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The Eucharist, also called Holy Communion, Sacrament of the Table, the Blessed Sacrament, or The Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance, generally considered to be a commemoration of the Last Supper, the final meal that Jesus Christ shared with his disciples before his arrest and eventual crucifixion. The consecration of bread and a cup within the rite recalls the moment at the Last Supper when Jesus gave his disciples bread, saying, "This is my body", and wine, saying, "This is my blood".

There are different interpretations of the significance of the Eucharist, but "there is more of a consensus among Christians about the meaning of the Eucharist than would appear from the confessional debates over the sacramental presence, the effects of the Eucharist, and the proper auspices under which it may be celebrated."

The phrase "the Eucharist" may refer not only to the rite but also to the bread and wine (or, in some Protestant denominations, unfermented grape juice) used in the rite, and, in this sense, communicants may speak of "receiving the Eucharist", as well as "celebrating the Eucharist".

Etymology

The Greek noun eucharistía (εὐχαριστία) derives from eú- "good, well" + cháris "favor, grace". Eucharistéō (εὐχαριστῶ) is the usual verb for "to thank" in the Septuagint and New Testament. It is found in the major texts concerning the Lord's Supper.
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks (eucharistéō), He broke it and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." (1 Corinthians 11:23-24, NASB)
And when He had taken a cup and given thanks (eucharistéō), He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And He said to them, "This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many." (Mark 14:23-24, NASB)
"The Lord's Supper" (Κυριακὸν δεῖπνον) derives from 1 Corinthians 11:20-21.
When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk.
"Communion" is a translation of the Greek koinōnía (κοινωνία), found in 1 Corinthians 10:16. The word κοινωνία is commonly translated "fellowship" in other contexts.
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion (koinōnía) of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion (koinōnía) of the body of Christ? (1 Corinthians 10:16, KJV)


History

Biblical basis

The Last Supper appears in all three Synoptic Gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke; and in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, while the last-named of these also indicates something of how early Christians celebrated what Paul the Apostle called the Lord's Supper.

Paul the Apostle and the Lord's Supper

The epistles of Paul the Apostle (d.
64–67) are the earliest documents in the New Testament.
He recalled for the Corinthians the Last Supper to indicate how they should celebrate the Lord's Supper.
In his First Epistle to the Corinthians (c 54-55), Paul the Apostle gives the earliest recorded description of Jesus' Last Supper: "The Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, 'This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me'."

Gospels

The synoptic gospels, first Mark, and then Matthew and Luke, depict Jesus as presiding over the Last Supper. References to Jesus' body and blood foreshadow his crucifixion, and he identifies them as a new covenant. In the gospel of John, the account of the Last Supper has no mention of Jesus taking bread and wine and speaking of them as his body and blood; instead it recounts his humble act of washing the disciples' feet, the prophecy of the betrayal, which set in motion the events that would lead to the cross, and his long discourse in response to some questions posed by his followers, in which he went on to speak of the importance of the unity of the disciples with him and each other.

Agape feast

The expression The Lord's Supper, derived from St. Paul's usage in , may have originally referred to the Agape feast, the shared communal meal with which the Eucharist was originally associated. The Agape feast is mentioned in . But The Lord's Supper is now commonly used in reference to a celebration involving no food other than the sacramental bread and wine.

Early Christian sources

The Didache (Greek: teaching) is an early Church order, including, among other features, instructions for Baptism and the Eucharist. Most scholars date it to the early 2nd century. Two separate Eucharistic traditions appear in the Didache, the earlier tradition in chapter 10 and the later one preceding it in chapter 9. The Eucharist is mentioned again in chapter 14.

Ignatius of Antioch, one of the Apostolic Fathers and a direct disciple of the Apostle John, mentions the Eucharist as "the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ", and Justin Martyr speaks of it as more than a meal: "the food over which the prayer of thanksgiving, the word received from Christ, has been said ... is the flesh and blood of this Jesus who became flesh ... and the deacons carry some to those who are absent."

Eucharistic theology

Many Christian denominations classify the Eucharist as a sacrament. Some Protestants prefer to call it an ordinance, viewing it not as a specific channel of divine grace but as an expression of faith and of obedience to Christ.

