"Let unity, the greatest good of all goods, be your preoccupation." - St. Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to St. Polycarp)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Early Church Fathers on the Eucharist and the Liturgy

The Last Supper (c. 1470)
Jaume Huguet

Last night, Professor Feingold (Ave Maria University) continued his lecture series on the early Church Fathers for the Association of Hebrew Catholics. Last night's lecture was titled "The early Church Fathers on the Eucharist and the Liturgy." He first presented what we know about the early liturgy of the Church, and its continuity with the liturgy of the synagogue. Then, starting in the first century, and ending with St. John Chrysostum in the late fourth century, he showed that the Fathers believed and taught the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the ecclesial dimension of the Eucharist, the sanctifying power of the Eucharist, and the sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist. He showed that the idea of transubstantiation was present in the Fathers, and was not a medieval novelty. The Q&A following the lecture included a number of very good questions from a Protestant point of view. During the Q&A he explained exactly why Protestant communities do not have the Eucharist, and why having Holy Orders is essential for a valid Eucharist. The lecture and Q&A are both freely available for download as mp3 files here. Or listen to them by pressing 'play' below: