The purpose of this paper is to investigate the state of Christian opinion
in reference to the Holy Eucharist during the interval between the end of the
Apostolic age and the beginning of the last persecution.
The ground has often been worked, but usually as a part of the larger field
of patristic teaching. There are reasons, as it appears to me, for handling
the Ante-Nicene evidence separately, at least in the first instance. Each age
offers its own interpretaion of the common faith, and each may justly claim
to be heard in turn, even if the law of continuity demands that judgement be
reserved until the whole of the evidence is before us. To quote in the same
sentence Justin and Cyril of Jerusalem, Irenaeus and Gregory of Nyssa, Tertullian
and Hilary, Cyprian and Augustine, as if their combined testimony represented
a constant tradition, is to ignore the great development of doctrine which
accompanied the conversion of the Empire and within a century carried primitive
conceptions many steps beyond the point reached before the Council of Nicaea.
Even Ante-Nicene writers manifest a marked progress in opinion, and we shall
have occasion to notice points of difference between the Eucharistic teaching
of the second century and that of the third; but the belief of the second and
third centuries is relatively homogeneous, so that it may properly form the
subject of a single inquiry. /162/
The evidence is fragmentary and incidental, yet upon the whole it is sufficient.
No treatise upon the Eucharist, no synodical decree upon matters connected
with it, no complete Eucharistic office or anaphora, has reached us
from the first three centuries. On the other hand information comes in considerable
abundance from many quarters, and in a variety of forms. It is contributed
by the Churches of West Syria and Asia Minor, Gaul and Italy, Egypt and North
Africa; it is conveyed through various channels in episcopal letters,
in apologies intended for the eye of the Pagan and the Jew, in treatises directed
against heresy, in homilies and commentaries, in Church handbooks and orders,
in sepulchral inscriptions and mural paintings. The manifoldness of the sources
reveals the interest which the subject has already awakened, and seems to guarantee
results fairly representative of the general belief of the Ante-Nicene Church.
I. It is evident that even at the outset of our period the Eucharist occupied
an unique position in Christian worship. Indeed it may be said to have from
the first absorbed all the elements of worship. Prayer, intercession, thanksgiving,
the reading of the Scriptures, the homily, the collection of alms, are associated
with it as with no other public office. At first there does not seem to have
been any other public office. The Agape was either subsidiary to the Eucharist,
or, if separated from it, was reduced to the character of a religious meal.
Vigil services, where they existed, appear to have served as a preparation
for the early Eucharist<note 2>. The stationes were
simple fasts, during which some of the faithful abstained even from the Eucharist<note
3>; the daily hours were unknown, though the Didache prescribes
the use of the Lord's Prayer three times a day in the private devotions of
the faithful<note 4>. When the Church met for common
worship, it came together to break the Eucharistic Bread. /163/
The great Christian service was known as the Eucharist, the Oblations or Oblation,
and the, Sacrifice. Each name has a suggestive history. ‘Eucharist’ clearly
had its origin in the thanksgivings or benedictions<note 5> pronounced
over the Bread and Cup. These simple acts of worship, in which our Lord followed
Jewish usage and possibly employed Jewish forms, were magnified by a fine Christian
instinct into a great Eucharistic Prayer, which included thanksgiving for the
fruits of the earth, and other gifts of creation<note 6>,
but above all for the Incarnation, the Redemption of the world, and the spiritual
endowments of the Church. The benediction which in the Jewish rite had been
incidental and secondary became central in the Christian service. The note
of praise predominated in the primitive liturgy; it was the weekly expression
of the new spirit of joy and thankfulness breathed into human life by the coming
of the Son and the Spirit. Before the time of Ignatius the name which properly
described the central prayer was transferred to the service as a whole<note
7>, while within the next half-century Justin already applied it to
the Food which had been eucharistically blessed<note 8>.
For the use of the word ‘Oblation’ in connexion with the Eucharist
there is yet earlier authority. When Clement of Rome speaks of the oblations
and gifts which it belongs to the presbyter's office to present, he doubtless
includes among them, as Lightfoot recognised<note 9>,
the Eucharistic prayer and elements<note 10>. /164/
The terms are suggested by the Levitical ritual, as the context shows; the
prayers and thanksgivings of the Church, and the material offerings which symbolised
the thankful rendering to God of His own gifts, were the προσφομαί of
the new Israel<note 11>.
‘Sacrifice’ as applied to the Eucharist may be traced with some
confidence to the Eucharistic interpretation of Malachi
1,11 ‘This [sacrifice],’ says the Didache, ‘is that
which was spoken of by the Lord, In every place and time offer Me a pure
sacrifice <note 12>’ Here θυσία καθαρά comes
from the LXX, and θυσία represents the meal
offering, as it does in nearly half the instances where it occurs in the canonical
books of the Greek Old Testament<note 13>. This passage
from Malachi is quite a locus classicus in early Eucharistic teaching;
it is cited also by Justin, Irenaeus Tertullian, and Cyprian<note
14>. By whom it was first applied to the Eucharist we do not know, but
a use so early and widely distributed suggests that it had found its way into
a primitive collection of testimonia; certainly it was accepted as a
prophecy of the Eucharist by something like a consensus of Christian opinion
in the second and third centuries. But in taking over θυσία into
the Eucharistic language of the Church the earlier writers seem to have distinctly
limited it to the Bread and Cup considered as an offering of the fruits of
the earth. The word /165/ does not appear to have suggested to them a parallel
between the Eucharist and the animal sacrifices of the Law<note
15>; it is perhaps significant that while θυσίαis
adopted from Malachi, no disposition is shown to use θύειν as
an equivalent for προσφέθετο in
a Christian sense<note 16>.
The relation between the Eucharistic sacrifice and the Sacrifice of the Cross
was not indeed overlooked, even in the second century. More than once Justin,
in the Apology as well as in the Dialogue, refers to the Pauline
formula τοῦτο ποιεῖτε εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν<note
17>, using ποιεῖν in one context after
a manner which shows that he regarded the word as bearing in this connexion
a sacrificial sense<note 18>. Justin, however, seems
to stand alone among writers of his generation in referring to the Eucharistic ἀνάμνησις;
the next mention<note 19> of it occurs perhaps in Origen's
homilies on Leviticus, where he is commenting on the Shewbread. Reading in Lev.
