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The Early Church Fathers on the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.


  • Early Church Fathers
  • From the Scriptures



  1. St. Cyprian of Carthage, (A.D. 200-258)
    Pope St. Cornelius I, (unknown - A.D. c.253)
    Firmilian of Cæsarea, (A.D. 210-272)
    Eusebius of Cæsarea, (A.D. c.263-338)
    Aphrahat, (A.D. c.270 - c.345)
    St. James of Nisibis, (unknown-361)
    Pope St. Liberius, (unknown- A.D. 366)
    St. Athanasius of Alexandria, (A.D. 296-372)
    Julius Firmicus Maternus, (flourished in the 4th century)
    Blessed Isaias, (lived in the 4th century)
    Macarius of Egypt, (A.D. c.300-391)
    St. Ephrem the Syrian, (of Edessa), (A.D. 306-378)
    St. Hilary of Poitiers, (A.D. 315-367)
    Blessed Jerome of Jerusalem, (flourished in A.D. 385)
    St. Cyril of Jerusalem, (A.D. 315-386)
    St. Gregory of Nazianzen, (A.D. 318-389)
    Council of Nicaea, (A.D. 325)
    St. Basil the Great, (A.D. 328-379)
    St. Zeno of Verona, (unknown- A.D. c.383)
    (Gaius) Marius Victorinus, (A.D. 390)
    St. Epiphanius of Salamis, (A.D. 332-403)
    Pope St. Siricius, (A.D. c.334-398)
    St. Gregory of Nyssa, (A.D. c.335 - c.394)
    St. Ambrose of Milan, (A.D. 340-396)
    St. Jerome, (A.D. 342-420)
    St. John Chrysostom, (A.D. 344 - 407)
    St. Chromatius of Aquileia, (unknown- A.D. c.407)
    St. Gaudentius of Brescia, (unknown - A.D. 410)
    Theodore of Mopsuestia, (A.D. 350-428)
St. Cyprian of Carthage, (A.D. 200-258), North African; bishop; biblical scholar, martyr.

"But now peace is necessary, not for the sick, but the strong; not to the dying, but to the living is communion to be granted by us, that we may not leave those unarmed and naked whom we excite and exhort to the combat, but fortify them with the protection of the blood and body of Christ; and since the Eucharist is ordained for this, that it may be a safeguard to those receiving it, let us arm those whom we wish to be safe against the enemy, with the defence of the fullness of the Lord. For how can we teach or urge them to shed their blood in confession of the name, if we refuse them, when on the eve of the combat, the blood of Christ? or how do we make them fit for the cup of martyrdom, if we do not first admit them, by the right of communion, to drink the cup of the Lord in the Church? . . . It is assuredly the great honor and glory of our episcopacy to have given peace to martyrs, that so we as priests who daily celebrate the sacrifices of God, may prepare sacrifices and victims to God. . . . He cannot be fit for martyrdom who is not armed by the Church for battle, and the mind, faints which the Eucharist received lifteth not up, and kindleth not."

Ep. liv. ad Cornelium, p. 172.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 213

"As the prayer proceeds, we offer our request, and say, "Give us this day our daily bread." This may be understood both spiritually and literally, inasmuch as either acceptation is, with divine usefulness, of aid to salvation. For Christ is the bread of life, and this bread belongs not to all men, but is ours. And as we say "our Father", because He is the Father of those who understand and believe, so also we call this "our bread", because Christ is the bread of those who touch His body. That this bread may be given us day by day we pray, lest we, who are in Christ, and daily receive the Eucharist for food of salvation, should, by the intervention of some more grievous crime, while shut out and not communicating we are prohibited from the heavenly bread, be separated from the body of Christ, according as He Himself warns and admonishes: "I am the bread of life who came down from Heaven. If any one eat of my bread, he shall live for ever. But the bread which I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." Since, therefore, He says, that whosoever shall eat of His bread shall live forever; as it is manifest that those live who touch His body, and receive the Eucharist by right of communication, so, on the other hand, it is to be feared, and is matter for prayer, lest any of us, who while cut off is separated from the body of Christ, remain far from salvation, according to His threat and word: "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you." And therefore do we pray that our bread, that is, Christ, be given us day by day, that we who abide and live in Christ, may not draw back from His sanctification and body."

De Orat. Dom. pp. 420-1.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 217-218

Pope St. Cornelius I, (unknown - A.D. c.253), Pope from A.D. 251 to 253 and Martyr, elected during a lull in the persecution under Emperor Decius, his pontificate was complicated by a schism, one cause of which was the self-appointment of the Roman priest Novatian as antipope and the second, the dispute over the Church's attitude toward Christian apostates and whether those who has repudiated the Christian faith during persecution needed to be re-baptized.

