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Author Topic: Eucharistic theology: RCC vs. EOC  (Read 1264 times) Average Rating: 0
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Wyatt
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« on: November 08, 2010, 12:17:28 PM »

I know what the RCC teaches regarding the Holy Eucharist but I was wanting to get the EO perspective as well as I admittedly do not know much else about the EO view except for the use of leavened bread instead of unleavened (which even our Eastern Churches do). I was mainly wondering if the EO have the same teaching about the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ (the entire Christ) being fully present in each species, so if one simply ate the consecrated bread alone they would fully receive Christ, and if one only drank from the chalice they fully receive Christ? Or does the EOC teach that one has to receive both forms for the Communion to be complete?

Also, if anyone can think of any other differences in our Eucharistic theology please speak up. I would be interested in hearing them.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2010, 12:17:56 PM by Wyatt » Logged
ialmisry
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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2010, 02:39:09 PM »

I know what the RCC teaches regarding the Holy Eucharist but I was wanting to get the EO perspective as well as I admittedly do not know much else about the EO view except for the use of leavened bread instead of unleavened (which even our Eastern Churches do). I was mainly wondering if the EO have the same teaching about the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ (the entire Christ) being fully present in each species, so if one simply ate the consecrated bread alone they would fully receive Christ, and if one only drank from the chalice they fully receive Christ? Or does the EOC teach that one has to receive both forms for the Communion to be complete?

It is not a question of being "complete": Christ said "take! eat!...drink! all of you...."  That the whole of Christ is in each particule does not determine the issue. As the DL of St. John says at the Fraction "Divided and distributed is the Lamb of God, Who is divided yet not disunited; Who is ever eaten, yet never consumed, but sanctifies those who partake thereof.

In the DL of St. Gregory, something like the Latin "Dry Mass," a couple drops of the consecrated blood is placed on the Lamb to dry out. When He is communed, the Lamb is put in a chalice of wine and water.  Somewhere we have a thread debating whether the wine is changed or remains wine in the chalice (I lean to the latter, but the diffusion of the Lamb and its dried drops makes it mute).

Btw, the Armenians use unleavened bread, yet this has never developed into an issue with us (it has at times with the Syriac Orthodox, but that is long resolved).

I like the wording Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ in the Eucharist, although I think it is only recently coined.

I am not decided (as if I matter) on whether the Essence of the Son comes in the Eucharist, or His energies. I lean to the former (the idea popped into my head at DL yesterday that the Essence of the Persons comes to us in the grace of the Holy Mysteries, while the energies come to us in blessings like Holy Water). I don't know if that would pass the muster of St. Palamas. Fr. Ambrose? Fr. George?.....

Quote
Also, if anyone can think of any other differences in our Eucharistic theology please speak up. I would be interested in hearing them.
I looked into "Byzantine Worship" yesterday: in the service that was created for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament for the Melkites who submitted to the Vatican, it is specified that the Host is and remains veiled during the service. No exposition.  In giving justification for the service, it noted that Orthodox Eucharist focused on the dynamic act of communing, whereas Latin practice had elevated a static presence.  Archb. Raya's words, not mine, but I think it encapsulates a truth on the matter.

Other big issues would be our giving communion to infants, and your giving communion to those not confirmed.
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« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2010, 03:21:41 PM »


I like the wording Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ in the Eucharist, although I think it is only recently coined.


This one goes back at least to St. Symeon the New Theologian, and I first discovered its ancient origins in Archbishop Basil's "In the Light of Christ"...

Am very happy to hear that it rings true for you.

M.
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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2010, 03:28:38 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Aside from several stylistic, cultural and historic differences in the Mass of Roman Catholic rite and of the Orthodox, the only Christological differences are in regards the Real Presence.