24, 7 with some good MSS<note 20> of the LXX, ἔσονται οἱ ἄρτοι εἰς ἀνάμνησιν προκείμενοι τῷ κυρίῳ,
he proceeds to say that Christ is the true ἄρτος τῆς προθέσεως<note
21>, since He it is ὃν προέθετο ὁ θεὸς ἱλαστήριον (Rom.
3, 25); the Shewbread prefigured Him in this character, the Eucharist is His
permanent memorial. Here the ἀνάμνησις is
clearly understood in its Levitical sense, as a memorial before God; yet with
characteristic versatility in the /166/ next chapter but one of the same homily,
Origen interprets the word in the sense of a memorial which recalls the past
to the recollection of men<note 22>. In like manner
he is not careful to limit himself to one interpretation of the Levitical sin
offering and the Aaronic priesthood. Christ is the only offering for sin, yet
a certain propitiatory value belongs to the Eucharistic commemoration of His
Death<note 23>. Christ is the true Priest, and the
true Altar, as well as the Victim<note 24>; yet there
are official ‘priests of the Church’ who encircle visible altars
at which the Eucharist is offered<note 25>.
These statements, which belong to Origen's popular teaching at Caesarea<note
26>, seem to mark a distinct advance upon the teaching of Justin and
Irenaeus. Yet all the writers hitherto mentioned speak of the Eucharist as
a sacrifice only when they are interpreting Old Testament types or prophecies.
There has been as yet no direct evidence to show that it was ordinarily known
under that name. In the Latin Church of Carthage, however, this had certainly
come to pass before the middle of the third century, if not some decades
earlier. Sacrificium is Cyprian's ordinary designation for the Eucharistic
service; to make the Eucharistic offering is celebrare sacrificium, and
once sacrificare <note 27>. Other sacrificial
terms are freely borrowed; the Bishops are sacerdotes, and their office
is sacerdotium; the table or slab on /167/ which the Eucharist was
offered is altare; the whole service is sacrificium dominicum, and
the consecrated Bread hostia dominica<note 28>.
With this advance in terminology there is a corresponding advance in doctrine.
Cyprian probably knew the traditional interpretation of Malachi
1,11<note 29>, but his view of the Eucharistic Sacrifice
is not based on that famous passage. He finds it in the words of institution,
which he quotes in their Pauline form. Christ had called the Bread and Cup
His Body and Blood; He had made them commemorative of His Passion. Cyprian
contends that the Christian Priest ‘offers in the Church a true and
full Sacrifice to God the Father,’ if he adheres strictly to the words
and actions of Christ at the Institution<note 30>;
and this Sacrifice is identical with the Sacrifice of the Cross<note
31>, which the Eucharist by Christ's ordinance commemorates. It is
in keeping with this deepened sense of the reality of the Eucharistic commemoration
that the Church of North Africa was the first Christian community, so far
as we know, which offered the Eucharist for the benefit of the departed; oblationes
pro defunctis are already mentioned by Tertullian, while Cyprian speaks
of sacrificia pro dormitione defunctorum <note 32>.
It would be an anachronism to read into such words the meaning which they
would naturally have borne if used by a mediaeval ecclesiastic, but the advance
which they mark upon the teaching of the second century should be frankly
2. There was a second aspect of the Holy Eucharist with /168/ which the Ante-Nicene
Church was still more deeply concerned. The Eucharist was not merely the Christian
oblation or sacrifice; it supplied food and sustenance to the Christian life.
We shall endeavour to ascertain the exact meaning attached in the second and
third centuries to the words of Christ which declare the Bread and the Cup
to be His Body and Blood.
Three interpretations of these words find a place in Ante-Nicene literature.
In some quarters a disposition is shown to spiritualise the words of Institution
so far as to obscure their reference to His actual Flesh and Blood. It is remarkable
that this tendency manifests itself in two of our earliest authorities. The
Eucharistic forms of the Didache<note 33> speak
only of the ‘life and knowledge,’ or ‘knowledge, faith, and
immortality,’ revealed through our Lord, and the ‘spiritual drink
and eternal life’ which are His gifts to the Church<note
34> It is scarcely permissible to set these expressions aside on the
ground that they ‘emanate from some only half-Christian community,<note
35>,’ for whatever may be the history of the Didache, the
words in themselves embody a thoroughly Christian though too exclusively mystical
a view, and might well have proceeded from some disciple of the school of St.
John. Moreover, the same tendency appeals in certain passages of the Ignatian
letters, notwithstanding the evident desire of Ignatius to employ the Eucharist
as a witness for the reality of the Lord's manhood. He blames the Docetic party
for not admitting that ‘the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Saviour Jesus
Christ which suffered for our sins’; he exhorts the members of the Church
to ‘use one Eucharist,’ on the ground that ‘there is One
Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ and one Cup for union in His Blood<note
36>.’ Yet in other contexts, where the Docetae are not in view,
he allows himself to use language scarcely less ambiguous than that of the Didache: ‘faith
is the Flesh of Christ, and love His Blood’; or again, ‘His Blood
is love incorruptible<note 37>.’ At the end of
the century this mysticism found a home in the Christian School of Alexandria.
Clement revels in it, as when he writes: ‘The Blood of Christ is twofold: in
part it is fleshly, that by /169/ which we have been ransomed from corruption,
and in part spiritual, that is, the Blood wherewith we have been anointed.
