Greek faithful in Canada greet Metropolitan’s directive to use multiple spoons with cries of “Anaxios!” (+VIDEO)

Toronto, Canada, July 14, 2020

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The faithful at a Greek Orthodox parish under the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Canada loudly and fervently rejected the directive from their ruling hierarch Metropolitan Sotirios that multiple spoons are to be used to serve Holy Communion to the people.

In a video published by Romfea, it can be heard how the people cry “No!” “Only the holy spoon!” and “Sotirios is anaxios [unworthy]!” as the parish priest reads the new directives from the Archdiocese of Canada:

In particular, the directives state that, “The celebrant will utilize multiple stainless steel spoons, that will be single use (one for every individual) when communing the people. This method eliminates the danger of using common utensils.”

“Following the Divine Liturgy, the stainless steel spoons will be disinfected using cleaners and then strong disinfectants according to Public Health of Ontario, Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings,” the directives also state.

Read the full guidelines below:



The Greek Archdiocese of Canada previously announced a ban on Holy Communion in Toronto, following the city’s requirements that were based on the recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario. It then became known that the Archdiocese’s decision was instigated by a local Greek organization, the Greek Community of Toronto, and local parishioners, who threatened to hold the Church liable for not following city guidelines.

OrthoChristian was informed by various sources that the city was not strictly enforcing its requirements, and only the Greek Archdiocese had implemented the ban, though it seems to have changed to the use of multiple spoons after the severe backlash following the ban on Holy Communion.