In the Roman tradition of the Transubstantiation, there is a precise, almost mathematical moment at which the consecrated bread and wine become the Host, and that as any time before the moment they are mere bread and wine, and after the moment they become the Deified Flesh and Blood of Our Lord.  However this to my understanding, at least in the Oriental Orthodox tradition is completely foreign to Orthodox.  From the very moment the bells ring and announce the entrance of the Lamb(the Bread and Wine) from Bethlehem (the kitchen-ish portion where the Bread and Wine are prepared for consecration) these Offerings are considered sacred, venerable and iconic of the true Blood and Body of Christ.  Therefore it is obligated that Christians yield all due reverence and respect to this entire Mass, from beginning to end, where as in Roman Tradition of Transubstantiation the sacred moments come after the moment of the True Presence.  In the Roman Mass there is a single moment when the Real Presence is known, where as in Orthodox the entire Mass is indeed a process of the Mystery.  That is another debate entirely, the doctrines of Transubstantiation attempt at times to describe the economy of how Offerings become the Real Presence, where as Orthodox never attempts to explain or describe, we call it what it remains, a Mystery to be experienced, not understood.

This difference, while seemingly insignificant, reflects an entirely difference sentiment and perspective about Liturgical services at a fundamental level, where after Vatican II many Catholics might even see Orthodox Mass as a bit superstitious, and Orthodox might see some Catholic Masses as recklessly irreverent!  In this way, this debate has a bit more grounding something readily understandable then say the debate over "two-natures" where both Romans and Orthodox equally confess an "undivided, perfectly unified" Body of Christ, and still we clash over linguistic analyses..

Stay Blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2010, 03:53:01 PM »

^ I still don't see how the concept of transubstantiation explains the "how". All the doctrine teaches is that the sacred elements, while maintaining the outward appearance of bread and wine, become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. This doesn't explain how such a thing happens. All we know is that in some mysterious way, the Holy Spirit accomplishes this transubstantiation.

And further, I don't see how this is any different from the Eastern Orthodox doctrine on the change either.
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« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2010, 03:58:51 PM »

And further, I don't see how this is any different from the Eastern Orthodox doctrine on the change either.

Pat. Dositheus agrees with you, though he did have Roman Catholic leanings...  angel
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« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2010, 04:08:02 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Aside from several stylistic, cultural and historic differences in the Mass of Roman Catholic rite and of the Orthodox, the only Christological differences are in regards the Real Presence.

In the Roman tradition of the Transubstantiation, there is a precise, almost mathematical moment at which the consecrated bread and wine become the Host, and that as any time before the moment they are mere bread and wine, and after the moment they become the Deified Flesh and Blood of Our Lord.

You are repeating an old canard that has no real bearing on the actual teaching of the Church.  There was the question of what would be the minimum requirement...in the Latin rite...for consecration to occur and that would be the words of initiation.  But that is not taught formally.  It was simply the answer to an inquiry.

The formal teaching is that the entire complex of the liturgy of the Eucharist brings forth the real presence of our Lord and that the Liturgy of the Eucharist is embedded in the entire Liturgy in the company of the Assembly of the Faithful.

So you might want to back off your assertion a bit in the interest of accuracy...if you want to do so that is.  I don't know that accuracy is necessary for salvation  Smiley...but it is helpful in the process of really sharing what we believe and are taught.

M.
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« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2010, 04:19:02 PM »

I believe that the RC formula of "body, blood, soul and divinity" comes
in with Trent - which of course means that the concept was found in the Church
of Rome much earlier too, but perhaps never expressed so concisely.


Catholic Orthodox Saints such as John of Damascus taught --long long before Trent --
that the "bread is united with the divinity."

Let's look at a few references.

1) The first major one we find is Saint Irenaeus of Lyons who wrote that the
"Logos enters the holy Bread" but I cannot find the reference. Anybody know
the reference? Irenaeus is fully correct in his incarnational theology.


2) "On the Orthodox Faith" by St John of Damascus Chapter 13.

Concerning the holy and immaculate Mysteries of the Lord.

"The bread and the wine are not merely figures of the body and blood of
Christ (God forbid!) but the deified body of the Lord itself...

