The term “excommunication” is often misunderstood. There are varying degrees of excommunication. The first is a person who is not permitted to receive Qurbana Qadisha for a specific period of time, but he/she may attend a Qurbana or other service and pray in silence during the service. Such individuals are not shunned by the congregation.
Another use of the term indicates a “Full Excommunication” which means that anyone with such status is not permitted to receive Qurbana or attend religious services for a specific period of time. In most cases, this is due to the fact that the individual refused to express repentance for a specific sin.
Still, the term excommunication can sometimes indicate that an individual has been banned from all religious communities within the greater body of the Religion of Light. The phrase used in this specific case is “Permanent Ban.” Such an individual is not permitted to join any of the Spiritual Communities without permission of the Catholicos. With the exception of the local bishop, the faithful are not permitted to speak to this individual, except in cases of being close relatives (including spouses, grandchildren, grandparents), as well as funerals or other serious, extenuating circumstances. These are extreme and rare cases, where an individual has sinned so gravely and has indicated that he/she has an obstinate spirit and does not wish to make repentance or be reconciled to the true faith. Only the Catholicos Patriarch or the Synod as a whole may execute a Permanent Ban. Individual bishops or priests are not permitted to make such pronouncements.