"When he (Novatian) has made the oblations, and is distributing a portion to each, at the time that he gives it, instead of the blessing, he, seizing with both his hands the hands of the communicant, leaves not hold until each pronounces this oath (for I will give his own words), "Swear to me, by the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, never to desert me, or to return to Cornelius." And the miserable creature tastes not until he has uttered against himself an imprecation. And instead of answering, as he receives that bread, "Amen." he says, "I will not return to Cornelius."

Ep. Cornel. ad Fabium Episc. Antioch. ap. Euseb. H. E l. vi. c. 43.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 218

Firmilian of Cæsarea, (A.D. 210-272), Cappadocian; bishop, contemporary of Gregory Thaumaturge, ardent admirer of Origen; remembered for the moral support he gave St. Cyprian of Carthage on the issue of baptizing heretics.

"For the rest what a crime it is, whether of those who admit, that or of those who are admitted, that, their defilements unwashed by the laver of the Church, their sins not manifested, they, by a communion rashly granted, touch the body and blood of the Lord, though it be written, "Whosoever shall eat the bread or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord."

Inter Ep. St. Cyp. lxxv.p. 309.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 218

Eusebius of Cæsarea, (A.D. c.263-338), appointed Bishop of Cæsarea in A.D. 314, Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist, scholar of the Biblical canon who was deeply embroiled in the Arian controversy.

"He saves all that take upon themselves to serve Him. Therefore will He receive them, and bestow upon them the super-celestial food, that saving Word that has said, "I am that bread that came down from Heaven." And they shall be nourished and filled with the aforesaid bread; but you, He says, who have not accepted my grace, shall famish by being deprived of rational food; and further, they who serve me shall be satiated with the drink of immortal life, of which it has been said, "Whosoever shall drink of the water that I shall give him, there shall be in him a fountain of water springing up unto life everlasting."

Comm. in Hesai. c. xlv. p. 586.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 223-224

"And they, who were according to Moses, once in every year sacrificed the paschal lamb, on the fourteenth day of the first month, in the evening; but we, who are of the New Testament, on every Lord's day celebrating our passover, are unceasingly filled with the body of the Lord, we unceasingly partake of the blood of the Lamb.. . . For we do not all these things but once in the year, but unceasingly, and on every day does the Gospel word desire it: for which cause also, every week do we celebrate the feast of our passover, on the day of our Saviour and Lord, performing the mysteries of the true Lamb, by whom we have been redeemed.

[Continuing the same comparison between the two passovers, he adds:]

On every Lord's day we are vivified by the hallowed (consecrated) body of the passover of the Lord, and have our eouls sealed with His precious blood."

Ex Tract, de Paschate, t. i. pp. 253-7 ; Script. Veterum Nov. Coll. Maii, Romae.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 224

Aphrahat, (A.D. c.270 - c.345), Syriac-Christian; ascetic and celibate, Born in Persia: from the Adiabene region of Northern Mesopotamia, composed a series of twenty-three expositions or homilies on points of Christian doctrine and practice.

After having spoken thus [at the Last Supper], the Lord rose up from the place where he had made the Passover and had given his body as food and his blood as drink, and he went with his disciples to the place where he was to be arrested. But he ate of his own body and drank of his own blood, while he was pondering on the dead. With His own hands the Lord presented his own body to be eaten, and before he was crucified he gave his blood as drink.

Treatises 12:6 [A.D. 340]

St. James of Nisibis, (unknown-361), bishop of Nisibis in Mesopotamia, was present at the council of Nicaea, and died about the year 361. We have his life by Theodoret of Cyrus. A. Antonelli published eighteen sermons by this saint at Rome in 1756.

Explaining Isaiah 1:16, 18:

"How shall they be cleansed, unless they be washed in the waters of the laver of baptism, and receive the body and blood of Christ? Blood is expiated with blood; the body is cleansed by the body; and sins are washed away by water."

Serm. iv. De Orat.; Galland. t. v. p. xxxii.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 116

"A man may not mix honey with gall. If one abstain from bread and water, let him not mingle, with this his fast, injurious imprecations, and detractions that are blasphemous. There is but one door into thy house, and that house is the temple of God. Verily, O man, it is unbecoming and impious in thee, to cause filth and uncleanness to pass through that door by which the Lord enters: but thou shouldst abstain from all uncleanness, and then take the body and blood of Christ, and cautiously guard thy mouth through which the King has entered; neither is it permitted thee any longer to make that mouth a passage for words of uncleanness."

Serm. iii. de Jejun. n. 2, Galland. t. v. p. xx.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 225

Pope St. Liberius, (unknown- A.D. 366), The successor of St. Julius I in 352. He suffered severely from the Arian party, and was, for a time, alienated from St. Athanasius.

"This is He, who with five loaves and two fishes, fed four thousand of the people in the desert. He could have fed more, had there been more. In tine, He has called many to the nuptials, but now not bread from barley, but a body is served out from Heaven."

Or. in Consecr. Marcell. Soror. S. Ambrosii, n. 1, Galland, t. v. p. 76.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 230

St. Athanasius of Alexandria, (A.D. 296-372), Egyptian; bishop, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. He was present, as an assistant to St. Alexander of Alexandria, at the council of Nicea who he succeeded in A.D. 326. During more than forty years he was the champion of orthodoxy, and suffered much severe persecution from the Arian party.

