By Metropolitan Antonios of Glyfada
Every time a pandemic occurs in recent years, such as bird flu, then swine flu, then SARS, MARS, etc., various people begin to say irresponsibly that the disease is allegedly being transmitted through the Holy Communion.
In recent months we have been living in a climate of fear of the pandemic of the new COVID-19 disease or SARS 2. From the beginning, some were whispering that the disease was spread through saliva. And they are not wrong. In fact, it is transmitted through saliva. But they wanted to say something else and did not dare to do so. However, they showed their true intentions yesterday. They showed their true colors. And they showed what they really wanted to say. They revealed why they closed the churches in such an unjust and unreasonable manner, applying double standards in relation to the food services. The health adviser revealed that they were afraid that the disease would be transmitted through the Holy Communion.
This daring attempt caused great bitterness to all conscious Orthodox Christians. It is natural. Because they are now openly intervening in matters of faith.
Holy Communion is the essence of the Church itself. Holy Communion for the faithful means communion with God. What is transmitted through the Holy Communion is not just bread and wine. During the Divine Liturgy, both the bread and the wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of the Crucified, Risen and Ascended Jesus Christ, Who clearly said: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (John, 6:54).
Someone will ask, “But I don’t see meat and blood but bread and wine.” That is true. But this is done by the mercy of God because no one could receive living flesh and blood without feeling disgusted. None! That is why, while we still see bread and wine, they have been transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ at the time of sanctification.
This is the faith of Orthodox Christians. And with this faith they receive Christ. And they catch no disease from the Holy Communion. When one is united with God, is it possible to suffer any disease through this union? Of course NOT! Quite the opposite. The believer acquires health and life from Holy Communion. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that the priests who served and continue to serve in leper hospitals and general hospitals for decades caught no disease.
That is why the faithful have not been afraid of being ill due to the Holy Communion for 2,000 years. It is not possible for them to be prevented from enjoying their constitutionally guaranteed religious rights, as recently decided by the Supreme Federal Court of Germany.
Of course, there are those who do not accept the timeless faith of the Church. It is their right. They have the right to NEVER receive the Holy Communion. Christ does not call anyone by force to Him. However, they should stop insulting the faithful. And let them know that there is no scientific research to prove that diseases are transmitted through Holy Communion.