In the Christian understanding ‘sin’ is ‘missing the mark’ (hamartia), or falling short of our goal, and our goal is to one with the will God, with Jesus Christ our Saviour, in all we do and say and think. It is everyone’s experience that we get it wrong, prefer our own way to God’s, whether to a greater or lesser extent. So the custom grew up even in the Apostles’ days that people would declare their sins, at least their great faults, before the assembled church. In our days we come to the representative of Christ – our priest – to confess our wrongdoings in his presence and in front of our fellow sinners, but confessing to God; through the priest, in response to our repentance (metanoia, a change in our whole mind and heart back towards the light of Christ) we receive God’s ready forgiveness. This is a powerful and – if we let it be – a transformative, humbling and fundamentally realistic discipline.
There is no actual requirement by the Orthodox Church that we should go to Confession each time before receiving communion. If we for some reason only come to receive the Holy Gifts in communion infrequently (as was often the case in the past), then our confessor may ask us to come to confession first. If we are following the advice of our bishops and we come to communion frequently, there is no requirement for confession each time (and indeed it can easily reduce Confession to being merely a part of our preparation for Communion, rather than the fundamental mystery of reconciliation.) However, of course, we should be guided individually by our confessor.
There is a useful article on Confession here.
Coming to Confession
Sundays at 10:00 before Divine Liturgy
Please approach the stand in the front-left corner of the nave where there is a gospel and cross. If our priest is not present, please ask someone to call his attention.
Also you can come:
• before/after Vespers
• or at a time and place to be arranged with our priest, Archimandrite Kyril (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Preparation is important; please speak to our priest if you are unsure of how to prepare.