Most Christians, even those who deny that there is any real change in the elements used, recognize a special presence of Christ in this rite, though they differ about exactly how, where, and when Christ is present. Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy teach that the consecrated elements truly become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Transubstantiation is the metaphysical explanation given by Roman Catholics as to how this transformation occurs. Lutherans believe that the body and blood of Jesus are present "in, with and under" the forms of bread and wine, a concept known as the sacramental union. The Reformed churches, following the teachings of John Calvin, believe in a spiritual (or "pneumatic") real presence of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit and received by faith. Anglicans adhere to a range of views although the Anglican church officially teaches the real presence. Some Christians reject the concept of the real presence, believing that the Eucharist is only a memorial of the death of Christ.

The Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry document of the World Council of Churchesmarker, attempting to present the common understanding of the Eucharist on the part of the generality of Christians, describes it as "essentially the sacrament of the gift which God makes to us in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit", "Thanksgiving to the Father", "Anamnesis or Memorial of Christ", "the sacrament of the unique sacrifice of Christ, who ever lives to make intercession for us", "the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, the sacrament of his real presence", "Invocation of the Spirit", "Communion of the Faithful", and "Meal of the Kingdom".

Ritual and liturgy

Catholic Church

See Mass for Catholic worship in the Latin Rite and Divine Liturgy for worship in the Eastern Catholic Churches.

The Catholic Church teaches that when the bread and wine are consecrated in the Eucharist, they cease to be bread and wine, and become instead the Most Precious Body and Blood of Christ. The empirical appearances are not changed, but the reality is. The consecration of the bread (known as the host) and wine represents the separation of Jesus's body from his blood at Calvary. However, since he has risen, the Church teaches that his body and blood can no longer be truly separated. Where one is, the other must be. Therefore, although the priest (or minister) says, "The body of Christ", when administering the host, and, "The blood of Christ", when presenting the chalice, the communicant who receives either one receives Christ, whole and entire.

The Catholic Church sees as the main basis for this belief the words of Jesus himself at his Last Supper: the Synoptic Gospels ( ; ; ) and Saint Paul's recount that in that context Jesus said of what to all appearances were bread and wine: "This is my body … this is my blood." The Catholic understanding of these words, from the Patristic authors onward, has emphasized their roots in the covenantal history of the Old Testament. The interpretation of Christ's words against this Old Testament background coheres with and supports belief in the Real Presence. In 1551 the Council of Trent officially defined that "by the consecration of the bread and of the wine, a conversion is made of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of His blood; which conversion is, by the holy Catholic Church, suitably and properly called Transubstantiation." The attempt by some twentieth-century Catholic theologians to present the Eucharistic change as an alteration of significance (transignification rather than transubstantiation) was rejected by Pope Paul VI in his 1965 encyclical letter Mysterium fidei In his 1968 Credo of the People of God, he reiterated that any theological explanation of the doctrine must hold to the twofold claim that, after the consecration, 1) Christ's body and blood are really present; and 2) bread and wine are really absent; and this presence and absence is real and not merely something in the mind of the believer.

Eastern Christianity

Among Eastern Christians, the Eucharistic service is called the Divine Liturgy. It comprises two main divisions: the first is the Liturgy of the Catechumens which consists of introductory litanies, antiphons and scripture readings, culminating in a reading from one of the Gospels and often, a homily; the second is the Liturgy of the Faithful in which the Eucharist is offered, consecrated, and received as Holy Communion. Within the latter, the actual Eucharistic prayer is called the anaphora, literally: "offering" or "carrying up" ( ). In the Byzantine Rite, two different anaphoras are currently used: one is attributed to St. John Chrysostom, and the other to St. Basil the Great. Among the Oriental Orthodox, a variety of anaphoras are used, but all are similar in structure to those of the Byzantine Rite. In the Byzantine Rite, the Anaphora of St. John Chrysostom is used most days of the year; St. Basil's is offered on the Sundays of Great Lent, the eves of Christmas and Theophany, Holy Thursday, Holy Saturday, and upon his feast day (1 January). At the conclusion of the Anaphora the bread and wine are held to be the Body and Blood of Christ.

Conventionally this change in the elements is understood to occur at the Epiklesis (Greek: "invocation") by which the Holy Spirit is invoked and the consecration of the bread and wine as the Body and Blood of Christ is specifically requested, but since the anaphora as a whole is considered a unitary (albeit lengthy) prayer, no one moment within it can be readily singled out.