"The place in which they (the Arians) pretend that the cup was broken (by order of St. Athanasius) was not a church; there was no priest residing there ; nor was the day on which Macarius is said to have done this, the Lord's day. As then there was no church there; no celebrant; nor the day requiring it, what or when, or where was the mystic chalice broken For, of course, there are many kinds of cups, in households and in the public market-places, to break which entails no impiety; but the mystic cup—to break which voluntarily makes him that does it impious—is found only in the care of those who have been lawfully set in authority : this being the only use of the cup, which has no other. This you lawfully offer to the people to drink from ; this you have received from an ecclesiastical regulation (canon); this belongs only to those set in authority in the Catholic Church; for it is yours, and none others, to give to drink the blood of Christ. But inasmuch as he that breaks the mystic cup is impious, so much the more impious is he that treats contumeliously the blood of Christ. But we say this, not as if any cup of the schismatics had been broken, but that there was nothing of the sort there. For how should there be, when there was no church there, nor any churchman there, nay, not even was it the time for the mysteries"

Apol. cont. Ar. n. x. pp. 105-6.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 235-236

Alluding to the accusation of murder brought against him by the Arians, he says,

"Our sanctuaries are now, as ever, pure, made venerable by the blood alone of Christ, and by piety towards Him."

Apol. cont. Ar. n. 5 (Ex Syn. Alex.), p. 100, t. i.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 235

The great Athanasius, in his discourse to the baptized, speaks thus:

"Thou wilt see the Levites bearing bread (loaves), and a chalice of wine, and arranging the table: as long as the supplications and prayers as yet take not place, there is simply the bread and the cup; but after that the great and marvellous prayers have been completed, then the bread is the body, and the cup, the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ." And again: "Let us come to the perfection of the mysteries. This bread and this cup are simply such, as long as the prayers and supplications have not as yet taken place, but after that the great prayers, and the holy supplications have been sent on high, the Word descends into that bread, and that cup, and it is His body."

Maii Nov. Collect. Veter. Script. T. ix. p. 625, Eutych. in Lucam.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 240

Julius Firmicus Maternus, (Flourished in the 4th century), Sicilian by birth and lawyer from upper nobility, he published a very learned treatise against paganism about the year A.D. 348.

"There is another food, which bestows salvation and life; there is another food which both commends and restores men to the Most High God; there is a food which refreshes the languid; brings back the wandering; lifts up the fallen; and bestows on the dying the signal favor of an everlasting immortality. Seek for the bread of Christ, the cup of Christ, that, all earthly frailty despised, the substance of man may be fattened with an immortal nourishment."

De Errore Prof. Relig. n. 19, Galland. t. v. pp. 30-1.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 228

Speaking of paganism, he says:

"We know by what remedies the poisons of thy invention are overcome. We drink the immortal blood of Christ; to our blood has been united the blood of Christ. This is the saving remedy against thy crimes; this drives out thy deadly poison from the people of God."

De Errore Prof. Relig. n. 22, Galland. t. v. p. 32
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 229-230

Blessed Isaias, (lived in the 4th century), Abbot

"If thou desirest to receive the body of Christ, have care that there be not in thy heart either anger or hatred against any individual."

Reg. ad Mon. n. 50, p. 323.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 277

Macarius of Egypt, (A.D. c.300-391), also known as Macarius the Elder and the Lamp of the Desert was an Egyptian Christian monk, hermit and priest. contemporary with St. Athanasius, and the friend of the great St. Anthony, died at the advanced age of ninety, after passing sixty years in the desert.

"Since, therefore, as we have said above, the life of the body is not from the body itself, but from what is external to it, to wit, from the earth, and it is impossible for it to live without the things that are external to it; so also the soul, if it be not, even now, born again unto that land of the living, and if it be not nourished thence spiritually, and if it increase not spiritually, making progress unto the Lord, and if it be not clothed by the Godhead with secret garments of heavenly beauty, it is impossible for it of itself to live, in gladness and quietude, without that food. For the divine nature has also a bread of life, even Him who says, "I am the bread of life", and a living water, and a wine that gladdens the heart of man."

Hom. i. p. 8 ; In ed. Op. S. Greg. Thaum. Paris. 1622.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 275

"As he that has a great property, and slaves and children, provides one kind of food for his slaves, and another for his own children sprung from his loins ... so Christ, the true master, who created all things, and gives food even to the wicked and ungrateful; but the children whom He has begotten of His own seed, and whom He has made partakers of His grace, in whom the Lord has been formed, He nurtures with a peculiar aliment and food and drink, differing from that of the rest of men, and He gives Himself to those who have their conversation with their Father, according to that saying of the Lord, "He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood, abides in me, and shall not see death."

