A Russian Orthodox leader said on Monday that belief in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist unites Catholics and Eastern Orthodox believers despite their divisions.
Delivering the opening catechesis at the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, Hungary, on Sept. 6, Metropolitan Hilarion outlined the Eastern Orthodox understanding of the Eucharist.
“The Catholics and the Orthodox are not united in the Eucharist, but they are united in the conviction that in the Eucharistic bread and wine after their consecration we have not just the symbolic presence of Christ, but his full and real presence,” said the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.
“We believe that the bread and wine of the Eucharist are the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Eucharistic celebration is not only a commemoration of the Last Supper, but also its actualization for each believer who participates in it.”
“And the celebrant does not act in the Eucharist on his own behalf. It is on behalf of Jesus Christ himself that he pronounces the words originally uttered by Christ at his Last Supper. And it is Christ himself who administers the sacrament for his followers, not a priest or a bishop.”
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