Anglican

In most of the national or regional churches of the Anglican Communion, the Eucharist is celebrated as the principal service. The rites for the Eucharist are found in the various prayer books of Anglican churches. Wine along with wafers or bread are used. Daily celebrations are now the case in most cathedrals and many parish churches. There are now only a small minority of parishes with a priest where the Eucharist is not celebrated at least once each Sunday. The nature of the ceremony with which it is celebrated, however, varies according to the orientation of the individual priest, parish, diocese or regional church.

See the Book of Common Prayer and Ritualism.

Mainline Protestants

Lutheran

In the Lutheran Book of Concord, in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, article 24, paragraph 1 it is asserted that among Lutherans in 1531 the eucharist was celebrated weekly: "In our churches Mass is celebrated every Sunday and on other festivals, when the sacrament is offered to those who wish for it after they have been examined and absolved." This was the Lutheran response to those who accused them of abolishing the eucharist. Strict adherence to this assertion varies in present day Lutheranism as does the manner of sacramental practice. Some congregations celebrate the eucharist in formal rites similar to the Roman Catholic and "high" Anglican services. Other congregations may celebrate the sacrament outside of traditional liturgical worship services, such as during in-home meetings and services. Administration of the sacrament varies between congregations. The bread can be a thin wafer, or leavened or unleavened. The wine may be administered via a common cup (the "chalice"), or through individual cups that may be either prefilled or filled from the chalice during the distribution of the sacrament. Intinction is acceptable, but rarely used. Some congregations that use wine, make grape juice available for those who are abstaining from alcohol, and some will accommodate those with an allergy to wheat or grapes.

Reformed/Presbyterian

In the Reformed Churches the Eucharist is variously administered. It is most common to admonish the celebration on every Lord's Day. Most churches serve it the first Sunday of the month. The Service for the Lord's Day is found in the Book of Common Worship. The following would be standard during that service. Acknowledging that the bread at the Passover celebration was almost certainly unleavened, some Churches use bread without any raising agent (whether leaven or yeast). The Presbyterian Church , for instance, prescribes "bread common to the culture". While the majority of Presbyterians use a small biscuit brickette during Holy Communion (Eucharist), the linkage to unleavened bread (aka matza) is not lost. The cracker-like unleavened bread better underscores the symbolism attributed to Christ's words, "this is my body, broken for thee." Matza is scored with ridges or stripes and has small perforations.(Christ's body was whipped producing stripes and open wounds and, like the bread, was broken). The wine served might be true alcoholic red wine or grape juice, from either a chalice or from individual cups. Harking back to the regulative principle of worship, the Reformed tradition had long eschewed coming forward to receive communion, preferring to have the elements distributed throughout the congregation by the presbyters (elders) more in the style of a shared meal. Now many Presbyterian Churches have reappropriated a High Church liturgy in the spirit of Philip Schaff's Mercersburg theology, which held ancient traditions of the Church in higher esteem than did much of the Reformed world. The high esteem of Holy Communion on the tradition of John Calvin and John Knox and the Reformed church of that day in France and Scotland was much more 'high church" The Presbyterians hold that Christ is spiritually present in the Bread and Wine and we do share the body and blood of the Lord spiritually. The elements may be found served separately with "consecration" for each element or together. Communion is usually open to all baptized believers(open communion) for those that profess their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

United Methodist

United Methodists in the United States are encouraged to celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday, though it is typically celebrated on the first Sunday of each month, while a few go as long as celebrating quarterly (a tradition dating back to the days of circuit rider that served multiple churches). In the United Methodist church grape juice is often used instead of wine. The current Book of Worship of the United Methodist church says that "the pure unfermented juice of the grape, or an equivalent, shall be used during the service of Holy Communion." The elements may be distributed in various ways. Communicants may receive standing, kneeling, or while seated. Gaining more wide acceptance is the practice of receiving by intinction (receiving a piece of consecrated bread or wafer, dipping it in the blessed wine, and consuming it). The most common alternative to intinction is for the communicants to receive the consecrated juice using small, individual, specially made glass or plastic cups known as communion cups. United Methodists practice open communion, inviting "all who intend a Christian life, together with their children" to receive Communion. Undergoing Baptism is not a prerequisite for receiving Communion, but if unbaptized people "regularly participate in Holy Communion, it is appropriate for pastors to talk with these people" about the possibility of them being baptized.

