Early Christianity and the Eucharist?

By COGwriter

What is the eucharist?

The Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, and various others emphasize their versions of it.

Is the term scriptural?

If the Bible uses the term in conjunction with a ceremony, what ceremony would that be?

Where did the type of eucharist that most who profess Christianity come from?

Does the Church of God have a eucharist? Is that the Christian Passover?

Here is a link to a related sermon: Eucharist, Passover, and Easter.

The New Testament Eucharist

Regarding the term eucharist in the New Testament, Wikipedia has the following:

The Greek noun εὐχαριστία (eucharistia), meaning "thanksgiving", appears fifteen times in the New Testament but is not used as an official name for the rite; however, the related verb is found in New Testament accounts of the Last Supper including the earliest such account:

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks (εὐχαριστήσας), he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me". (1 Corinthians 11:23–24)

The term "Eucharist" (thanksgiving) is that by which the rite is referred to by the Didache (late 1st or early 2nd century), Ignatius of Antioch (who died between 98 and 117) and Justin Martyr (writing between 147 and 167). (Eucharist. Wikipedia, retrieved 03/07/19)

Now, there are a few points to mention related to the above.

The first is that in the New Testament the term 'eucharist' is not used for what is now considered a eucharist ceremony. Each of the fifteen times the term is used in the Greek (Strong's word 2169), it is translated as 'thanksgiving' in the NKJV. It is not specifically used related to anything resembling a daily or weekly communion ceremony.

The second is to point out that in 1 Corinthians 11 the Apostle Paul was specifically referring to Jesus breaking bread. Therefore, this is different than the practice of many groups who have a ceremony they refer to as the eucharist.

Now the third point is that 1 Corinthians 11:23-24 is specificall referring to Jesus' last Passover. Church of God Christians have kept a memorial for that annually since then. And early Christians did not seem to refer to it as the Last Supper.

The connection of 1 Corinthians 11:23-24 to Passover has been forgotten by many.

The fourth point is that the Textus Receptus (what the KJV/NKJV/AFV are based on) has the Strong's word 2168, translated as 'had given thanks' in 1 Corinthians 11:24, found 39 times in it (and 38 in the NA27). It is basically used as a term to thank God and is not specific to a particular meal.

For two examples:

15 And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage. (Acts 28:15, NKJV, throughout unless citing other sources)

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. (Romans 1:8)

That being said, it is used related to food at least ten times (Matthew 15:36, 26:27; Mark 8:6, 14:23; Luke 22:17, 19; John 6:11, 23; Acts 27:35; 1 Corinthians 11:24). Notice one of them:

35 So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. 36 And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude. (Matthew 15:35-36)

So, it can be used related to bread and have nothing to do with a biblically-prescribed obserance.

The following involves two uses from Jesus related to His final Passover:

15 Then He said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."

17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."

19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
(Luke 22:15-19)

It would seem because Jesus is recorded as giving thanks ('eucharisteésas in the Greek), that this (as well as Paul's statements in 1 Corinthians 11) is why the name became associated with His final Passover--which we will see in the next section.

Jesus taught:

20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)

Between Jesus words above and those in Luke 22, it is clear that Jesus is present during a proper Passover ceremony--though scripture does not say precisely how.

The Didache and Ignatius

Now, let's look at what appear to be the earliest references to the 'eucharist' after the New Testament was written (though some feel the Didache may have been written prior to the Book of Revelation).

This is believed to be from the oldest complete surviving post-New Testament sermon, and seems to have been from the early second century:

17:7 But the righteous, done good and endured torments and hated pleasures of the soul, when they will behold them that have done amiss and denied Jesus by their words or by their deeds, how that they are punished with grievous torments in unquenchable fire, will give glory to God, saying, There will be hope for him that has served God with his whole heart.

18:1 Therefore let us also be found among those that give thanks, among those that have served God, and not among the ungodly that are judged. (Ancient Christian Sermon sometimes called 2 Clement)

So, at that time, the term for giving thanks, still (seemingly in this context), meant giving thanks.

The dating of the Didache is unclear, but in its present form looks like sometime into the second century. Anyway, it states:

Now concerning the Thanksgiving (Eucharist), thus give thanks. First, concerning the cup: We thank you, our Father, for the holy vine of David Your servant, which You made known to us through Jesus Your Servant; to You be the glory forever. And concerning the broken bread: We thank You, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You made known to us through Jesus Your Servant; to You be the glory forever. Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let Your Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Your kingdom; for Yours is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ forever. But let no one eat or drink of your Thanksgiving (Eucharist), but they who have been baptized into the name of the Lord; for concerning this also the Lord has said, Give not that which is holy to the dogs.

So, this clearly is referring to a ceremony related to Jesus' last Passover. It uses forms of the Greek word eucharist four times, with the first one referring to a ceremony. And it is clearly referring to breaking the bread. It also points out that the Eucharist/Passover is to only be taken by baptized people.

That would be consistent with the writings of the Apostle Paul:

27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. (1 Corinthians 11:27-29)

5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you are disqualified. (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Since only baptized people have truly examined themselves, only they are to partake in the Passover/Eucharist.

Now, in the early second century, Ignatius of Antioch wrote:

13:1 Take heed, then, often to come together to give thanks to God, and show forth His praise. (Letter to the Ephesians 13:1).

4:1 Take heed, then, to have but one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup to [show forth ] the unity of His blood; one altar; as there is one bishop, along with the presbytery and deacons, my fellow-servants: that so, whatsoever you do, you may do it according to [the will of] God. (Letter to the Philadelphians 4:1).

8:1 See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is[administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 8:1 Roberts).

8:1 But avoid divisions, as being the beginning of evils. Do ye all follow the bishop, as Jesus Christ doth the Father; and follow the presbyters as the apostles; and have respect unto the deacons as unto the commandment of God. Let no one, apart from the bishop, do any of the things that appertain unto the church. Let that eucharist alone be considered valid which is celebrated in the presence of the bishop, or of him to whom he shall have entrusted it. (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 8:1 Hoole).

The first citation is giving thanks, whereas those in the letters to the Philadelphians and Smyrnaeans sounds like the Passover ceremony. Both of those latter letters are consistent with a ceremony that was annually, as opposed to weekly or daily.

Now, there is some controversy related to the citation that follows related to Ignatius' Letter to the Smyraneans 7:1. Essentially, Roberts and Donaldson use a Greek source that uses the term eucharist, whereas three other sources I have checked do not.

7:1 They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again. (Roberts)

7:1 They therefore that gainsay the good gift of God perish by their questionings. But it were expedient for them to have love, that they may also rise again. (Lighfoot)

7:1 They, therefore, who speak against the gift of God, die disputing. But it were better for them to love, that they might also rise again. (Hoole)

7:1 Therefore those who deny the gift of God perish in their contentiousness. It were better for them to love, that they might also rise again. (Holmes)

It is believed by various scholars that the original Letter did not have the eucharistic statement in 7:1. Scholars have agreed that parts of Ignatius' writings were tampered with (Holmes M. The Apostolic Fathers. 2004, pp. 131-132).

In his letter to the Ephesians, Ignatius adds:

20:2 obey the bishop and the presbytery with an undivided mind, breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but [which causes] that we should live for ever in Jesus Christ.

And, in the Continuing Church of God, we still break bread as part of the Passover ceremony.