Hom. xiv. n. 4,, Galland, t. vii. p. 50.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 276

St. Ephrem the Syrian, (of Edessa), (A.D. 306-378), Syrian; born in Nisebis, deacon, hymnist, poet. His works were even during his own lifetime almost all translated into Greek, and were, as St. Jerome informs us, held in such high estimation, as to be read in some churches after the Holy Scriptures. We have his life by St. Gregory of Nyssa.

"On this the first and glorious day (of the week) singing the mysteries of the only-begotten Son, we will cry aloud with hymns in the Church, which is the spouse of Christ, proclaiming the rewards of the holy fathers, and singing praises to those who dwell in the desert.. . . The holy fathers (though dead) are not at a distance from us, since their desire is always with us. Let us not separate them from us, as strangers, seeing that they are always praying for our sins. . . . And when the honored priests stand at the holy table to present a liturgy, they the first, stretching out their hands, receive with (or, by) faith the body of the Lord, who ever is with them; they are as doves flying on high, and have fixed their tabernacles in the cross."

Sermo in Paires defunctos, t. i. Gr. pp. 175-6.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 246-247

"Blessed is he that has cleansed himself from every stain of sin, in order that he may with confidence receive into his house that King of Glory, the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed is he that comes, with fear and trembling and dread, unto the spotless mysteries of the Saviour, and who has had a thorough conviction that he has received within himself life without end."

p. 284, Beatitud. n. 16, 17.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 247

"Give glory to the Most High, who mingled His salt in our minds, and imbued our souls with His wheat. His body was made bread (or, bread was made His body), that He might transfer our mortal nature to immortality."

T. ii. P. 2, Syr. In Nat. Dom. p. 404.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 249

St. Hilary of Poitiers, (A.D. 315-367), French; husband, theologian, bishop of Poiters around A.D. 355, and Doctor of the Church. Referred to as the "Hammer of the Arians" and the "Athanasius of the West.". He was obviously a firm supporter of St. Athanasius.

"My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me." . . . Was it possible that Christ should not suffer? Nay, but from the foundation of the world this mystery (sacrament) of our salvation had been shown forth. Was He unwilling to suffer? Nay, He had just before consecrated the blood of His own body to be poured forth for the remission of sins."

Commentary in Matthew c. xxxi. n. 7, p. 802, t. i.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 231

Having treated at some length on union amongst Christians, and on the grounds of that union, he quotes St. John 17:22-3, "That they may be one, etc," and proceeds thus: "I now ask those who thrust upon us a unity of will between the Father and the Son, whether Christ be now in us by the verity of (His) nature, or by concordance of will? For if the Word was truly made flesh, and we truly receive the Word (made) flesh in the dominical food, how can He be thought not to abide naturally in us -- He who, being born man, hath assumed the nature, now inseparable, of our flesh, and also united the nature of His flesh to the nature of His divinity, under the sacrament of the flesh that was to be communicated to us. For thus all we are one, because the Father also is in Christ, and Christ is in us. Whoso, therefore, shall deny that the Father is naturally in Christ, let him first deny that himself is naturally in Christ, and Christ in him; for the Father (being) in Christ, and Christ in us, make us be one in them. If, then, Christ truly assumed the flesh of our body, and the man that was born of Mary is truly Christ, and if we truly receive the flesh of His own body under the mystery, (and through this we shall be one, because the Father is in Him, and He in us), how is it that a unity of will is asserted, whereas the natural possession (of flesh) through a sacrament, is a sacrament of perfect unity? In divine things, we are not to speak in a human or secular sense, nor by means of violent and imprudent assertions: the perverseness of an alien and impious interpretation is to be forced to the soundness of the heavenly words. What is written let us read; and what we read, let us understand; and then shall we fulfil the office of perfect faith. For what we say concerning the natural verity (very nature) of Christ in us, unless we have learned it from Him, we say it foolishly and impiously. For Himself says, "My flesh is truly meat, and my blood is truly drink. He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood, abides in me, and shall not see death." (St. John 6:56-7) Of the verity of the flesh and blood there is no room left for doubting. For now, both by the declaration of the Lord Himself, and by our faith, it is truly flesh and it is truly blood; and these being received and drunk effect this, that both we are in Christ, and Christ is in us. Is not this the truth? Let this not be the truth for those who deny that Christ Jesus is true God. He is, therefore, Himself in us by means of flesh, and we are in Him; whilst with Him, that which we are, is in God."

Himself testifies that we are in Him by means of the sacrament of the communicated flesh and blood, saying, "And this world soon seeth me not, but you shall see me, because I live, and you shall live; because I (am) in the Father, and you (are) in me, and I in you." (St. John 14:19, 20) If He wished a unity of will only to be understood, why has He laid down a kind of progression and order for completing this union; if it be not that, whereas He is in the Father through the nature of the divinity, we, on the other hand, are in Him through His birth in the body, and He again believed to be indwelling in us through the mystery of the sacraments? And thus, by the Mediator, a perfect unity would be taught; since, whilst we abide in Him, He would abide in the Father, and thus we should proceed even unto union with the Father; since He who is indwelling in Him (the Father) naturally according to His (eternal) nativity, in Him we also should indwell naturally, He Himself abiding naturally in us.