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Archbishop Nikodemos 8/26/2021 2:10 am
My Dearest Brothers and Sister's of Ontario. I cannot Express how absolutely more devout I believe that the Canadian Church and I applaud you. The American Archdiocese did the same. These are the same priests that will tell you it's impossible to get sick from communion but when it comes down to their lives, a different Lavida must be used. Remember, clergy take communion first and then also consume the remaining. My elderly father at 85, my mother at 75, my Yiayia ay 98, my beloved nieces of 28 and 21, myself at 57 with a huge preexisting heart problem and an autoimmune disease of the gastrointestinal tract never flinched at using one spoon and I never flinched in giving them communion. I am in no way knocking those who are "logically worried " about sickness, but many times those who "practice " Medicine will say "we have done all we can. Now it's in God's hands " or even just "now we have to pray". My beloved precious souls, Things like fear. Things like jealousy, Envy, Lust..... these are the emotions that are so strong that they can change your way of life. They can lessen your faith and when that happens, a once harmonious life becomes full of Depression and anxiety. Why? Because we lost the belief that he who is greater then us is actually in control. Never let that happen to you or your family. Was there a risk for my family and myself?? Yes. Certainly, however, EVERYONE who partook of communion heard " for the forgiveness of sins and Life Everlasting "..... Essentially what we all hope to attain. By putting faith first instead of fear, you essentially are rebuking the devil, partaking of the body and blood of Christ for your health and safety and protection, and subconsciously filling your brain and heart with faith, taking a stand against fear and giving satan a bad day. Look at how powerful you can be for yourself, to your family, the community, your church and even your friends!!!! This crisis could be ending somewhat soon, but it won't be the last. Never plant seeds to grow in your hearts garden that you prefer don't truly grow. My beloved Greek Canadian Orthodox faithful, there is nothing that will ever look away from the faithful when they truly believe.... truly believe, like Mia Lavida!!!! I saw the protests and the video feeds. What a blessed people. Stay healthy and be prosperous and never forget how amazing faith is, Orthodoxy is, and YOU also are.
Stergios filippelis2/16/2021 1:58 pm
Είμαι Ελληνας 62 ετών και λόγω του COVID έχασα το εστιατόριο που νοικιάσαμε επειδή δεν είχα τα χρήματα για να πληρώσω το ενοίκιο. Έχω έξωση από το σπίτι μέχρι τα τέλη Φεβρουαρίου. Δεν ξέρω τη γλώσσα και λόγω της ηλικίας μου δεν δέχομαι για δουλειά. Δεν μπορώ πλέον να φροντίζω τα παιδιά και τα εγγόνια μου. Ψάχνω απεγνωσμένα κάπου βοήθεια. Stergios Filippelis DE 476405 0000 0009 2050 40
George2/14/2021 7:55 am
I am growing ever more concerned. In his last Sunday special. Our bishop States the vaccines should be taken and are no different than any past vaccines. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt that he is unaware the many vaccines are produced using aborted fetal cell lines and are of mRna technologies. It's very confusing because I regard him as a smart man. Lord help us. We are at a loss without your intervention.
Eliza8/11/2020 6:01 pm
Dear Edmund, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I hope this crisis ends soon because Divine Liturgy is simply not the same since this lavides fiasco. In the meantime, many are receiving Holy Communion from a communal spoon at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Mississauga, and at other Sister Orthodox Churches. The sad reality is that we can't bring ourselves to receive the precious body and sacred blood of Jesus Christ on a separate spoon in Greek Orthodox Churches in Ontario. We know this is an insult to God and we just can't do it. May God have mercy on us all and forgive us for what is happening in our churches. We should care more about what God wants, and not what we want during this pandemic. We should listen more to HIM and not think we know better. Something tells me God does not want us to receive Him on multiple spoons, as there is something inherently wrong with this ill-advised approach.
Edmund8/5/2020 8:29 pm
Either the Holy Gifts are the Body and Blood of Christ or they are not. If they are, then they are the Fountain of Immortality, a source of health and life, not of disease and death. No, Canada does not afford the legal or constitutional protections that the United States do. Nor did pagan Rome, nor the Ottoman caliphate, nor the USSR or its satellites. Yes, the Church May suffer persecution for remaining true to Christ - -but what else is new? After all, it has been granted to us “not only to believe on Christ, but also to suffer for him” (Philippians 1:29). Perhaps this COVID mess, along with the unilaterally-decreed autocephalous Ukrainian patriarchate, have been allowed in order to purify the Church. Apostle Paul told the Greeks at Corinth that “there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval” (1 Corinthians 11:19). The Bride of Christ may have to go underground once again in order to remain faithful to Her Bridegroom.
victoria 7/22/2020 4:11 pm
Dear Editor, Do you mean there are separate spoons for each person who receives communion? This is not the case in Greece and up until recently it was not the case in Canada either. If there are many who commune during Divine Liturgy, there may be more than one priest dispensing to accommodate the high number of recipients, but each Holy Chalice comes with one and only one spoon. not one spoon per person. I have attended Russian Orthodox services and have never seen the priest bring out a basket full of spoons, one for each person. Never. What I have seen is two or three priests giving communion at the same time and there is one spoon for each chalice at each location.
Editor7/22/2020 3:44 pm
To our valued commenters: We have chosen not to open comments calling Met. Sotiros a heretic, etc. Also for the record: In Russia and other countries where hundreds of people receive Communion at a services, multiple spoons are used in that the faithful are communed from multiple chalices. This is also done, I assume, in Greece, and is certainly done in the Holy Land. It would be good to have someone qualified to speak about such things comment on the comparison.
victoria 7/22/2020 3:05 pm