In the second century, it was reported that Passover was an annual event and that it was held at night (Epistula Apostolorum, Chapter 15 as shown in Elliot JK. The apocryphal New Testament: a collection of apocryphal Christian literature in an English translation, reprint edition. Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 565). The Eastern Orthodox realize that this is so, as one of their priests has written:

Pascha is the feast of universal redemption. Our earliest sources for the annual celebration of the Christian Pascha come to us from the second century ... The feast, however, must have originated in the apostolic period ... According to the earliest documents, Pascha is described as a nocturnal celebration ... (Calivas, Alkiviadis C. The Origins of Pascha and Great Week - Part I. Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1992. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith8504 viewed 11/04/2011)

Polycrates of Ephesus confirmed that the Apostles John and Philip, as well as successive Church of of God leaders, kept Passover annually and on the 14th:

We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord's coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus. And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna. Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead ? All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ' We ought to obey God rather than man'... I could mention the bishops who were present, whom I summoned at your desire; whose names, should I write them, would constitute a great multitude. And they, beholding my littleness, gave their consent to the letter, knowing that I did not bear my gray hairs in vain, but had always governed my life by the Lord Jesus (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book V, Chapter XXIV, Verses 2-7 . Translated by A. Cushman McGiffert. Digireads.com Publishing, Stilwell (KS), 2005, p. 114).

Perhaps amazingly, even the Emperor Constantine (fourth century) understood that Passover was to be a one-time, annual event when, according to the fifth century historian Theodoret, he declared:

"For we could never tolerate celebrating the Passover twice in one year. But even if all these facts did not exist, your own sagacity would prompt you to watch with diligence and with prayer, lest your pure minds should appear to share in the customs of a people so utterly depraved. It must also be borne in mind, that upon so important a point as the celebration of a feast of such sanctity, discord is wrong. One day has our Saviour set apart for a commemoration of our deliverance, namely, of His most holy Passion" (Theodoret of Cyrus. Ecclesiastical History (Book I), Chapter IX. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 3. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1892. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Yes, Passover/Eucharist was intended by God to be an annual event (Leviticus 23:5)--Jesus Himself observed Passover annually (Luke 2:41-42).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

1170 At the Council of Nicea in 325, all the Churches agreed that Easter, the Christian Passover, should be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon (14 Nisan) after the vernal equinox (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 332).

Notice that the Catholics CLAIM that Easter is supposed to be Passover--many do not realize that.

Passover Changes and Justin

In the second century, there were changes as to when those who kept with apostolic practices and those who held to other traditions.

One was the date of Passover (some switched to Sunday; see also Passover and the Early Church), whereas another had to do with the Passover/Eucharist ceremony itself.

In the second century, apostate Justin (see also Justin Martyr: Saint, Heretic, or Apostate?) had practices that were similar to those employed by the followers of the sun-god Mithra:

For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water ... And this washing is called illumination, because they who learn these things are illuminated in their understandings (First Apology 61).

And this food is called among us Εύχαριστία [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished ... Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn (First Apology 66).

Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly (First Apology 67).

So, this was not only a change in date and practice, but it seems also to be a change in frequency.

Lest anyone think that Justin did not have Mithra-related practices, notice what the Protestant historian and scholar K. Latourette observed:

One of the earliest descriptions of the Eucharist, that by Justin Martyr, not far from the middle of the second century, recognizes the similarity to what was seen in one the mystery cults, Mithraism ... it has been repeatedly asserted that in baptism and the Eucharist Christians borrowed from the mysteries and that Christianity was simply another one of these cults ... The similarity is striking (Latourette KS. A History of Christianity, Volume 1: to A.D. 1500. HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1975, p. 198).

Of course, true Christianity would not "borrow" from the sun-cults, but Justin and those that follow his examples apparently have (and ended up having a different baptismal ceremony than the original biblical one--see also Baptism, the Early Church, and the Continuing Church).

It should be understood that while Justin calls the newly baptized "illuminated" the Bible does not.

Are you aware that one objective of mystery religions like Mithraism was to become illuminated? Notice the following:

FOR more than three centuries Mithraism was practised in the remotest provinces of the Roman empire and under the most diverse conditions ... the promise of complete illumination, long withheld, fed the ardor of faith with the fascinating allurements of mystery ... The gods were everywhere, and they mingled in every act of life; the fire that cooked the food and warmed the bodies of the faithful, the water that allayed their thirst and cleansed their persons, the very air that they breathed, and the light that illuminated their paths, were the objects of their adoration. Perhaps no other religion ever offered to its sectaries in a higher degree than Mithraism opportunities for prayer and motives for veneration (Cumont, Franz. Translated from the second revised French edition by Thomas J. McCormack. The Mysteries of Mithra. Chicago, Open Court [1903] pp. 104,120,149).

I suspect that some who had some connection with Mithraism professed Christ and that those ceremonies got picked up by apostates who Justin apparently distantly came into contact with. And even though Justin is attempting to state that Mithraism copied "Christian" ceremonies, the fact is that the Mithra ceremonies, including Sunday worship, were in existence prior to Jesus coming. Jesus, of course, kept Saturday for the Sabbath. Apostates, like Justin, simply did not follow the biblical examples.

Therefore, it would appear that those who practiced Sunday worship, called baptized persons "illuminated" (a term indicating "light," such as sunlight) and the mystic eucharistic ceremonies were following non-Christian influences as it obviously did not happen the other way around with these practices.

The Encyclopædia Britannica states:

The liturgy of the Yasna was a remarkable anticipation of the mass in Christianity ... The Mithraic sacramental banquet was derived from the Yasna ceremony, wine taking the place of the haoma and Mithra that of Ahura Mazdā. (James EO. Sacramental ideas and practices in the Indo-Iranian world. Encyclopædia Britannica. ©2013 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/515366/sacrament/66288/Sacramental-ideas-and-practices-in-the-Indo-Iranian-world viewed 12/06/13)

(The haoma was a type of plant that various ones considered to be divine.)

It may be of interest to note that Mithraism had a lot of practices that many mainstream churches have adopted:

Confirmation (within Catholicism mainly)
Dress of the clergy (mainly the Roman and Orthodox clergy)
Father being a name for the clergy (mainly the Roman and Orthodox clergy)
Heaven as a reward of the saved
Idols and icons
Immortality of the soul
Liturgy (mainly some parts of the Roman and Orthodox liturgy)
Military service
Mystical Eucharist
A Roman pope (the Roman Church only, with some similarities within the Orthodox groups)
Seven sacraments
A form of Trinitarianism

The late Baptist minister and civil rights activist, Martin Luther King, Jr. also concluded this was so in some of his early theological research from 1949 and 1950:

When Mithraism is compared to Christianity, there are surprisingly many points of similarity. Of all the mystery cults, Mithraism was the greatest competitor of Christianity …

That Christians did copy and borrow from Mithraism cannot be denied…

Mithraism … was suppressed by the Christians sometime in the latter part of the fourth century A.D.: but its collapse seems to have been due to the fact that by that time many of its doctrines had been adopted by the church, so that it was practically absorbed by its rival.

… the Church made a sacred day out of Sunday partially because … of the resurrection. But when we observe a little further we find that as a solar festival, Sunday was the sacred day of Mithra: it is also interesting to notice that since Mithra was addressed as Lord, Sunday must have been ‘the Lord’s Day’ long before Christian use. It is also to be noticed that our Christmas, December 25th, was the birthday of Mithra, and was only taken over in the Fourth Century as the date, actually unknown, of the birth of Jesus.

To make the picture a little more clear, we may list a few of the similarities between these two religions: (1) Both regard Sunday as a Holy Day. (2) December 25 came to be considered as the anniversary of the birth of Mithra and Christ also. (3) Baptism and a ritual meal were important parts of both groups …

In summary we may say that the belief in immortality, a mediator between god and man, the observance of certain sacramental rites … were common to Mithraism and Christianity. (King ML. The papers of Martin Luther King, Jr, Volume 4. Clayborne Carson, Ralph Luker, Penny A. Russell editors/compliers. University of California Press, 1992, pp. 222, 224, 307, 309.)

Notice that Dr. King clearly understood that the Sunday churches dropped the Sabbath, that ‘the Lord’s Day’ essentially first meant the day of Mithra, and that the worlds’ churches did adopt many practices from Mithraism. Much of what now is called ‘Christianity’ is a compromise with the religion of Mithraism.

For more details, please see the article Do You Practice Mithraism?


