top of page
Image by Greg Rosenke

The Sacrament of the Holy Communion

I. Definition & Names

        1. This is the crowning service of the Christian Church, the culmination of Christian worship, the summit of Christian experience where devout believers hold intimate communion with their living Lord. The church, through the ages, has regarded this sacrament as the supreme act of communal worship.

        2. Through this sacrament, we eat the blessed flesh of our Lord and drink His precious blood under the form of bread and wine.

      3. It is called:
         - The Holy Communion.

         - The Lord’s Table.

         - The Flesh and Blood of Christ.

         - The Eucharist.

II. Types in the Old Testament

1. The offerings which Melchisedec offered. “And Melchisedec king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the Priest of the most high God.” (Gen. 14:18). Our Lord is said to be “a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 5:6,10; 7:17).

2. The Passover, which the children of Israel offered on the night of their exodus from Egypt, and which was celebrated annually. “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” (1 Cor. 5:7). “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29).

3. The "Manna" which Israel ate in the wilderness for forty years. “Moses gave you, not that bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.” (John 6:32). “This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.” (John 6:50).

III. Institution of the Sacrament

        It pleased our Lord to institute this sacrament on a very momentous occasion, during the Passover feast, and directly before His crucifixion, as a new covenant in His blood. “The Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Cor. 11:23-25).

IV. The Visible Sign

         The visible signs in this sacrament are the bread and wine, and the service of the mass, especially the prayers through which the Holy Spirit descends upon the bread and wine, transforming them into the body and blood of the Lord.

1. The bread should be made of pure wheat and should be leavened, symbolizing the sacrament's institution during the period when leavened bread was used by the Jews.

2. The wine should be pure, the fruit of the vine, and mixed with water, symbolizing the blood and water that flowed from Jesus’ side, and representing the true vine's blood.

V. The Invisible Grace

          This sacrament imparts the grace of partaking in the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, providing spiritual nourishment, remission of sins, abiding in Christ and He in us, fostering holy fellowship with Christ, the Church, and the heavenly hosts, granting true life in this world and the promise of eternal life.

VI. The Change of Bread & Wine

         We believe that, through prayer, the bread and wine are spiritually transformed into the actual body and blood of Christ. This change is not merely symbolic or memorial but a real presence of Christ in the sacrament.

VII. The Holy Communion as a Sacrifice

         The Holy Communion is regarded as an unbloody sacrifice, offered for our salvation, a continuation of the sacrifice on the Cross, but in an unbloody manner. It is a sacrifice offered to God for the living and the dead, affirming the unity of the Church and the efficacy of Christ's sacrifice.

VIII. Who Has the Right to Celebrate this Sacrament

        The right to celebrate the Holy Communion was given by Christ to the Apostles and, through apostolic succession, to the bishops and priests. The deacons assist in the service, but only bishops and priests can consecrate the elements.

IX. Who Has the Right to Partake of the Holy Communion

        All baptized persons are entitled to partake in the Holy Communion. Preparation through self-examination, confession, and penance is essential to receive the sacrament worthily. It emphasizes the necessity of both the body and blood of Christ for the believers, underscoring the unity and the life-giving grace of the sacrament.

Rev. Marcos Daoud, The Orthodox Church Sacraments,
Tinsae Ze Gubae Printing

bottom of page