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Pastor's Letters

The Testimony of the Early Christians About the Eucharist

Instead of my usual letter, in honor of Corpus Chris I wanted to share with all of you some of the most

significant passages from the early centuries of the Church demonstrating that our Catholic belief that

the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Christ is not some medieval fabrication, but the authentic

belief in the Church going back to the very beginning. Notice the dates for the quotes found below.

This is the faith of the Church, as it was, is, and forever will be.


St. Ignatius of Antioch, A.D. 110 (Letter to the Smyrnaeans, 6:27:1)

"Take note of those who hold heterodox [false] opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see

how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God… 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

that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift( of God are perishing in their disputes…"


St. Justin Martyr, A.D. 151 (First Apology, 66)

"We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to

be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [i.e., has

received baptism] and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. 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 nurtured, is both the flesh and the

blood of that incarnated Jesus."


St. Cyril of Jerusalem, A.D. 350 (Catechecal Lectures, 19:7; 22:6,9)

"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."

"Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the

body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in

this master by taste, but be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the body

and blood of Christ… [Since you are] fully convinced that the apparent bread is not bread, even though it is sensible

to the taste, but the body of Christ, and that the apparent wine is not wine, even though the taste would have it so

partake of that bread as something spiritual, and put a cheerful face on your soul."


Theodore of Mopsuestia, A.D. 4055 (Catechecal Homilies 5:1)

"When [Christ] gave the bread he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my body,’ but, ‘This is my body.’ In the same

way, when he gave the cup of his blood he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my blood,’ but, ‘This is my blood’; for he

wanted us to look upon the [Eucharistic elements] after their reception of grace and the coming of the Holy Spirit

not according to their nature, but receive them as they are, the body and blood of our Lord. We ought . . . not regard

[the elements] merely as bread and cup, but as the body and blood of the Lord, into which they were transformed

by the descent of the Holy Spirit.


And so, my brothers and sisters, we stand in the midst of an unbroken tradition of 2,000+ years of belief

that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, what is mere bread and wine before Mass begins is transformed

into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord during the consecration. On this Corpus Chris, let us

thank the Lord Jesus, who loves us so much He feeds us with His very flesh and blood in this most beautiful and sacred of all gifts, the Most Holy Eucharist.





God Bless,

Fr. John Paul

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