The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

Marcus ... leading Gnostics. ... The founder of the Marcosians and elder contemporary of St. Irenæus, ... Marcus first taught in Asia Minor and possibly later in the West also. His immoralities and juggling tricks (colouring the contents of the cup and increasing the quantity) are described by Irenæus and Hippolytus. (Arendzen JP. Transcribed by Joseph P. Thomas. Marcus. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Marcosians A sect of Valentinian Gnostics, founded by Marcus ... The Marcosian system was a degraded variety of that of Valentinus. It retained the 30 Æons, but called them "Greatnesses" and gave them numerical values. (Arendzen, J. Marcosians. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910)

Even though Roman Catholics consider that Marcus was an immoral Gnostic heretic, he may have come up with a version of the Catholic eucharistic ceremony, and since he had other Mithratic practices, he apparently utilized them as well (see also Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Greco-Roman Eucharist?). The Church of Rome also tolerated the apostate Valentinus for decades.

Notice what the Catholic saint Irenaeus wrote about this Marcus:

1. But there is another among these heretics, Marcus by name, who boasts himself as having improved upon his master. He is a perfect adept in magical impostures, and by this means drawing away a great number of men, and not a few women, he has induced them to join themselves to him, as to one who is possessed of the greatest knowledge and perfection, and who has received the highest power from the invisible and ineffable regions above. Thus it appears as if he really were the precursor of Antichrist. For, joining the buffooneries of Anaxilaus to the craftiness of the magi, as they are called, he is regarded by his senseless and cracked-brain followers as working miracles by these means.

2. Pretending to consecrate cups mixed with wine, and protracting to great length the word of invocation, he contrives to give them a purple and reddish colour, so that Charis, who is one of those that are superior to all things, should be thought to drop her own blood into that cup through means of his invocation, and that thus those who are present should be led to rejoice to taste of that cup, in order that, by so doing, the Charis, who is set forth by this magician, may also flow into them. Again, handing mixed cups to the women, he bids them consecrate these in his presence. When this has been done, he himself produces another cup of much larger size than that which the deluded woman has consecrated,) and pouting from the smaller one consecrated by the woman into that which has been brought forward by himself, he at the same time pronounces these words: "May that Chaffs who is before all things, and who transcends all knowledge and speech, fill thine inner man, and multiply in thee her own knowledge, by sowing the grain of mustard seed in thee as in good soil." Repeating certain other like words, and thus goading on the wretched woman [to madness], he then appears a worker of wonders when the large cup is seen to have been filled out of the small one, so as even to overflow by what has been obtained from it. By accomplishing several other similar things, he has completely deceived many, and drawn them away after him.

3. It appears probable enough that this man possesses a demon as his familiar spirit, by means of whom he seems able to prophesy, and also enables as many as he counts worthy to be partakers of his Charis themselves to prophesy (Book 1, Chapter 13, Verses 1-3).

Roman Catholics mass goes through many steps of invocation that seem similar to this.

It is of interest to note that the Roman Catholics now claim that Mary is "Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament." In his encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Pope John Paul II devotes an entire chapter to Mary, “Woman of the Eucharist” (Zimak G. Mary and the Eucharist. Catholic Exchange, May 31, 2012 https://catholicexchange.com/mary-and-the-eucharist).

Anyway, Marcus may have been the first to associate a woman with a similar ceremony. It is also of interest to note that this particular Marcus was a religious heretic with mystic practices. Irenaeus correctly indicates that he seems to have similarities to the one who would be the final Antichrist. And on this point Irenaeus is correct (Irenaeus seems to get confused in some of his later writings on Antichrist though).

It should also be understood that Irenaeus indicated that Marcus probably had a demon. The Apostle Paul indicated that those who did not handle the Passover bread and wine properly were eating for demons:

14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.

18 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord's table and of the table of demons. (1 Corinthians 10:14-21)

Changing the Passover to a different "Eucharist" would seem to be partaking of the table of demons. This is something that Marcus and others have done.

More on the Marcosians can be found in the article: Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Greco-Roman Eucharist?

Rome States the Eucharist Was Supposed to be Passover

The Church of Rome adopted changes in its Eucharist.

Catholic Priest and scholar Bagatti admits that the original "Eucharist" was not like the one that is now used by his church:

At first the celebration of the Eucharist or “the breaking of bread” was not associated with the readings and ritual prayers, but with the agape, in imitation of the Supper of the Lord. (Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Circumcision. Nihil obstat: Marcus Adinolfi, 13 Maii 1970. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari, 14 Junii 1970. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 26 Junii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1971, p. 114)

By “Supper of the Lord,” priest Bagatti essentially means the New Testament Passover—which is only an annual event.

The Church of Rome realizes that this is a reference to Passover as the following from the Vatican's official website attests to:

When he was about to celebrate with his disciples the Passover meal in which he instituted the sacrifice of his Body and Blood, Christ the Lord gave instructions ....

The Church offers the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Christ’s Passover ... (GENERAL INSTRUCTION OF THE ROMAN MISSAL INSTITUTIO GENERALIS MISSALIS ROMANI Including Adaptations for the Dioceses of the United States of America. From the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, March 17, 2003. http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20030317_ordinamento-messale_en.html#Preamble retrieved 03/07/19)

Before going further, let me add that the Protestant practice of using grape juice and leavened bread (or leavened crackers) was NOT an original Christian practice (the Eastern Orthodox also use leaven which is not consistent with scripture). Unleavened bread was used as was wine.

How do we know that grape juice was not possibly used by Jesus? Grapes are normally harvested around September and Passover is usually in the Roman calendar month called April. In Jesus’ day, they did not have modern sterilization or refrigeration. Hence, grape juice would have spoiled between the time of harvest and Passover. Others have correctly noted that it was IMPOSSIBLE for Jews to have stored grape juice that long (Cf. Kennedy ARS. Hastings Bible Dictionary. C. Scribner Son’s, 1909 p. 974). Therefore, only wine, which can remain unspoiled for even many years would have been used. (The use of alcohol, like wine, is endorsed the Feast of Tabernacles in Deuteronomy 26:14, but not required.) Protestant practices to the contrary were not part of the original faith.

The eucharist ceremony that the then emerging Greco-Roman confederation of churches began to practice in the second and third centuries was very similar to practices associated with Mithraism and possibly Marcus, as Tertullian of Carthage noted:

By the devil, of course, to whom pertain those wiles which pervert the truth, and who, by the mystic rites of his idols, vies even with the essential portions of the sacraments of God ... Mithra there, (in the kingdom of Satan,) sets his marks on the foreheads of his soldiers; celebrates also the oblation of bread, and introduces an image of a resurrection, and before a sword wreathes a crown ... is it not clear to us that the devil imitated the well-known moroseness of the Jewish law? Since, therefore he has shown such emulation in his great aim of expressing, in the concerns of his idolatry, those very things of which consists the administration of Christ's sacraments, it follows, of course, that the same being, possessing still the same genius, both set his heart upon, and succeeded in, adapting to his profane and rival creed the very documents of divine things and of the Christian saints—his interpretation from their interpretations, his words from their words, his parables from their parables (Tertullian. The Prescription against Heretics, Chapter 40. Translated by Peter Holmes, D.D., F.R.A.S.).

Mithras signed his soldiers on the forehead with a cross (see What is the Origin of the Cross as a 'Christian' Symbol?)

Anyway, in North Africa it was acknowledged that sacramental practices that the Greco-Roman alliance were adopting were similar to those of Mithraism--which may have originally influenced Marcus. And while Tertullian hints that the devil caused Mithra followers to have some similar practices that his church had, it is most likely that these practices had been adopted by some who professed Christ that were influenced by followers of Mithra.

