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Canon CI.

The great and divine Apostle Paul with loud voice calls man created in the image of God, the body and temple of Christ.  Excelling, therefore, every sensible creature, he who by the saving Passion has attained to the celestial dignity, eating and drinking Christ, is fitted in all respects for eternal life, sanctifying his soul and body by the participation of divine grace.  Wherefore, if any one wishes to be a participator of the immaculate Body in the time of the Synaxis, and to offer himself for the communion, 408let him draw near, arranging his hands in the form of a cross, and so let him receive the communion of grace.  But such as, instead of their hands, make vessels of gold or other materials for the reception of the divine gift, and by these receive the immaculate communion, we by no means allow to come, as preferring inanimate and inferior matter to the image of God.  But if any one shall be found imparting the immaculate Communion to those who bring vessels of this kind, let him be cut off as well as the one who brings them.

Notes.

Ancient Epitome of Canon CI.

Whoever comes to receive the Eucharist holds his hands in the form of a cross, and takes it with his mouth; whoever shall prepare a receptacle of gold or of any other material instead of his hand, shall be cut off.

Balsamon.

At first, perchance, this was invented from pious feelings, because the hand which came in contact with base and unworthy things was not worthy to receive the Lord’s body, but, as time went on, piety was turned to the injury of the soul, so that those who did this when they came to receive with an arrogant and insolent bearing, were preferred to the poor.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem.

(Cateches. Mystagog. v.388388    Oxford Translation, p. 279.)

When thou goest to receive communion go not with thy wrists extended, nor with thy fingers separated, but placing thy left hand as a throne for thy right, which is to receive so great a King, and in the hollow of the palm receive the body of Christ, saying, Amen.

Vide also St. John Damascene, De Fide Orthodoxa, lib. iv., cap. xiv.  On the whole matter cf. Card. Bona, De Rebus Lit., lib. ii., cap. xvij., n. 3.


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