To drink the Blood of Jesus is to partake of the Lord's incorruptibility<note
38>.’ Or again: 'The Flesh and Blood of the Word are the apprehension
of the Divine power and essence<note 39>,’ Clement's
successor, the greater Origen, distinguishes between the popular conception
of the Eucharist, and the profounder view held by better instructed Christians;
the latter had learnt to connect the Eucharistic Food with the nutritive properties
of the word. ‘What else can the Body and Blood of God the Word be but
the word in its twofold character as that which sustains and delights the heart?’ ‘We
are said to drink the Blood of Christ not only in the way of sacramental communion,
but also when we receive His words in which, as He Himself says, our life consists<note
A second group of early Christian teachers, including the two most representative
writers of the second century, cling to a more literal interpretation of our
Lord's words, and endeavour to explain them by an operation of the Divine Word
or Spirit upon the Bread and Cup. The words of Justin<note
41> are well known, but it may be convenient to print them here for
the purpose of our examination: ὃν τροποω διὰ λόγου θεοῦ σαρκοποιηθεις ᾿Ιησοῦς Χριστὸς ὁ σωτὴρ ἡμῶν ἔσχεν, οὕτως καὶ τὴν δι᾿εὐχῆς λόγου τοῦ παρ᾿αὐτοῦ εὐχαριστηθεῖσαν προφήν, ἐξ ἧς αἷμα καὶ σάρκες κατὰ μεταβολὴν τρέφονται ἠμῶν, ἐκείωου τοῦ σαρκοποιηθέντος /170/ ᾿Ιησοῦ καὶ αἷμα ἐδιδάχθημεν<note
42> εἶναι. The sentence is overweighted
and obscure, partly because Justin had not thoroughly explored the thought
which lay at the back of his mind. But it seems to be clear that he proceeds
upon the hypothesis of an analogy between the Incarnation and the consecration
of the Eucharist; as our Lord was made Flesh by the Divine Word, so the word
which issues from Him, when invoked by the prayer of the Church, makes the
Bread and Cup to be His Flesh and Blood<note 43>. Thus
Justin is able to maintain that the Eucharist is what the Gospels teach us
to believe. And being this, it is not to be regarded as ordinary bread and
wine<note 44>, though it retains the nutritive properties
of ordinary food, but as possessing a sacred and mysterious character.
Irenaeus approaches the subject with another motive. Like Ignatius, he finds
in the Eucharist a weapon to slay heresy. The false gnosis sought to
divorce the spiritual from the material, and the Divine from the created. Against
this disruption the Eucharist is a standing witness<note 45>. ‘Either
let the Gnostics change their view, or let them refuse to offer the oblation
of which we have spoken. Our view on the other hand is in harmony with the
Eucharist, and the Eucharist establishes our view.’ The words that follow
must be quoted in the Greek: ὡς γὰρ ἀπὸ γὼς ἄρτος προσλαμβανόμενος τὴν ἐπίκλησιν τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκέτι κοιωὸς ἄρτος ἐστὶν ἀλλ᾿εὐχαριστία, ἐκ δύο πραγμάτῶν συνεστηκυῖα, ἐπιγείου τε καὶ οὐρανίου· οὕτως καὶ τὰ σώματα ἡμῶν μεταλαμβάνοντα τῆς εὐχαριστίας μηκέτι εἶναι φθαρτά, κτλ.
Christ, he writes further on <note 46>, confessed the
Cup to be His own Blood, and affirmed the Bread to be His /171/ own Body. The
Cup is mixed, and the Bread made, but when they receive the Word of God, there
results the Eucharist of Christ's Body and Blood<note 47>,
and yet these elements serve for the nutrition and formation of the substance
of our flesh. How can our opponents in the face of these facts maintain that
the flesh is incapable of receiving the Divine gift which is life eternal,
seeing that it is fed by the Body and Blood of the Lord? As the earthly elements
receiving the Word of God become the Eucharist, which is the Body and Blood
of Christ, so our bodies, fed by the Eucharist, will after they are laid in
the earth and dissolved therein, rise again in due season, the Word of God
bestowing upon them the gift of resurrection. Irenaeus, it will be seen, reasons,
not, as Justin had done, from the Incarnation to the reality of the Eucharistic
Gift, but from the reality of the Eucharistic Gift to the Resurrection of the
body. He begins where Justin ends, assuming that the Eucharist is what it is
in virtue of the Divine word invoked upon it by the prayer of the Church, and
inferring from these premises the resurrection of those who receive it into
their souls and bodies<note 48>. But in taking over
Justin's idea, he enlarges it by pointing out the composite character of the
Eucharist which follows from it. If the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of
the Lord, while retaining the nutritious properties of ordinary food, it must
consist of two factors, an earthly and a heavenly, both real and substantial
(ἐκ δύο πραγμάτῶν συνεστηκυῖα).
Although this theory receives its full exposition only in the writings of
Justin and Irenaeus, it probably found wide acceptance in Greek-speaking Churches
during the second and third centuries. It is enshrined in the Invocation of
the Word or Spirit<note 49> which is /172/ a characteristic
feature in Eastern forms of the anaphora. The belief is echoed even
by Origen when he speaks of the Bread as becoming, because of the prayer offered
over it, ‘a holy body that sanctifies those who use it with a sound intention<note
It is in the writings of the first Latin theologian, Tertullian of Carthage,
that we meet with the third method of interpreting the words of institution.
Tertullian differs from Justin and Irenaeus in two material points. In the
first place he does not seem to regard the consecration as effected by the
Divine Word or Spirit in answer to the prayer of the Church; to say the least,
the power of the epiclesis is not in the foreground of his thought.
