We hope and pray that each and every member of our church family is enjoying a most blessed and uplifting Holy Week, in preparation for Our Lord’s Resurrection! We are writing today to remind everyone of the directives of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America concerning the distribution and reception of Holy Unction for Wednesday of Holy Week and of Holy Communion for Thursday of Holy Week:
Holy Unction: In the past, Holy Unction has been made available to take home and self administer or to be administered by lay people for those who cannot attend the service of Holy Unction. In accord with a letter from His Grace Bishop Andonios, Chancellor of our Archdiocese, this practice will no longer be observed. His Grace wrote, “No longer is Holy Unction to be distributed to be taken home on Holy Wednesday. The time has come for the Direct Archdiocesan District to implement this policy, recognizing the sanctity of the Sacrament, which like other ‘mystiria’ of the church, is not administered by lay people.”
Holy Communion on Holy Thursday: It had become the custom that Communion would be administered for several hours after the conclusion of Holy Thursday’s Divine Liturgy, which commemorates the Lord’s Supper and institution of the Eucharist. While the desire to receive Communion particularly on this day is a wonderful pious tradition which is cherished by many, receiving Holy Communion disconnected from participation in the Liturgy is less than ideal. In the same letter as referenced above, His Grace Bishop Andonios wrote, “Holy Communion is NOT to be distributed outside the Context of the Liturgy… the practice of ‘drive through Communion’ no longer exists…” If it is impossible for one to attend the 7:00 AM Liturgy on Holy Thursday, please remember that between Palm Sunday and the Anastasi service there are five opportunities to participate in the Divine Liturgy and receive the Body and Blood of Christ.
Please plan accordingly to receive the sacraments of Holy Communion and Unction by attending the services of Holy Week. You may view a full listing of Holy Week services by opening the attached document.
Also, please be advised that Fr. Alex and Fr. Constantine are available and happy to make home or hospital visits, administering Unction an or Communion for those who are unable to attend services due to health or mobility issues. To request a visit during Holy Week or any time of the year, please contact the church office at 631 283 6169.