Holy Communion and covid19

ST MARKS CATHEDRAL in Bangalore was constructed between 1808 and 1812. It is an elegant late Baroque church standing in its own spacious grounds. We visited it on Christmas Day 2022. There was a service in progress. The congregation was too large to be fully accommodated within the building. Many people were sitting outside the church, some of them under a canopy. The service was conveyed to those outside the building using loudspeakers and a giant television screen.

While the cleric began reciting the words associated with taking communion, he spoke of receiving the body of Christ. As he said that, I noticed a woman in the congregation opening a small container and taking a small flat white object from it, and then slipping it into her mouth.

A man nearby asked if we wished to take communion, and then pointed to a table covered with small round plastic containers with lids. Each of these contains a communion wafer fragment and some “communion nectar”, which I imagine represents the blood of Christ.

At St Mark’s, it appears that Holy Communion is self-administered, rather than being handed out by a cleric, as is the case in most churches where I have witnessed Holy Communion. I wondered whether these little pots of Holy Communion ‘ingredients’ are an attempt to reduce the risk of transmitting disease in these times when the covid19 virus is so prevalent.

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