Himself testifies how natural is this unity in us: ""He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood, abides in me and I in him." For no one shall be in Him, but he in whom He shall be, having only within him the assumed flesh of Him who took his (man's) flesh. He had already before this taught the sacrament of this perfect unity, saying, "As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth my flesh, he also shall live by me." He lives, therefore, by the Father, and in the way in which He lives by the Father, in that same way do we live by His flesh. For every comparison is accounted to be after the fashion of the thing to be understood (or, so shaped as to aid the understanding), that we may comprehend what is treated of agreeably to the example set before us. This, then, is the cause of our life -- that we have in ourselves who are flesh (carnal selves) Christ abiding in us by flesh, in us who are to live by Him in the same way as He lives by the Father. If then we live by Him naturally according to the flesh, that is, if we have obtained the nature of His own flesh, how is it that He has not naturally, according to His divinity, the Father in Himself, whereas "He lives by the Father"?

These things have been mentioned by us on this account, that heretics, when falsely asserting a mere union of will between Father and Son, have made use of the example of our union with God, as though, we being united with the Son, and by the Son to the Father by the mere reverence and will of a religious tie (religion), no real propriety of natural communication by sacrament of flesh and blood could be allowed; whereas, both by the honor of the Son which has been bestowed upon us, and by the Son's abiding carnally in us, and we ourselves being united corporally and inseparably in Him, is the mystery of a veritable and natural union to be openly taught."

De Trinitate, l. viii. n. 13-17, pp. 222-5.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 231-234

Blessed Jerome of Jerusalem, (flourished in A.D. 385), a presbyter of Jerusalem.

"Many also of those who live in the world feel the energizing influence of this Holy Spirit; I mean those who assist at the altar, and those who approach to partake of the mysteries of Christ, for of a sudden they are filled with joy, and tears and gladness. Wherefore the Christian is fully convinced that he partakes not of mere bread and wine, but of the body in verity, and the blood of the Son of God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. For we never experience anything of this kind, or feel this grace and energy, or sweetness, or compunction ever, when we eat at our own table mere bread and wine, although this bread be purer than that, and this wine older and better than that which is offered up on the altar. This is needful, that every Christian may be known. For there is not, in the whole of our faith, and in the whole Church, and in all the Scripture, another thing more needful than this, or like unto it. For by this, man is certified that God is in him and with him. From this he knows that truly there is no other faith on earth, but that alone of Christians. Although the Gentiles have Scriptures and churches, and sacrifices, and teachers, and books, and a partial knowledge of God, and some good actions, and festivals and changing of garments, and prayers and watchings and priests, and many other things; yet the grace and operation of the Holy Spirit, which is hidden in the heart of the Christian, none on earth possess but they who have been rightly baptized by faith in Father and Son and Holy Ghost. For, to come into the Church, that is not the mark of a true Christian, seeing that many unworthy persons enter with us; nor the making the sign of the cross, nor the partaking of the body of Christ, are these the marks of a true Christian, for it may be that both unbelievers and heretics partake, and do whatsoever we do."

Comment, util. Galland. t. vii. pp. 528-9.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 278-279

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, (A.D. 315-386), Palestinian; ordained by Maximus, he was made bishop of Jerusalem in A.D. 345; scholar and Doctor of the Church. None of his writings have been preserved to us, except eighteen catechetical instructions addressed to catechumens, and five mystagogic discourses addressed to neophytes.

The bread and the wine of the Eucharist before the holy invocation of the adorable Trinity were simple bread and wine, but the invocation having been made, the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine the blood of Christ.

Catechetical Lectures 19:7 [A.D. 350]

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 faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the body and blood of Christ. . . [Since you are] fully convinced that the apparent bread is not bread, even though it is sensible to the taste, but the body of Christ, and that the apparent wine is not wine, even though the taste would have it so. . . partake of that bread as something spiritual, and put a cheerful face on your soul.

Catechetical Lectures 22:6,9

"After this, you hear the singer with divine melody inviting you unto the communion of the holy mysteries, and saying: "Taste and see that the Lord is good." (Psalm 33), do not trust the judgment to the bodily palate, no, but to faith unwavering; for they who taste, are not bidden to taste of bread and wine, but of the: antitype — something that represents the opposite — of Christ's body and blood."

Catech. Mystag. v. (al. 23), pp. 331-2.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 245

St. Gregory of Nazianzen, (A.D. 318-389), Cappadocian; archbishop, theologian, Doctor of the Church.

"It was in the upper chamber that Jesus communicated the mystery to those who were perfected in the sublimest things, with a view that this might be manifested, viz. partly that it was needful that God should descend unto us, as we know happened of old to Moses, and partly also that we might ascend (unto Him), and thus a communication be formed of God with men, by a comparticipation of dignity."

