Holy Communion during the Pandemic in American Orthodox Christian Parishes

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DOI
10.17605/OSF.IO/FWAJM
Citation
Krindatch, A. (2022, March 7). Holy Communion during the Pandemic in American Orthodox Christian Parishes.
Summary
Holy Communion is the pivotal point of the Orthodox Christian worship experience. This Sacrament has been traditionally served with the same spoon and from a common chalice for all faithful present at the Liturgy. The spread of COVID-19 has made many church members apprehensive about continuing to use a common spoon and a number of parishioners have stopped receiving Holy Communion out of fear of contagion. Consequently, some American Orthodox jurisdictions, dioceses, and parishes have introduced various temporary changes in administering the Eucharist. This report examines the wide range of questions related to these changes through the eyes of Orthodox parish clergy. Each chapter can be read separately depending on the reader's particular interests. The study was initiated by the Orthodox Theological Society in America, which consists of scholars representing all Orthodox jurisdictions.

The study, 'Holy Communion during the Pandemic in American Orthodox Christian Parishes,' examined the impact of the COVID pandemic on the Sacrament of Holy Communion in American Orthodox Christian Churches. Holy Communion is the pivotal point of the Orthodox Christian worship experience. This Sacrament has been traditionally served with the same spoon and from a common chalice for all faithful present at the Liturgy. The spread of COVID-19 has made many church members apprehensive about continuing to use a common spoon, and a number of parishioners have stopped receiving Holy Communion out of fear of contagion. Consequently, some American Orthodox jurisdictions (denominations), their dioceses and parishes have introduced various temporary changes in administering the Eucharist. This report examines the wide range of questions related to these changes through the eyes of Orthodox parish clergy.

The following major subjects are discussed in the report: The impact of the pandemic on participation of parishioners in the Sacrament of Holy Communion; new ways of administering the Holy Communion in various American Orthodox jurisdictions; how parishes distribute Holy Communion to parishioners who cannot attend worship services; clergy's opinions about what is and is not acceptable with regard to different methods of offering the Holy Communion; and personal ideas of the priests about possible new ways of administering this Sacrament.

Several open-ended questions allowed us to learn about unique experiences of local parish communities, as well as personal opinions of the clergy about serving Holy Communion during the pandemic. This report includes both an analysis of answers to these open-ended questions and numerous direct quotations.

Data File
Cases: 609
Variables: 57
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: July 21-30, 2020
Original Survey (Instrument)
Funded By
Self-funded by principal investigator
Collection Procedures
Data were gathered July 21-31, 2020, via an online survey of 609 parish priests representing all Orthodox jurisdictions and from all parts of the country. Invitation to participate and links to online survey were sent to all parish clergy in eight national Orthodox Christian church-bodies: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Orthodox Church in America, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, Serbian Orthodox Church in North America, Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, Patriarchal Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church, American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese. Out of (approximately) 1,500 invited clergy, 609 responded and completed questionnaires.


Sampling Procedures
With 609 clergy responding to the survey, four jurisdictions had substantial enough numbers of respondents to allow for analysis and presentation of findings not only for the entire group of study participants, but also individually for: Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese (AOCA), 63 clergy participating; Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA), 189 clergy participating; Orthodox Church in America (OCA), 183 clergy participating; Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), 70 clergy participating.

Principal Investigators
Alexei Krindatch, https://www.orthodoxreality.org/
Related Publications
Krindatch, Alexei "Ten Questions and Answers about the Pandemic's Impact on American Orthodox Christian Parishes"
Krindatch, Alexei "Holy Communion during the Pandemic in American Orthodox Christian Parishes"
Krindatch, Alexei "The Pandemic and American Orthodox Christian Parishes"
Krindatch, Alexei "On the Eve of Easter 2020: Coronavirus and US Orthodox Christian Parishes"
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