The Eucharist

The Eucharist is a sacrament that commemorates the Last Supper. Most, but not all, Christians celebrate this sacrament. The most important elements of the Eucharist are the bread and wine.

Bread and wine are important elements of the Eucharist

There are many very different Christian beliefs about the significance of the bread and wine in the Eucharist:

  • Transubstantiation - Roman Catholics believe that during the Eucharist (which they call Holy Communion) the bread and wine are transformed into the actual flesh and blood of Jesus Christ.
  • Commemoration - Some Christians believe that the Eucharist is a re-enactment of the Last Supper. The bread and wine are seen as emblems of Jesus’ sacrifice.
  • Symbolic - Baptists believe that the bread and wine are symbols that can be used to bring people together as a community. Baptists use non-alcoholic wine and the bread is offered from person to person.
  • Mystical - Orthodox Christians believe that Jesus is mystically present in the bread and wine.
  • Consubstantiation - Church of England Christians believe that the bread and wine contain Jesus’ spiritual presence but do not literally transform into his body and blood (transubstantiation).
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Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians place more importance on the bread and wine and celebrate the Eucharist more often than other denominations. They see the Eucharist as an essential way of sustaining their relationship with God.
Question

What do Catholic Christians believe about the bread and wine in the Eucharist?

They believe that it is transubstantiated. This means that although it appears the same, it has miraculously become the body and blood of Jesus.