The standard liturgies for the Eucharist (as well as other services) are found in The United Methodist Hymnal and The United Methodist Book of Worship. The standard "Service of Word and Table" is set in a fourfold movement of Entrance, Proclamation and Response, Thanksgiving and Communion, and Sending Forth. The Eucharistic Prayer, as found in the Thanksgiving and Response section, is prayed by an authorized minister as set forth in The Book of Discipline. Generally speaking, the ministry of presiding at the Eucharist is given by the church to the Elders (presbyters, priests, or pastors in other traditions). The Eucharistic Prayer of the United Methodist Church takes on an ancient pattern that begins with the "Dialogue" (The Lord be with you/and also with you) and Sursum Corda (Lift up your hearts). Following is a Preface that gives thanks to the Father and ends leading into the "Sanctus et Benedictus" (Holy, holy, holy Lord...Blessed is he who comes....). Then there is a "Post-Sanctus" Prayer which praises the Father for the gift and ministry of Jesus Christ which leads into the Words of Institution (the recalling of the Last Supper). The anamnesis follows, leading into the Memorial Acclamation (Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again). The presiding minister then prays the epiclesis (pour out your Holy Spirit...) and closes with a Trinitarian doxology. The congregation joins in a final "Amen" and recites the Lord's Prayer. Different proper prefaces are provided in the Book of Worship that are appropriate for Holy Days and Seasons of the Church Year.

Variations of the Eucharistic Prayer are provided for various occasions, including communion of the sick and brief forms for occasions that call for greater brevity. Though the ritual is standardized, there is great variation amongst United Methodist churches, from typically high-church to low-church, in the enactment and style of celebration. United Methodist clergy are not required to be vested when celebrating the Eucharist, though it is most often the case that they are vested either in a Geneva gown and stole or an alb and stole.

Baptist

The bread and "fruit of the vine" indicated in Matthew, Mark and Luke as the elements of the Lord's Supper are interpreted by many Baptists as unleavened bread (although leavened bread is often used) and, in line with the historical stance of some Baptist groups (since the mid-19th century) against partaking of alcoholic beverages, grape juice, which they commonly refer to simply as "the Cup". The unleavened bread, or matzoh, also underscores the symbolic belief attributed to Christ's breaking the matzoh and saying that it was his body. Baptists do not hold Communion, nor the elements thereof, as sacramental; rather, it is considered to be an act of remembrance of Christ's atonement, and a time of renewal of personal commitment.

Since Baptist churches are autonomous, Communion practices and frequency vary among congregations. In many churches, small cups of juice and plates of broken bread are distributed to the seated congregation by a group of deacons. In others, congregants proceed to the altar to receive the elements, then return to their seats. A widely accepted practice is for all to receive and hold the elements until everyone is served, then consume the bread and cup in unison. Usually, music is performed and Scripture is read during the receiving of the elements.

Some Baptist churches are closed-Communionists (even requiring full membership in the church before partaking), with others being partially or fully open-Communionists. It is rare to find a Baptist church where The Lord's Supper is observed every Sunday; most observe monthly or quarterly, with some holding Communion only during a designated Communion service or following a worship service.

Mennonites/Anabaptists

Traditional Mennonite churches have with footwashing and the serving of the bread and wine two parts to the Communion service. In the more modern groups, Communion is only the serving of the Lord’s Supper.In the communion meal, the members of the Mennonite churches renew their covenant with God and with each other.

Other groups

Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah's Witnesses commemorate Christ's death as a ransom or propitiatory sacrifice by observing The Lord's Evening Meal, or Memorial, each year on the evening that corresponds to the Passover, Nisan 14, according to the ancient Jewish calendar. They believe that this is the only annual religious observance commanded for Christians in the Bible. Of those who attend the Memorial a small minority worldwide will partake of the eating of the unleavened bread and the drinking of the wine.

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that only 144,000 people will receive heavenly salvation and thus spend eternity with God in heaven, as underpriests and co-rulers under Christ. Paralleling the anointing of kings and priests, they are referred to as the "anointed" class and are the only ones who should partake of the bread and wine.

The celebration of the Memorial of Christ's Death proceeds as follows: In advance of the Memorial, Jehovah's Witnesses, in addition to their regular offer of in-home Bible studies also invite anyone that may be interested to attend this special night. The week of the Memorial is generally filled with special activity in the ministry, such as door-to-door work. A suitable hall, for example a Kingdom Hall, is prepared for the occasion.

