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Ritual and Symbolism of Holy Communion Research Paper


Introduction

The ritual of the Eucharist plays an important part in a life of just about every Christian believer. Nevertheless, while participating in it, many Christians remain rather arrogant of this ritual’s discursive implications. In my paper, I will explore the validity of this suggestion at length, while promoting the idea that the ritual in question is the integral part of humanity’s ‘archetypal’ memory.

Body of the paper

The Eucharist (a.k.a. The Holy Communion/ The Last Supper), is a sacramental ritual, performed annually by the members of all three major Christian denominations (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant), which essentially reenacts The Last Supper’s ceremony of Jesus having offered the Apostles some wine and bread, as such that were meant to symbolize his body and blood. The account of this ceremony is contained in the Synoptic Gospels (by Matthew, Mark, and Luke), as well as in the Gospel of John.

However, it is specifically the First Epistle to the Corinthians by Apostle Paul, which provides us with the most detailed description, as to what the mentioned ritual was all about, in the technical sense of this word: “And when he (Jesus) had given thanks, he brake it (bread) and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup (with wine), when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:23-25).

The Gospel of John contains clues, as to the ritual’s actual significance: “I (Jesus) am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever” (John 6:51). This, of course, implies that one could not possibly qualify to be referred to as a Christian, unless he or she is willing to participate in the annually held ritualistic acts of ‘consuming Jesus’: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you” (John 6:54). Thus, it is indeed fully appropriate to refer to the Eucharist, as the ‘heart of Christianity’.

As of today, the Eucharist is often being referred to as the first Christian ritual, which helped early Christians to remain well-organized for the duration of a few centuries, after the presumed resurrection of Jesus. Moreover, the ceremony in question is also being usually defined as one of the main Christian ‘mysteries’ (such as the ‘self-ignition’ of the so-called ‘Holy Fire’, which many people believe takes place in Jerusalem during Orthodox Easter). The ritual’s religious interpretation can be defined as follows: By eating bread and drinking wine, which represent Jesus’ body and blood, believers express their gratitude for being ‘saved’ by the ‘Son of God’. In its turn, this helps them to grow closer to the very spirit of divinity, which made the mentioned salvation possible, in the first place.

Nevertheless, there are many notable differences to how the actual significance of the ritual of the Eucharist is being interpreted by every of the mentioned denominations.

In essence, the theological approaches to interpreting the meaning of the Eucharist by Catholics, Protestants and the Orthodox, can be outlined as follows:

Catholics

According the Catholic theological doctrine, the ritual of the Holy Communion symbolizes what the Catholic notion of ‘God’s grace’ is all about – by providing believers with the annual opportunity to have a bite of Christ’s body, God allows them to attain the state of ‘oneness’ with the very spirit of divinity: “When we receive Communion, we believe that we receive the person of Jesus into our very beings. We become one with him, and we become one with each other” (“Eucharist (Holy Communion)” par. 3).

It is understood, of course, that by expressing their ceremonially defined willingness to become ‘one’ with Christ, Catholics naturally expect to substantially increase the likelihood for their souls to end up being admitted to the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’. This, of course, presupposes that the Catholic Holy Communion is a highly ‘mystical/magical’ ceremony, which is based upon the assumption that God is indeed capable of performing miracles on a semi-scheduled basis.

The validity of this statement can be well illustrated, in regards to the miraculous process of ‘transubstantiation’, which is the focal point of the ceremony in question. According to Catholics, after priests perform a number of the applicable ritualistic rites over the loaf of bread and the bottle of wine in the church, during the Passover Mass, these food-items instantaneously turn into Christ’s flesh and blood – in the literal sense of this word. Nevertheless, as far as the believers’ subjective perception of the surrounding reality is being concerned, this flesh and blood continue to appear in the form of bread and wine. In its turn, this explains why during the Holy Communion ceremony, Catholics handle the ritual’s actual subjects (bread and wine) with great care – this is the consequence of the Catholic dogma about the miraculous nature of ‘transubstantiation’.

As the proof that such their interpretation of the significance of the Eucharist is indeed legitimate, Catholics usually refer to the absence of any indications in Bible that Jesus wanted to have his most explicitly sounding commands to be taken figuratively. What it means is that, by having prescribed people with eating his body and drinking his blood, Jesus did mean just that: “Twelve times he (Jesus) said he was the bread that came down from heaven; four times he said they would have ‘to eat my flesh and drink my blood’…it was a promise that could not be more explicit” (“Christ in the Eucharist” par. 10). The implication of this is apparent – by participating in the ritual of the Eucharist, Catholics believe that they are being personally ‘touched’ by God in the most direct manner.

Partially, this explains why the very process of receiving Eucharistic bread and wine, Catholics consider unimaginably sacred. Moreover, it directly relates to another purely Catholic aspect of the discussed ceremony – the fact that: “some Catholics choose to receive the Eucharist not in their hands, but directly on their tongues” (Cardo and Mallick par. 6). Apparently, as a result of having experienced the state of ‘oneness’ with God, induced by the ritual of the Holy Communion, Catholics cannot help developing the subsequential sensation of humility, reflected by the above-mentioned practice, on their part.

