November 24, 2004 at 12:00 am #26030
I would only like to correct a minor point, respectfully of course, from Ed M. , Mesg ID 317200030207. Orthodox Christians do not adhere to the Roman Catholic teaching of transubstantiation. This teaching is a Roman Catholic explanation of what happens to the bread and wine during their Mass. This is primarily a Roman Catholic doctrine derived from the teachings of Thomas Aquinas and rooted in Aristotlian philosophy. Eastern Orthodox Christians, which includes Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, etc., do not accept transubstantiation as an adequate or viable explanation of what happens to the bread and wine during the Liturgy. Orthodox Christianity does not attempt to define this process, and only believes that it is a Holy Mystery, and that the bread and the wine are in actuality, the Body and Blood of Christ, but we do not define it as transubstatiation or anything else. Roman Catholicism is rooted in rationalism and all that that implies. The Eastern Orthodox Church retains its mystical nature and does not attempt to dogmatize Holy Mysteries. It is partly for this reason, the difference of theological base that separates East and West, that Orthodox Christianity does not allow 'open communion' with other Christian traditions. Instead, the Eucharist is reserved for properly prepared (prayer, fasting and repentence) Orthodox Christians only who profess the same faith. Additionally, although it may seem minor, the 'accidents' used in Roman Catholic rite are far different from that of the Eastern Orthodox. The Orthodox use leavened bread, as was used by our Lord at the Last Supper, and this bread is mixed with the wine in a chalice, and served by spoon. (You may wish to research the Proskimedia of the Divine Liturgy for a fuller explanation of how it is done, and what prayers are said, etc.) In Roman Catholicism, each accident is offered seperately, and the bread which is used is UN-leavened. Eastern Orthodox uses an apophatic approach to theology.