Malankara World

What Shall I Do To Be Saved?

By Rev. Dr. Curian Kaniyamparambil

Question 71. Why did the early Church take this stand?

There are four reasons:

1. Jesus Christ has asked us to do it compulsorily

2. St. Paul has written about it and about how we should receive it

3. The Early church had celebrated the Eucharist everyday

4. The leaders of the early church have written about it.

Didache- (AD 140) (Apostolic teachings): - " Let no one eat or drink of the Eucharist with you except those who have been baptized in the name of the Lord; for it was in reference to this that Lord said: 'Do not give that which is holy to dogs.' (6). 'On the Lord's day, gather together, break bread and give thanks after confessing your transgressions, so that your sacrifice may be pure." (8).

St. Ignatius (AD 110): - "so that you give ear to the bishop and to the presbytery with an undivided mind breaking one Bread, which is the medicine of immortality, the antidote against death, enabling us to live forever in Jesus Christ." (43)

St. Justin (AD 100-165) "We call this food Eucharist; and no one else is permitted to partake it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration, and is thereby living as Christ has enjoined. 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 made into the Eucharist by the Eucharist prayer set by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished is both the flesh and the blood of incarnated Jesus Christ. The Apostles, in the Memoirs which they produced, which are called Gospels, have thus passed on that which was enjoined upon them: that Jesus took bread and, having given thanks said, 'Do this in remembrance of Me; this is My Body' and in like manner, taking the cup, and having given thanks, He said 'This is my Blood.' And He imparted this to them only. The evil demons however have passed on its imitation in the mysteries of Mithra. For, as you know or are able to learn, bread and a cup of water together with certain incantations are used in the imitation of mystic rites On the day which is dedicated to sun, all those who live in the cities, or who dwell in the countryside gather in a common meeting, and for as there is time the Memoirs of the Apostles or the writing of the prophets are read. Then, when the reader has finished, the president verbally gives warning and appeal for the imitation of these good examples. Then we rise together and offer prayers and as we said before, when our prayer is ended, bread is brought forward along with wine and water and the president likewise gives thanks to the best of his ability, and people will call out their assent, saying Amen. Then there is distribution to each." Then offerings are taken. (128)

St. Irenaeus (AD 140-202) "He taught the new sacrifice of the new covenant, of which Malachi's, one of the twelve prophets, had signified beforehand" (Mal 1:10-11). (232). "For as the bread form the earth, receiving invocation of God, is no longer common bread but the Eucharist." (234) "If the Lord were from the other than Father, how could He rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be His body, and affirm that the mixture in the cup is His Blood." (240). "When therefore, the mixed cup and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist, The Body of Christ..., the Blood of the Lord." (249).

St. Clement of Alexandria 'Eat My Flesh,' He says 'drink my Blood.' The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutriments. He delivers over His Flesh, and pours out His Blood; and nothing is lacking for the growth of His children.

"O incredible mystery." (408). "The one, the Watered Wine, nourishes the faith, while the other, the Spirit, leads us on to immorality. The union of both however 'of the drink and of the Word' is called the Eucharist, a praiseworthy and excellent gift."

St. Cyprian: - "so that we are in Christ and daily receive the Eucharist as the food of salvation, may not by falling into some more grievous sin and then in abstaining from communicating, be withheld from the heavenly Bread and be separated form Christ's body. He Himself warns us saying, 'Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.' Therefore do we ask that our Bread, which is Christ, be given to us daily, so that we may abide and live in Christ may not withdraw form His sanctification and from His body." (559). "If Christ Jesus, our Lord and God, is Himself the High Priest of God the Father; and if He offered Himself as a sacrifice to the Father; and if He commanded that this be done in commemoration of Himself- then certainly the priest, who imitates that which Christ did, truly function in place of Christ." (584).

Eusebius Pamphilus:- "we have daily celebration of the memory of His Body and of His Blood, regarded as worthy of worship and as a sacrifice more sublime than those of antiquity." (664)

St. Aprem: - "Our Lord Jesus took in His hands what in the beginning was only a bread; and He blessed it and signed it, and made it holy in the name of the Father and in the name of the Spirit; and broke it and in his gracious kindness He distributed it to all His disciples one by one. He called the bread His living body, and did Himself fill with Himself and the Spirit. And extending His hand, He gave them the Bread which in His right hand had made holy: 'Take, all of you eat of this, which My word has made holy. Do not now regard as bread that which I have given you; but take, eat this Bread and do not scatter the crumbs; for what I have called My Body that it is indeed. One particle from its crumbs is able to sanctify thousands and thousands, and is sufficient to afford life to those who eat it. Take, eat entertaining no doubt of faith, because this is My Body, and whoever eats it in belief eats in it Fire and Spirit. But if any doubter eats of it, for him it will be only Bread. And whoever eats in belief the Bread made holy in My name, if he be pure, he will be preserved in his purity; and if he be a sinner, he will be forgiven.' But if any one despise it or reject it or treat it with ignominy, it may be taken as a certainty that he treats with ignominy the Son, who called it and actually made it to be His Body." (707)

St. Cyril of Jerusalem:- "having declared of the bread, 'This is my Body', who will dare any longer doubt. And when He Himself has affirmed and said, 'This is my Blood,' who can hesitate and say it is not His Blood?" Once in Cana of Galilee, He changed the water into wine, a thing related to blood; and is His changing of wine into Blood not credible? (843,844). " that by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, you might become united in body and blood with Him. For thus do we become Christ-bearers." (845)

We have seen from the previous questions that Jesus Christ established the breaking of the Eucharist and has asked the apostles to continue it, and also to give it to the believers till His Second Coming. But there are so many people who alter and twist the facts and propagate what they feel after reading the Bible.

I hope that the following writing from St. Cyril of Jerusalem will guide them. "Keep these traditions inviolate, and preserve yourselves from the offences. Do not cut yourselves off from Communion; do not deprive yourselves through the pollution of sins, of these Holy and Spiritual Mysteries. And may God of peace sanctify you completely; and may your body and soul (spirit) be preserved intact at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (853m)

TOC Section 1 (Q 1-26) | Section 2 (Q 27-56) | Section 3 (Q 57-81) | Previous Chapter | Next Chapter

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