Roman Catholic scholars are aware of the connections, but tend to deny their relevance or brush them off:

The view most widely held today among upholders of the historico-religious theory is that the Eucharist and the Mass originated in the practices of the Persian Mithraism (Dieterich, H. T. Holtzmann, Pfleiderer, Robertson, etc.). "In the Mandaean mass" writes Cumont ("Mysterien des Mithra", Leipzig, 1903, p.118), "the celebrant consecrated bread and water, which he mixed with perfumed Haoma-juice, and ate this food while performing the functions of divine service". Tertullian in anger ascribed this mimicking of Christian rites to the "devil" and observed in astonishment (De prescript haeret, C. xl): "celebrat (Mithras) et panis oblationem." (Pohle. J. Transcribed by Joseph P. Thomas. Sacrifice of the Mass. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

There were seven degrees of initiation into the mithraic mysteries ... The fathers conducted the worship. The chief of the fathers, a sort of pope, who always lived at Rome, was called "Pater Patrum" or Pater Patratus." The members below the degree of pater called one another "brother," and social distinctions were forgotten in Mithraic unity ... A sacred meal was celebrated of bread and haoma juice for which in the West wine was substituted. This meal was supposed to give the participants super-natural virtue ... Mithraism had a Eucharist, but the idea of a sacred banquet is as old as the human race and existed at all ages and amongst all peoples (Arendzen. J.P. Transcribed by John Looby. Mithraism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

It is of interest to note that Mithraism had some type of Roman pope, had "fathers" conduct their worship services, and conducted a eucharist ceremony like the Roman Catholics still do.

Since Irenaeus originally condemned Marcus' bread and wine ceremony, and Tertullian noted that there was a similarity between the Mithra ceremony and the one he observed, it seems that Mithraism influenced Marcus and that somehow this may have influenced the Roman Church to adopt practices that one of its saints (Irenaeus) condemned.

It may be of interest to note that the sun and the zodiac circle were important to the Marcosians:

They maintain, then, that first of all the four elements, fire, water, earth, and air, were produced after the image of the primary Tetrad above, and that then, we add their operations, viz., heat, cold, dryness, and humidity, an exact likeness of the Ogdoad is presented. They next reckon up ten powers in the following manner:— There are seven globular bodies, which they also call heavens; then that globular body which contains these, which also they name the eighth heaven ; and, in addition to these, the sun and moon. These, being ten in number, they declare to be types of the invisible Decad , which proceeded from Logos and Zoe . As to the Duodecad , it is indicated by the zodiacal circle, as it is called; for they affirm that the twelve signs do most manifestly shadow forth the Duodecad , the daughter of Anthropos and Ecclesia ... The sun also, who runs through his orbit in twelve months, and then returns to the same point in the circle ... Also the circumference of the zodiacal circle itself contains three hundred and sixty degrees (for each of its signs comprises thirty); and thus also they affirm, that by means of this circle an image is preserved of that connection which exists between the twelve and the thirty. Still further, asserting that the earth is divided into twelve zones, and that in each zone it receives power from the heavens, according to the perpendicular [position of the sun above it], bringing forth productions corresponding to that power which sends down its influence upon it, they maintain that this is a most evident type of the Duodecad and its offspring. (Irenaeus. Adversus Haereses, Book I, Chapter 17, Verse 1) .

The eucharistic host resembles a circle: it is likely an astrological symbol (The Bible and Astrology) or a sun-deity symbol. As far as the 'ogdoad' goes, this led to the veneration of the 'eighth day' of the week, and now Sunday is considered to be the 'eighth day' by Catholics and Protestants, despite the fact that Marcus and his followers were clearly Gnostic heretics (read Sunday and Christianity and/or watch Sunday: First and Eighth Day?).

It should be noted that the accuracy of Irenaeus' reporting related to Marcus (and others) has been questioned. I, for example, found Irenaeus to not always be accurate (see article Irenaeus: The Most Dangerous Heretic?), but he is almost the only source of information we have on Marcus. Anyway, here are some other comments on his reporting:

A LONG section in Irenæus is our almost exclusive source for a knowledge of Marcus and his followers. Hippolytus and Epiphanius simply copy Irenæus and add nothing but new terms of condemnation, while our information from other sources is a question of lines and not of paragraphs. The unreliability of Irenæus as a chronicler of Gnostic views is already known to our readers, and in the case of Marcus and the Marcosians is more painfully patent than usual. It seems that some of the adherents of the school were to be found even among the rude populace of the Rhone valley, and the worthy Presbyter of Lyons was especially anxious to discount their influence. He begins the attack by retailing all the scandalous stories he can collect about Marcus, a man he had never seen, and who had not been nearer to the sheepfold of Lyons than Asia Minor, or at best Egypt! (Mead, G.R.S. Fragments of a Faith Forgotten. Theosophical Publishing Society: London [1900] p. 359 http://www.sacred-texts.com/gno/fff/fff54.htm viewed 12/09/07).

That being said, the Marcosians certainly put out something that was not biblical that many ended up at least partially adopting.

6th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and 20th Centuries

Of course, not all went along with these eucharistic changes.

Here are some comments related to a document from the Middle Ages called the 'Key of Truth' from a former evangelist in the old Worldwide Church of God:


   The KEY OF TRUTH teaches that after Adam and Eve sinned and their children, they became slaves of Satan until the advent of the newly created Adam, Jesus Christ. "Except Gregory Magistros, none of the Armenian sources lays stress on the dualism of the Paulicians!"
   Number 2. They blasphemed the virgin, allegorizing her as the upper Jerusalem, in which the Lord came in and went out, and denying that He was really made flesh of her. John IV records that in the orthodox Armenian church of the 7th century, many held Christ to have been made flesh in but not of the virgin; and Armenian hymns call the virgin mother church at once Theotokos and heavenly Jerusalem. It is practically certain that Paulicians held this view.
   They allegorized the eucharist and explained away the bread and wine.
   They denied that we ought to offer bread and wine as a sacrifice. It is just symbolical. It is not offered as a sacrifice and it is not transferred into the literal Christ, either.
   Such allegorization meets us already in Origen, Eusebius and other early fathers, and is quite compatible with that use of a material eucharist, which Nerses II attests among the Paulicians of the early 6th century, and for which the KEY OF TRUTH provides a form.

So, they considered it merely an allegory ... the Passover ... that it was symbolical, it was a material eucharist, literal material wine and bread, and that is all, and that it just reminded us of something. It was not a sacrifice, but reminded us of something. This man attests that it was held among the Paulicians of the early 6th century, which would put it in the 500's A.D.

This is the most accurate account of the Paulicians, because it was written by Paulicians and God caused it to be lost in history until 1828 when it was uncovered in Armenian Russia.

   The Thronraki, according to Gregory Magistros, hold that "Jesus in the evening meal, spoke not of an offering of the mass, but of every table." We infer that the Paulicians merely rejected the Eucharistic rites and doctrines of the Greeks. According to Gregory Magistros the Thronraki would say: "We are no worshippers of matter, but of God; we reckon the cross and the church and the priestly robes and the sacrifice of mass all for nothing, and only lay stress on the inner sense."

(Blackwell DC. A Handbook of Church History, Chapter II. A Thesis Presented to theFaculty of the Ambassador College Graduate School of Theology, 1973)

In the Church of God we do not consider that the Passover/Eucharist is an actual sacrifice, but is essentially a reminder of the sacrifice of Christ.

