The Eucharist

The Eucharist, also known as Holy Communion, is a sacrament that commemorates the Last Supper. Not all Christians celebrate this sacrament.

The most important element of the Eucharist is the bread and the wine, but there are varying beliefs about the roles of these items.

Bread and wine is an important element of the Eucharist
  • Belief 1 - Catholics believe that the bread and the wine become the actual flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. This belief is known as transubstantiation.
  • Belief 2 - Some Christians believe that the Holy Communion is a re-enactment or commemoration of the Last Supper. The bread and wine are seen as symbolic of Jesus’ death.
  • Belief 3 - Baptists believe the bread and wine are symbols that can be used to bring people together as a community. They use non-alcoholic wine and the bread is offered from person to person.
  • Belief 4 - Orthodox Christians believe that Jesus is mystically present in the bread and wine.
  • Belief 5 - Church of England Christians believe that the bread and wine hold the spiritual presence of the body and blood of Jesus but do not become it.

Catholic and Orthodox Eucharist

Catholics and Orthodox Christians, who place more importance on the bread and wine than other denominations, hold Eucharists more often than other denominations, such as Methodists. This is because they see it as an essential way of sustaining their relationship with God.

Catholics are given bread by the priest and wine from a shared cup, whereas Orthodox Christians take the bread and wine from the same spoon.

Question

What do Orthodox Christians believe about the bread and wine?

Jesus is mystically present in it.