City of Toronto bans Holy Communion (+VIDEO)

Toronto, July 7, 2020

Photo: romfea.gr Photo: romfea.gr     

On June 20, the city government of Toronto issued revised COVID-19 guidelines that ban the offering of Holy Communion to the faithful.

The new guidelines read:

All places of worship must adhere to the following requirements:

General Guidance

Suspend all communion-related activities as advised by Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health.

The Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 advice calls for “Suspend[ing] activities that increase risk of disease transmission, including,” “Sharing or distributing materials or objects, which may include but is not limited to: books, communion, microphones, prayer mats, prayer shawls, water, etc.”

The new guidelines also “Suspend indoor singing activities and choir service,” and limit participation in services to no more than 30% of the capacity of the premises.

The California State Department of Public Health also banned church singing last week.

The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto of the Patriarchate of Constantinople published a video of the Sunday service from July 5 at St. Nicholas Church in Toronto on YouTube, in which Fr. Fanourios Pappas emotionally tells his congregation that just the night before he had been informed by diocesan authorities that, per the city’s instructions, he was not to offer the faithful Holy Communion.

The Greek Metropolis of Toronto is headed by Metropolitan Sotirios.

Though the full video is no longer available, the portion with Fr. Fanourios’ announcement has been reposted:

Referring to the “persecution of the Church,” Fr. Fanourios tells his flock:

My brethren, today, I have a great sadness. Last night, we were told from our Archdiocese that the city of Toronto forbade Holy Communion for the area of Toronto, and it looks like the persecution of the Church continues. I have no words to express my disappointment and my sadness. And I feel that I cannot share with you today any sermon because I feel that I cannot talk about faith, about Christ. I feel that at this moment I only want to ask God to forgive us, to forgive our little faith, to forgive our weakness, to forgive us because we are not worthy to keep the great blessing of the Orthodox faith.

In the fuller video, it could be seen how Fr. Fanourios returned to the altar, brought the chalice out onto the ambo and became choked up as he pronounced, “In the fear of God, with faith and love draw near,” and then immediately returned into the altar.