Notice also around the 10th century:

Bogomils ... They denied that the priest can actually make the flesh and blood of Christ again out of the wine and bread. (Blackwell DC. A Handbook of Church History, Chapter III. A Thesis Presented to theFaculty of the Ambassador College Graduate School of Theology, 1973)

Notice something related to the 11th century:

'Gregory of that name the seventh [Gregory VII] ... The pope in A.D. 1054 sent three legates to the emperor of the East and to the patriarch of Constantinople for the purpose of reuniting the Greek and Latin churches. Cardinal Humbert was the head of this legation. The legates on their arrival set to the work of refuting those doctrines which distinguished the church of Constantinople from that of Rome. After they had attended to the questions which separated the two churches they found it was also necessary to discuss the keeping of the Sabbath because one of the most learned men of the East had put forth in a treatise in which he maintained that ministers should be allowed to marry, that the Sabbath should be kept holy and that unleavened bread should be used in the Supper, all of which the church of Rome held to be deadly heresies. We quote from Mr. Bower a concise statement of the treatment which this Sabbatarian writer received, 'Humbert likewise answered the piece that had been published by the monk of the monastery of Studium near Constantinople, named Nicetes, who was deemed one of the most learned men of that time in the East. In that piece, the monk undertook to prove that unleavened bread ought to be used in the eucharist, that the Sabbath ought to be kept holy and the priests should be allowed to marry. But the emperor who wanted by all means to gain the pope for the reasons mentioned above was, or rather pretended to be, so fully convinced of the legate confuting those alleged by Nicetes that he obliged the monk publicly to recant and anathematized all who held the opinion that he had endeavored to establish with respect to the Sabbath, unleavened bread, and the marriage of the priests. At the same time, Nicetes complied, recanted and anathematized anybody who followed the very thing he had just written his paper proving. (Andrews J. History of the Sabbath and the First Day of the Week. Stream Press, 1873, p. 421-422).

Related to the 12th century, The Catholic Encyclopedia article on the Petrobrusians states:


Heretics of the twelfth century so named from their founder Peter of Bruys. ...

The Mass and the Eucharist are rejected because Jesus Christ gave his flesh and blood but once to His disciples, and repetition is impossible. (Weber, N. (1911). Petrobrusians. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company)

Here are some comments from a former evangelist in the old Worldwide Church of God:

Yet, you notice the Catholic Encyclopedia said they rejected the eucharist, which was a half truth. They rejected the eucharist the way the Catholic Church administrated it, but that's the only way it should be administrated according to their opinions and if you don't accept it the way they do it, then you reject the eucharist. We ought to notice that! When you read the history out of the encyclopedia, don't be duped and don't be gullible to such tricks. (Blackwell DC. A Handbook of Church History, Chapter IV. A Thesis Presented to theFaculty of the Ambassador College Graduate School of Theology, 1973)

So, the old WCG and the Petrobrusians did not, per se, reject the eucharist, but the what and the way the Church of Rome expects people to accept.

Notice also the following from the old WCG:

Passover — sometimes called Lord's Supper or Eucharist (Hoeh H. 4000 years of Easter. Tomorrows World, March 1971, p. 44)

Passover — sometimes called Lord's Supper or Eucharist (Armstrong HW. The Plain Truth about Easter. 1973)

The Passover or the Eucharist or the Lords Supper as the different churches call it, celebrates the death of Christ ... (Armstrong HW. The Plain Truth about Christmas. Telecast Date: December 4, 1981)

So, while we normally use the term Passover in the 21st century in the Continuing Church of God, eucharist was a term that has been sometimes used over the centuries. Though, 'New Testament Passover' is the preferred term as it better conveys what is being observed as well as how.

Insert: Ecumenical Eucharist

Mike Gendron’s August 2016 newsletter had to say about the Roman Catholic Mass and Eucharist:

Catholics must attend the weekly sacrifice of the Eucharist in order for the sins committed during the previous week to be forgiven. According to the Catechism, “The Eucharist is a sacrifice because it re-presents the sacrifice of the cross…the sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: The victim is one and the same. In this divine sacrifice ... the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner ... this sacrifice is truly propitiatory” (CCC para. 1366,1367). In other words, Catholics are taught that divine justice (for their sins) is satisfied every time the Eucharist is offered to God.

Catholics are also taught that their redemption comes through the ongoing sacrifice of the Eucharist. “Every time this mystery is celebrated, the work of our redemption is carried on” (CCC, para. 1405). This blatantly denies the testimony of Scripture. When Jesus ...”entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Heb. 9:12).

Catholics are given no choice but to believe these deceptive teachings. If they deny the physical presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, they are condemned by their religion. “If anyone denies, that in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist, are contained truly, really and substantially the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ ... let him be anathema” (Canon 1, Council of Trent).

Mike Gendron is a former Roman Catholic.

Let me add that yes, the Bible is clear that Jesus only needed to be sacrificed once.

Pope Benedict XVI with Eucharist Host during Mass in 2007 (Fabio Pozzebom/ABr)

While Protestants do not always use the round eucharist host, many Protestants are working with the Church of Rome and promoting Pope Francis and his interfaith/ecumenical agenda.

Mike Gendron had the following related to that:

Rick Warren to Speak at Papal Mass

More than 1.5 million people are expected for the Mass with Pope Francis in Philadelphia in September during the World Meeting of Families. Some of the speakers listed include Cardinal Tagle of Manila, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, Scott Hahn, Rick Warren and Rabbi Abraham Skorka. Underlining the ecumenical and interfaith element of the meeting, Archbishop Chaput said 30 percent of the speakers would be non-Catholic…

Mike’s Comment. The Vatican has been looking for compromisers in the evangelical world… Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in southern California, has been an easy target for many years. In a recent interview he said, “We have far more in common (with Catholics) than what divides us. We believe in the trinity…”…

Worship Pastor Encourages Unity with Rome

Darlene Zschech, who has published many popular worship albums under Integrity Music and Hosanna labels, is calling for her followers to unite with Roman Catholics. Her most popular Christian hymn has been “Shout to the Lord.” Last week, she performed on stage as a headliner at the Vatican’s Renewal of the Holy Spirit rally. On her Facebook page, Zschech breathlessly gushed, “The prep has begun in Rome. I can feel the prayers. Honoured to be singing this week, with Andrea Bocelli, Don Moen (Praise & Worship Leader), Noa (Achinoam Nini) with Pope Francis and thousands of worshippers gathering in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. This is a celebration of unity and peace in the Renewal of the Holy Spirit. Amazing days for the Body of Christ.”

The ecumenical and interfaith movements are not Christian. It is warned about in the Bible (Revelation 17-18). It is only after Babylon falls (Zechariah 2:6-7) and Jesus returns that true Christian unity will occur (Zechariah 2:10-11). The Bible warns that God’s people are NOT to be part of the movement that exists before Jesus returns (Revelation 18:4; watch also Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?).

The Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Host

But is there another way for those interested in the truth to be able to determine if the eucharistic host now used by Rome is from the Bible or not?


A careful comparison of what is taught in the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church along with eucharistic practices should make this clear to any truly interested in the truth.

Let's first start out with two translations of a quote from the Apostle Paul:

1 Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1, Douay-Rheims)

1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1, NKJV)

The Apostle Paul is teaching that Christians are to follow or imitate him as he imitates Christ (the Greek word translated as follow/imitate above is mimetes; the English word mimic comes from it). Thus, all should be careful to carefully follow Jesus and the Apostle Paul in this regard.

Notice what the Apostle John wrote:

6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:6)

Article 3, under the Seven Sacraments of the Church in the Catechism of the Catholic Church discusses the eucharist. Section II asks and answers the question, What is this Sacrament Called? Several names are listed, including "The Breaking of Bread" (#1329).

It also states the following:

1339 Jesus choose the time of the Passover ... And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them ... (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 373)

Now the above is scriptural. Here are some related scriptures:

19 And the disciples did as Jesus appointed to them, and they prepared the pasch. ...

26 And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is my body. (Matthew 26:19,26 Douay-Rheims)

22 And whilst they were eating, Jesus took bread; and blessing, broke, and gave to them, and said: Take ye. This is my body. (Mark 14:22, Douay-Rheims)

19 And having taken bread and given thanks, he broke it and gave [it] to them, saying, “This is my bodye which is given for you. Do this in memory of me.” (Luke 22:19, Eastern Orthodox Bible)

19 And taking bread, he gave thanks, and brake; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me. (Luke 22:19, Douay-Rheims)

Notice, it is very clear that Jesus BROKE the bread on Passover (Pasch means Passover).