On Sunday, July 19, 2020, at the Holy Vesper Services for the Feast of The Glorious Prophet Elias, His Eminence, Archbishop Sotirios, accused those who believe in the sanctity of Holy Communion of idolizing the “lavida” instead of worshiping Jesus Christ. He went on to unapologetically defend his decision to impose separate lavides, even though this decision concedes that Holy Communion is infectious and should therefore be dispensed by separate lavides. Here is the video: The Archbishop’s full remarks begin at 1 42 08, but his comments on Holy Communion start at 1 56 18.
Andrew7/22/2020 1:53 am
Why are so many upset over spoons? Multiple spoons implies that Holy Communion is contagious. When the method by which we receive communion is changed because of a fear of contamination then how we receive communion becomes a touchstone for debate and controversy. When you question the how because you are afraid Holy Communion will contaminate you then you must also question WHY and WHAT you believe you are receiving in the first place.Shame on Archbishop Sotirios!!! He has managed to yet again drive a wedge between members of Canada's Greek Orthodox faithful. He does not unite but divide the flock when he accuses them of idolatry simply because we hold him accountable for his blasphemous actions.
George7/22/2020 1:47 am
So now we are called idolaters from our very own Archbishop. If I didn't hear and see him say this with my ears and eyes I would not have believed it. It is a sad state of affairs when you are attacked for defending not the communal spoon, but God himself from those who believe He can make you sick unless you receive Him on a separate spoon. Mock us all you want, call us names, but please don't make a mockery of Holy Communion.
Emmanuela7/22/2020 1:40 am
I was deeply saddened to learn our Archbishop accused his flock of idolatry. In his sermon at Prophet Elias' Vesper two nights ago, he spoke from both sides of his mouth. He said that no one should receive Holy Communion if they believe the precious blood and sacred body of Christ is contagious. But introducing multiple spoons suggests otherwise. And this is why so many are upset. The public outcry has absolutely nothing to do with spoons, but rather on the fact that we are changing the way we receive Holy Communion out of a fear of contamination from Holy Communion. God help us and have mercy on us all.
Peter7/22/2020 1:36 am
What Archbishop Sotirios fails to understand is that this controversy is not about the communal spoon or multiple spoons. It is about WHY the method of dispensation is changing: out of fear that Holy Communion is infectious on a communal spoon, hence the imposition of multiple spoons. THIS is why it is blasphemous. That's the context. NO ONE worships the spoon. Multiple spoons implies that Holy Communion is contagious and his decision reinforces this ill-conceived notion, which has breathed life into this twisted line of thinking: I want to receive Holy Communion but I don't want to catch anything so I will do so on a separate spoon. In Greek we call this παραλογισμός, an absurdity and aberration, which in this context is also blasphemous. He should refrain from making misleading statements of idolatry against the faithful - unbelievable!!
Antiochene Son7/16/2020 3:06 pm
"A few Marxists will come to the Church at first. But then, they will form a party and start giving orders: 'At this time you will go to church; at that time you will not go to church. Now do this, now do that.' They will make rules for everything. And in the end, they will say, 'Who told you that there is a God? There is no God! The priests want to fool you.' This is what will happen. The Marxists will use these well-intentioned Christians to achieve their own goal." St. Paisios the New (Spiritual Counsels Vol. 1)
Nomiki Vassis7/15/2020 10:10 am
To the anonymous writer, these Greeks do not behave like ignorant villagers from the Χωριό v(Village). They are true faithful Christian that believe in the body and blood of Christ to be the best medicine and salvation of our soul when taken faithfully. Lord have mercy on you.
JK7/15/2020 8:40 am
I don't think this is an issue of believing that the virus can be spread by the use of a common communion spoon. I don't think any of our bishops or priests think this. The issue is, the interference of the foolish Greeks, threatening their own clergy for NOT withholding communion. In order to not come under the scrutiny of the state, and probably not to be sued by their own foolish people, they have made this small concession, so that the people caught in the middle would be able at least to receive the Holy Eucharist. One stupid group, with all the money, is forcing this issue. The government, from what I've heard, wasn't going to make any issue of this at all. And meanwhile, the poor "regular folk" are stuck in the middle. A spoon is a spoon. If it is used to commune the faithful, it is sanctified by this use. There is no belief from the side of the clergy at least, but from the litigious laity, that the virus could be spread by the use of a common spoon.
MendozagH7/15/2020 6:52 am
Glory to God for this bold parishioners!
Isaac7/15/2020 5:54 am
I've never seen shouting in an Orthodox Church. The Greeks have such a beautiful tradition, such beautiful patristic writings, such beautiful chanting. But the Greek Church in the Americas is very often lax, liberal, and cold. I suspect that blessed Geronda Ephraim was tolerated by GOARCH because he could have left them for the Russians if they had come against his holy monasteries.
Nicholas Pantelopoulos7/15/2020 5:51 am
This order was given after a first order to give no communion due to community leaders calling the authorities to raid the churches. The order was sent and recalled within the first 3 days before the Sunday this incident took place, because the clergy did not agree, but it seems that this priest went ahead with it because of pressure and threats by community leaders. After all, in his mind, provincial and city guidelines do state verbatim that communion is suspended for all including giving of any ceremonial foods (this includes antidoron, holy water, etc). In another community in Toronto,the same Synday, a priest of the Archdiocese followed directives to give Holy Communion as usual and had to deal with a screaming parishioner who happened to be a health care professional (doctor) because the priest called people to communion as usual. The critique here is just pure hate and revealing that the Christian ethos is still a fleeting goal for us. Did you not all see what the ROC did with the spoon sanitizing back in March? Did you not ask what the OCA