Sacrament of Confession
• H Qurbanakramam
1. Remember the sins committed
2. Repent of those sins
3. State them without shame before a priest
4. Fulfill Penances set by priest
5. Resolve to not commit those sins again
• Only 3 and 4 are controversial
What is confession?
• Confession is the oral statement of one‘s
sins to God in the presence of a priest.
• To God!
• Forgiveness is from God.
• Fundamental aspect of Orthodox
• Reluctance to receive this sacrament is
reluctance to accept the Orthodox Faith
Why do I need to confess my
• In Baptism we were forgiven of our sins
• If we commit sins after baptism how can
they be forgiven?
• Ezek 18:23 Do I take any pleasure in the
death of the wicked? declares the
Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not
pleased when they turn from their ways
Confession in NT (Gospels)
• John 20:22-23 22 And when he had said
this, he breathed on them and said to
them, ―Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you
forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven
them; if you withhold forgiveness from
any, it is withheld.‖
• Matt. 16:19 ―I will give you the keys of
the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind
on earth will be bound in heaven, and
whatever you loose on earth will be loosed
in heaven."‖ (Matt 18:18)
Confession in NT (St Paul)
• (I Cor. 5:3-5) ―The man who has done such a thing
should be expelled from your fellowship. And even
though I am far away from you in body, still I am there
with you in spirit; and as though I were there with you, I
have in the name of our Lord Jesus already passed
judgment on the man who has done this terrible thing.
As you meet together, and I meet with you in my spirit,
by the power of our Lord Jesus present with us, you are
to hand this man over to Satan for his body to be
destroyed, so that his spirit may be saved in the Day of
• 2 Cor 2:10-11 10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And
what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—
I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in
order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not
unaware of his schemes.
Confession in NT
• ―Therefore confess your sins to each other
and pray for each other so that you may
be healed. The prayer of a righteous
person is powerful and effective.‖ James
• ―If we confess our sins, he is faithful and
just and will forgive us our sins and purify
us from all unrighteousness.‖ 1 John 1:9
Confession in the tradition of the
• Confession evolves through out the
• Public confession of sins
• Different ways to remain away from
• ―Confess your sins in church, and do not go up to
your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way
of life. . . . On the Lord‘s Day gather together, break
bread, and give thanks, after confessing your
transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure‖
• (Didache 4:14, 14:1 [A.D. 70]).
Confession in the tradition of the
• St. Ignatius of Antioch
• ―For as many as are of God and of Jesus Christ are also with the
bishop. And as many as shall, in the exercise of penance, return
into the unity of the Church, these, too, shall belong to God, that
they may live according to Jesus Christ‖
• St. Hippolytus of Rome
• ―[The bishop conducting the ordination of the new bishop shall
pray:] God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . . Pour forth now
that power which comes from you, from your royal Spirit, which
you gave to your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and which he
bestowed upon his holy apostles . . . and grant this your
servant, whom you have chosen for the episcopate, [the power] to
feed your holy flock and to serve without blame as your high
priest, ministering night and day to propitiate unceasingly before
your face and to offer to you the gifts of your holy Church, and by
the Spirit of the high priesthood to have the authority to forgive
sins, in accord with your command‖
• (Apostolic Tradition 3 [A.D. 215]).
Confession in tradition of the
• St. Cyprian of Carthage
• ―Of how much greater faith and salutary fear are they who . . .
confess their sins to the priests of God in a straightforward manner
and in sorrow, making an open declaration of conscience. . . . I
beseech you, brethren, let everyone who has sinned confess his
sin while he is still in this world, while his confession is still
admissible, while the satisfaction and remission made through the
priests are still pleasing before the Lord‖
• St. Aphraahat the Persian
• ―You [priests], then, who are disciples of our illustrious physician
[Christ], you ought not deny a curative to those in need of healing.
And if anyone uncovers his wound before you, give him the
remedy of repentance. And he that is ashamed to make known his
weakness, encourage him so that he will not hide it from you. And
when he has revealed it to you, do not make it public, lest because
of it the innocent might be reckoned as guilty by our enemies and
by those who hate us‖
• (Treatises 7:3 [A.D. 340]).
Confession in tradition of the
• St. Basil the Great
• ―It is necessary to confess our sins to those to whom the dispensation of God‘s
mysteries is entrusted. Those doing penance of old are found to have done it
before the saints. It is written in the Gospel that they confessed their sins to
John the Baptist [Matt. 3:6], but in Acts [19:18] they confessed to the apostles‖
• (Rules Briefly Treated 288 [A.D. 374]).
• St. John Chrysostom
• ―Priests have received a power which God has given neither to angels nor to
archangels. It was said to them: ‗Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be
bound in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose, shall be loosed.‘ Temporal
rulers have indeed the power of binding; but they can only bind the body.
Priests, in contrast, can bind with a bond which pertains to the soul itself and
transcends the very heavens. Did [God] not give them all the powers of
heaven? ‗Whose sins you shall forgive,‘ he says, ‗they are forgiven them;
whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.‘ What greater power is there
than this? The Father has given all judgment to the Son. And now I see the
Son placing all this power in the hands of men [Matt. 10:40; John 20:21–23].
They are raised to this dignity as if they were already gathered up to heaven‖
• (The Priesthood 3:5 [A.D. 387]).
Role of Priest
• Witness before God
• To Give Counsel
Making a good Confession
• Examination of conscience
• 1 Cor 11:28 28 Everyone ought
to examine themselves before they eat of
the bread and drink from the cup.
• Decision to not sin again
• Recite Sins before Father
• Absolution by priest
• Acts of Penance prescribed
Making a good confession
• Suggested Resources:
• Prayers before H. Confession
• Ten Commandments
• Pampakuda / Nithya prarthana
• Pray the 7 Psalms of Repentance
Common Questions and
• Can‘t I confess directly to God?
• You should confess directly to God. But you should
also confess to God in the presence of a priest.
• Do you have gift of tears? Over sins of world
• Since God knows your sins already you don‘t need
to even confess daily?
• Why do I need to get married in a Church? Can‘t
my partner and I get married directly before God?
• Why do I need to be baptized by a Priest?
• If you can confess directly to God and don‘t need a
priest‘s absolution then why do you receive
absolution before Holy Qurbana?