"Wherefore with all fear and a pure conscience and certain faith let us draw
near and it will assuredly be to us as we believe, doubting nothing. Let us
worship it in all purity both of soul and body: for it is twofold. Let us
draw near to it with an ardent desire, and with our hands held in the form
of the cross let us receive the body of the Crucified One: and let us apply
our eyes and lips and brows and partake of the divine coal, in order that
the fire of the longing, that is in us, with the additional heat derived
from the coal may utterly consume our sins and illumine our hearts, and that
we may be inflamed and deified by the participation in the divine fire.
Isaiah saw the coal. But coal is not plain wood but wood united with fire:
in like manner also the bread of the communion is not plain bread but bread
united with divinity."

N.B. ***"Not plain bread but bread united with divinity"****


3) Saint Symeon the New Theologian:

"The grace of the Spirit, also called the fire of the Deity, belongs to our
God and Savior by nature, essentially. But his Body does not have the
same origin, for it comes from the holy and all-pure flesh of the Theotokos,
from her all-spotless blood. In assuming it from her, He made it into His
own....Ever since then, the Son of God and of the All-pure imparts to the
saints, that which proceeds from the **nature and the essence** of his
co-eternal Father, the grace of the Spirit, that is, **divinity**; and
from the nature and essence of her who really gave birth to Him, He gives
them the Flesh which He assumed from her."

"Forgiveness of sin and participation in life are bestowed on us not only in
the bread and wine of communion, but in *the divinity* which attends them
and **mysteriously mingles with them without confusion** ...If Christ is
God, His holy flesh is no longer mere flesh, but flesh and God inseparable
and yet without confusion visible in the flesh, that is, the bread, to the
bodily eyes. In His divinity He is invisible to the eyes of the body but is
perceived with the eyes of the soul."


4) The Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs on the Orthodox Faith (as the
Confession of Dositheus became more widely known after it was sent to the
Anglicans fifty years after its 1672 adoption) states:

"We believe that in this sacred rite our Lord Jesus Christ is present
not symbolically (typikos), not figuratively (eikonikos), not by an
abundance of grace, as in the other Mysteries, not by a simple descent, as
certain Fathers say about Baptism, and not through a 'penetration' of the
bread, so that the Divinity of the Word should 'enter' into the bread
offered for the Eucharist, as the followers of Luther explain it rather
awkwardly and unworthily - but truly and actually, so that after the
sanctification of the bread and wine, the bread is changed,
transubstantiated, converted, transformed, into the actual true Body of the
Lord, which was born in Bethlehem of the Ever-Virgin, was baptized in the
Jordan, suffered, was buried, resurrected, ascended, sits at the right hand
of God the Father, and is to appear in the clouds of heaven; and the wine is
changed and transubstantiated into the actual true Blood of the Lord, which
at the time of His suffering on the Cross was shed for the life of the
world. Yet again, we believe that after the sanctification of the bread and
wine there remains no longer the bread and wine themselves, but the very
Body and Blood of the Lord, under the appearance of bread and wine." Thus
the Lord is in the Eucharist with **all His being,** and He is in each and
every particle, down to the tiniest. He does not depart after the time of
Communion, or at any time, so that the Body and Blood revert to their former
nature. The Holy Mysteries of the Eucharist should be given the same
worship and honor which we would give to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. "

5) This is from the writings of the Greek theologian Dyobouniotes:--

"The belief of the Church is further manifested in the reverence and
**worship of the Eucharist as such, independently of Communion.** The
faithful pay worship to the Holy Gifts after they have been consecrated, by
virtue of the Presence of our Lord, abiding under the form of bread and
wine. This worship belongs to the Consecrated Elements not abstractly but
concretely in their union with the Person of the Word of God.

"As the human nature of our Lord is an object of worship not as
regarded in itself, abstractly, but by virtue of the hypostatic union,
so the Holy Gifts are worshipped because they are the God-man, His Presence
with *soul and Divinity*, in every particle of the Consecrated
Elements.

"The Risen Christ, into whose Body and Blood the Elements are
transmuted, never dies, having a spiritual and glorified Body undivided
from His Blood. In the Eucharist He is present with all His constituent
elements, His *soul and His Divinity*, Body and Blood undivided."


