Eucharist in the Early Church



Q. Did the Christians in the first three centuries believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist?

A. Yes. They certainly did!

110 AD–St. Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of the Apostle John wrote  :

“They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ. Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness, raised up again.” (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6,2)

“I desire the Bread of God, which is the Flesh of Jesus Christ…and for drink I desire His Blood, which is love incorruptible.” (Letter to the Romans 7,3)

150 AD–St Justin Martyr wrote to the Emperor of Rome :

“We call this food Eucharist; and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true…For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is both the Flesh and the Blood of that incarnated Jesus” (First Apology 66,20 )

180 ADSt. Irenaeus, was the bishop of Lyons, France and a student of St. Polycarp who sat at the feet of the Apostle John. St. Irenaeus wrote  :

“He (Jesus) has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be His own Blood, from which He causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, He has established as His own Body, from which He gives increase to our bodies.” (Against Heresies, 5,2,2 )

350 AD St Cyril of Jerusalem, in a teaching to those coming into the Church wrote :

Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the Body and Blood of Christ.” (Catechetical Lectures:(Mystagogic 4) 22,6 )

Thus we see that the Christian Church, at the very beginning of its history taught and believed that the bread and wine of communion was transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ in fulfillment of Jesus’ discourse on the Bread From Heaven in John 6 and the plain sense of His words at the institution of Communion at the Last Supper. “This is My Body” This is My Blood”

This is the same Church that Jesus founded on Peter and the Apostles.

This is the same church that Jesus promised the Gates of Hell would never overcome.

This is the same Church that chose the books of the Bible out of all the other books floating around the ancient world, at the end of the fourth century.

This is the same Church that was called Catholic at least as early as 110 AD.

This is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Ancient, but ever young.

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6 Responses

  1. That was beautiful. I would like to thank you for taking the time to research those Quotes and too make them available. Writings like these help strengthen my faith, Thank you.

  2. We Quote the bible, and we are accused of misquoting.
    We quote Jesus own words, and were accused of mistranslating.
    We Quote the early church fathers, who were thought by the disciples themselves, and we’re accused of being unbiblical, and bible haters,
    I thought the truth would set you free, is so.
    why was Jesus Christ crucified?
    Justin Martyr killed, and the church still being prosecuted?

  3. Should we not ignore the teaching that contradict the bible?

    putting the bible in context is why we quote Justin Martyer, and the early church fathers,

    I guess the better question would be, is there some thing that Justin Martyer or any early church father believed, that is biblical and in the right context, but Catholics are ignoring?

    but that question is probably another web page,
    The question on this page is, did the early church fathers believe or not in the real presence, if they did not, that please quote them if you can, so we can put Jesus words into context

    “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'” (Mt. 26:26-28)

    And yes anybody can quote the bible, as did Hitler and the devil, but what makes a protestant interpretation better than a catholic, So I agree that context is the key to unlock this debate, but saying that Catholics are out of context is not the solution, since Catholics will say the same thing about protestant, and they will both give biblical quotes to support there views,

    So reading the early church fathers should help put the bible into right context. I am not going to argue if Justin Martyer is a good philosopher or not. Is there another early church father that did not believe in the real presence please let me know, (regardless if he was a good philosopher or not).

    Also if you can not, then Paul biblical quote only makes sense if there is a real presence.

    1 Cor 11:27 “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the Body and Blood of the Lord.”

    How can you be guilty of profaning, if it is just a symbolic presence or a remembrance of Jesus passion,

  4. Yes Jesus was a victim who was crucified for our sins,
    Jesus is the Lamb of God,

    In the ancient days, when the Jewish priest had killed the last lamb of the Passover, he uttered the Hebrew word Kalah, “it is finished.” Moments before He died on the Cross, Jesus said, Jn 19:30 Kalah (it is finished).

    Jesus was pre-figured in the original Passover, when God commanded that Moses tell the Israelites, Ex 12:5-6 “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male … the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs in the evening,” as Jesus the Lamb of God was crucified in dim light.

    Pasch or pesach in Hebrew means “he passed over.” The paschal lamb recalls the lamb that was sacrificed that its blood might be daubed on the doorposts of every Jewish home, and its body eaten in every Jewish home, that the angel of death might know it as a household of the faithful and pass over.

    . The term “bread from heaven” becomes fully clear only when we reach the Revelation to John. The Gospels Christ said at Capernaum. Jn 6:51 “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is My Flesh.”

    he Jews knew that He was speaking literally. Jn 6:52 “How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?” On other occasions when our Lord spoke of Himself as a Jn 10:9 “door” or a Jn 15:1 “vine,” nobody said, “How can this man be made of wood?” or “How can this man be a plant?” They recognized these as metaphors. But when Jesus insisted, Jn 6:53 “Unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you; he who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood has eternal life.” The Jews who heard this said, Jn 6:60 “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”

  5. you are the biggest pack of idiots. Everyone knows that religion was a conspiracy made by the communists trying to take over the world

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