Piraeus, Greece, November 30, 2021
The Finnish Church’s investigation into the possibility of providing gluten-free Communion to those who suffer from celiac disease is “is a clear challenge to the sanctifying and redemptive power of the Eucharist. It is also a direct insult against the Holy Spirit, a desecration of the Holy Mysteries, and disrespect to the Church and its 2,000-year Tradition,” believes the Office of Heresies and Cults of the Metropolis of Piraeus of the Orthodox Church of Greece.
In fact, the Finnish Church should apologize to God and the faithful, the Office’s statement reads.
“Our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to save the human race and all creation from the bondage of Satan, the bondage of sin, corruption, and death,” the Office reminds, emphasizing that our saving union with Christ takes places precisely in the Church, in the Holy Eucharist.
The statement is published by Vima Orthodoxias.
Through Communion, we are integrated into Christ and are gradually freed from corruptibility and mortality, receiving the eternal life of Christ.
Thus, the devil has devised a number of attacks against Communion throughout history, including charges of cannibalism, and the denial of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, as we see in certain Protestant confessions.
And today, in the midst of the COVID pandemic, there are those who argue for the use of disposable spoons for giving Communion to the faithful, which “questions the incalculable saving and purifying power of Holy Communion,” the Metropolis’ Office writes.
And turning to the specific issue with the Finnish Church, the Office begins by recalling that Metropolitan Ambrose of Helsinki invited a female Lutheran bishop into the altar in 2015, while the Patriarchate of Constantinople, to which the Finnish Church belongs, “continues to whistle indifferently.”
The statement then recalls that in February 2020, the Finnish Synod appointed a priest to investigate the possibility of offering gluten-free Communion and to investigate the Greek Church’s stance on the issue. The priest later reported that the Greek Church has no developed position on this issue, and thus the Finnish Synod resolved that Archbishop Leo of Helsinki will appeal to the Patriarchate of Constantinople for guidance.
The Piraeus Office of Heresies and Cults believes it is no coincidence that this issue is being raised at the same time as the issue of transmitting COVID via Communion and the use of disposable spoons.
For the Office, the issue of gluten in the Eucharist is not a real problem, as it’s theologically impossible to get sick from Communion, because the Risen Christ offers immortality. There has never been a case of the transmission of disease or death by Communion in the history of the Church, the Office argues.
In the Office’s view, the Finnish Church has raised this issue now because of ecumenism, which “has dangerously diminished the Orthodox sense of the Orthodox,” and especially in the diaspora. It’s no coincidence that question about gluten in Communion first arose in Western confessions, the Office writes.
Unfortunately, the leadership of the Finnish Church has a very ecumenical past, including celebrating Pascha according to the Western dating, against the First Ecumenical Council. And raising the issue of gluten is really about, the Office believes, convening with “unrepentant heretics.” Every such step is a further preparation for the Antichrist, the Office explains, and so, for Orthodoxy, such convocation with heretics means the renunciation of the saving teachings and practices of the Orthodox Church.
This issue “is a clear challenge to the sanctifying and redemptive power of the Eucharist. It is also a direct insult against the Holy Spirit, a desecration of the Holy Mysteries, and disrespect to the Church and its 2,000-year Tradition.”
In conclusion, the Office calls on the Finnish Church to apologize for raising and looking into the issue:
“We hope and wish that the Ecumenical Patriarchate will refuse this horrible innovation, the impious experimentation and interventionism in the Holy Sacrament, and that the hierarchs of the Finnish Orthodox Church will realize their great error and apologize to God and the grievously scandalized people of God!”