To Tertullian the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ because our Lord
distinctly called it so. ‘The Bread which Christ took and distributed
to His disciples He made His Body, saying (dicendo) This is My
Body<note 51>.’ Thus the words of Institution
are in themselves, apart from any subsequent operation upon the elements, a
sufficient warrant for speaking of the Bread and the Cup as the Lord's Body
and Blood. This designation for the Eucharist is used by Tertullian frequently
and without restraint; while he employs occasionally such terms as eucharistia,
eucharistiae sacramentum, or sanctum <note 52>,
with Latin downrightness he more commonly writes corpus, sanguis Domini. The
phrase is used even in contexts where it is open to misconception; the communicant
is said to ‘handle’ the Lord's Body, the unworthy communicant to ‘offer
violence’ to it <note 53>; Christians who, according
to a Carthaginian practice, reserved the Sacrament at home, are said to take
the Lord's Body from the Church, and keep it in their houses <note
54>. It is clear that in the judgement of Tertullian the Bread and the
Cup are not Christ's Body and Blood only in the act of communion, or to the
faith of the communicant; they are such in themselves by virtue of Christ's
ordinance and /173/ promise. But if it be asked in what sense He called them
so, Tertullian with equal frankness of speech replies that He designed the
Bread to be ‘the figure of His Body<note 55>’;
that He included His Body ‘in the category of bread’ (in pane
censetur)<note 56>; that He ‘makes
it present to us by means of bread’ (quo ipsum corpus suum repraesentat)<note
57>. It has indeed been argued from Tertullian's use of repraesentare<note
58> that in the last-mentioned passage he intends to assert the
actual presence of the Lord's Body in or by means of the Eucharistic Bread.
The verb is capable of yielding this meaning, but it is equally susceptible
of another <note 59>, and in view of Tertullian's general
attitude towards the question of the Eucharistic Gift, it is more natural to
understand it here in the weaker sense. Tertullian in fact seems to have been
satisfied with a virtual identification of the Eucharist with the Body and
Blood of Christ: in his judgement, if we understand him rightly, the Bread
and the Cup are figures, although not bare figures, since by Christ's ordinance
they are authorised and effective representations of the realities which they
symbolise. Such a view of the Eucharist well accords with the legal bent of
the great African's mind. Frigid and jejune as it may seem, it does not appear
to have interfered with his sense of the reality of the Gift. ‘The flesh,’ he
writes, ‘is fed with the Body and Blood of Christ, that the soul may
be sated with God<note 60>.’ The returning penitent
is fed with the best food in the Father's House, even ‘with the fatness
of the Lord's Body, that is the Eucharist<note 61>,’ His
theory of the Eucharist may have differed from that of his Greek predecessors,
but he is one with them and with the whole Church in his estimation of the
Eucharistic Food. It was Christ's Body and Blood which were received, in whatever
Whether Cyprian inherited Tertullian's view is not easy to determine. Probably
his more practical mind did not seek a solution of the mystery in a theory
of any kind. With Tertullian he held the Eucharist to be the ‘Holy Body
of the Lord<note 62>,’ but he does not add with
Tertullian, id est, figura corporis. His comment on the story of the
lapsed Christian in whose hands the Bread turned to a cinder ‘so
it was made to appear that the Lord withdraws when He is denied<note
63>’ suggests that he was not without some vague feeling
that the Eucharistic Bread is interpenetrated by a consuming Presence which
can, however withdraw itself at pleasure. Yet he distinguishes between the
Sacramental Gift and the Person of Christ, when in another interesting passage
he represents the embrace of the Lord Himself by the victorious confessor as
something more than the receiving of His Body in the Eucharist<note
When we turn from the great teachers of the period to the rank and file of
the Christian army, the laity and the majority of the clergy, it is less easy
to arrive at an estimate of the prevalent belief. It is evident indeed that
the κοινοτέρα ἐκδοχή,
as Origen calls it, did not err on the side of a depreciatory view of Christ's
great ordinance. The Bread and the Cup were given to the people with the words ‘The
Body of Christ,’ ‘the Blood of Christ,’ and as such they
were received, each communicant adding his ‘Amen<note
65>,’ Due reverence was shown to the consecrated gifts; at Carthage,
in the time of Tertullian, and at Caesarea, in the time of Origen, the greatest
care was taken not to let a drop or even a crumb fall to the ground<note
66>. Here and there we notice signs of a tendency to superstition,
as in the singular reason assigned for this praiseworthy vigilance in the Hippolytean
canons<note 67>. The Carthaginian practice of reserving
the Eucharistic Bread at home in an arca for daily communion may have
encouraged a somewhat materialistic conception of the Gift, of which there
are traces in the stories told by Cyprian<note 68>.
Among Gnostic Christians we hear of an attempt in one quarter to import into
the mysteries a false realism, sleight of hand being used with the view of
changing the colour of the wine at the moment of consecration<note
69>; and a fragment apparently due to the Valentinian Theodotus speaks
significantly of a change in the elements which transcends appearances<note
70>. But the general belief of the Catholic Church at this period seems
to have gone little beyond a simple identification of the consecrated Bread
and Cup with the Body and Blood of Christ. Avircius had felt the pulse of the
Church both in East and West: from his Phrygian home he had travelled to Rome
and to Nisibis. But on the Tiber and on the Tigris he had found the same belief
and practice with regard to the Eucharist; everywhere there had been set before
him ‘fish from the spring, large and choice, caught in the grasp of a
pure maiden's hand, and with it good wine and bread<note 71>.’ The
words recognise the /176/ reality alike of the earthly elements and of the
heavenly gift, the δύο πράγματα which
Irenaeus had already seen in the Eucharist; but they cannot fairly be taken
to support any particular theory of the Eucharistic Presence. The same may
be said of the scenes painted on the walls and roofs of the Roman catacombs,
so far as they may be claimed for this period<note 72>:
the banquet of fish and bread which so often appears indicates the assured
belief that our Lord gives Himself in the Eucharist, but does not necessarily
imply more. There is a significant absence in Ante Nicene monuments of any
reference to the adoration of Christ in the Eucharist; indeed, it is scarcely
possible that Eucharistic adoration can have been practised by an age which
sent the Eucharist from Church to Church, kept it in private houses for daily
use, and in emergencies was prepared to convey and administer it to the dying
by the hand of a child<note 73>. The Ante-Nicene Church
took Christ's words as true, and revered the Bread and Cup which He called
His Body and Blood; but so far as our evidence extends, it does not lead us
to conclude that she based on this belief and reverent attitude a system of
practical devotions such as that which was afterwards built upon them. She
was satisfied with the knowledge that in the Holy Eucharist she had an unfailing
provision of the Bread of Life.
Whatever view may be taken of this attitude, it certainly made for peace.
