Monday, November 7, 2016

The Eucharist is Life as Communion

The Orthodox Church has always promoted the Eucharist at its centre of existence. The Church is where the Eucharist is. Metropolitan Kallistos in his talks always explains how we, the faithful, are Liturgical Beings (Ζώον Λειτουργικόν). The Eucharist is central because it promotes a life in communion, not only between us, the living faithful, and God but also between the faithful who comprise the Body of Christ. Christos Yannaras, in his book The Freedom of Morality gives a great explanation of how the Eucharist is life as communion, explaining:

‘The eucharist is life as communion – not an abstract life, but the precondition for earthly life which is food, that object of contention which tears life apart. Within the eucharist, partaking of daily nourishment is to partake in Christ’s sacrifice, to partake in that death of individual demands and claims which raises life up into the miracle of communion. The bread and wine of the eucharist are the body and blood of Christ, the reality of His theanthropic nature – a participation and communion in His mode of existence. It is the first-fruits or leaven of life, for the transfiguration of every facet, every activity in human life into an opportunity for communion and an event of communion. As people live the sacrificial ethos of the eucharist, it suffuses economics, politics, professional life, the family and the structures of public life in a mystical way – in acts with a dynamic indeterminacy beyond the reach of objective predetermination. And it transfigures them – it changes their existential presuppositions, and does not simply “improve” them.’ (pp. 217-8). 

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