustinos of Germany of the Patriarchate of Constantinople commented today.
In an encyclical dated May 13, the Metropolitan announced to his clergy and the faithful that, given state ordinances that forbid communing the faithful from the same spoon, “as long as the above-mentioned state ordinances are in force, we can all go to church, but not all of us can go to Holy Communion, with the exception of the celebrating priests.”
“This compulsory exclusion of our faithful from receiving the Holy Eucharist is for me the most painful and difficult decision I have had to make in my forty years of service as Metropolitan of Germany. I fervently pray to the Lord of glory that I may undo them as soon as possible,” the Metropolitan concluded his encyclical.
The letter also quotes Patriarch Bartholomew stating that the Church cannot change how Holy Communion is administered, and thus the state’s new standards have forced the Metropolis of Germany into this position.
Conversely, in Austria, the Metropolis under Constantinople has announced that it will commune people in the hand according to the ancient practice of the Church as long as the pandemic hygiene standards are in place.
“This is not the decision of Metropolitan Augustinos, because here too we would like our believers to be able to commune with the spoon as in Greece. Unfortunately, however, it is forbidden here, and I believe we will slowly find an opportunity to talk with the state to find some understanding,” the Metropolitan said today, reports Romfea.
“We have been communing with the spoon for over a thousand years. I don’t think that It is a matter for a state or a President or a Prime Minister or a Chancellor. There is freedom of religion,” he said.
“A way must be found or we will go to the Constitutional Court,” the Metropolitan added.
There are more than 80 large Greek parishes and many smaller ones serving more than 400,000 Greeks and others in Germany.