T. i. Or. xliv. pp. 713-4.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 270

Council of Nicaea, (A.D. 325), met for two months and twelve days in Nice, (or Nicsea), in Bithynia. Three hundred and eighteen bishops were present. This council gave us the Nicene Creed as a result of Arius' heretical opinions, defining the true Divinity of the Son of God (homoousios). They also fixed of the date for keeping Easter and passed several canons of ecclesiastical discipline.

Neither canon nor custom has handed down that they who have not authority to offer, should give the body of Christ to those who do offer."

Can. xviii. Labb. t. ii. col. 244.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 235

St. Basil the Great, (A.D. 328-379), Cappadocian; bishop of Cæsarea in A.D. 369, theologian, monk. Studied in Palestine, Constantinople, and Athens. Many of the subsequent years of his life were spent in the deserts of Egypt and Libya. His character and works have gained for him the surname of "the great".

"What is the characteristic of a Christian? To be purified in the blood of Christ from every defilement of flesh and spirit, and to be perfected in holiness in the fear of God and in the love of Christ, and to be without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but to be holy and spotless, and thus to eat the body of Christ, and to drink the blood of Christ. "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself." (1 Corinthians 11) What is the characteristic of those who eat the bread and drink the chalice of the Lord? To keep a perpetual remembrance of Him who died and rose again for us."

Moralia Reg. lxxx. c. 22, p. 445.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 271

St. Zeno of Verona, (unknown- A.D. c.383), Italian; African by birth, on coming to Italy was appointed bishop of Verona, in the year 362. He died about the year 383. His works were collected after his death, at the beginning of the fifth, or at the close of the fourth century. The brothers Ballerini gave an excellent edition, in 1739, Veronae.

"Thy rod and Thy staff, they have comforted me. Thou hast prepared a table before me, against them that afflict me. Thou hast anointed my head with oil, and Thy wine which inebriateth how goodly is it." (Psalm 22:4, 5)

In truth, brethren, the chalice signifies the blood; the table, the body; the oil, the gift of the Holy Spirit; the rod and the staff, the cross.

L. ii. Trac. xiv. n. 4, Galland. T. v. p. 142.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 240

(Gaius) Marius Victorinus, also known as Victorinus Afer, (A.D. 390), a writer, grammarian, rhetorician, Neoplatonic philosopher and brilliant professor whose conversion in A.D. 355 caused a sensation at Rome. Obscure but strikingly original in his writings, he was an effective critic of Arianism and sought to present orthodox Trinitarianism in uncompromisingly Neoplatonic terms. His speculations about the inner life of the triune Godhead were to be taken up by St. Augustine.

"We Christians who believe in Christ, are taught in the gospel in what manner we ought to pray to the Father; in which prayer, besides many other things, we also ask for bread, which bread is life (for so it is called, for this is the bread which came down from Heaven ), this life both of God and of Christ, that is, eternal life, which Himself designates (supersubstantial bread), bread of the same substance, that is, of the life of God; consubstantial life. For whence shall we become the sons of God, except by the participation of eternal life, which Christ, bringing it unto us from the Father, has bestowed upon us? This then is meant by that, "Give us supersubstantial bread", that is, life of that same substance; for if what we receive is the body of Christ, and Christ is life, we ask for supersubtantial bread, for riches dwell in Christ bodily."

L. ii. adv. Arian. n. 8, Galland T. viii. p. 177
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 293-294

St. Epiphanius of Salamis, (A.D. 332-403), Palestinian; bishop, abbot, scholar.

"Melchisedech met Abraham, and brought out for him bread and wine, prefiguring the hidden meanings of the mysteries, the antitypes of the body of our Lord, who says that, "I am the living bread"; and antitypes of that blood that came darkly from His side, and flowed thence for the purification of the defiled, and the expiation and salvation of our souls."

T. i. Adv. Hæres. (55), p. 472.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 281

"For the only-begotten has come, and so holds our mother, the Church, that tranquil harbor of peace, our joy, she that breaths of the cyprus of the vine (Canticle of Canticles 1:14), and she that bears to us that grape-cluster of the eulogy, and daily gladdens us with that care-dispelling drink, Christ's blood, unmingled, true."

T. i. Adv. Hæres. (Expos. Fid.) pp. 1096-7.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 281

Pope St. Siricius, (A.D. c.334-398), an active Pope, involved in the administration of the Church and the handling of various factions and viewpoints within it; author of two decrees concerning clerical celibacy. The decree of A.D. 385 stated that priests should stop cohabiting with their wives.

"We have also been informed that certain Christians have passed into a state of apostasy — a thing which it is a shame to name — and have profaned themselves by the worship of idols, and by the defilement of the sacrifices. Such we order to be cut off from Christ's body and blood, with which, in times past, they were, at the new birth, redeemed."

