I had this blinding epiphany this morning walking from my house to my car, which takes about a minute. So, y'know, take the thought for what it's worth.
During Communion, in the Catholic Church, there are certain laypeople who have been 'deputized' to be allowed to distribute Communion to the people. The actual title is 'Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion' but they're usually just referred to as Eucharistic Ministers. They are only *meant* to be used in times when the priest (who is the only *true* minister of the Eucharist) is prevented from doing so by illness, or some other issue. Ah...lemme see...
"If there is usually present a sufficient number of sacred ministers for the distribution of Holy Communion, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may not be appointed. Indeed, in such circumstances, those who may have already been appointed to this ministry should not exercise it. The practice of those priests is reprobated who, even though present at the celebration, abstain from distributing Communion and hand this function over to laypersons." - Redemptionis sacramentum, 157
"The extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may administer Communion only when the priest and deacon are lacking, when the priest is prevented by weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason, or when the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged. ... A brief prolongation, considering the circumstances and culture of the place, is not at all a sufficient reason." - Redemptionis sacramentum, 158
In my experience, all Catholic churches use the Extraordinary Ministers in order to keep the Masses 'on schedule'. It's not that the priest or deacon isn't there and capable, but that there are so many parishoners they need to use other people in order to get everyone Communion and out of the church in time for the next 'shift'. My church has...four, I think, for every Mass on Saturday and Sunday. So, unless you sit in the very first pews, you cannot receive from either the priest or the deacon. Which annoyed me as a catechumen, because I couldn't receive, but unless I happened to be able to get in the priests set of pews, I couldn't get a blessing either.
Anyway, I'm fairly certain that I haven't seen a person in the Orthodox church fulfilling a similar function. I know that at the Serbian church only the priest gave out Communion, and I'm pretty sure that only the priest distributed Communion at the Greek church, but I can't be certain because I was busy 'rubbernecking' subtly, checking everything out. So I might have missed something.
But the main reason for the EMHC's use doesn't (to my mind) exist in the Orthodox church. There's no second, third, fourth or fifth Divine Liturgy of the day to 'get out of the way' for. So, yes, while the Communion line needs to be kept moving, I suppose, there's no *rush*.
That's the thought that occurred to me. I've looked around, and I haven't found anything that says they have them, on the other hand, I haven't found anything explicitly stating that *only* the priest or the priest and the deacon can distribute Communion.
I really kind of want the answer to be that only the priest gives out Communion.