Boston, March 16, 2023
It’s a scandal that the Catholic spouses of Orthodox Christians can’t receive Holy Communion in the Orthodox Church, and if he had his way, he would gladly commune them, says the Metropolitan of Boston of the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Metropolitan Methodios shared his views on the matter in episode 5 of Wisdom on Wheels, a YouTube series produced by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA in which hierarchs from various jurisdictions are interviewed while riding in a car.
The hierarch of Boston is not the first GOARCH bishop to publicly take such a stand.
Archbishop Elpidophoros, the head of GOARCH, made waves when he expressed the same conviction during a conference in February 2020. He then reiterated the same stance during a virtual town hall meeting that April.
The interview with Met. Methodios begins with several minutes about ecumenical relations with Catholic. The Greek Orthodox hierarch notes that he has a tradition of visiting the local Catholic cathedral in Holy Week, and the local Catholic cardinal visits the Greek cathedral for Pascha.
Then, asked for words of advice or inspiration to Orthodox-Catholic couples, Met. Methodios states:
To be very truthful, I think that we should be much more pastoral with Catholic-Orthodox weddings. It’s a shame when those couples come to church… First of all, where do they get married? The Orthodox Church still does not recognize, as you know, a wedding that takes place outside the Orthodox Church.
But even when they come to the Orthodox Church and are married in our Church, when this couple comes to church on Sunday, the Catholic partner cannot receive Holy Communion, cannot participate in any of the Sacramental life of the Church, and that becomes a very big problem when children come into the world. In what Church are they going to be baptized?
But even let’s say they get baptized in the Orthodox Church, it’s quite a difficult situation when the parents go to church with their children, the father or the mother can go up with the children and receive Communion, the father or the mother that is a Roman Catholic cannot go with them, cannot participate in that life, and the children are confused, you know? What’s the difference? Why is this happening?
But as far as I’m concerned, if the Catholic and Orthodox party confess that they believe in Jesus Christ, that He’s the Son of God, that He came into the world to save us, who are sinners, I would commune them if my Church allowed me to do it. It does not allow me to do it today, but if I had my way, I would take that extra step. I’m sure that the Catholic church would do the same thing as well.
It’s a scandal that we have to work on.
Interviewer: Perhaps as the dialogue continues, there’s hope that one day, maybe not in our lifetime, but maybe one day that could happen.
Met. Methodios: It must happen. Really, it must happen, and we have to do whatever we can to move that long. The world, I think, needs a united Christian church to stand up to what is happening. We have to have one voice, and with one voice and one mind confront the atheism, the apathy that exists in the world today.
The relevant discussion begin at 2:34:
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