Ep. i. ad Ilimer. n. 4, Galland. t. viii. p. 534.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 279

St. Gregory of Nyssa, (A.D. c.335 - c.394), bishop of Nyssa in A.D. 371, an erudite theologian who made significant contributions to the doctrine of the Trinity and the Nicene creed. Gregory's philosophical writings were influenced by Origen. He was the brother of the great St. Basil.

The question, therefore, arises how does the body of Christ in each man give life to the whole nature of those men in whom there is faith; and is shared amongst all; and is itself not lessened?

Perhaps, then, we are near the probable reason. For, if the subsistence of every body is derived from nourishment, and this nourishment is food and drink, and this food again is bread, and this drink water gladdened with wine; and the Word of God, (who was both God and the Word, as has been already said) was commingled with human nature, and being in our flesh, did not invent any fresh substance for that human nature, but gave permanency to his body by the usual means adapted to that end, obtaining, that is, a subsistence by food and drink (and that food was bread): as, -- then, amongst us, as we have already several times remarked, when a man sees bread, he, in some way, beholds the human body, inasmuch as when that (bread) has entered into this (body), it becomes this (body); so also, in the other case, that body that received God, when it had received the nourishment of bread, was, in a certain sense, the same thing as it (the bread); that nourishment, as has been said, passing into the nature of that body. For that which is the peculiarity of all bodies, that is also acknowledged with regard to this flesh, -- that the body (of Christ) was completely constituted of bread. But that body, by the indwelling of the God-Word, was transmuted into the divine dignity. Rightly, therefore, do I believe that now also the bread that is sanctified by the Word of God is transmuted into the body of the God-Word."

T. iii. Orat. Catech. Magn. c. 37, pp 102-105.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 263-264

St. Ambrose of Milan, (A.D. 340-396), German; reluctantly made bishop in the A.D. 374., Doctor of the Church. He closed a great and glorious career in A.D. 396. We have his life by Paulinus.

Perhaps you may be saying, "I see something else; how can you assure me that I am receiving the body of Christ?" It but remains for us to prove it. And how many are the examples we might use! . . . Christ is in that sacrament, because it is the body of Christ.

The Mysteries 9:50, 58 [A.D. 390]

"Oh blessed wood of the Lord which crucified the sins of all men; oh blessed flesh of the Lord which ministered food to all men."

T. i. Enar. in Ps. xxxiv. n. 3, p. 76
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 283

"Let not thy faith fail. For though thou art weak, Christ who fails not is solicitous for thee. He says to His disciples, "Give you them to eat, lest they fail by the way." Thou hast the apostolic food; eat it, and thou wilt not fail. Eat it first, that thou mayest afterwards come to the food of Christ, to the food of the body of the Lord, to the banquets of the sacraments, to that cup wherewith the affections of the faithful are inebriated; so as to be clothed with gladness on account of the remission of sins, and so as to put off the cares of this world, the fear of death, and anxieties. Thus inebriated the body staggers not, but rises again; the mind is not confounded, but hallowed."

T. i. in Ps. cxviii. (Samech), n. 28, p. 1166.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 284-285

St. Jerome, (A.D. 342-420), Dalmatian; born in Strido; priest, hermit, abbot, biblical scholar, translator and Doctor of the Church. In an age distinguished by men of the greatest eloquence and learning, St. Jerome, especially in all matters connected with the Sacred Scriptures, was then preeminent, and has probably never since been equalled.

"But, driven from this position, thou wilt appeal to the clergy. God forbid that I should say anything harsh of such, seeing that, succeeding to the apostolic rank, with their sacred mouth, they make the body of Christ; through whom also we are Christians. Who, having the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, in some manner judge before the day of judgment; who in sober chasteness preserve the spouse of Christ. . . . They feed the flock of Christ, I am fed."

T. i. Ep. xiv. ad Heliodor. n. 8, p. 33.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 294-295

"The Saviour of mankind celebrated the passover in an upper chamber . . . made ready for the spiritual banquet, where He delivered to His disciples the mystery of the body and blood, and left us the eternal festival of the immaculate Lamb."

T. v. I. xii. Comm. in Ezech. col. 498.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 296-297

St. John Chrysostom, (A.D. 344 - 407), Syrian; archbishop, Doctor of the Church. Born at Antioch in 344; he was ordained priest in A.D. 383, and raised to the see of Constantinople in the year A.D. 398. His eloquence gained him the title of Chrysostom, or the mouth of gold. His expositions of Scripture, especially the Epistles of St. Paul, are very valuable. This illustrious prelate died on his road to exile, in A.D. 407.

"In no common way is our mouth honored receiving the body of the Lord."

Hom. xxx. in Ep. ii. ad Cor. n. 2, p. 773.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 318

"When you are about to approach to the dread and divine table, and to the sacred mystery, do it with fear and trembling, with a pure conscience, with fasting and prayer. . . . Reflect, O man, what a sacrifice thou art about to touch; what a table thou art going to approach; think that, though dust and ashes, thou receives Christ's body and blood.