6) Fr Michael Pomazansky's "Orthodox Dogmatic Theology":--

"Although the bread and wine are transformed in the Mystery into the Body
and Blood of the Lord, He is present in this Mystery with all His being,
that is, with His soul and with His very Divinity, which is inseparably
united to His humanity.

"... those who receive Communion receive the entire Christ in His being,
that is, in His soul and Divinity, as perfect God and perfect man."

"... to the Holy Mysteries of the Eucharist there should be given the same
honour and worship that we are obliged to give to the Lord Jesus Christ
Himself."

Father Irish Hermit

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« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2010, 04:22:19 PM »

I believe that the RC formula of "body, blood, soul and divinity" comes
in with Trent - which of course means that the concept was found in the Church
of Rome much earlier too, but perhaps never expressed so concisely.


Catholic Orthodox Saints such as John of Damascus taught --long long before Trent --
that the "bread is united with the divinity."

Let's look at a few references.

1) The first major one we find is Saint Irenaeus of Lyons who wrote that the
"Logos enters the holy Bread" but I cannot find the reference. Anybody know
the reference? Irenaeus is fully correct in his incarnational theology.


2) "On the Orthodox Faith" by St John of Damascus Chapter 13.

Concerning the holy and immaculate Mysteries of the Lord.

"The bread and the wine are not merely figures of the body and blood of
Christ (God forbid!) but the deified body of the Lord itself...

"Wherefore with all fear and a pure conscience and certain faith let us draw
near and it will assuredly be to us as we believe, doubting nothing. Let us
worship it in all purity both of soul and body: for it is twofold. Let us
draw near to it with an ardent desire, and with our hands held in the form
of the cross let us receive the body of the Crucified One: and let us apply
our eyes and lips and brows and partake of the divine coal, in order that
the fire of the longing, that is in us, with the additional heat derived
from the coal may utterly consume our sins and illumine our hearts, and that
we may be inflamed and deified by the participation in the divine fire.
Isaiah saw the coal. But coal is not plain wood but wood united with fire:
in like manner also the bread of the communion is not plain bread but bread
united with divinity."

N.B. ***"Not plain bread but bread united with divinity"****


3) Saint Symeon the New Theologian:

"The grace of the Spirit, also called the fire of the Deity, belongs to our
God and Savior by nature, essentially. But his Body does not have the
same origin, for it comes from the holy and all-pure flesh of the Theotokos,
from her all-spotless blood. In assuming it from her, He made it into His
own....Ever since then, the Son of God and of the All-pure imparts to the
saints, that which proceeds from the **nature and the essence** of his
co-eternal Father, the grace of the Spirit, that is, **divinity**; and
from the nature and essence of her who really gave birth to Him, He gives
them the Flesh which He assumed from her."

"Forgiveness of sin and participation in life are bestowed on us not only in
the bread and wine of communion, but in *the divinity* which attends them
and **mysteriously mingles with them without confusion** ...If Christ is
God, His holy flesh is no longer mere flesh, but flesh and God inseparable
and yet without confusion visible in the flesh, that is, the bread, to the
bodily eyes. In His divinity He is invisible to the eyes of the body but is
perceived with the eyes of the soul."


4) The Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs on the Orthodox Faith (as the
Confession of Dositheus became more widely known after it was sent to the
Anglicans fifty years after its 1672 adoption) states:

"We believe that in this sacred rite our Lord Jesus Christ is present
not symbolically (typikos), not figuratively (eikonikos), not by an
abundance of grace, as in the other Mysteries, not by a simple descent, as
certain Fathers say about Baptism, and not through a 'penetration' of the
bread, so that the Divinity of the Word should 'enter' into the bread
offered for the Eucharist, as the followers of Luther explain it rather
awkwardly and unworthily - but truly and actually, so that after the
sanctification of the bread and wine, the bread is changed,
transubstantiated, converted, transformed, into the actual true Body of the
Lord, which was born in Bethlehem of the Ever-Virgin, was baptized in the
Jordan, suffered, was buried, resurrected, ascended, sits at the right hand
of God the Father, and is to appear in the clouds of heaven; and the wine is
changed and transubstantiated into the actual true Blood of the Lord, which
at the time of His suffering on the Cross was shed for the life of the
world. Yet again, we believe that after the sanctification of the bread and
wine there remains no longer the bread and wine themselves, but the very
Body and Blood of the Lord, under the appearance of bread and wine." Thus
the Lord is in the Eucharist with **all His being,** and He is in each and
every particle, down to the tiniest. He does not depart after the time of
Communion, or at any time, so that the Body and Blood revert to their former
nature. The Holy Mysteries of the Eucharist should be given the same
worship and honor which we would give to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. "