The Apostle Paul confirmed that it was the practice of the early Christians to break bread:

16 The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ ? And the bread, which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord? (1 Corinthians 10:16, Douay-Rheims).

16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a sharingc in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is not it a sharing in the body of Christ? (1 Corinthians 10:16, Eastern Orthodox Bible)

23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread.

24 And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. (1 Corinthians 11:23-24, Douay-Rheims)

The Apostle Paul followed Jesus' practice and broke bread. Furthermore, notice what The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches in its article "Host":

... the first Christians ... simply used the bread that served as food. It seems that the form differed but little from what it is in our day. The loaves discovered in an oven of a bakery at Pompeii weighed about a pound each. One of these, being perfectly preserved, measured about seven inches in diameter and was creased with seven ridges which facilitated the breaking of the loaf without the aid of a knife. (Leclercq, Henri. "Host." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910)

Notice the article basically says that the practice of the first Christians, which is consistent with the Bible, was to use normal loaves of unsliced bread that resemble what is still in use today. And that it was broken. (The article never says where the round host actually came from, other than it was first mentioned in writing in the fourth century by Epiphanius and that earlier paintings in catacombs and bas-reliefs showed something like that. But I should state that the oldest such early painting in a catacomb I am aware of has a woman, Priscilla, presiding over the ceremony, so the Church of Rome may wish to be careful about relying on that as they do not allow women to do that. Hence, the earliest picture of the eucharist host did not come from what is practiced in today's Roman Catholicism--so the question from whence the Catholics adopted it remains.)

Notice the following:

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." (1 Corinthians 11:23-24, NKJV)

23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread.

24 And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. (1 Corinthians 11:23-24, Douay-Rheims)

Jesus broke the bread. That is also related to a prophecy of the Messiah's body being beaten for our healing (Isaiah 53:5). When Jesus broke the loaf, each individual piece became unique. Everyone has a unique opportunity in the Kingdom of God. Yet, by partaking of the bread, we also become one Body by all partaking of the bread of life, Jesus Christ.

Thus, to have a Passover/eucharistic ceremony where the bread is not broken is certainly not imitating Jesus, the Apostle Paul, nor the early Christians. It is a change that the Church of Rome must have gotten outside of the Bible.

Yet, in the eucharistic ceremonies in the Catholic Church, the bread is not broken. Instead, it is a round host that the Catechism of the Catholic Church says can/should be worshipped and adored (CCC #1378, p. 385). Yet, there is no indication that the early Christians or the apostles did anything like that. They only taught that it was to be eaten.

Consider further that an unbroken round host points to everyone being the same. But, Jesus' body that was broken and beaten for our sins and the piece of broken bread also points to our individual unique calling (see also The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you?).

Consdier also that worshippers of sun-gods worshipped round symbols. Early Christians did not.

As far as the word "host," The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches:

The bread destined to receive Eucharistic Consecration is commonly called the host, and though this term may likewise be applied to the bread and wine of the Sacrifice, it is more especially reserved to the bread.

According to Ovid the word comes from hostis, enemy: "Hostibus a domitis hostia nomen habet", because the ancients offered their vanquished enemies as victims to the gods. However, it is possible that hostia is derived from hostire, to strike, as found in Pacuvius. (Leclercq, Henri. "Host.")

The word "host" (or derivatives) do not appear to be a direct translation of any of the original Hebrew or Greek that the Bible was actually written in. Hence, it does not seem to be a biblical term, but instead may have pagan ties according to certain Catholic researchers.

Perhaps it should also be mentioned that some Roman Catholic priests, like Nicholas Gruner and Paul Kramer have raised concerns about eucharistic ceremonies in languages other than Latin. Notice the following:

Latin Mass ... The truth is -- in English, Italian, and Spanish, among others -- the vernacular translations of the consecration of the wine makes it of doubtful validity ... as has been demonstrated by Father Paul Kramer in his book The Suicide of Altering the Faith in Liturgy (Gruner N. Is Antichrist Coming Next? The Fatima Crusader, 96, Autumn 2010, p. 10).

Now, in case everyone is unaware of this, it should be pointed out that the original apostles spoke Greek (cf. Acts 21:37-39) and other languages (like Aramaic and Hebrews), but there is no indication that any of them used Latin in any early Christian ceremony (and even if they did, it certainly was not a widespread, or universal, practice). Even Tertullian, the so-called "father of Latin theology" did not begin to write until around 190 A.D. Latin mass is a CHANGE.

Notice confirmation from the late Roman Catholic French Cardinal Jean-Guenole-Marie Daniélou:

At Rome, in particular, Greek continued to be the official language of the liturgy until as late as the fourth century. (Daniélou J. The Origins of Latin Christianity. Translated by David Smith and John Austin Baker. Westminster Press, 1977, p. 7)

Those who are true traditionalists would realize that the Passover services was not done in Latin and there is no valid reason to insist on Latin today. Those who insist on Latin and those who use a round host are absolutely altering the liturgy of the faith of the original Christians.

Cannot those who claim to be Catholic traditionalists see this?

Unleavened or Leavened Bread?

Although the Greek (Eastern) Orthodox use leaven for their eucharistic ceremonies, early Christians did not.

The Catholic saint Thomas Aquinas wrote:

As we read in Exodus 12, the paschal solemnity began on the evening of the fourteenth day of the moon. So, then, after immolating the Paschal Lamb, Christ instituted this sacrament: hence this day is said by John to precede the day of the Pasch, while the other three Evangelists call it "the first day of the Azymes," when fermented bread was not found in the houses of the Jews, as stated above. Fuller mention was made of this in the treatise on our Lord's Passion (III:46:9 ad 1). ...

Since whatever is fermented partakes of corruption, this sacrament may not be made from corrupt bread, ... there is a wider difference between unleavened and leavened bread than between warm and cold baptismal water: because there might be such corruption of fermented bread that it could not be validly used for the sacrament. (Aquinas T. The Summa Theologiæ of St. Thomas Aquinas Second and Revised Edition, 1920. Question 74. The matter of this sacrament).

'(Azymes' means matzah/matzo or unleavened bread.)

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes:

"Now on the first day of the unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the pasch"; Luke 22:7, "And the day of the unleavened bread came, on which it was necessary that the pasch should be killed". From these passages it seems to follow that Jesus and his disciples conformed to the ordinary custom, that the Last Supper took place on the 14th of Nisan ... (Mershman, F. (1912). The Last Supper. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat. July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York)

In the Western Church it is the uniform practice to use unleavened bread. ... The Anglican Liturgy of 1549 prescribes the use of unleavened bread. ...

The leavened hosts of the Greeks are of a large size, sometimes round, triangular, or in the form of a cross, but oftener square. On the under side they have a quadrangular imprint divided into four equal parts by a Greek cross and bearing the inscription IC XC NI KA (Iesous Christos nikai), i.e. "Jesus Christ is victor". (Leclercq, H. (1910). Host. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York)

Certain it is that in the ninth century the use of unleavened bread had become universal and obligatory in the West, while the Greeks, desirous of emphasizing the distinction between the Jewish and the Christian Pasch, offered up leavened bread. (Loughlin, J. (1907). Azymites. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat. 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York)

Against the Greeks it suffices to call attention to the historical fact that in the Orient the Maronites and Armenians have used unleavened bread from time immemorial, and that according to Origen (Commentary on Matthew, XII.6) the people of the East "sometimes", therefore not as a rule, made use of leavened bread in their Liturgy. ...

The reasons of congruity advanced by the Greeks in behalf of leavened bread, which would have us consider it as a beautiful symbol of the hypostatic union, as well as an attractive representation of the savor of this heavenly Food, will be most willingly accepted, provided only that due consideration be given to the grounds of propriety set forth by the Latins with St. Thomas Aquinas (III:74:4) namely, the example of Christ, the aptitude of unleavened bread to be regarded as a symbol of the purity of His Sacred Body, free from all corruption of sin, and finally the instruction of St. Paul (1 Corinthians 5:8) to keep the Pasch not with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth". (Pohle, J. (1909). The Blessed Eucharist as a Sacrament. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat. May 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.)

