As members of the Church, we have responsibilities to one another and, of course, to God. When we sin, our relationship to God and to others becomes distorted. Sin is ultimately alienation from God, from our fellow human beings, and from our own true self which is created in God’s image and likeness.
Confession is the Sacrament through which our sins are forgiven, and our relationship to God and to others is restored and strengthened. Through the Sacrament, Christ our Lord continues to heal those broken in spirit and restore the Father’s love to those who are lost. According to Orthodox teaching, the penitent confesses to God and is forgiven by God. The priest is the sacramental witness who represents both Christ and His people. The priest is viewed not as a judge, but as a physician and guide. It is an ancient Orthodox practice for every Christian to have a spiritual father to whom one turns for spiritual advice and counsel. Confession can take place on any number of occasions. The frequency is left to the discretion of the individual in consultation with their spiritual father. In the event of serious sin, however, confession is a necessary preparation for Holy Communion.
The 10 Commandments – Questions to prepare for confessions
You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3)
• Have I believed in God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?
• Have I believed that Jesus Christ is both God and man?
• Have I remembered to put God first in my life as a way of loving Him?
• Have I received Holy Communion regularly and with proper preparation?
You shall not make for yourselves a graven image. (Exodus 20:4)
• Have I made an idol of any person or thing?
• Do I give more importance to someone or something than to God?
You shall not take the name of the Lord you God in vain. (Exodus 20:7)
• Have I profaned the holy name of God in any way?
• Have I cursed anyone or anything?
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8)
• Have I kept the Lord's Day holy?
• Have I attended Church services regularly?
You shall love your neighbour as yourself. (Matthew 22:39)
• Have I shown love and mercy?
• Have I helped others in need?
• Have I helped my Church teach the truth and help others?
Honour your father and your mother.(Exodus 20: 12)
• Have I respected my bishops. Priests, parents. Teachers or other elders?
You shall not kill. (Exodus 20:13)
• I Have I caused injury or death to anyone by my actions or words?
• I Have I wished injury or death to anyone by my thoughts?
You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14)
• Have I allowed impure thoughts, words or deeds?
• Have I engaged in sexual activity before or outside marriage?
You shall not steal. (Exodus 20: 15)
• Have I stolen anything or cheated anyone?
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. (Exodus 20: 16)
• Have I lied, gossiped or otherwise betrayed anyone?
You shall not covet your neighbour's house ... or anything that is your neighbour's. (Exodus 20: 17)
• Have I been jealous or envious of anyone?