As we have seen, some of the greatest teachers of the period differed among
themselves in their interpretation of the Eucharistic offering and the manner
of the Eucharistic Gift. But there is no indication that they were conscious
of differences under either head. Still less could the ‘simpler’ members
of the Church have realised that their leaders were divided in opinion. No
sides were taken; there was no Eucharistic controversy; no charge was laid
against a brother because he understood the words of Christ in this particular
sense or in that. The times /177/ were not free from serious controversies
on other questions connected with the interpretation of Scripture and the discipline
of the Church; but on the subject of the Eucharist no dispute arose. It was
as if men felt that no discordant note must be struck when they spoke or wrote
of the One Bread which is the symbol and bond of the One Body of Christ.
Note 1: The substance of the following pages was read
at a meeting of the London Diocesan Society of Sacred Study, Oct. 8, 1901.
Note 2: On the vigils see Batiffol, Histoire du
Bréviaire Romain, p. 4 ff., and Church Quarterly Review, xli
p.398 f.; and cf. the Bishop of Salisbury's Ministry of Grace, p.
Note 3: Cf. Tert. de orat. 19.
Note 4: c. 8. It is significant that no other prayers
are prescribed and no intervention of the bishops and deacons contemplated.
The Hippolytean canons (Achelis, p. 122) contemplate a daily assembly at ‘cockcrowing,’ which
is compulsory for the clergy.
Note 5: Εὐλογεῖν is
used of the Bread in Mt. (א B D), Mc., and εὐχαριστεῖν of
the Cup in Mt., Mc., Lc. (22, 17); on the
other hand εὐχαριστεῖν is
used of the Bread in ‘Lc’ 22,19; 1
Cor. 11,24; and εὐλογεῖν of
the Cup in 1 Cor. 10,16. In the narratives of the miracle of the Loaves εὐλογεῖν occurs
in Mt. 14, Mc 6, Lc. 9, but εὐχαριστεῖν in
Mt. 15, Mc. 8, Jo. 6 bis; cf. also Lc. 24, 30;
Acts 27, 35. How nearly synonymous the words are in this connexion appears
from 1 Cor. 14, 16 ἐὰν εὐλογῇς πνεύματι ... ἐπὶ τῇ σῇ εὐχαριστίᾳ.
For instances of εὐλογία as
applied to the Eucharist, a use of the word which appears to be specially frequent
in Cyril of Alexandria, see Dict. Chr. Ant., s.v., and Brightman, pp. 508,
Note 6: Cf. Iren. IV 18, 4.6.
Note 7: Philad. 4, Smyrn. 6.
Note 8: Apol. 1,66 ἡ τροφὴ αὕτη καλεῖται παρ᾿ ἡμῖν εὐχαριστία.
Cf. Orig. c. Cels. 8,57 ἁρτος εὐχαριστία καλούμενος.
The process of transition may he seen in Ign. Smyrn.6 εὐχαριστίας καὶ προσευχῆς ἀπέχονται διὰ τὸ μὴ ὁμολοθεῖν τὴν εὐχαριστίαν σάρκα εἶναι κτλ:
cf. Clem. hom. εὐχαριστίαν κλάσας with
14,1 τὸν ἄρτον ἐπ᾿ εὐχαριστίᾳ κλάσας.
Note 9: S. Clement of Rome, 2 p.134 f.
Note 10: Cor. 40 τάς τε προσφορὰσ καὶ λειτουργίας ἐπιτελεῖσθαι ... ποιοῦντες τὰς προσφορὰς αὺτῶν.
ib. 44 τοὺς ἀμέμτως καὶ ὁσίως προσενεγκόντας τὰ δῶρα τῆς ἐπισκοπῆς.
In c. 36, for τὸν ἀρχιερέα τῶν προσφορῶν ἡμῶν τὸν προστάτην Latin
has pontificem et aduocatum precum nostramum = (?) tὸν ἀρχ. τῶν προσευχῶν ἡμ. τὸν προσ.
The phrase τὸν ἀρχ. τῶν προσφορῶν ἡμῶνoccurs
however in Orig. de orat. 10.
Note 11: Προσφορά is
a rare word in the Greek 0.T., occurring within the canon only in 3 Regn. 7,48;
Ps. 39 (40), 6; Dan. 3, 38. But (1) προσφορέρειν is
frequent in Biblical Greek, and προσφορά,
perhaps through the influence of Ps. 39, is fairly common in the N.T. (2) προσφορά is
freely used in Ecclesiasticus, a popular book in the early Church and known
to Clement (Cor. 59.60). In other sub-apostolic writers προσφορά occurs
but seldom (Barn. 2,6, Polyc. mart. 14). But Irenaeus doubtless used
it, and in reference to the Eucharist, (IV 17,1 ecclesia oblatio, quam;
Dominus docuit offerri): cf. Tert. ad. uxor. 2 8, Clem. Al. Strom. 1,19 § 96;
on its later use see Bright, Canons, p.45.
Note 12: Didache 14 ἵνα μὴ κοινωθῇ ἡ θυσία ὑμῶν· αὕτη γάρ ἐστιν ἡ ῥηθεῖσα ὑπὸ κυρίου· Ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ καὶ χρόνῳ προσφέρειν μοι θυσίαν καθαράν.
Cf. LXX I.c. ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ θυμίαμα προσάγεται τῷ ὀνόματί μου καὶ θυσία καθαρά,
Note 13: In the books of the Hebrew canon θυσία translates זבח 140
times, and מִנְחָה 133 times, out
of the 300 instances, more or less, in which it represents a Hebrew word. In
connexion with Clement's δῶρα τῆς ἐπισκοπῆς it
is well to bear in mind that מִנְחָה is
repeatedly rendered by δῶρα : see e.g. Gen. 4,3ff., where
the interchange of θυσία and δῶρα is
Note 14: Justin dial 28.41.116f. Iren. IV,17,5f.
Tert. adv. Marc. 3,22 ; adv.Iud. 5 f. Cypr. testim. 1,16.
