The Church Fathers On the Holy Eucharist

The Didache (C. 90 - 150 A.D.): "Assemble on the Lord's day, and break bread and offer the Eucharist; But first make confession of your faults, so that your sacrifice may be a pure one...For this is the offering of which the Lord has said, 'Everywhere and always bring me a sacrifice that is undefiled, for I am a great king, says the Lord and my name is the wonder of nations' (Malachias 1, 11,...)."

St. Clement of Rome, Letter to the Corinthians (C. 98 A.D.):"Our sin will not be small if we eject from the episcopate those who blamelessly and holily have offered its Sacrifices. Blessed are those presbyters whohave already finished their course, and who have obtained a fruitful and perfect release."

St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Smyrnaeans (C. 110 A.D.):"They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes."

St. Justin Martyr, First Apology, C. 66 (C. 155 A.D.): "For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus...The Apostles, in the Memoirs which they produced, which are called Gospels, have thus passed on that which was enjoined upon them: that Jesus took bread and, having given thanks, said, 'Do this in remembrance of Me; this is My Body.' Andin like manner, taking the cup, and having given thanks, He said, 'This is My Blood.' And He imparted this to them only."

St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies (C. 180 A.D.): "If the body be not saved, in fact, neither did the Lord redeem us with His Blood; and neither is the cup of the Eucharist the partaking of His Blood nor is the Bread which we break the partaking of His Body."

St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Bishop of Jerusalem, 318-386 A. D.) 

'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 [350 A. D.]).

Council of Ephesus (431 A. D.) 

'We will necessarily add this also. Proclaiming the death, according to the flesh, of the Only-begotten Son of God, that is Jesus Christ, confessing his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven, we offer the unbloody Sacrifice in the churches, and so go on to the mystical thanksgivings, and are sanctified, having received his Holy Flesh and the Precious Blood of Christ the Savior of us all. And not as common flesh do we receive it; God forbid: nor as of a man sanctified and associated with the Word according to the unity of worth, or as having a divine indwelling, but as truly the Life-giving and very flesh of the Word himself. For he is the Life according to his nature as God, and when he became united to his Flesh, he made it also to be Life-giving' (session 1, Letter of Cyril to Nestorius' [431 A. D.]).

 

 

St. Augustine of Hippo, Explanation of the Psalms (C. 400 A.D.):"'And he was carried in his own hands.' But, brethren, how is it possible for a man to do this? Who can understand it? Who is it that is carried in his own hands? A man can be carried in the hands of another; but no one canbe carried in his own hands. How this should be understood literally of David, we cannot discover; but we can discover how it is meant of Christ. For Christ was carried in His own hands, when, referring to His own Body, He said:' This is My Body' for He carried that Body in His hands."