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Let's say on some island in Oceania the locals one day found a King James version (or any other version in their own language) and believed into Christ, started having regular meetings, in which they would pray and practice Eucharist with bread and wine.

Will the Eastern Orthodox Church acknowledge that kind of Eucharist as valid, that is, a true Eucharist?

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  • this sounds like a “What if Question” I think it’s not, I think you are basically asking if a community separate from the EOC can have a valid communion based on scripture rather than the Mystery of Christ’s ministerial Priesthood. Apostolic succession and so forth.
    – Marc
    Commented Mar 2, 2019 at 14:58
  • @Marc - Yes, that's exactly what I am asking about.
    – brilliant
    Commented Mar 2, 2019 at 15:27
  • You might try editing your question to better express this. For example, instead of saying “Would they” say “do they” and also a general clean up of your intent. I’d help but final drafts are not my gift.
    – Marc
    Commented Mar 2, 2019 at 15:30
  • @Marc - I think the way I worded my question is perfectly fine. Besides, if I worded it the way you have suggested, it would have been a bit vagueand might have led to broader talk, after which I would inevitably have had to use my original example.
    – brilliant
    Commented Apr 11 at 11:45

1 Answer 1

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Does the Eastern Orthodox Church acknowledge the validity of self-started Eucharists?

The short answer is no.

Eastern Orthodox Churches believe in a ministerial priesthood that is valid with a man is ordained by the imposition and laying on of hands by a validly consecrated Orthodox bishop.

Through the laying on of hands, the Holy Spirit descends upon the candidate for Holy Ordination, sanctifying him and empowering him to be a shepherd and minister of Christ, to preach and to teach the Word of God, to administer the sacraments, and to guide God’s people towards salvation.

The Apostle Paul exhorts Timothy, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Tim 4:12-16).

The Holy Spirit acts in this Apostolic Succession to ensure the spreading of the Word throughout the world: “Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you,’ and when he said this, he breathed upon them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’ ” (Jn 20:21-23).

Following the custom of the Apostolic Church, there are three major orders, each of which requires a special ordination. These are Bishop, who is viewed as a successor of the Apostles, Priest and Deacon, who act in the name of the Bishop.

The Greek word for Bishop (episkopos) means “overseer.” The Holy Orders are a calling to “oversee” the teaching and sacramental presence of Christ in the Church. The Bishop is seen as the father of the Local Church – the Shepherd who manifests the place of Christ in the Church. Only a Bishop may ordain and this is done during the Divine Liturgy, with the congregation proclaiming Axios! (He is worthy!) Even a Bishop must be ordained with the assent and laying of hands of at least two other Bishops. Since the sixth century Bishops have been chosen from the celibate clergy. No Bishop is considered infallible or superior to other Bishops but rather they are servants of Christ and the Church.

The Priests of the Church, also known as presbyters, assist the Bishop in his work and Pastor the local church. They teach, preach, counsel and perform the Sacraments of the Church. - Ordination

Without having a validly ordained priest to celebrate the Eucharist, there would be no consecration of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. According to your hypothetical example, the Orthodox Church would not acknowledge this as the real Eucharist!

The Orthodox acknowledge only validly ordained bishops and priests as having the ability to consecrate the Eucharist.

Plus, according to Orthodox teaching Apostolic Succession must be maintained. This also makes your hypothetical situation denied by all Eastern Orthodox Churches.

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  • Do Eastern Orthodox consider the Roman Catholics as having validly consecrated eucharists? Commented Apr 10 at 23:45
  • Thank you for this answer. Does EOC provide any explanation on why the ordination of the Holy Spirit is only possible through the laying on of hands by those previously and validly ordained and on why it can't be done directly by the Holy Spirit who "blows wherever it pleases" and "you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going" - like it was in case with apostle Paul?
    – brilliant
    Commented Apr 11 at 11:59

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