Note 15: The Apologists atrongly disclaim a material
sacrifice ; see Aristides, apol. I, Justin apol. 1,13,
Athenag. leg. 13. For the attitude of the Church towards the Jewish
sacrificial system cf. Justin dial. 22ff., Tert. adv. Marc. 2,18.22.
Note 16: Hippolytus, ed. Lagarde, p.199, would be
an exception, if the passage were genuine. Θύειν is
frequent in the LXX, but was probably avoided because of its constant use in
reference to the pagan sacrifices; cf. e.g. Polyc. mart. 12 ὁ πολλοὺς διδάσκων μὴ θύειν,
and the contrast in the first canon of Ancyra: πρεσβυτέρους τοὺς ... προσφέρειν ... μὴ ἐξεῖναι.
For a later Eucharistic use of θύειν cf. Brightman,
p.357. On θυσιαστήριον in
Ignatius see Lightfoot 2 p.43ff. Irenaeus, notwithstanding his language about
the Christian oblation and sacrifici, places the Christian altar in heaven
Note 17: Apol. 1,66 ; dial. 41.117.
Note 18: Dial. 41 ἡ τῆς σεμιδάλευς δὲ προσφορὰ ... ἡ ὑπὲρ τῶν καθαριζομέν ἀπὸ τῆς λέπρας προσφέρεσθαι παραδοθεῖσα [Lev.
14,10], τύπος ἦν τοῦ εὐχαριστίας ὃν ... Ἰ. Χ. ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν παρέδςκε ποιεῖν (where ποιεῖν is
clearly parallel to προσφέρειν).
Note 19: On Hippolytus see above (note
Note 20: Hom. in Lev. 13,3 ‘erunt
panes in commemorationem appositi Domino’: cf. 13,5 ‘erunt panes
in comm. propositi ante Dominum.’ The reading is found in codd.F M and
about twenty cursives mentioned by Holmes and Parsons, and in Compl., Ald.;
codd. B A have ἔσονται εἰς ἄρτους εἰς ἀνάμνησιν προκείμενα τῷ κυρίῳ.
Note 21: Cf. the Mozarabic missa ‘in
quarto dominico Pasche’ (Migne P.L. 85, col.281 ‘offeramus
Note 22: ib. c. 5 ‘quid est enim quod
nobis commemorationem Dei faciat? quid est quod nos ad memoriam institiae et
totius boni reuocet, nisi uerbum Dei?’
Note 23: Hom. in Lev. 5,3 ‘quae
est hostia quae pro peccatis offertur, nisi unigenitus Filius Dei?’ Cf.
13,3 ‘ista est commemoratio sola quae propitium facit hominibus Deum.’
Note 24: Hom. in Lev. 5,3 ‘saepe ostendimus
ex diuinis scripturis Christum esse et hostiam
et sacerdotem,’ 9,10 ‘ad
Christum uenisti pontificem uerum.’ Hom. in Ios. 8,6 ‘ipse
esse ostenditur et sacerdos et hostia et altare.’
Note 25: Hom. in Lev. 5,3 ‘ministri
et sarerdotes ecclesiae
ipsi sacerdotes ecclesiae sacerdos ecclesiae.’ Hom.
in Ios. 3,2 ‘inuenies interdum etiam in nobis aliquos qui
altaris circulo uelut specula quaedam intuentibus collocati [sumus],’ &c.
Cf. hom. in Ios. 2,1 ‘cum ueo uideris
pretioso Christi sanguine consecrari, cum uideris sacerdotes
uerbum Dei per Spiritus Sancti gratiam ministrantes.’
Note 26: Cf. Eus. H.E. 6,36.
Note 27: See Studia Biblica iv p.265 ff.
Tertullian had so far anticipated Cyprian as to use sacrificium, sacerdos, and ara in
a Christian sense (ad Scap. 2, de orat. 18 f., de bapt. 17, de
cult. fem. 11). It would be interesting to inquire how far this terminology
had its origin in the 0.L. Bible; as regards Cyprian see Mr. E.W. Watson's
remarks in Studia Biblica, iv p. 194ff.
Note 28: 1 De cath. eccl. unit. 17. Mr.
Watson writes (op. cit. p. 266) 'hostia dominica is opposed to
falsa sacrificia, 226.9, and must be equivalent to sacrificium, i.e.
as he explains just before ‘The Eucharistic Service.’ But hostia is
elsewhere in Cyprian the victim offered (ep. 31,5; 76,3), and h.
dominica is not an unnatural phrase in a writer to whom the Eucharistic
Bread was Domini corpus or sanctum Domini, and the Sacrifice dominicum. Could
the service be called ‘dominicae hostiae ueritas’?
Note 29: The heading to testim. 1,16, ‘quod
sacrificium uetus euacuaretur et nouum celebraretur,’ leaves little doubt
upon the point.
Note 30: See Ep. 58,9ff., esp. § 14 ‘si
ipse est summus sacerdos Dei patris et sacrificium patri
se ipsum optulit et hoc fieri in sui commemorationem praecepit, utique ille
sacerdos uice Christi uere fungitur qui id quod Christus fecit imitatur; et
sacrificium uerum et plenum tunc offert in ecclesia Deo patri, si sic incipiat
offerre secundum quod ipsum Christum uideat optulisse.’ The principle
is not affected by the circumstance that Cyprian's argument relates to a matter
of discipline which is not relevant to our subject.
Note 31: ib. 17 ‘passionis eius mentionem
in sacrificiis omnibus facimus, passio est enim Domini sacrificium quod offerimus.’
Note 32: Tert. de coron. 3 : Cypr. ep.
Note 33: I am content to assume Harnack's limits
of time (a.d. 131-I60); a later date appears to me to be inconceivable.
Note 34: c. 9 f.
Note 35: Gore, Body of Christ, p.97.
Note 36: Smyrn. 6; Philad. 4.
Note 37: TraIl. 8; Rom. 7.
