Thursday, April 2, 2020

Scientific Studies on the Transmission of Infectious Diseases Through Holy Communion

Often when discussing the issue of the possibility of the transmission of infectious diseases through Holy Communion, anecdotal evidence at best is presented, though usually it is more about speculations and personal beliefs. However, since the late 19th century there have been numerous scientific studies that actually give us hard scientific evidence. Most of these studies have been done in Anglican, Methodist and Lutheran churches with their debate of many decades regarding the use of the common communion cup. Using the common cup is similar to using a common spoon by Orthodox Christians. However, with the Orthodox practice, it can be added that after each communicant receives communion the priest dips the spoon in warmed wine before communicating the Holy Gifts again, which can serve as a disinfectant; this important factor is not determined in the conclusions of the studies below. Also, for those Orthodox Christians who argue for the miraculous properties of the Holy Gifts, the studies below should eliminate this factor and examines it by its physical properties alone. It is only on this basis that conclusions can be drawn. As far as I know, no such study has been done with the Orthodox practice, which should be considered.