5) This is from the writings of the Greek theologian Dyobouniotes:--

"The belief of the Church is further manifested in the reverence and
**worship of the Eucharist as such, independently of Communion.** The
faithful pay worship to the Holy Gifts after they have been consecrated, by
virtue of the Presence of our Lord, abiding under the form of bread and
wine. This worship belongs to the Consecrated Elements not abstractly but
concretely in their union with the Person of the Word of God.

"As the human nature of our Lord is an object of worship not as
regarded in itself, abstractly, but by virtue of the hypostatic union,
so the Holy Gifts are worshipped because they are the God-man, His Presence
with *soul and Divinity*, in every particle of the Consecrated
Elements.

"The Risen Christ, into whose Body and Blood the Elements are
transmuted, never dies, having a spiritual and glorified Body undivided
from His Blood. In the Eucharist He is present with all His constituent
elements, His *soul and His Divinity*, Body and Blood undivided."


6) Fr Michael Pomazansky's "Orthodox Dogmatic Theology":--

"Although the bread and wine are transformed in the Mystery into the Body
and Blood of the Lord, He is present in this Mystery with all His being,
that is, with His soul and with His very Divinity, which is inseparably
united to His humanity.

"... those who receive Communion receive the entire Christ in His being,
that is, in His soul and Divinity, as perfect God and perfect man."

"... to the Holy Mysteries of the Eucharist there should be given the same
honour and worship that we are obliged to give to the Lord Jesus Christ
Himself."

Father Irish Hermit


So consubstantion or not?
« Last Edit: November 08, 2010, 04:23:24 PM by Papist » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2010, 04:42:04 PM »


So consubstantion or not?


Both impanation and consubstantiation are a part of the rich diversity of patristic tradition as we see in the teachings above.  The emphasis on transubstantiation has emerged as the strongest emphasis in the last 400 years. 

I cannot think of where transubstantiation has a patristic expression but it emerges in some synodal statements from the 16th century on as Orthodoxy encountered the Catholic vs. Protestant battles of the Reformation in Western Europe.  But it would not be wrong, IMHO, to maintain any (or ALL!!) of the patristic attempts/suggestions as to the mechanics.  The important thing is to maintain the reality of the Eucharistic presence of Jesus Christ, whether it is in or alongside the elements or whether it totally destroys their essence.
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« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2010, 04:50:29 PM »

To me transubstantiation makes the most sense. Christ just said "This is My Body" and "This is My Blood." He did not say "This is my Body alongside the bread" and "This is my Blood alongside the wine." Jesus clearly and simply indicates what the Eucharist is. It is His Body and Blood. I don't see how transubstantiation vs. consubstantiation is really a debate on mechanics so much as it is a debate on what we actually believe the Eucharist is. Either we believe it is truly and fully the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ or we believe that it is fully Him but it is still simultaneously bread and wine. To me there seems to be a bigger case for transubstantiation which you can see just by looking at the Words of Institution.
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« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2010, 04:52:24 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Aside from several stylistic, cultural and historic differences in the Mass of Roman Catholic rite and of the Orthodox, the only Christological differences are in regards the Real Presence.

In the Roman tradition of the Transubstantiation, there is a precise, almost mathematical moment at which the consecrated bread and wine become the Host, and that as any time before the moment they are mere bread and wine, and after the moment they become the Deified Flesh and Blood of Our Lord.

You are repeating an old canard that has no real bearing on the actual teaching of the Church.  There was the question of what would be the minimum requirement...in the Latin rite...for consecration to occur and that would be the words of initiation.  But that is not taught formally.  It was simply the answer to an inquiry.

