Invitation to Fulfill the Christian Duty to Confess and Commune

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From the information we’ve received, seeing that out of the Orthodox population of our God-saved city, and several other cities, very many go without Confession and Holy Communion for not one, but many years, we consider it our pastoral duty to remind such people about this omission they’ve allowed themselves.

We earnestly invite all those who haven’t cleansed their conscience by Confession before a priest and Communion in the preceding year to do so during this Lent.

First of all, we call upon those who hold the highest positions before others to show themselves a good example of fulfilling our Christian duty.1 We urge all those who are in state or public service, as well as those in trade and industry.

With deep regret for those who avoid reconciliation with God through the Sacraments of Confession and Communion due to the moral rupture of their union with the Church, we pray to God that He might return them to the bosom of their Holy Mother, which they have forsaken, and that He might accomplish their return by paths known to Him alone.

In the name of the Church and the Divine name of its Most Holy Head—Christ the Lord, we urge those who put off the purification of conscience by Confession day after day, year after year thanks to the work of the spirit of despondency, of negligence.

Incline not unto words of evil (Ps. 140:4) the hearts of those who put off preparation for Communion until the unknown time of their mortal illness under the pretext of lack of time, or anything else. After all, the lack of time doesn’t end until we ourselves finish it willingly or unwillingly—whether it be on the occasion of illness, for family or public holidays, for recreation, festivities, and so on. Why not do it for purifying and joy-making spiritual preparation?

Let us leave aside the vain fear that were we to take a few working days to prepare for Holy Communion, it would disrupt our service, business, or trade.

From the royal anointed one down to the plowman, many people fulfill their duty of preparation every year without fail, and no one can prove that this has caused some irreversible material or work-related damage, and that those who don’t fulfill it are somehow more successful, contented, and happier than those who did.

We repeat our urgent call to all who have an unfulfilled duty to prepare for Communion. Reconcile with God through confession of your sins; may you receive forgiveness for them and be vouchsafed to receive the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation without condemnation, unto the purification, sanctification, joy, and health of soul and body.

Purity of conscience is important not only for moral, but also for public, civil, and family life. Therefore, both the Church and the state cherish it, jointly obliging every believer, beginning with children of the age of seven, to confess and commune annually, and entrusting supervision of this not only to priests, but also to superiors in relation to their subordinates.

Therefore, if our pastoral voice hasn’t reached the ears of some, we urgently call upon those who can and should listen to morally influence those who haven’t heard.

Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works, the holy Apostle bequeaths (Heb. 10:24). Let us exhort one another to hold fast to the confession of the faith and unwavering hope. For if he that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Heb. 10:28-29).

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God! (Heb. 10:31). Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil… But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good (Rom. 2:9-10).

Part 2

St. Makary (Nevsky), Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna
Translation by Jesse Dominick


1 St. Makary (1835-1926, Metropolitan of Moscow 1912-1917) lived and served at a time when people communed infrequently, and there was a rule in the Russian Empire that all Orthodox Christians had to confess and commune at least once a year. Though his external circumstances are different than ours today, we can nevertheless be edified by his zeal for the Holy Eucharist and proper preparation.—Trans.

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