On the Importance of Communion

St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite 1749-1809

Although Confession and satisfaction [the fulfillment of a rule (kanonas) given by a spiritual Father or Confessor — trans.] can forgive sins, nonetheless Holy Communion is necessary for the remission of sins. Just as one first extracts the maggots from a malodorous wound, then cuts off the rotten parts, and subsequently applies ointment to heal it, since, if he leaves it, it reverts to its former state, so the same thing happens with sin: Confession extracts the maggots, satisfaction cuts off the rotten parts, and subsequently Divine Communion acts as an ointment and heals the wound of sin. For, if he does not receive Divine Communion, the wretched sinner reverts to his original state, and ‘the last state of that man is worse than the first.’

If someone deprives us for just one day of eating bodily foods, we become upset and impatient and it strikes us as being a great evil; but if we deprive ourselves of the spiritual and heavenly fare of the Divine Mysteries once, or twice, or for whole months, we do not consider it a bad thing. O the great lack of discrimination which today’s Christians make between bodily and spiritual things! For they embrace the former wholeheartedly, but for the latter they have no desire whatsoever. (Concerning Frequent Communion of the Immaculate Mysteries of Christ, translated in Hieromonk Patapios and Archbishop Chrysostomos, Manna from Athos: The Issue of Frequent Communion on the Holy Mountain in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries [Oxford: Peter Lang, 2006], pp. 125-126, 131)

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