The Memorial begins with a song and a prayer. The prayer is followed by a discourse on the importance of the evening. A table is set with red wine and unleavened bread. Jehovah's Witnesses believe the bread stands for Jesus Christ's body which he gave on behalf of mankind, and that the wine stands for his blood which redeems from sin. They do not believe in transubstantiation or consubstantiation. Hence, the wine and the bread are merely symbols (sometimes referred to as "emblems"), but they have a very deep and profound meaning for Jehovah's Witnesses. A prayer is offered and the bread is circulated among the audience. Then another prayer is offered, and the wine is circulated in the same manner. After that, the evening concludes with a final song and prayer. Only those who are anointed partake as the emblems are passed around the room to all who are present. This does not minimize the importance of the Memorial event as far as the rest in attendance are concerned. All present view this as an opportunity to show that they accept the belief that Jesus Christ is the one who sacrificed himself in behalf of redemption for all mankind, becoming the only mediator between Jehovah God and mankind (John 3:16). At the same time, it is an opportunity to publicly show thanks for that worldwide redemption.

Latter-day Saints

In the Latter Day Saint movement (also known as Mormonism), the "Holy Sacrament of the Lord's Supper", more simply referred to as the Sacrament, is held at the beginning of Sacrament meeting. The Sacrament, both bread and water, is prepared by priesthood holders prior to the beginning of the meeting. At the beginning of the Sacrament, priests say specific prayers to bless the bread and water. The bread is passed first after the priests have broken slices of bread into small pieces. All in attendance are provided an opportunity to partake of the Sacrament as it is passed row-by-row to the congregation by priesthood holders (typically deacons). The bread is then returned to the priests, who then replace the bread trays and cover them, while uncovering the water which is held in trays in small individual cups. In a manner similar to the bread, the priests say the second prayer and the water is then passed to the congregation.

The prayer recited for the bread is found in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. In English it reads:"O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath* given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen." (Book of Moroni 4:3, Doctrine and Covenants 20:77--*in the Doctrine and Covenants, the verse reads "which he has given them").The English version of this prayer on the water is as follows:"O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee, in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine [water] to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen." (Book of Moroni 5:2, Doctrine and Covenants 20:79).

Seventh-day Adventists

In the Seventh-day Adventist Church the Holy Communion service customarily is celebrated once per quarter. The service includes the ordinance of footwashing and the Lord’s Supper. Unleavened bread and unfermented (non-alcoholic) grape juice is used. Open communion is practised: all who have committed their lives to the Saviour may participate. Children learn the significance of the service by observing others participating. After receiving formal instruction in baptismal classes and making their commitment to Jesus in baptism, they are thereby prepared to partake in the service themselves. Seventh-day Adventist Church holds opinion that "Christ’s example forbids exclusiveness at the Lord’s Supper. It is true that open sin excludes the guilty. This the Holy Spirit plainly teaches. 1 Cor. 5:11. But beyond this none are to pass judgment."The communion service must be conducted by an ordained pastor, minister or church elder.

Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists
The Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists hold to the position that it is the believers, themselves, the "body" of Christ, are the only things thereby consecrated, and that alone by the presence and infilling of the Holy Spirit by which they are sanctified as they continue to abide in the grace of God by living in love one for another for Christ's sake. Thus, they are the "living sacrifice", and each member a "priest", ministering God's love one to another.

Open and closed communion

Christian denominations differ in their understanding of whether they may receive the Eucharist with those with whom they are not in full communion. The famed apologist St. Justin Martyr (c. 150) wrote: "No one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true...." For the first several hundred years, non-members were forbidden even to be present at the sacramental ritual; visitors and catechumens (those still undergoing instruction) were dismissed halfway through the Liturgy, after the Bible readings and sermon but before the Eucharistic rite. The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, used in the Byzantine Churches, still has a formula of dismissal of catechumens (not usually followed by any action) at this point.

The ancient Churches, such as the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox exclude non-members from Communion under normal circumstances, though they may allow exceptions, e.g., for non-members in danger of death who share their faith in the reality of the Eucharist and who are unable to have access to a minister of their own community. Some Protestant communities including Missouri Synod Lutherans practice close communion, where only confirmed Missouri Synod Lutherans can receive the Eucharist.