The formal teaching is that the entire complex of the liturgy of the Eucharist brings forth the real presence of our Lord and that the Liturgy of the Eucharist is embedded in the entire Liturgy in the company of the Assembly of the Faithful.

So you might want to back off your assertion a bit in the interest of accuracy...if you want to do so that is.  I don't know that accuracy is necessary for salvation  Smiley...but it is helpful in the process of really sharing what we believe and are taught.

M.

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Blessed Love for the appropriate correction, ini is not a practicing Catholic and so I am not exactly an expert, nonetheless I felt it nice to contribute to the discussion, and in your contribution have found the fruits of edification and clarification.  Much thanks to the-I for such gifts of the Spirit Smiley

It was explained to me by some practicing Catholics that at prayer of the "Words of the Institution" is the moment of exact "transubstantiation" and that only after that moment can the Offering rightfully be declared to be the Blood and Body.  Further, my parish priest explained to me that in Orthodox this is not the case, and that we have  no such doctrines as "Words of Institution" or concept of "transubstantiation"..

In regards to mathematical precision or doctrines of explanation of the mechanisms of transubstantiation, I have read some Catholic Fathers get rather eloquent in their explanations theologically of this process, using fine and poetic language, where as I have not really come across the same kinds of discussions amongst the Orthodox Church Fathers.  I am glad for the clarification regarding Roman traditions, as I am one who prayers earnestly for reconciliation, and I am always troubled by the sectarian divisions within this Body of Christ, and as we have open and expressive dialogue, we continue to understand that we have very few functional differences.  For example, I have met many Catholics who grew up in an environment that almost demonized Orthodox doctrines as "monophysite" and were militantly Chalcedonian in their affirmations, and were in fact quite baffled to hear that we in Orthodox profess a Christ with two perfectly united Natures in One Person, as they had misunderstood from hearsay and theological gossip that we only profess a solitary nature.  They had believed all along that we did not acknowledge the human Person of Christ, and so were comfortably surprised and happy to see that we had such common ground, and I in the Orthodox persuasion had also always misheard that Catholics promoted a concept of distinction or separation within the Natures of Christ, and I was equally pleasantly surprised to hear Catholics use the words "undivided, unseparated" in regards to the Divinity and Humanity.  Dialogue is the solution to all the quarrels in the Church, as we let the Holy Spirit teach us the process of human reconciliation.

  The important thing is to maintain the reality of the Eucharistic presence of Jesus Christ, whether it is in or alongside the elements or whether it totally destroys their essence.
Amen Amen! this is the most crucially uniting (and unfortunately in regards to or Protestant brothers and sisters dividing) concepts in the Body of Christ!  We must all cling faithfully, Mysteriously to this understanding of the Real Presence, and we must dwell on the true and actual visiting of Christ to us and how it applies to the continuous process of salvation in our daily lives.

Props to you IrishHermit, you speak volumes of the truth with very few words


 
I like this discussion, very edifying Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2010, 05:01:34 PM »

This is a very interesting topic, and one of the few about which I actually know (or at least used to know before my brain went dead) a little about.  It's very difficult to specify and elaborate upon the deep differences between the Catholic and Orthodox Church on the Eucharist because the two traditions enjoy 2,000 years of history and embrace a diversity of both practice and theological reflection.  Who speaks for the Western tradition?  Ambrose? Augustine? Bonaventure? Aquinas? Karl Rahner? Louis Bouyer?  All of them together? Who speaks for the Eastern tradition?  Irenaeus? Gregory Nyssen? Theodore of Mopsuestia? Pseudo-Dionysius? Maximos the Confessor? Nicholas Cabasilas?  Dositheus? Alexander Schmemann?  All of them together?  It is no easy matter to state and contrast "Western" and "Eastern" views on the Holy Eucharist, not only because of the diversity that exists within each tradition but because the eucharistic faith of the Church is deeper and more vital than the theologies that seek to bring this faith to word. 