Yes, Jesus and His disciples used unleavened bread.

Despite that, one criticism that a Greek Orthodox bishop wrote to Pope Francis was Rome's:

The fact that Papism is a heresy is revealed by the appalling false doctrines which you confess. These are: ... the use of unleavened bread (Host); (+ Andrew of Dryinoupolis, Pogoniani and Konitsa, + Seraphim of Piraeus and Faliro. Letter to Francis. HOLY AUTOCEPHALOUS ORTHODOX CATHOLIC CHURCH OF GREECE. April 10, 2014. http://cdn.romfea.gr/images/stories/photos/2014/4/romfea1/spiti/Epistle%20to%20Pope%20Francis%20I.pdf viewed 04/20/2014)

Notice also the following:


Why does the Orthodox church use leavened bread and most Protestant fellowships use unleavened bread? ...


Actually, leavened bread has always been used in the Eastern Church. In fact, at one point in time, a great controversy raged over the fact that in the Eastern Church leavened bread was used, while in the Christian West unleavened bread was the norm.

In the Christian East there is no concern for using the exact type of bread used at the Last Supper—known in the Orthodox Church as the “Mystical Supper.” Christ “leavens” our lives, so to speak, and the purpose of the Eucharistic celebration is not to “recreate” or “reproduce” a past event but, rather, to participate in an event that is beyond time and space and which, in fact, continues to happen each time the Eucharist is celebrated in fulfillment of Our Lord’s command. (Leavened Bread vs. Unleavened. Orthodox Church in America. https://oca.org/questions/divineliturgy/leavened-bread-vs.-unleavened accessed 05/16/19)

So, the Orthodox basically admit that Jesus did NOT use leavened bread, but that they decided to use leaven anyway.

The claim that they ALWAYS did is a stretch unless you do not count their existence until sometime in the late second or third century.

Now the Eastern Orthodox consider Alexandria as well as formerly Laodicea as part of them. So notice that in the late third century, the Greco-Roman Anatolius of Alexandria, when he was their Bishop of Laodicea, wrote the following:

I am aware that very many other matters were discussed by them, some of them with considerable probability, and others of them as matters of the clearest demonstration, by which they endeavour to prove that the festival of the Passover and unleavened bread ought by all means to be kept after the equinox ... (THE PASCHAL CANON OF ANATOLIUS OF ALEXANDRIA. Chapters V,X, p. 415, 419).

There would be little point in writing the above if some in the East were not keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread.

It also should be pointed out that the FAITHFUL "Eastern Church" never used leavened bread for Passover, it was only those that refused "to contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3) that changed.

That changed church even felt the need to prohibit keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread in the fourth century, which helps prove that there were those in the East that were trying to keep them.

Anyway, there was an anti-Unleavened Bread declaration in Laodicea nearly a century after Anatolius' death (c. 270-280). Canons 37 & 38 of the Council of Laodicea of the fourth century (c. 363-364) prohibited the observation of the unleavened bread and other festivals of the Jews:

Canon 37

It is not lawful to receive portions sent from the feasts of Jews or heretics, nor to feast together with them.

Canon 38

It is not lawful to receive unleavened bread from the Jews, nor to be partakers of their impiety.

(Synod of Laodicea. Translated by Henry Percival. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 14. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1900.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3806.htm>.)

And there was a similar condemnation in Canon 69/70 of the Syrian Apostolic Canons near this time. Notice:

Canon 37 {70} requires Christians not to accept gifts from the feasts of Jews and heretics, and denies Christians the right to feast with these persons: "It is not proper that Christians accept gifts which are sent by Jews or heretics, nor celebrate feasts with them."98 Canon 38 declares that Christians are not to accept unleavened bread from the Jews nor take part in their festivals: "It is not proper for Christians to accept unleavened bread from the Jews, and take part in their impieties." 99 These regulations taken together certainly leave a strong impression that even in the fourth century there were not only Judaic practices in the Asiatic church, but also there was actual religious fellowship with the Jewish inhabitants.

The Apostolic Canons, which are a Syrian compilation of the mid-fourth century, strengthen this impression. They deal in still further detail with religious fellowship between the clergy and the Jews in that very place where the violence of the monks was fiercest against the Jews, Alexandria. Canon 69 repeats the prohibition against feasting or fasting with the Jews: "If any" bishop or other cleric fasts with the Jews or celebrates festal days with them or accepts gifts from their festivals, such as unleavened bread or anything else similar, he shall be excluded from the Clergy; and if a layman does these things, he shall be segregated from the flock." (Seaver JE.  Persecution of the Jews in the Roman Empire (300-438), Issue 30 of University of Kansas publications: Humanistic studies. University of Kansas Publications, 1952.  Original from the University of Virginia, Digitized Apr 29, 2009, pp. 34-35. http://vlib.iue.it/carrie/texts/carrie_books/seaver/text.html)

70. If any bishop, or any other of the clergy, fasts with the Jews, or keeps the festivals with them, or accepts of the presents from their festivals, as unleavened bread or some such thing, let him be deprived; but if he be one of the laity, let him be suspended. (Apostolic Constitutions (Book VIII), Section XLVII. Translated by James Donaldson. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/07158.htm>.)

Hence this practice of Christians keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread also must have been going on then in Asia Minor and elsewhere--otherwise, there would have been no point for them to be condemned by the Council of Laodicea. Others scholars share that opinion (Seaver, p. 34; Bagatti B, Priest. The Church from the Circumcision, pp. 87-88).

Even though the Church of Rome uses an unleavened host and recognizes that the Apostle Paul taught that Christians are to be unleavened, notice the following from Pope Francis:

Pope: In Every Age, the Church Is Called to Be Leaven

June 26, 2019

In every age, the Church is called to be the leaven of a reconciled humanity and the foreshadowing of a world of authentic justice and peace. In this way, she is enabled to live an authentic liturgical life, experiencing the Risen Lord’s presence in prayer and in the Eucharist, in order then to bring that saving love to the world. Like the early Church ... https://zenit.org/articles/general-audience-pope-in-every-age-the-church-is-called-to-be-leaven/

Well, in the New Testament, Christians were told to be UNLEAVENED.

Notice something from the Eastern Orthodox Bible:

7 Purge out the old yeast, so that you may be a new lump, even as you are unleavened. And certainly, Christ, [who is] our Passover, has been sacrificed in our place. 8 Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old yeast, neither with the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7-8, EOB)

Jesus also condemned those who taught leavened doctrine:

1 ... "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. (Luke 12:1-2)

So, why might Pope Francis have taught what he did about leaven and the Eucharist?

It is likely another step in the doctrinal compromise he is working on for his church as he works to gain greater unity with the Eastern Orthodox.

Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants may wish to check out the article: Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? (And the Protestants).

Similarities Between Egyptian and Roman Eucharistic Practices

It has been reported that there were many similarities between ancient pagan Egyptian practices and the Roman eucharist:

The Egyptians celebrated ten great mysteries on ten different nights of the year. The first was the night of the evening meal (literally the last supper), and the laying of offerings on the altar...