Note 38: Paedagogus 2,2 § 19 διττὸν δὲ τὸ αἷμα τοῦ κυρίου· τὸ μὲν γάρ ἐστιν αὐτοῦ σαρκινόν, ᾧ τῆς φθορᾶς λελυτρώμεθα· τὸ δὲ πνευματικόν, τουτέστιν ᾧ κεχρίσμεθα [cf.
Cypr. ep. 70,27]. καὶ τοῦτ᾿ ἔστιν πιεῖν τὸ αἷμα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, τῆς κυριακῆς μεταλαβεῖν ἀφθαρσίας.
Cf. paed. 1,6 § 38 φάγετέ μου τὰς σάρκας, εἰπών, καὶ πίετέ μου τὸ αἷμα· ἐναργὲς τὴς πίστεως καὶ τῆς ἐπαγγελίας τὸ πότιμον ἀλληγορῶν. § 43 ἄκπουε καὶ ταύτῃ· σάρκα ἡμῖν τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἀλληγορεῖ ... αἷμα ἡμῖν τὸν λόγον αἰνίττεται. ἡ τροφή, τουτέστι κύριος Ἰησοῦς, τουτέστιν ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ, πνεῦμα σαρκούμενον.
Note 39: Strom. 5,10 § 67 σάρκες αὗται καὶ αἷμα τοῦ λόγου, τουτέστι, κατάληψις τὴς θείας δυνάμενς καὶ οὐσίας.
Note 40: in Ioann. tom. 32,24 (16) νοείσθω δὲ ὁ ἄρτος καὶ τὸ ποτήμον τοῖς μὲν ἁπλουστέροις κατὰ τὴν κοινοτέραν περὶ τῆς εὐχαριστίας ἐκδοχήν, τοῖς δὲ βαθύτερον ἀκούειν μεμαθηκόσι κατὰ τὴν θειοτέραν καὶ περὶ τοῦ τροφίμου τῆς ἀληθείας λόγου ἐπαγγελίαν. In
Matt. § 85 ‘panis iste quem Deus Verbum corpus suum esse fatetur
uerbum est nutritorium animarum
et potus iste quem Deus Verbum sanguinem
suum fatetur uerbum est potans et inebrians praeclare corda bibentium
corpus Dei Verbi aut sanguis, quid aliud esse potest nisi uerbum quod nutrit
et uerbum quod laetificiat cor?’ Hom. in Num. 16,9 ‘bibere
autem dicimur sanguinem Christi non solum sacramentorum ritu, sed et cum
sermones eius recipimus, in quibus uita consistit sicut ipse dicit.’
Note 41: Apol. 1,66.
Note 42: i.e. in the Gospels, as the context shows
(οἱ γὰρ ἀπόστολοι ... οὕτως παρέδωσαν κτλ.).
Note 43: So I venture to paraphrase the difficult
words τὴν δι᾿ εὐχῆς λόγου τοῦ παρ᾿ αὐτοῦ κτλ.
I find myself unable to accept Canon (soon, as I rejoice to know, to become
Bishop) Gore's ‘word of prayer’ (Body of Christ, pp.7, 289f.);
for (1) apart from the Lord's Prayer, which he excludes, there is nothing which
really answers to the description and (2) notwithstanding Heb. 6,2 (On which
see Westcott), the order is almost prohibitory of this rendering (cf. Blass,
ed. Thackeray, p.99). Nor does c. 13 λόγῳ εὐχῆς καὶ εὐχαριστίας (J.T.S.,
1 p. 112) reconcile me to it. Whether the λὸγος is
the δύναμις ἡ παρὰ τοὺ θεοῦ of
c. 33, or the word spoken at the institution, is a question which cannot be
Note 44: Justin l.c.: οὐ γὰρ ὡς κοινὸν ἄρτου οὐδὲ κοινὸν πόμα ταῦτα λαμβάνομεν.
Note 45: Iren. IV 18,5. I have substituted ἐπικλησιν for ἔκκλησιν of
the printed texts, which has been shown to be an error by Harnack (Texte
u. Unters., N. F., 5, 3 p. 56).
Note 46: Iren. V 2, 2f.
Note 47: The Latin, which I here translate, is probably
nearer to the original than the Greek as given by Halloix (ii p.501, ed. 1636).
Ante-Nicene practice, following the letter of our Lord's words, seems to prefer εἶναι το γίνεσθαι in
reference to the relation between the sign and the thing signified in the Eucharist;
thus a few lines further on Irenaeus says that the elements προσλαμβανόμενα τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ εὐχαριστία γίνεται ὅπερ ἐστὶ σῶμα καὶ αἷμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ.
Note 48: Cf. Ign. Eph. 20, and the words
in which the people are communicated according to the Anglican order.
Note 49: It need not be assumed that any form of
invocation existed in the time of Irenaeus; the εὐχή was
itself the ἐπίκλησις τοῦ θεοῦ.
It is significant, however, that the earliest known Greek form invokes the
Logos, and not the Holy Spirit as distinct from the Logos; see J.T.S., 1,
106.112, and cf. Justin, Apol. 1,33 τὸ πνεῦμα οὖν καὶ τὴν δύναμιν τὴν παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐδὲν ἄλλο νοῆσαι θέμις ἣ τὸν λόγον.
On the other hand the Verona fragment (Hauler, p. 107) asks for the presence
of the Holy Spirit : ‘petimus mittas spm tuum scm in oblationem sanctae
Note 50: c. Cels. 8,33 ἡμεῖς δὲ τῷ τοῦ παντὸς δημιουργῷ εὐχαριστοῦντες καὶ τοὺς μετ᾿ εὐχαριστίας καὶ εὐχῆς τῆς ἐπὶ τοῖς δοθεῖσι προσαγομένους ἄρτους ἐσθίομεν, σῶμα γενομένους διὰ τὴν εὐχὴν τι καὶ ἁγιάζον τοὺς μετὰ ὑγιοῦς προθέσεως αὐτῷ χρωμένους.
Perhaps in arguing with a pagan Origen associates himself with the κοινοτέρα ἐκδοχή,
which his antagonist would have encountered and which Origen himself did not
reject, though he deemed it inadequate.
