The Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion)
The central place among the Sacraments of the Orthodox Church is held by the Holy Eucharist, the precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. In modern times the Holy Eucharist is celebrated in the Orthodox Church at the following services: The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (the usual Liturgy of Sundays and Weekdays), the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great (celebrated on the Sunday’s of Great Lent and certain Feast Days), The Liturgy of James the Brother of the Lord (on October 23 – St. James Day) and the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts (celebrated on Weekdays of Great Lent and Holy Week).
This Sacrament was instituted by our Lord. It is by the means where we become united with Christ and with each other as a church. We become part of the Mystical Body of Christ by our communion of the Holy Eucharist.
Only by belonging to the Church, or in other words, being in communion with the very essence of Christ through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, can one attain salvation unto eternal life.
In the Orthodox Church both laity and clergy always receive Communion of both the Body and the Blood of Christ. Communion is given to the laity in a spoon containing a piece of Holy Bread together with a portion of the wine, and it is received standing. A strict fast is observed, usually from the night before and nothing should be eaten or drunk after waking in the morning before Communion. Those who repent in the form of Confession should receive Communion as often as possible, for the Eucharist is for the healing of the soul and body. Only Orthodox Christians may receive Communion in the Orthodox Church.