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7/7/2020

See also
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Having threatened to excommunicate Greek Minister of Education Niki Kerameus for her public statements about the coronavirus being spread through the act of communing of the Holy Mysteries of Christ, His Eminence Ambrose, the retired Metropolitan of Kalavryta, proceeded to do so after the Divine Liturgy yesterday, May 17. However, his decision was not supported by the hierarchs of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece.
Patriarch of Romania on coronavirus : The holy Eucharist can never be a source of sickness and death Patriarch of Romania on coronavirus : The holy Eucharist can never be a source of sickness and death Patriarch of Romania on coronavirus : The holy Eucharist can never be a source of sickness and death Patriarch of Romania on coronavirus : The holy Eucharist can never be a source of sickness and death
The rule of distributing Holy Communion to the clergy and believers from the same Holy Chalice remains unchanged, and the priests will explain to all believers that this way of partaking of the Eucharist has never been for anyone a danger and will not be to them either.
Comments
Torontonian7/20/2020 5:03 am
Communion is now being received on the hand, not the tongue. That’s the only difference. We have been doing it this way for over a month.
Torontonisn7/20/2020 4:59 am
This is completely untrue. I received communion this morning. Here in Toronto.
Secretpete7/13/2020 5:22 pm
I read this on July 9th, feast of St Pancratius, put to death by pagans. Where would our church be if not for the martyrs, who were not afraid of men and those who can kill the body, but not the soul? Pray for the church and her leaders. But, like the other readers express, go underground and commune in a church that is not bowing to the authorities. What did St Theodora do while her husband the emperor was an iconoclast? She worshipped her icons in private, and when she ascended the throne, restored them. We now live in the age of the Communioclasts. Strengthen yourselves with the Body and Blood where you can find it.
CIERRA BRINKMAN7/11/2020 4:35 am
Oh you of little faith. God is all powerful. Why are we giving power to the world by being afraid to receive and distribute the Eucharist. We must Fight tooth and nail for our savior. We must be willing to die. I'm the tongue we must receive our Lord. He is deserving of all respect. The Lord of Lords!
adil mina7/10/2020 6:19 am
Holy Communion should be so easy and safe as it have been offered by some Eastern Greek Orthodox Churches!! Simply dip the Holy bread in the wine and place in the parishioner hands! Time to use the brain God gave us!
Antiochene Son7/9/2020 3:47 pm
Silvester: Private communion is just as innovative as disposable spoons. It is permitted for those who cannot attend church, such as the sick or elderly, but there is a serious danger in normalizing it if people can just come to church and receive communion whenever they want. It divorces the Gifts from the Liturgy; those who stand at the Liturgy are the ones who are supposed to receive it. The separation of the Eucharist from the Liturgy has caused the Latins to worship the Host and parade it through the streets rather than consume it. It would be better not to offer the people communion than to go down that path.
Antiochene Son7/9/2020 3:42 pm
Monica Ruth Book: It is true that Holy Communion was distributed in different ways early in the Church, including in the hand and drinking from the chalice. Early in the Church the bishop also had a great amount of liturgical freedom and could ad-lib liturgical prayers; there were numerous versions of the Divine Liturgy. Over time the Holy Spirit led the Church to standardize these things and the emphasis shifted to preserving what we have been taught, to ensure that things are done in an orderly and correct fashion. But today, we are spiritual dwarfs compared to the early Christians. We do not have the grace or wisdom to change things; if you look at what is happening, we are hard-pressed to continue doing things the way they were done even six months ago. Our job is to receive, preserve, and pass on, because it is not about us; the Church includes all who came before us, and we must be in line with them, not the ever-shifting politics and transient science of the age.
Jesse Dominick7/9/2020 10:17 am
V. Michael, I'm afraid it's you who needs to reread the article. The city issued requirements based on the Ministry of Health's advice. The city issued on June 20: "All places of worship MUST ADHERE TO THE FOLLOWING REQUIRMENTS:"
V. Michael7/9/2020 6:59 am
If you read well, it is written “ADVICE”and not “Law” The Ontario Ministry of Health’sCovid 19 ADVICE
Monica Ruth Book7/9/2020 4:01 am
Respectfully, I have been studying Orthodoxy for a year. Is it possible to just break bread (a loaf) as did Jesus with His Disciples, and in sharing the one cup, just pour into little cups so that there is no cause for any that are weak to stumble? I have been wondering this ever since I learned the Orthodox method of sharing the Eucharist. Maybe since it’s a tradition that was later established by the Church, you could change to the original Way and anybody who has a concern, that would eliminate the problem and you are still blessing everyone with the Eucharist . Yours for Truth, Monica Ruth Book
Bonnie Pryor7/9/2020 3:36 am
I find it very disheartening to read how some of my Brothers and Sisters would classify most Orthodox Christians in the US and Canada, as somehow unworthy of being true Orthodox because we live here. We may not have had the rich heritage that some have had who come from Russia, Serbia or other Eastern Orthodox countries...but God has called us to be his children just the same. We will suffer and die just like those in other countries for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May God have Mercy on our Souls
Vince andJean McKee7/8/2020 11:42 pm
The Orthodox church in America and Canada have relinquished Christ's dominion to the principalities of man. May Jesus Christ have mercy on the souls of our supposed spiritual leaders. Why are we not standing on our faith and belief in our Savior that His Grace and Mercy will be all the protection we need in church.
CHRIS VALLOS7/8/2020 11:04 pm
Wrong on so many levels. Christ died for our salvation and we refuse His Body and Blood. We should be willing to die first!
Gavin James Campbell7/8/2020 8:32 pm
This is not leftism or liberalism in action. Toronto mayor John Tory is right-wing.
Silvester7/8/2020 8:08 pm
"Suspend all *communion-related* activities as advised by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health." - Not communion itself! - Communion is not forbidden!
Silvester7/8/2020 7:58 pm