and other jurisdictions are doing? Oh the Greeks. We love to hate the Greeks. They stole our precious... they revised the calendar...look at yourselves. We are all mere servants and we are now claiming superiority to the Master and accusing the coservants of misdeeds. What should the Master do especially to those who are have not truly repented yet they curse their brother? The truth is that we had several raids in our Parishes in Montreal and Toronto. During the complete lockdown we had the police raid us with exactly 3 people present: priest, cantor and sexton.Canada is not the USA and we do not have the same freedom guaranteed by your laws. Law enforcement can be very disruptive. Nonetheless, as far as I have learned, communion went on as normal (one spoon) for all parishes across Canada with this sole exception. In Montreal, communion was given as always. This particular community was an exception and parishioners who have a bone to pick with this 87-year old bishop (ok he's no saint but he is 87!!) from days bygone jumped at the chance presumptuously to scream Anaxios for an order he finally retracted, thinking that this order released previously was still valid. What hypocrisy as some in this post pointed out? At 87 he is suddenly....anaxios? Things are going to get hard still. As of July 18, we are going to risk closure if not every parishioner is not wearing a mask. The Health Officer of Quebec threatened that he would become a "very bad boy", while the premier cringed.. Communion is next. At this point, the only thing we can do is stand firm and then be shut down. If our parishes are shut down again, the communities that own them will file for bankruptcy. They were already in debt before the crisis standing on one leg. Unlike the USA, the churches here do not practice tithing. Note: Many parishes in Canada are owned and managed by their respective Greek communities. They have to respect all laws and public health guidelines. In other words, the local Church cannot do civil disobedience or force its position through other means but excommunication. The community can toss them out at any time. Those who called the authorities against our priests to disrupt our liturgies and disrespect our sacraments are liable to a serious spiritual and ecclesiastical sin.
George7/15/2020 5:28 am
It’s sad to know that some think that the source of life is the source of death. But, nevertheless Christ waits patiently for them to return to their senses. Glory be to God for all things, and may His loving kindness help and save those who have been led astray by the evil one. Christ will prevail, evil will fail. Trust in God. Always.
Gary Cox7/15/2020 5:20 am
Brother Joseph, AMEN,AMEN,AMEN!!!
Alexei7/15/2020 4:48 am
When one reads the rules and Canons of the Orthodox Church, one would find that Metropolitan Sotirios is following the rules that have been set down by the Holy Fathers.In the case of Patriarch Bartholomew, while I am convinced that what Patriarch Bartholomew is doing in Ukraine violates Canon Law. He is still the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Hierarchs, Bishops, and Priests in the Greek Church are under his authority and they have a solemn duty to obey him. To disobey him would be to invite that persons removal and possible dismissal from the priesthood. For those parishioners to shout "Sotirios is anaxios [unworthy]", it should be explained to them the rules that Metropolitan Sotirios is obligated to follow. And if they still shout "Sotirios is anaxios [unworthy]", then they can be held responsible for their actions and subjected to punishment at the discretion of the priest.
Alexei7/15/2020 3:30 am
Anonymous, I think the only thing worth applauding is that you understand you hold a minority opinion and therefore are too cowardly to use your real name as you blaspheme. Wiping and disinfecting spoons when priests vow to take the Holy Communion remnants and consume them? What nonsense and cowardice are you supporting? Your Greek villagers, as you call them, are the only reasons your degenerated civilization of westernized backwards still exists. Your country has been raped and looted by corrupt non-believers like the Papandreou dynasty for over a Century and now, with an atheist government, it looks like a dump. You ought to be ashamed of what you think is progress! And Joseph, enough with the slams of the Ecumenical Patriarch and Ukraine as though Russia, just returning to Orthodoxy after a century of apostasy, is so holy. That’s called pride. Russia is only 10x the Greek population but has had 100 times the COVID-19 cases and deaths. If Greece is paying for the EP’s sins though COVID then Russia is certainly paying for its own Church’s, which among other things, closed and shutdown because of a virus less deadly than SARS and persecuted monks and priests who dared to continue serving properly.
Anonymous7/14/2020 11:53 pm
God bless Metropolitan Sotirios! I am a Greek orthodox Christian from the United States. I am appalled and dismayed and disgusted that we are still receiving the holy communion from a common spoon. I believe that this decision shows that Metropolitan Sotirios is enlightened. Furthermore, I believe that it is unfortunate that the parishioners behave like ignorant villagers from the Χωριό v(Village). I hope and pray that my Canadian brothers and sisters accept the order for multiple spoons and that we also adopt this practice in the USA and worldwide.
Joseph7/14/2020 7:56 pm
A little bit to late dear faithful Greeks of Canada! Where were your cries of “anaxios!” when your Metropolitan, was defending the wicked acts committed by your Patriarch in Ukraine? Where was your protest? How many of you were secretly rejoicing that your Hellenic influence was now spreading into Slavic lands? How many of you saw bartholomew's actions as a victory for your Greek nationalism? You reap what you sow dear Greeks! Today this is happening in your churches and the Hagia Sophia is being turned back into a mosque. You had your chance to be true orthodox Christians, and instead you sowed seeds of division, heresies and modernity. May God have mercy on the Greek nation, the "Greek Church" and all of you under the false patriarch bartholomew!
Alex7/14/2020 7:19 pm
Well, what did they think the people would do? Orthodox everywhere are starting to wake up and smell the coffee! Glory be to God for all things!
Alexander Leitner7/14/2020 5:12 pm
Priest looking like anglican, church with pews, women have no cover etc...typical greek new calendar church.
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