The above-stated implies that for Catholics, accepting the Holy Communion is a rather ‘magical’ experience, which also represents a great utilitarian value – as it happened to be the case with just about any magic-driven ritual.

Orthodox

Even though the affiliates of the Orthodox Church do believe thatthe Eucharist is one of Christianity’s most sacramental ceremonies/rituals, their interpretation of this ceremony’s theological significance does not quite correlate with that of Catholics. According to it, the ritual of the Eucharist does serve the purpose of bringing believers closer to God. The main aspect of it is that, unlike what it happened to be the case with Catholics, the Orthodox do not refer to Eucharist bread and wine, as Jesus’ actual flesh and blood.

Rather, they think of the ritual’s ceremony of ‘breaking bread’, as such that symbolizes that, despite the fact that people are by the very virtue of their humanness predestined to remain thoroughly biological, while facing life-challenges, they nevertheless are still able to transcend beyond the ‘materialness’ of existence. The Orthodox believers’ line of argumentation, in this respect, can be outlined in the following manner:

Eating bread and drinking wine has been the essential part of people’s lives, since the dawn of times. What God did is turning these essentially ‘biological’ pursuits, on people’s part, into yet another motivation for them to remain religiously faithful. Hence, the Orthodox interpretation of the significance of the Eucharist – this ritual is there to enable believers to rise above the petty aspects of their everyday existence (at least once a year), in order to be able to contemplate on the nature of divinity, without being required to become less ‘material’.

This, of course, presupposes that the Eucharist’s actual meaning is much more all-encompassing than Catholics happened to believe. As Fitzgerald noted: “The Orthodox Church recognizes the many facets of the Eucharist and wisely refuses to over-emphasize one element to the detriment of the others” (par. 6). Thus, whereas, the Catholic view on the Eucharist can be well defined ‘magical’, the one of the Orthodox is best referred to as ‘symbolical’ or ‘ascetic’.

This particular suggestion helps to explain yet another qualitative aspect of how the Orthodox Church construes the significance of the Eucharist – namely, the fact that the Orthodox theological framework presupposes the ritual of consumption Christ’s ‘body’ and ‘blood’ (in the form of wine and bread) by Christians, to be the annual culmination of their ongoing endeavor to remain on the path of a spiritual growth. It is understood, of course, that this is being rather inconsistent with the Catholic view of the Eucharist; as such that confirms the validity of the Catholic concept of ‘God’s grace’.

The reason for this is that, whereas, the Orthodox Church refers to one’s Eucharistic communion with God in terms of an interactive process, Catholics believe that it is being primarily concerned with commemorating the Last Supper/experiencing the ‘transubstantiation’-related mystical feelings. Therefore, there is nothing odd about the fact that there is difference between Catholics and the Orthodox, in the sense of how they approach taking part in the ritual and understanding its significance.

For example, according to the Catholic doctrine, it is specifically priests, who enact the process of ‘transubstantiation’, by the mean of conducting a series of rites over bread and wine. In its turn, this presupposes that, during the ceremony, believers play a rather passive role. The Orthodox, on the other hand, believe that, in order for the Eucharistic food-items to be ‘activated’ (in the sense of becoming mystical body and blood of Christ), service attenders, as well as the present clergymen, must join invoking the Holy Spirit.

Thus, as compared to the highly individualistic Catholic ritual of the Eucharist, the Orthodox one appears to be much more collective/communal. This suggestion correlates well with the reputation of Catholicism, as a religion that, despite being formally monotheistic, nevertheless contains a number of the essentially polytheistic/heathen dogmas about the nature of divinity. The same can be said about the suggestion’s relation to the fact that the Orthodox Church is being traditionally known for its ‘ascetic’ ways.

Protestant

The Protestant outlook on the Eucharist differs considerably from two of the above-mentioned. In essence, Protestants (Baptists, Adventists, Evangelicals, etc.) reject the idea that the ritual in question is ‘miraculous’, which in turn causes them to believe that the Biblical accounts of Christ having commanded The Apostles to eat his body and drink his blood are utterly allegorical and, as such, cannot be interpreted literally. As Courtois noted: “In today’s world Catholics and Protestants understand Holy Communion differently; the Catholic’s believe in the True Presence and the Protestants claim Holy Communion is only a symbol” (par. 2).

According to the Protestant interpretation of the Eucharist, while encouraging his Apostles to consume bread and wine, as such that symbolize God’s flesh and blood, Jesus simply meant to emphasize the importance of his earthly service to humanity. Therefore, even though Protestants do celebrate the Eucharist, it is definitely not a focal point of their religious doctrine – quite unlike what it happened to be the case with Catholics and the Orthodox. The validity of this suggestion can be well illustrated, in regards to the fact that Protestants are being known for their practice of replacing bread with crackers and wine with grape-juice, during the ritual’s course.

The above-described situation undoubtedly relates to the very essence of Protestantism, as the ‘rationalization of Christianity’. As Weber pointed out: “It was rationalization, which gave the Reformed (Protestant) faith its peculiar ascetic tendency, and is the basis both of its relationship to and its conflict with Catholicism” (72). What makes Protestants different from the members of other Christian denominations, is that their understanding of God is thoroughly secularized.