Most Protestant communities, including Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Lutherans, some Anglican, Reformed, Evangelical, Methodist, and the Church of Sweden, practice open communion in the sense of not limiting it to members of their own Church alone, but some of them require that the communicant be a baptized person.

Some Progressive Christian congregations offer communion to any individual who wishes to commemorate the life and teachings of Christ, regardless of religious affiliation.

Other issues

Preparation

Catholic churches encourage their members to participate in Confession, called the Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as the Sacrament of Penance, or Penance and Reconciliation), before taking communion, though the mode of such differs in the Western and Eastern traditions. Many Protestant congregations generally reserve a period of time for self examination and private, silent confession just before partaking in the Lord's Supper.

Footwashing

Seventh Day Adventists, Mennonites, and some other groups participate in "foot washing" (cf. John 13:3-17) as a preparation for partaking in the Lord's Supper. At that time they are to individually examine themselves, and confess any sins they may have between one and another.

Health issues

Catholic interpretation

The Roman Catholic Church believes that the matter for the Eucharist must be wheaten bread and fermented wine from grapes: it holds that, if the gluten has been entirely removed, the result is not true wheaten bread, and that grape juice that has not begun even minimally to ferment cannot be accepted as wine. It allows in certain circumstances low-gluten bread and mustum (grape juice in which fermentation has begun but has been suspended without altering the nature of the juice). Except for the priest, those who participate in Mass may receive Holy Communion in the form of either bread alone or wine alone.

Other traditions

Alternatives to fermented wine
Many Protestant churches allow clergy and communicants to take mustum instead of wine. In addition to, or in replacement of, wine some churches offer grape juice which has been pasteurized to stop the fermentation process the juice naturally undergoes; de-alcoholized wine from which most of the alcohol has been removed (between 0.5% and 2% remains); or water.

Alternatives to wheaten bread
Many mainline Protestant churches offer communicants gluten-free alternatives to wheaten bread, usually in the form of a rice-based cracker or gluten-free bread.

Terminology for the Eucharist



  • "The Lord's Supper", the term used in . "The Lord's Supper" is also a common term among Lutherans, as is "The Sacrament of the Altar". Other Churches and denominations also use the term, but generally not as their basic, routine term. The use is predominant among Baptist groups, who generally avoid using the term "Communion", due to its use (though in a more limited sense) by the Roman Catholic Church.


  • "The Breaking of Bread", a phrase that appears in the New Testament in contexts in which, according to some, it may refer to celebration of the Eucharist: ; , , ; .


  • "Communion" (from Latin communio, "sharing in common") or "Holy Communion", used, with different meanings, by Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Anglicans, and many Protestants, including Lutherans. Catholics and Orthodox apply this term not to the Eucharistic rite as a whole, but only to the partaking of the consecrated bread and wine, and to these consecrated elements themselves. In their understanding, it is possible to participate in the celebration of the Eucharistic rite without necessarily "receiving Holy Communion" (partaking of the consecrated elements. Groups that originated in the Protestant Reformation usually apply this term instead to the whole rite. The meaning of the term "Communion" here is multivocal in that it also refers to the relationship of the participating Christians, as individuals or as Church, with God and with other Christians (see Communion ).








  • In Oriental Orthodoxy the terms "Oblation" (Syriac, Coptic and Armenian Churches) and "Consecration" (Ethiopian Church) are used. Likewise, in the Gaelic language of Ireland and Scotland the word "Aifreann", usually translated into English as "Mass", is derived from Late Latin "Offerendum", meaning "oblation", "offering".


  • The many other expressions used include "Table of the Lord" (cf. ), the "Lord's Body" (cf. ), "Holy of Holies".


