A Greek Orthodox priest is parting ways with the parish he has served for a decade over a squabble amongst parishioners about the way Holy Communion is offered to the faithful.
In a letter obtained by The Pappas Post that was emailed to parishioners, Rev. Fr. Robert J. Archon announced his departure from St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, calling his continued service in the parish “not possible” due to an ongoing feud amongst churchgoers over the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston’s directive to use a common spoon.
Defending the practice, Fr. Archon said in his farewell letter that “The Ecumenical Patriarch and His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios have made it abundantly clear that the Eucharistic practice of the Church is to remain unchanged through the use of one spoon.”
“This is a theological issue, and not up for debate for the Parish Council or the congregation to decide,” the priest said. “Our Church is hierarchical in nature and all of us need to comply with the directives of our Spiritual Leaders.”
A member of the parish who forwarded the letter to The Pappas Post and wished to remain anonymous said that a split was developing in the parish between people who wished to follow the single-spoon directive of the Metropolis and a group who wanted to explore alternative options, namely a multiple spoon option that was proposed by Archbishop Elpidophoros for New York churches.
“The issue was splitting the parish and was becoming a central issue of debate, causing a divide that spilled into the parish council and also impacted the work of our priest,” the parishioner told The Pappas Post via email.
The issue of distribution of Holy Communion has caused a major split in parishes throughout North America.
In churches in Ontario, Canada, angry outbursts from parishioners were captured on video as priests announced directives from the Archdiocese of Canada to use multiple spoons, citing government-imposed restrictions relating to COVID-19.
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