Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Eucharist-The First Four Centuries

Another question possibly for tomorrow: What doctrine of the Eucharist emerges from the first four centuries?

1st Century:

The Didache:
"Let no one eat or drink of the Eucharist with you except those who have been baptized in the name of the Lord; for it was in reference to this that the Lord said: 'Do not give that which is holy to dogs.'"

St. Justin Martyr

"We call this food Eucharist, no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true...not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these...both flesh and blood of that incarnated Jesus." (The Real Presence)

2nd Century:

Ignatius of Antioch:

"I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire Bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was the seed of David; and for drink I desire His Blood; which is love incorruptible." (The Real Presence)

"Use one Eucharist, so that what you do, you do according to God; for there is one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of His blood; one alter, as there is one bishop with the presbytery...the deacons."

"Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop, or by one whom He appoints." (Eucharist and Unity of the Church)

3rd Century:

St. Athanasius

"So long as the prayers of supplication and entreaties have not been made, there is only bread and wine. After the great and wonderful prayers have been completed, then bread is become Body, and the wine the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ."

4th Century:

St. John Chrysostom

"We have become one that we may become this not by love only but even in every deed, let us be blended into that flesh..." (Eucharist and the Mystical Body of Christ)

"Reverence, therefore, reverence this table, of which we are all communicants! Christ, slain for us, the Sacrificial Victim, who is placed thereon!" (Sacrificial Nature of the Eucharist)

"Oblation is the same even if some common person offer it...which Christ gave to his disciples and which now the priests do..." (Christ the principal celebrant in Eucharist)

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