See also

Eucharistic theology



Eucharistic practice



Views of different churches



Sacramental theology



History



Related topics



References

  1. Ignazio Silone, Bread and Wine (1937).
  2. Encyclopaedia Britannica, s.v. Eucharist
  3. cf. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition 2000
  4. Tyndale Bible Dictionary / editors, Philip W. Comfort, Walter A. Elwell, 2001 ISBN 0-8423-7089-7, article: Lord's Supper, The
  5. Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church / editors, F. L. Cross & E. A. Livingstone 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3, article Eucharist
  6. (
  7. And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed (εὐλογήσας - eulogēsas), and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks (εὐχαριστήσας - eucharistēsas) he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." Mark 14:22-25
  8. Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed (εὐλογήσας - eulogēsas), and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks (εὐχαριστήσας – eucharistēsas) he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." Matthew 26:26-29
  9. They prepared the passover. And when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks (εὐχαριστήσας – eucharistēsas) he said, "Take this, and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." And he took bread, and when he had given thanks (εὐχαριστήσας – eucharistēsas) he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." And likewise the cup after supper, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. ..." Luke 22:13-20
  10. Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985.
  11. Tyndale Bible Dictionary / editors, Philip W. Comfort, Walter A. Elwell, 2001 ISBN 0-8423-7089-7, article: "John, Gospel of
  12. Bruce Metzger. The canon of the New Testament. 1997
  13. "There are now two quite separate Eucharistic celebrations given in Didache 9-10, with the earlier one now put in second place." Crossan. The historical Jesus. Citing Riggs, John W. 1984
  14. 9.1 Concerning the thanksgiving (tēs eucharistias) give thanks thus: 9.2 First, concerning the cup: "We give thanks to you, our Father, For the holy vine of David your servant which you have revealed to us through Jesus your servant. To you be glory for ever." 9.3 And concerning the fragment: "We give thanks to you, our Father, For the life and knowledge, which you have revealed to us through Jesus your servant." But let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist, unless they have been baptized into the name of the Lord; for concerning this also the Lord has said, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs." 10.1 After you have had your fill, give thanks thus: 10.2 We give thanks to you holy Father for your holy Name which you have made to dwell in our hearts and for the knowledge, faith and immortality which you have revealed to us through Jesus your servant. To you be glory for ever. 10.3 You Lord almighty have created everything for the sake of your Name; you have given human beings food and drink to partake with enjoyment so that they might give thanks; but to us you have given the grace of spiritual food and drink and of eternal life through Jesus your servant. 10.4 Above all we give you thanks because you are mighty. To you be glory for ever. 10.5 Remember Lord your Church, to preserve it from all evil and to make it perfect in your love. And, sanctified, gather it from the four winds into your kingdom which you have prepared for it. Because yours is the power and the glory for ever. ...
  15. 14.1 But every Lord's day do ye gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. 14.2. But let no one that is at variance with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. 14.3. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, saith the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations.
  16. " ... (t)he eucharist is the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which flesh suffered for our sins, and which in His loving-kindness the Father raised up. ... Let that eucharist alone be considered valid which is under the bishop or him to whom he commits it. ... It is not lawful apart from the bishop either to baptize, or to hold a love-feast. But whatsoever he approves, that also is well-pleasing to God, that everything which you do may be secure and valid." Letter to the Smyrnaeans, 6, 8 "Give heed to keep one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup unto union with His blood. There is one altar, as there is one bishop, together with the presbytery and deacons, my fellow-servants; that whatsoever you do, you may do according unto God." Letter to the Philadelphians, 4
  17. There is then brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of wine mixed with water; and he taking them, gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and offers thanks at considerable length for our being counted worthy to receive these things at His hands. And when he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people present express their assent by saying Amen. This word Amen answers in the Hebrew language to γένοιτο [so be it]. And when the president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced, and to those who are absent they carry away a portion. And this food is called among us Εὐχαριστία [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, "This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body"; and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, "This is My blood"; and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn. ... And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. First Apology, 65-67]
  18. For example, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglo-Catholics, Old Catholics; and cf. the presentation of the Eucharist as a sacrament in the Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry document of the World Council of Churches
  19. "Most Christian traditions also teach that Jesus is present in the Eucharist in some special way, though they disagree about the mode, the locus, and the time of that presence" ( Encyclopaedia Britannica Online).
  20. "Abrahamic, Mosaic, and Prophetic Foundations of the Eucharist." Inside the Vatican 16, no. 4 (2008): 102-105.
  21. Session XIII, chapter IV; cf. canon II)
  22. United Methodist Church, 1992, The United Methodist Book of Worship, Nashville: United Methodist Publishing House. p. 33
  23. Communion Cups, 1000 from Broadman / Holman Church Supply. Christianbook.com. Accessed 5 July 2009.
  24. UMC 1992, 29.
  25. Felton, Gayle. 1998 By Water and the Spirit., Nashville: Abingdon Press. P. 44
  26. , ,
  27. See, e.g.,
  28. See, e.g.,
  29. Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, 17th edition, 2005, pp. 81-86. Published by the secretariat, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
  30. Seventh-day Adventists Believe: An exposition of the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. 2nd edition, 2005. Copyright Ministeral Association, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Chapter 16: The Lord's Supper
  31. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 12:1.
  32. "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light" 1Peter 2:9; "And hath made us kings and priests." Revelation 1:6
  33. Code of Canon Law, canon 843 §4
  34. Eucharist in the Lutheran Church
  35. In most United Church of Christ local churches, the Communion Table is "open to all Christians who wish to know the presence of Christ and to share in the community of God's people." (Book of Worship). Holy Communion: A Practice of Faith in the United Church of Christ
  36. A 24 July 2003 letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith details the circumstances in which low-gluten bread and mustum are permitted.
  37. Compare John Howard Spahr, I Smell the Cup, Christian Century, 12 March 1974, pp. 257-259.
  38. Jax Peter Lowell, The Gluten-Free Bible, p. 279.
  39. Many, especially Anglicans, prefer the fuller term "Holy Communion" rather than just "Communion".
  40. , and