Were even a king to invite you to a banquet, you recline at table with fear, and receive the food that is before you reverently and silently; whilst, when God invites you to His own table, and sets before you His own Son, -- the heavenly powers standing round with fear and trembling, and the cherubim hiding their faces, the seraphim crying out with dread, "Holy, holy, holy Lord", -- do you approach with shouting and confusion to this spiritual banquet?"

T. ii. In Diem Nat. Jesu Christ. n. 7, p. 430.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 298

"When thou art going to approach to the sacred table, consider too that the King of all is present there, for indeed He is present really, thoroughly acquainted with each one's disposition, and seeing who comes with becoming holiness, who with a wicked conscience, with impure and foul thoughts, with evil deeds."

T. vi. In IUud, Vidi Dom. n. 4, p. 165.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 303

St. Chromatius of Aquileia, (unknown- A.D. c.407), Italian; bishop (and scholar) of Aquileia, in which see he succeeded Valerian in the year 387; he was the friend of St. Ambrose and of St. Jerome.

"Give us this day our daily bread."

"We understand this saying of the Lord in two ways. First, that we are not to ask for anything but daily food. . . . But we must notice that the command to beg for daily bread is given to us in a spiritual sense, -- to beg, that is, for that heavenly and spiritual bread, which we daily receive as a medicine of the soul, and unto the hope of eternal salvation, -- concerning which the Lord says in the gospel, "The heavenly bread, is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world." Wherefore, we are commanded to ask daily for this bread also, that is, that by the mercy of the Lord, we may deserve daily to receive the bread of the body of the Lord. For the holy Apostle says, "But let a man prove himself and so let him eat of the bread of the Lord, and drink of the chalice." And again, "He that eateth the bread of the Lord unworthily, and drinketh the chalice, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord." Whence not without cause ought we always to pray, that we daily be found worthy to receive this heavenly bread : for fear lest, by the intervention of some sin or other, we be separated from the body of the Lord."

Tra. xiii. in St. Matt. n. 5, Galland. t. viii. p. 348.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 337

St. Gaudentius of Brescia, (unknown - A.D. 410), Italian; became bishop around A.D. 387, theologian and author of many letters and sermons, held in high esteem by the people of Brescia.

"To us Christ lives; for us He rose again; seeing that He was no more beheld of the Jews; neither, after the resurrection, did He. enter into the synagogue of the Jews, but came unto the assembled disciples. He comes in unto us, and shows us the verity of His own venerable body, if so be that we have deserved or deserve to be His disciples."

De Paschae Observ. Tr. iv. T. v.pp. 949, Bibl. Maxim.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 323

St. Theodore of Mopsuestia, (A.D. 350-428), bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia and ecclesiastical writer. A friend of St. Pachomius.

"When [Christ] gave the bread he did not say, "This is the symbol of my body," but, "This is my body." In the same way, when he gave the cup of his blood he did not say, "This is the symbol of my blood," but, "This is my blood"; for he wanted us to look upon the [Eucharistic elements] after their reception of grace and the coming of the Holy Spirit not according to their nature, but receive them as they are, the body and blood of our Lord. We ought . . . not regard [the elements] merely as bread and cup, but as the body and blood of the Lord, into which they were transformed by the descent of the Holy Spirit".

Catechetical Homilies 5:1 [A.D. 405]


The Real Presence of Jesus

Christ is not present in this sacrament, according to His natural way of existence; that is, as bodies naturally exist; but in a manner proper to the character of His exalted and glorified body. His presence then is realand substantial, but sacramental; not exposed to the external senses, nor obnoxious to corporal contingencies.


The Church's Scriptures that support the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist:


The Eucharistic Discourse in John's Gospel, Jesus speaking:

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." 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" 53 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread which came down from Heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever." 59 This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. 60 Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, "Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail *; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. 65 And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." 66 After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. 67 Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?" 68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."

John 6:51-69

* For the meaning of "spirit and flesh" when put in contrast, see Romans 8:1-14.

Verse 63 confirms that we receive both the spiritual (spirit) and sacramental (life) of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Matthew's Account of the Last Supper:

26 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." 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Matthew 26:26-28

Mark's Account of the Last Supper:

22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body." 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."

Mark 14:22-25

Luke's Account of the Last Supper:

19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 20 And likewise the cup after supper, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

Luke 22:19-20

St. Paul proclaims and catechizes on the Mass.

16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? 19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?


1 Corinthians 10:16-21

Abuses of the Lord's Supper

17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you assemble as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and I partly believe it, 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. 20 When you meet together, it is not the Lord's supper that you eat. 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal, and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.

1 Corinthians 11:17-22

St. Paul proclaims and catechizes on the Mass.

23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 25 In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.


1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Partaking of the Lord's Supper unworthily.

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. 28 Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.


1 Corinthians 11:27-30

If the Eucharist were just a symbol, why does Paul say, "That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died." If the Eucharist is just a symbol it shouldn't have effected them.


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