Eucharist V

VIII. Irenaeus of Lyons (130-200)

Against Heresies (AH)

-fulfillment of OT offerings

  • Malachi pure sacrifice 1:11 & AH 4.17.5; sacrifice of Abel (Gn 4:7, AH 4.18.3)

  • a real transformation occurs when bread & wine receive the invocation of God (AH 4.18.5)

  • “When, therefore, the mingled cup and the manufactured bread receives the Word of God, and the Eucharist of the blood and the body of Christ is made” (AH 5.2.3)

  • Eucharist “no longer common bread”— gives our bodies “the hope of resurrection to eternity,” and “establishes our opinion” (AH 4.18.5)

  1. Tertullian (160-225)
  • North African eucharistic understanding and practice[1]

  • Eucharist is a sacrifice in which Christians participate when they stand at the altar De Oratione 19

  • “It is to God’s altar, together with a display of good works and amid the singing of psalms and hymns, that we are to bring this prayer” (De Oratione 28.1), a sacrifice in the Spirit offered by priests (De Oratione 28.3). It is a true thanksgiving (Adversus Marcionem 1.23)

  • Eucharist is a real and substantial manner

Jesus made the bread his own body when he said ‘this is my body,’ affirming the “reality [substantia] of his body,” and similarly, sealing the new testament in his blood in the cup (Adversus Marcionem 4.40).

“Christ is our bread because Christ is life and bread is life” and thus has become our daily bread as we pray in the Our Father (De Oratione 6).

It is not common food, and thus “the body feeds on Christ’s Body and Blood so that the soul also may be fattened on God” (De Resurrectione Carnis 8.2)

Ritual Practices (Sunday, Latin texts, altar with relics, incense for funerals, Mass said every day early in the morning)

Kiss of peace

Idolators should not receive communion

Must be received with reverence lest any wine or bread being cast upon the ground (De Corona 3)

If one can see the Consecrated Host with naked eye, then it is Holy Communion, if it is  microscopic ceases to be Body and Blood of God

  1. Cyprian of Carthage[2] (200-258)

Bishop of Carthage, wrote many Latin works, Saint in East & West

  • Makes a more developed connection to the passion of Christ.

  • The Eucharist is “the very sacrament of the Passion of the Lord and of our redemption” (Epistle 63,14). “The Lord’s passion is the sacrifice we offer” (Epistle 63,17).

  • oblatio is offered by priests, following the example of Christ, “who offered sacrifice to God the Father” (Epistle63,4).

  • a priest “offers the true and full sacrifice in the Church of God the Father, if he thus begins to offer according to what he sees Christ Himself offered” (Epistle 63,14).

  • Cyprian criticized the practice of using only water and not wine for the Eucharist, saying that it contradicted the OT prophecies, the example of the NT (both the Last Supper and the passion), and tradition. (My emphasis) (Epistle 63)

  • “The blood of Christ is not offered if wine is lacking in the chalice and the sacrifice of the Lord is not celebrated with lawful sanctification unless the oblation and our sacrifice correspond to the passion. (Epistle 63,9)

  • Eucharist can be received daily “for the food of salvation” (De Oratione Dominica 18)

  • safeguard in the face of warfare and martyrdom (Epistle 57.2; 58.9)

  • Eucharist does not only symbolize but causes this unity: it is the “sacrament of unity” (Epistle 69,6)

Combing particle in the chalice, symbol of local bishop and being in communion with local bishop. Bishop would send particles to the churches, when the church was small enough.

The Acts of Perpetua & Felicitas (203 Carthage) Martyr March 7 New Rite, Mar 6 Old Rite

Old Rite Thomas Aquinas March 7

Open vision of the liturgy. Kiss of peace, Perpetua received a mystic food (Eucharist) from a shepherd (The Lord). All say Amen.

  1. Origen of Alexandria (185-254) Early Theologian. Alexandria center of commerce, culture on of the influential Christian communities
  • the Eucharist as the divine mysteries in which we know the flesh and blood of the Word of God (On Leviticus 10)

  • new paschal feast is kept by eating the flesh of the Word60 (Contra Celsum 8.22)

  • concrete reality of the Eucharist: “when you receive the body of the Lord, you protect it with all caution and veneration lest any small part fall from it, lest anything of the consecrated gift be lost” (On Exodus 13.3)

Comparison 5 principle Sees 4 apostles, 1 evangelist

Peter- Rome

Andrew- Constantinople

James the Lesser- Jerusalem

John (take over for Peter) – Antioch

Mark the Evangelist- Alexandria linked John Chrysostom beautiful Eastern liturgies

[1] Texts from Lawrence J. Johnson, Worship in the Early Church: An Anthology of Historical Sources, Vol.1 (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2009), 112-145. On Tertullian and the Eucharist see Patout Burns and Robin Jensen, Christianity in Roman Africa: The Development of Its Practices and Beliefs (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2014), 234-245.

[2] Letters from Saint Cyprian: Letters, trans. Rose Bernard Donna (Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1964); other texts from Saint Cyprian: Treatises, trans. Roy DeFerrari (Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1958). On Cyprian’s textual tradition see, On the Church: Select Treatises, trans. Allen Brent (New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2006), 41-44.


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