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Sebastian Atherton wrote:

Hi, guys —

My name is Sebastian. I believe I am an Armenian Orthodox Christian. My family is not sure exactly what happened at the Baptism and the Church does not have any records. Also the priest who administered the service has passed away so I am finding it hard to find any evidence that shows I am baptized.

Having said this, I think I am but am going to continue the investigation with my family to find out if there are pictures or any more information that points to the truth.

On to my question:

Holy Mass for the faithful Armenian right took place at the Vatican on December 4, 2015 and I watched it on You Tube. I noticed that the wine and bread was consecrated and the Armenians and Catholics shared in the Communion.

I have asked in Catholic Churches if I can receive and I have been refused.

  • Can you please tell me if I can receive Holy Communion, and
  • if not, why it was shared on this day?

I love my Lord, Jesus Christ, and it upsets me that I can not receive Him. I live in England and there are not many Armenian churches. I love my faith and believe I must stay true to it due to the Armenian genocide and what happened.

Thank you,


  { Can an Armenian Orthodox Christian receive Communion in the Catholic Church? }

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Dear Sebastian

The technical answer is found in Canon 844. See especially paragraph 3.

The Sacraments

§1. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholic members of the Christian faithful alone, who likewise receive them licitly from Catholic ministers alone, without prejudice to the prescripts of §§2, 3, and 4 of this canon, and Can. 861, §2.

§2. Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non- Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.

§3. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church if they seek such on their own accord and are properly disposed. This is also valid for members of other Churches which in the judgment of the Apostolic See are in the same condition in regard to the sacraments as these Eastern Churches.

§4. If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.

§5. For the cases mentioned in paragraphs §2, 3, and 4, the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops is not to issue general norms except after consultation at least with the local competent authority of the interested non-Catholic Church or community.

Fr. Jonathan

Sebastian replied:

Thank you!


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