Confession

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'''Confession''' (or '''repentance''') is one of the seven [[holy mysteries]] (or sacraments) in the Orthodox Church, as well as many other Christian traditions.  Through it, the confessor receives the divine forgiveness of Christ for any [[sin|sins]] that are confessed.  Confession is typically given to a Spiritual Father (usually a parish priest).  Confession can be individual or general.  The frequency of required confession (as well as whether or not general confession is permissible) can vary from [[parish]] to parish, and from [[jurisdiction]] to jurisdiction.
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'''Confession''' (or '''repentance''') is one of the [[holy mysteries]] (or sacraments) in the Orthodox Church, as well as many other Christian traditions.  Through it, the penitent receives the divine forgiveness of Christ for any [[sin|sins]] that are confessed.  Confession is typically given to a Spiritual Father (usually a parish priest or monastic).  Confession can be individual or general.  The frequency of required confession (as well as whether or not general confession is permissible) can vary from [[parish]] to parish, and from [[jurisdiction]] to jurisdiction.
 
==Historical Development==
 
==Historical Development==
 
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===Confession In the Bible===
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====Old Testament====
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"he shall confess his sin that he has committed. And he shall make full restitution for his wrong, adding a fifth to it and giving it to him to whom he did the wrong." Num. 5:7
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"Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners, and they stood and confessed their sins and the guilt of their fathers. While they stood in their places, they read from the book of the law of the LORD their God for a fourth of the day and spent another fourth of the day in confession and worship of the LORD their God." Nehemiah 9:2-3
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"And read out publicly this scroll which we send you, in the house of the LORD, on the feast day and during the days of assembly: 'Justice is with the LORD, our God; and we today are flushed with shame, we men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem, that we, with our kings and rulers and priests and prophets, and with our fathers, have sinned in the LORD'S sight and disobeyed him. We have neither heeded the voice of the LORD, our God, nor followed the precepts which the LORD set before us.'" Baruch 1:14-18
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====John the baptist====
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John the baptist practiced confession
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"Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River." Matthew 3:6
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"And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins." Mark 1:5
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====The Church====
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"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." James 5:16
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"Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices." Acts 19:18
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"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." 1 Timothy 6:12
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"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
  
 
==Preparing for Confession==
 
==Preparing for Confession==
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==Confidentiality==
 
==Confidentiality==
:''The secrecy of the Mystery of Penance is considered an unquestionable rule in the entire Orthodox Church. Theologically, the need to maintain the secrecy of confession comes from the fact that the priest is only a witness before God. One could not expect a sincere and complete confession if the penitent has doubts regarding the practice of confidentiality. Betrayal of the secrecy of confession will lead to canonical punishment of the priest.''
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:''The secrecy of the Mystery of [[Penance]] is considered an unquestionable rule in the entire Orthodox Church. Theologically, the need to maintain the secrecy of confession comes from the fact that the priest is only a witness before God. One could not expect a sincere and complete confession if the penitent has doubts regarding the practice of confidentiality. Betrayal of the secrecy of confession will lead to canonical punishment of the priest.''
  
 
:''St. [[Nicodemus the Hagiorite]] exhorts the Spiritual Father to keep confessions confidential, even under strong constraining influence. The author of the Pedalion (the Rudder), states that a priest who betrays the secrecy of confession is to be deposed. The Metropolitan of Kos, Emanuel, mentions in his handbook (Exomologeteke) for confessors that the secrecy of confession is a principle without exception.''
 
:''St. [[Nicodemus the Hagiorite]] exhorts the Spiritual Father to keep confessions confidential, even under strong constraining influence. The author of the Pedalion (the Rudder), states that a priest who betrays the secrecy of confession is to be deposed. The Metropolitan of Kos, Emanuel, mentions in his handbook (Exomologeteke) for confessors that the secrecy of confession is a principle without exception.''
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===Orthodox Church in America===
 
===Orthodox Church in America===
*[http://www.oca.org/OCchapter.asp?SID=2&ID=54 Penance] - in ''The Orthodox Faith'' by Fr. Thomas Hopko
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*[http://www.oca.org/OCchapter.asp?SID=2&ID=54 Penance] - in ''The Orthodox Faith'' by Fr. [[Thomas Hopko]]
  
 
===Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCOR)===
 
===Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCOR)===
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*[http://www.eldritchpress.org/ac/inpassionwk.htm In Passion Week] - by Anton Chekhov
 
