The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has issued new guidelines on how priests at Greek Orthodox churches can safely dispense communion, with one method including the switch to disposable spoons for communion.
“The synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has offered the liberty to the priests to address this emergency situation by temporarily distributing Holy Communion using multiple spoons that are dedicated for only that purpose and belonging to the local parish,” the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America said in an announcement on Thursday.
Holy Communion is usually dispensed with a shared spoon, yet due to the spike of infections in America and other countries, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has allowed the use of disposable spoons.
The synod’s decision, said the archdiocese, “is not only consistent with the wisdom of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, but it underscores what His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros has affirmed since the beginning of the crisis: ‘It is not the way we receive, it is the Communion itself that saves us and gives us eternal life’.”
In the opening weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, the Ecumenical Patriarchate strongly recommended that “all the faithful adhere to the official directives of the World Health Organization” and the laws of the country they live in.
Whilst the Patriarchate does encourage the faithful to comply with all the health guidelines provided by WHO, he also says that “Holy Communion is ‘the antidote to mortality’ and remains firm in its Orthodox teaching regarding the Holy Eucharist.”