Further reading

  • Chemnitz, Martin. The Lord's Supper. J. A. O. Preus, trans. St. Louis: Concordia, 1979. ISBN 057003275X
  • Dix, Dom Gregory. The Shape of the Liturgy. London: Continuum International, 2005. ISBN 0826479421
  • Cabrera de Armida, Concepcion. I Am: Eucharistic Meditations on the Gospel, Alba House Publishing 2001 ISBN 0818908904
  • Elert, Werner. Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries. N. E. Nagel, trans. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1966. ISBN 0570042704
  • Felton, Gayle. This Holy Mystery. Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2005. ISBN 088177457X
  • Father Gabriel. Divine Intimacy. Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1996 reprint ed. ISBN 0895555042
  • Grime, J. H. Close Communion and Baptists
  • Hahn, Scott. The Lamb's Supper: Mass as Heaven on Earth. Darton, Longman, Todd. 1999. ISBN 0232525005
  • Henke, Frederick Goodrich A Study in the Psychology of Ritualism. University of Chicago Press 1910
  • Jurgens, William A. The Faith of the Early Fathers. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1970. ISBN 0814604323
  • Kolb, Robert and Timothy J. Wengert, eds. The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000. (ISBN 0800627407)
  • Lefebvre, Gaspar. The Saint Andrew Daily Missal. Reprint. Great Falls, MT: St. Bonaventure Publications, Inc., 1999
  • Macy, Gary. The Banquet's Wisdom: A Short History of the Theologies of the Lord's Supper. (2005, ISBN 1878009508)
  • Magni, JA The Ethnological Background of the Eucharist. Clark University. American Journal of Religious Psychology and Education, IV (No. 1–2), March, 1910.
  • McBride, Alfred, O.Praem. Celebrating the Mass. Our Sunday Visitor, 1999.
  • Neal, Gregory. Grace Upon Grace 2000. ISBN 0967907403
  • Nevin, John Williamson. The Mystical Presence: A Vindication of the Reformed or Calvinistic Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist. 1846; Wipf & Stock reprint, 2000. ISBN 1579103480.
  • Oden, Thomas C. Corrective Love: The Power of Communion Discipline. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1995. ISBN 0570048036
  • Rasperger (Raspergero), Christopher (Christophorus, Christoph, Christophoro, Christophe) Two hundred interpretations of the words: This is my Body, Ingolstadt, 1577 [1170] Latin text. (Latin title: Ducentae paucorum istorum et quidem clarissimorum Christi verborum: Hoc est Corpus meum; interpretationes, [1171]; erman title: Zweihundert Auslegungen der Worte das ist mein Leib [1172].)
  • Sasse, Hermann. This Is My Body: Luther's Contention for the Real Presence in the Sacrament of the Altar. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2001. ISBN 1579107664
  • Schmemann, Alexander. The Eucharist. St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1997. ISBN 0881410187
  • Stoffer, Dale R. The Lord's Supper: Believers Church Perspectives
  • Stookey, L.H. Eucharist: Christ's Feast with the Church. Nashville: Abingdon, 1993 ISBN 0687120179
  • Tissot, The Very Rev. J. The Interior Life. 1916, pp. 347–9.
  • Wright, N. T. The Meal Jesus Gave Us


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