*[http://www.eldritchpress.org/ac/inpassionwk.htm In Passion Week] - by Anton Chekhov
 
*[http://www.fomacenter.ru/english/index.php?issue=5&section=48&article=586 A Siberian Grandmother on Confession] in ''FOMA: An Orthodox Christian Journal for Doubting Thomases''
 
*[http://www.fomacenter.ru/english/index.php?issue=5&section=48&article=586 A Siberian Grandmother on Confession] in ''FOMA: An Orthodox Christian Journal for Doubting Thomases''
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==External Links==
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*[http://web.ukonline.co.uk/ephrem/canon_for_confession.htm CANON OF SUPPLICATION TO THE MOST HOLY MOTHER OF GOD AT THE CONFESSION OF A SINNER]. (Canon in preparation for Confession is to be found in the Greek ''Great Euchologion'')
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[[Category:Sacraments]]
 
[[Category:Sacraments]]
  
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[[el:Μυστήριο της Μετανοίας]]
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[[fr:Confession]]
 
[[ro:Spovedania]]
 
[[ro:Spovedania]]
 
[[ru:Исповедь]]
 
[[ru:Исповедь]]

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This article forms part of the series
Orthodox Spirituality
Holy Mysteries
Baptism - Chrismation
Eucharist - Confession
Marriage - Ordination
Holy Unction
Three Stages
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Theoria/Illumination
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Hesychasm
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Confession (or repentance) is one of the holy mysteries (or sacraments) in the Orthodox Church, as well as many other Christian traditions. Through it, the penitent receives the divine forgiveness of Christ for any sins that are confessed. Confession is typically given to a Spiritual Father (usually a parish priest or monastic). Confession can be individual or general. The frequency of required confession (as well as whether or not general confession is permissible) can vary from parish to parish, and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Contents

Historical Development

This article or section is a stub (i.e., in need of additional material). You can help OrthodoxWiki by expanding it.


Confession In the Bible

Old Testament

"he shall confess his sin that he has committed. And he shall make full restitution for his wrong, adding a fifth to it and giving it to him to whom he did the wrong." Num. 5:7


"Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners, and they stood and confessed their sins and the guilt of their fathers. While they stood in their places, they read from the book of the law of the LORD their God for a fourth of the day and spent another fourth of the day in confession and worship of the LORD their God." Nehemiah 9:2-3


"And read out publicly this scroll which we send you, in the house of the LORD, on the feast day and during the days of assembly: 'Justice is with the LORD, our God; and we today are flushed with shame, we men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem, that we, with our kings and rulers and priests and prophets, and with our fathers, have sinned in the LORD'S sight and disobeyed him. We have neither heeded the voice of the LORD, our God, nor followed the precepts which the LORD set before us.'" Baruch 1:14-18


John the baptist

John the baptist practiced confession


"Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River." Matthew 3:6


"And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins." Mark 1:5

The Church

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." James 5:16


"Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices." Acts 19:18


"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." 1 Timothy 6:12


"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

Preparing for Confession

Reflection on the Ten Commandments is often recommended as part of an examination of conscience.

See also:

Frequency of Confession

Confidentiality

The secrecy of the Mystery of Penance is considered an unquestionable rule in the entire Orthodox Church. Theologically, the need to maintain the secrecy of confession comes from the fact that the priest is only a witness before God. One could not expect a sincere and complete confession if the penitent has doubts regarding the practice of confidentiality. Betrayal of the secrecy of confession will lead to canonical punishment of the priest.
St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite exhorts the Spiritual Father to keep confessions confidential, even under strong constraining influence. The author of the Pedalion (the Rudder), states that a priest who betrays the secrecy of confession is to be deposed. The Metropolitan of Kos, Emanuel, mentions in his handbook (Exomologeteke) for confessors that the secrecy of confession is a principle without exception.
From the Guidelines for Clergy (Orthodox Church in America)

General Confession

Sources

Jurisdictional Resources

Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese

Greek Orthodox Resources

Orthodox Church in America

Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCOR)

Other Resources

  • Confession with Examination of Conscience and Common Prayers compiled and annotated by Paul N. Harrilchak (Reston, VA: Holy Trinity Church (OCA), 1996) ISBN 0930055012 (cloth) / ISBN 0930055020 (pbk.)

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