The Eucharist has always been a matter of division and contradiction in Christianity. As a result of these variations in both doctrine and practice Eucharist has been the central issue of discussion and deliberation of the ecumenical movement. This paper discusses and elaborates that the conception of Eucharist divides more than it unites.
Earlier Christians used it as the synonym of Hebrew term berakkhah, meaning "a blessing". As the Christians opened the gates of vernacular versions, the terms were being translated into other languages in a sense to convey the restricted thoughts of the church rather then exact meanings, the term "Eucharist" also got effected and was restricted to the specific meaning of the ritual of the bread and wine1. Among the different churches, it is known by other names as well, such as, the Lord's Supper, Holy Communion, the Divine Liturgy, the mass, the blood sacrament or simply as sacrament2.
As we look at the history of church, in early period there were not much scientific discussions going on , rather the major move in those times was when the shift of the authority of Church to the authority of the Bible. For Roman Catholics both the written and unwritten word of God was taken in authority with equal devotion. Written word was the Bible and unwritten was believed to be the tradition of the Church. For centuries the church remained content with a rough and ready arrangement of the canon but it could not live long. Tradition introduced the doctrines to believers and the scripture was used at the later stage to test and amplify those doctrines. After sharp discussions over it, the Council of Trent decided that the scripture and the traditions (divine and apostolic) are at the same level of authority, to be taken with equal devotion and veneration. But there were certain doctrines that were coming merely from the authority of traditions which became the object of reforming attack and Eucharist was one of them3.
In the beginning, the Holy Eucharist was held as an ordinary meal in Christian household which they adopted from the Judaic culture. By the 2nd century C.E. the practice of sharing the Eucharist became a traditional sacrament honored as both, a Sacrament and a Sacrifice in the commemoration of Jesus the Christ. Since then, Christians began to gather for Holy Eucharistic ritual. The Catholic Eucharistic prayer and the formal consecration of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ became the central features of this sacrament in proceeding centuries4.
The Middle-Ages is marked as the period of Dark Age in the Christian history. With the coming of Barbarians, the characteristics of earlier time began mingling and merging with the Barbarian. By the 800 C.E. the Pope at Rome got his control over the civil power and from there began the time when many doctrines sprang up. One of those doctrines understood to be developed by the western church was "transubstantiation" i.e. the doctrine that under the appearances of bread and wine, Jesus Christ is contained, offered, and received. The whole Christ is "really, truly, and substantially" present at the consecration of the elements of the Eucharist5.
Eucharist and Christian denominations
Eucharist is suspected to have been developed as part of the general doctrine of the sacraments. As we look behind in the history, the first full scale discussions over the issue in the Catholic west emerged out after 9th century and then it began to be celebrated.
The Roman Catholic Church is the largest single grouping in terms of numbers of adherents. For them Pope is the spiritual leader and have the authority. On the other hand, reformed churches are those whose separate ...
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