The altar or communion-table thus provisioned was the coffin lid. This also was continued in the ritual of Rome, for it is a fact that the earliest Christian altar was a coffin. According to Blunt's Dictionary of Doctrinal and Historical Theology (p. 16), this was a hollow chest, on the lid or mensa of which the eucharist was celebrated. This, as Egyptian, was the coffin of Osiris that constituted the altar on which the provisions were laid in Sekhem for the eucharistic meal. Hence the resurrection is described as "dawn upon the coffin of Osiris." Therefore he rose in spirit from the mummy in the coffin, beneath the lid which constituted the table. This was the body supposed to be eaten as the eucharist, which was represented by the provisions that were laid upon the altar for the sacramental meal...The first of the Osirian mysteries is the primary Christian sacrament. "Provisioning the altar " was continued by the Church of Rome. "The mysteries laid upon the altar" which preceded " the communion of the body and blood of Christ " were then eaten in the eucharistic meal (Neale, Rev. J. M., The Liturgies, Introd., p. 33). Thus we see in the camera obscura that the provisions laid on the altar or table represented the flesh and blood of the victim about to be eaten sacramentally. The night of the things that were laid upon the altar is the night of the great sacrifice, with Osiris as the victim. The things laid on the altar for the evening meal represented the body and blood of the Lord. These, as the bread and wine, or flesh and beer, were transelementecl or transubstantiated by the descent of Ra the holy spirit, which quickened and transformed the mummy Osiris into the risen sahu, the unleavened bread into the leavened, the water into wine. Osiris, the sacrifice, was the giver of himself as "the food which never perishes" (Rit, ch. 89).

The Christian liturgies are reckoned to be the "most pure sources of eucharistical doctrine." And liturgy appears to have been the groundwork of the Egyptian ritual. It is said by one of the priests (Rit., ch. i), "I am he who reciteth the liturgies of the soul who is lord of Tattu "—that is, of Osiris who establishes a soul for ever in conjunction with Ra the holy spirit in the mysteries of Amenta. In one character Osiris was eaten as the Bull of Eternity, who gave his flesh and blood as sustenance for humanity, and who was the divine providence as the provider of food. (Massey G. Ancient Egypt, the light of the world: a work of reclamation and restitution in twelve books, Volume 1. T. F. Unwin, 1907. Original from Princeton University, Digitized Mar 19, 2008, pp. 220-221)

A more recent author reported, somewhat "tongue-in-cheek":

Of course, average Catholics have no idea their beloved Eucharist is nothing more than an updated version of an ancient Babylonian occult practice. When this religion spread to Egypt, the Egyptians worshipped the sun god, Osiris, and the priests claimed "to have magical powers which enabled [the priests] to change the great Sun God, Osiris, into a wafer." Because the Eucharist is based upon the ancient worship of the sun, the host is made into the shape of a circle—the shape of the sun ... Alberto warns that Catholics are also unaware that the initials on their hosts, IHS, really stand for the Egyptian gods Isis, Hoeb, and Seb. This was the origin of the Catholic practice of the Eucharist, the central act of worship in Roman Catholicism. ...

As this religious system was forming, many Christians realized the real occult nature of the Catholic Church and rejected it. They fled into the hills and took the true copies of the Scriptures with them. When they were caught, they were given the choice to convert or be killed. This is the origin of such groups as the Waldneses and Anabaptists. (Gonzalez D. Steps of Grace. Dog Ear Publishing, 2010, p. 39)

Now, some of the above seems to be his former belief and speculative (and understand that not all who were called Waldneses or Anabaptists were true Christians). Yet it is clear that the round host most certainly did not come from the Bible nor the earliest faithful Christians.

Some may argue that it matters not what ancient pagans did to worship their gods. But notice what the Bible teaches:

2 Destroy all the places in which the nations, that you shall possess, worshipped their gods upon high mountains, and hills, and under every shady tree: 3 Overthrow their altars, and break down their statues, burn their groves with fire, and break their idols in pieces: destroy their names out of those places. 4 You shall not do so to the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 12:2-4, Douay-Rheims)

29 When the Lord thy God shall have destroyed before thy face the nations, which then shalt go in to possess, and when thou shalt possess them, and dwell in their land: 30 Beware lest thou imitate them, after they are destroyed at thy coming in, and lest thou seek after their ceremonies, saying: As these nations have worshipped their gods, so will I also worship. 31 Thou shalt not do in like manner to the Lord thy God. For they have done to their gods all the abominations which the Lord abhorreth (Deuteronomy 12:29-31, Douay-Rheims).

So, God does not want altars like the pagans had to be used to worship Him. Nor does He want their practices continued.

And while some have argued that God allowed the pagans to have practices that they did so that they could later accept Christ, the reality is that the early Christians did not have a round eucharistic host that was consecrated over an altar. There is no justification in scripture nor in the earliest traditions of the Christian church for getting away from the practices of Jesus and Paul in this area.

As far as origin of the initials IHS, The Catholic Encyclopedia offers an alternative explanation:


A monogram of the name of Jesus Christ. From the third century the names of our Saviour are sometimes shortened, particularly in Christian inscriptions (IH and XP, for Jesus and Christus). In the next century the "sigla" (chi-rho) occurs not only as an abbreviation but also as a symbol . From the beginning, however, in Christian inscriptions the nomina sacra, or names of Jesus Christ, were shortened by contraction, thus IC and XC or IHS and XPS for Iesous Christos. These Greek monograms continued to be used in Latin during the Middle Ages. Eventually the right meaning was lost, and erroneous interpretation of IHS led to the faulty orthography "Jhesus"... Towards the close of the Middle Ages IHS became a symbol , quite like the chi-rho in the Constantinian period. (Maere, René. "IHS." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 28 Feb. 2011 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07649a.htm>)

The familiar monogram I H S was first popularized by St. Bernardine of Siena in the early fifteenth century (Hassett, Maurice. "Monogram of Christ." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 28 Feb. 2011 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10488a.htm>).

Notice the following from another Catholic author (bolding mine):

SAINT BERNADINE OF SIENA 1380-1444 ... He is especially remembered for his zeal...and he popularized, with the help of St. John Capistrano, a symbol representing the Holy Name. The Gothic letters for the name of Jesus, "IHS," were set in a blazing sun to whose tongues of fire and spreading rays he attributed mystical significance. For a time the Saint was denounced as a heretic and the symbol regarded as idolatrous...(Cruz JC. The Incorruptibles. Nihil Obstat Henry C. Bezon, November 11, 1974. Imprimatur +Philip M. Hannan, Archbishop of New Orleans, November 19, 1974. TAN Books 1977, p. 127)

IHS ... {an} innovation over five hundred years ago. (Cruz, p. 127)

Notice that the IHS and the use of the sun as a symbols were innovations and that the promoter was properly condemned as a heretic when he initially promoted them. Innovations like that were NOT part of the earliest tradition of the Christian church and have pagan elements.

So, the Catholics are not truly clear where IHS came from, they suggest that IHS appeared in Catholicism no early than the fourth century, and that for centuries their church did not know the meaning of the abbreviation, it did not become popular until much later, and the one who popularized was denounced as a heretic promoting idolatry. This, of course, is not proof that IHS did or did not come from Egypt. Yet, the lack of knowing where IHS came from supports the overwhelming possibility that it might have come from outside of Christianity.


The term eucharist originally meant giving thanks.

In time, probably because Jesus used the expression and so did the Apostle Paul, related to Jesus' last Passover, it started to be used as a name for the Christian Passover service by some.

The practices of the eucharist that many now practice are not consistent with the practices of the early Christians. Instead, they are closer to the practices of sun-god worshippers. Early Christians followed the examples of Jesus and the Apostle Paul and broke bread--they did not have a round "host."

Throughout history, various ones have denied that Roman Catholic priests can transform bread into the actual flesh of Christ.

It may be of interest to note that Mithras was the sun-god and his birthday was December 25th (more information is included in the article What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?).

While Jesus has a presence in Passover, it is not a repeat of His sacrifice.

Because of the widespread confusion using the term 'eucharist,' as well the historical use of the term 'Passover,' in the Continuing Church of God, we normally use the expression Passover to refer to what Christians do annually in remembrance of Jesus' sacrifice.

Here is a link to a related sermon: Eucharist, Passover, and Easter.

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Thiel B. Early Christianity and the Eucharist? http://www.cogwriter.com/eucharist.htm (c) 2019/2020 0409