Note 51: adv. Marc. 4,40.
Note 52: de praescr. 36; de corona 3;
de spect. 25.
Note 53: de idolatr. 7.
Note 54: ad uxor. 2,5 ; de orat. 19.
Note 55: adv. Marc. 3,19 ‘panem corpus
suum appellans, ut et hinc iam eum intellegas corpori sui figuram panis dedisse,’ 4,40 ‘acceptum
panem et distributum discipulis corpus suum illum fecit Hoc est corpus
meum dicendo, id est, figura corporis mei: figura autem non
fuisset nisi ueritatis esset corpus.’ Cf. the old form of the Western
canon in Ps. Ambr. De sacr. 4,5 ‘fac nobis hanc oblationem
quod figura est corporis at sanguinis D.N.I. Christi.’ On figura in
Tertullian see de monog. 6 ‘aliud sunt figurae, aliud formae.’
Note 56: de orat. 6 ‘Christus enim
panis noster est, quia uita Christus et uita panis
tum quod et corpus
eius in pane censetur hoc est corpus meum.’ I.e. the
words of institution identify the Body of Christ with bread, place It under
the head of ‘bread.’ On Tertullian's use of censeri in see
Roensch, Das N.T Tertullians, p. 625 ff.
Note 57: adv. Marc. 1,14.
Note 58: Gore, Dissertations, p.310.
Note 59: Repraesentare is to make present
to mind or eye what has been hitherto unseen or has passed out of sight: whether
the presence is actual or not must be determined in each case by the context.
The verb and its derivatives are favourites with Tertullian. In rather more
than half the instances where he employs them actual restoration is intended (de
coron. 15, de orat. 5, de patient. 3, de pudic. 14, adv.
Marc. 3,10; 4,9.16.22f.; 5,12, de resurr. carn. 14. 17. 23. 63).
But this is not by any means his invariable use; cf. apol. 15 ‘Herculem
repraesentat,’ 16 ‘aliqua effigie repraesentat,’ 23 ‘contemplatione
et repraesentatione ignis illius correpta’ (where the previous context
shows that the repraesentatio is anticipatory), de spect. 17 ‘minus
repraesentat,’ de ieiun. 13 ‘repraesentatio totius nominis
Christiani’ (a synod), de monog. 10, de poenit. 3, adv.
Prax. 14 'Psalmi Christum ad Deum uerba facientem repraesentant,’ 24 ‘ex
ut filius repraesentator patris haberetur.’
Note 60: de resurr. carn. 8 ‘caro corpore
et sanguine Christi uescitur, ut et anima de Deo saginetur.’
Note 61: de pudic. 9 ‘opimitate dominici
corporis uescitur, eucharistia scilicet.’
Note 62: Ep. 15,1 ‘eucharistiam, id
est sanctum Domini corpus.’
Note 63: De laps. 26 ‘documento unius
ostensum est Dominum recedere cum negatur, nec inmerenti ad salutem prodesse
Note 64: Ep. 63,9 ‘armemus et dexteram
ut eucharistiae memor quae Domini corpus accipit ipsum
Note 65: Tert. de spect. 25; Eus. H.E. 6,43;
7,9; cf. Achelis, die canones Hippolyti, p.100f.
Note 66: Tert. de coron. 3 ‘calicis
aut panis etiam nostri aliquid decuti in terram anxie patimur.’ Orig. hom.
in Exod. 13,3 ‘nostis qui diuinis mysteriis interesse consuestis
quomodo cum suscipitis corpus Domini, cum omni cautela et ueneratione seruatis,
ne ex eo parum quid decidat, no consecrati muneris aliquid dilabatur, reos
enim uos creditis (et recte creditis) si quid inde per neglegentiam decidat.’
Note 67: Achelis, op. cit. p.120 ‘ne
potiatur eo spiritus malignus.’
Note 68: De lapsis 26.
Note 69: Iren. I 13,2 ποτήρια οἴωῳ κεκραμένα προσποιούμενοϲ εὐχαριστεῖν, καὶ ἐπιὶ πλέον ἐκτείνςν τὸν λόγον τῆς ἐπικλήσεως, πορφύρεα καὶ ἐρυθρὰ ἀναφαίνεσθαι ποιεῖ.
Note 70: Clem. Al. exc. Theod. § 82 καὶ ὁ ἄρτος καὶ τὸ ἔλαιον ἁγιάζεται τῇ δυνάμει τοῦ ὀνόματος, οὐ τὰ αὐτὰ ὄντα κατὰ τὸ φαινόμενον οἷα ἐλήφθη, ἀλλὰ δυνάμει εἰς δύναμιν πνευματικὴν μεταβέβληται. οὕτως καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ κτλ.
The μεταβολῄ, it will be observed,
is not limited to the Eucharist : cf. Cyr. Hier. cat. myst. 3,3.
Note 71: Ramsay, Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, ii
p.723 Πίστις πάντη δὲ πρῆγε | καὶ παρέθηκε τροφὴν πάντη, ἰχθὺν ἀπὸ πηγῆς | πανμεγέθη, καθαρὸν, ὃν ἐδράξατο παρθένος ἁγνή· | καὶ τοῦτοω ἐπέδςκε φίλοις ἔσθειν διὰ παντός,
| οἶνον χρηστὸν ἔχουσα, κέρασμα διδοῦσα μετ᾿ ἄρτου.
Zahn's text (Forschungen, 5,70f.) is identical with Ramsay's,
and the conjectures made by other editors do not affect the witness of the
passage so far as it concerns our subject. Can καθαρόν be
an allusion to θυσία καθαρά?
With ιχθὺν .... ἐδράξατο may
be compared the Autun inscription: ἔσθιε, πῖνε ... ἰχθὺν ἔχων παλάμαις.
Note 72: De Rossi, Rome Sotterranea, ii p.
338 ff.: plates xv, xvi, xviii.
Note 73: Iren. ap. Eus. H.E. 5,24
Dionys. Al. ap. Eus. 6,44.