No need to stop communion at all. Commune privately. Physical proximity is not Communion. Communion can be served in various ways. All places of worship must adhere to the following requirements: General Guidance ... “Rituals involving close physical contact (e.g. baptism, circumcision) or shared items (e.g. chalices, utensils, plates, receptacles, washing facilities) are strongly discouraged at this time.“ https://t.umblr.com/redirect?z=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.toronto.ca%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2020%2F06%2F978e-COVID-19-Guidance-for-Places-of-Worship.pdf
John7/8/2020 7:35 pm
Brothers and Sisters, I believe God allows everything for good reason. Perhaps this is a call for faithful in the diaspora to return to cradle countries—even the faithful who are converts. To some degree, one must ask: What are we doing in Canada, the US and other places hostile to our faith FROM INCEPTION? They are not founded on principles of our faith nor are they moving towards them in any way. They are generic Christian, at best. Rather, these countries lead the world in denying Christ and the True Faith by promoting sin. On the other hand, our cradle countries are under attack also, and from another direction. Many hierarchs are educated in or have become overly familiar with the West and are enticed by its sweetness. Some here ask why hierarchs in Toronto say nothing about Canada’s oppression of the Church, but that’s because Toronto is a very comfortable place to live. You don’t see the corruption visibly. There are lots of nice restaurants and “safe” places and ways for people to share culture and food. You can have a beautiful house and garden and send your children to nice schools. Church services are tolerably short, and priests bless breaking all sorts of fasting rules if you press them. People are very gentle—or at least as gentle as sleeping wolves—and you don’t have problems if you behave as expected. In other words, apart from the bad weather, Toronto is the epitome of mammon. All this is why those who remain at home in the Cradle (I.e., Greece, Cyprus, Russia, Romania, Serbia, etc.) could benefit from an influx of believers so strong in their faith they GET THE BLESSINGS OF THEIR SPIRITUAL FATHERS to leave Sodom and Gomorrah to return to the cradle of Orthodoxy. Together those who are persecuted and revived in their faith might help us who have grown complacent. God does everything for good reason, and perhaps this virus has awakened us to our weak faith, our cowardice, and the paucity of substance within many of our Churches and governments. Maybe it will enable us to act as true witnesses for Christ!
Antiochene Son7/8/2020 7:00 pm
Stop live-streaming services and screen those who enter. ("Recognize one another!" as the liturgy of St. James says). How will anyone know you are disobeying this unlawful order if it's done in secret?
John Cusie7/8/2020 3:43 pm
So maybe it is true. Maybe the government has been conditioning us to follow orders blindly. Stay home, shut your businesses, wear masks and we follow blindly. Maybe it was all leading to government control of our faith. Lord have mercy on us for following blindly into the pit.
Maria Cosa7/8/2020 1:13 pm
TOTALLY AGREE WITH THE PATRIACH OF ROMANIA, THE HOLY EUCHARITS (BODY BLOOD SOUL AND DIVINITY OF CHRIST) CAN NEVER MAKE ANYONE SICK. JESUS IT THE HEALER.THE PNLY HEALER. HE CAN HEALOUR WORLD IF WE HAVE FAITH AND TRUST IN HIM. AMEN.
Isidora7/8/2020 6:42 am
So the "orthodox" church collapses with a whimper. The priest is "sad" while he returns to the altar to "commune" by himself. What a disgrace! Probably very similar to the "sadness" of the priests who burned incense to Caesar. At least they were being threatened with torture! These priests are being threatened with what? a fine and the closing of their "church?" But what exactly is the point of their "church" when they keep the faithful away from Christ?
Angelina "Serbskaja" Lazar7/8/2020 4:57 am
This.... is the Abomination of Despolation spoken of in Daniel. . . . Christians should UNDERSTAND THE TIMES in which we live! And KNOW that things are NOT going to RETURN to "NORMAL"!. . . . + + + +Q-S/
John Ward7/8/2020 3:23 am
Even during the harsh persecutions of the Romans and the Ottomans, Holy Communion, even if banned by secular authorities, continued. It is the heart of our Faith and worship of Our Lord. In almost two millennia it has never lead to illness when received by the faithful. Yet today hierarchs and clergy bow their heads to secular authorities much softer than those of old (at least for now). I am a humble layman, but I like to think that in spite of my innate cowardice I would receive Communion if offered by a courageous priest, and that I would offer to suffer the same punishment as him, whether now or in the more severe tribulations to come. The catacombs doubtless await, but will be our lot more quickly if we bow our heads to these weak and evil/misguided secular leaders, who hate our Church. We are the body of Christ - let us act like it, for His sake.
Aggeliki Batelli7/8/2020 12:08 am
Holy Communion is exactly that HOLY there is no sickness in Holy Communion It Is The Body And Blood Of Christ Our Lord Jesus Christ Died On The Cross For Us He does not harm his children who are his children we are all his children The true Practicing Christians are his true children and he watches over us and protects us We Need Our HOLY COMMUNION WE must have our HOLY COMMUNION WHO ARE YOU TO TAKE OUR BEAUTIFUL LORD JESUS CHRIST AWAY FROM US WHO ARE YOU WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE YOUR SATIN SATIN GET THE BEHIND ME SATIN LORD JESUS CHRIST HAVE MERCY ON ME A SINNER
Mischa7/7/2020 11:49 pm
shame.
WINNIE SAFI7/7/2020 10:27 pm
I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THE PATRIACH OF ROMANIA, THE HOLY EUCHARITS (BODY BLOOD SOUL AND DIVINITY OF CHRIST) CAN NEVER MAKE ANYONE SICK. JESUS IT THE HEALER.THE PNLY HEALER. HE CAN HEALOUR WORLD IF WE HAVE FAITH AND TRUST IN HIM. AMEN.
Mima7/7/2020 10:26 pm
If you’re a believer in your religion, nothing will affect you negatively.
Chris Banescu7/7/2020 9:49 pm
When will the Orthodox Bishops in America and Canada speak out against and denounce this persecution of the Orthodox Church? WHEN?
Alex7/7/2020 8:58 pm
Shameful and sad. Absolutely, shameful and sad. May the Lord have mercy on us!
Nicolas Ouellette7/7/2020 8:47 pm
Lord help us, here in Canada. Other churches have simply made the experience unbearable, having to wear a mask the whole time, no touching others or moving with 2 metres, and so on. Why aren't the Churches fighting this?
Alexis 7/7/2020 7:31 pm
Have it anyway. If we all must suffer for Christ, so be it.
Mary Woodruff7/7/2020 7:18 pm
Let us return to the Catacomb Church. No more streaming services, serving liturgies in the home of the faithful.
Fr William Bauer7/7/2020 6:01 pm
The Church was founded by God Himself and has something to say about the government. Even I have read the last chapter of the book.
Stan Minor7/7/2020 5:00 pm
Stopping Communion because of secular "advice" and "guidelines?"
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