The common and shared faith in the Eucharist is, I think, easy to identify.  Catholics and Orthodox both confess the Eucharist to be "identical," in some mysterious way, with the sacrificial life, death, and resurrection of Christ.  Catholics and Orthodox both confess the Eucharistic bread and wine to be identical, in some mysterious way, with the Body and Blood of Christ.  On these two dogmatic points Catholics and Orthodox are one.  This is no small matter and should not be diminished or depreciated.

But questions remain, and contributors in this thread have already identified a few:

(1) In the Western Church the practice developed of eucharistic adoration outside of the Eucharistic liturgy, whereas no such practice developed within the Eastern Church.  Does does difference in praxis point to a real and deep difference in faith?  Clearly both Churches believe that the bread and wine truly become the true, real, and adorable Body and Blood of the Lord.  Neither Church believes that this identification ceases when the Blessed Sacrament is reserved.  Yet for whatever reasons, the Blessed Sacrament never became an extra-liturgical focal point of devotion and adoration in the East.  The interesting question is, why?   Historians and theologians have offered numerous speculations.  Well here's my speculation:  the cult of the Blessed Sacrament arose in the West but not in the East because the cult of icons, nonexistent in the West, amply fulfilled the devotional needs of Eastern Christians.   

(2) In the Western Church theologians became preoccupied, excessively preoccupied many Western theologians would now admit, with the question, when does the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ?  As we know, this question became a matter of debate between Western and Eastern theologians in the second millennium.  Contemporary Orthodox theologians (and here I am thinking especially of Schmemann) have argued that the question of "when" is meaningless within the Eastern understanding.  Maybe so ... but please then explain to me the passage in Cabasilas's commentary on the Divine Liturgy in which he explains that the prostrations made during the Great Entrance must not be interpreted as acts of adoration because the Holy Gifts have not yet become the Body and Blood:

Quote
If any of those who prostrate themselves thus before the priest who is carrying the offerings adores them as if they were the Body and Blood of Christ, and prays to them as such, he is led into error, he is confusing this ceremony with that of "the entry of the Presanctified", not recognizing the differences between them. In this entry of the offerings, the gifts are not yet consecrated for the sacrifice; in the liturgy of the Presanctified they are consecrated and sanctified, the true Body and Blood of Christ.

It would appear that the question of "when" is inevitable and meaningful within both the Eastern and Western traditions.  The question may be ill-posed--and indeed I think it is, because we are speaking here not of a historical but an eschatological reality--but clearly both Eastern and Western Christians, compelled not just by excessive curiosity but devotional need, have posed the question and do pose the question and find themselves offering similar kinds of answers.   




 
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elijahmaria
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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2010, 05:24:23 PM »

I am loving this whole thread and ALL of the contributions and their respective contributors!!  Smiley Smiley Smiley

You have closed my mouth for a change...a cool change I might add!!

M.
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HabteSelassie
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« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2010, 09:04:06 PM »



But questions remain, and contributors in this thread have already identified a few:

(1)   Well here's my speculation:  the cult of the Blessed Sacrament arose in the West but not in the East because the cult of icons, nonexistent in the West, amply fulfilled the devotional needs of Eastern Christians.   

(2)  Contemporary Orthodox theologians (and here I am thinking especially of Schmemann) have argued that the question of "when" is meaningless within the Eastern understanding. 
 

(1) I like this idea, it seems very much understandable, especially considering the experiences of the Protestant tradition where the lack of Icons and the Real Presence, the community reoriented itself around absolute and complete veneration of the Scriptures as the Sacramental Visitation of God in our presence.  In removing the iconography, all the remained in Protestantism to "amply fulfill the devotional needs" of Protestant Christians is a complete and absolute faith (perhaps as strongly as we in Orthodox "believe and confess to your last breath that This (Bread and Wine) is truly the Blood and Body of Christ") believe the only way in which God authoritatively operates within our lives is through the Bible and the Bible alone.

(2) Exactly as my priest and also the Bishops explained to me in the Tewahedo tradition, they described that in the context of the Mystery of Real Presence, that it could not be said that at any point in the Mass was a moment of "transformation" of the Gifts into the Blood and Wine, and that even to meditate on such a thing as 'when' is as you pointed out, "meaningless"

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10
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