HOLY CONFESSION (RECONCILIATION/PENANCE)
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 is 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.
The Orthodox Christian Sacrament of Holy 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 restores the Father’s love for those who are lost. According to Orthodox Christian 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 Christian practice for every (Orthodox) Christian to have a spiritual father to who one turns to for spiritual advice and counsel. In addition to prayer and fasting, Holy Confession is the primary means by which we prepare for Holy Communion. (see 1 Corinthians 11.27-30)
*(Guide to Confession: http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/guide-to-confession.aspx)