To exemplify the validity of this suggestion, we can well refer to the Protestants’ tendency of perceiving God in terms of some distant authority, which imposes ethical rules and regulations, without defining the actual course of one’s life. This, of course, creates the objective preconditions for Protestants to believe that, after having brought order into the universe, God cannot act in the manner inconsistent with the main laws of how this universe operates. As the ultimate consequence of this, Protestants do not quite tolerate the idea that God is capable of performing miracles on a continuous basis – especially if they are concerned with entertaining people, such as the ‘miracle’ of the Eucharist.

What contributes to this state of affairs even more, is that being rationally-minded, Protestants find it rather impossible to believe that there can be ‘transubstantiation’ without the ‘transubstantiated’ objects living up to the term’s actual meaning. That is, unless bread and wine turn into Christ’s flesh and blood de facto, as a result of some magical rites having been performed over them, there is no reason to believe in ‘transubstantiation’, in the first place.

It is quite worthy to be noted that, it is not only that Protestants do not assign any sacramental value to the ritual of the Eucharist – they actually experience the sensation of a certain emotional discomfort, due to Christ’s commandments (in regards to what true believers should do with his body and blood) indeed being rather explicit. The reason for this is that, because of the earlier mentioned rational-mindedness, on the part of Protestants, they cannot help thinking of the process of Jesus’ flesh being devoured inside of people’s stomachs, as anything but the explicit act of cannibalism. This suggestion is fully consistent with the fact that, unlike what it happened to be the case with Catholics and the Orthodox, Protestants are known for their tendency to come up with ever more ‘updated’ interpretations of what Jesus had in mind, while addressing his followers.

What has been said earlier implies that, in order for us to be able to gain an in-depth insight into the actual meaning of the Eucharist, we would have to tackle the subject matter outside of the theological framework of religion. After all, there can be indeed as many theological interpretations of the Eucharist, as there are Christians. Yet, neither of them would be able to offer a comprehensive and logically substantiated answer, as to the ritual’s actual significance and origins. This simply could not be otherwise – the religious mode of thinking is utterly inconsistent with the very notion of logic. What it means that the only the pathway that can lead us towards acquiring a better understanding of what the Eucharist is all about, is a scientific/analytical one.

Before proceeding to address the concerned religious phenomenon, as such that reveals essentially the animalistic workings of people’s unconscious psyche, we will need to establish the following theoretical premises:

  1. The Eucharist fits perfectly well into the classical definition of a ritual, as such that implies the spatial extendedness of the periodically performed ritual acts, and points out to the fact that, within the ritual’s procedural context, the notion of ‘sacredness’ is being synonymous with the notion of ‘pointlessness’.
  2. The objectively existing laws of nature affect the representatives of Homo Sapiens species, as much as they affect plants and animals, which in turn suggests that it is indeed fully legitimate to refer to people as ‘hairless apes’, whose behavior is being rather instinctively then consciously determined.

In light of these two scientifically proven premises, the actual reason why Christians participate in the Eucharistic ritual of ‘breaking bread’ appears to be only formally related to these people’s willingness to demonstrate the sheer strength of their religious commitment. Rather, it is being concerned with these believers’ unconscious strive to ensure their physical survival – just as it happened to be the case with higher mammals, whose behavioral patterns feature a high degree of ritualization.

After all, it has been indeed observed that many animals do tend to ‘ritualize’ even the most ordinary aspects of their daily existence: “Water shrews that were used to jump over a stone that was in their familiar path kept jumping even after removal of the stone… as if the performance of motor template overrides the sensory input that the stone is not there anymore” (Eilam, Zor, Hermesh, and Szechtman 6). Nevertheless, even though the ritualistic-mindedness of animals appears to be of a clearly phenomenological nature, this is far from being the case. Because animals are quite unable of understanding what accounts for the spatially prolonged relationship between causes and effects, it is specifically their ability to memorize ‘consistency patterns’, on which they mostly rely, when trying to survive in the hostile environment.

The mechanics of how it works are quite simple: animals repeat the behaviors, unconsciously associated with a particular ‘existential successes’ that they have had in the past. In plain words, if prior to be given some food, one’s dog was barking, then it will be tempted to use barking again and again, as the ‘magical’ mean of inducing food-offering– regardless of the would-be consequences. It is also fully explainable why the rituals of animals revolve around the themes of food, sex and domination – these three objectives represent the biological purpose of just about any living organism’s existence.

This is exactly the reason why there is much similarity between what can be referred to as humanity’s main ‘primeval myths’, upon which the religious rituals appear to be based (Levi-Strauss 429). Being essentially ‘hairless apes’, humans do not differ much from animals, in this respect. After all, just as it is being the case with the animalistic rituals, the ones performed by people also appear to emanate the strong spirit of ‘utilitarianism’, which in turn implies that they belong to the realm of a ‘primeval myth’ (Kalsched and Jones 1).

The religious ritual of the Eucharist illustrates the validity of this suggestion perfectly well, because its origins can be traced back to the time when the dividing line between animals and humans was invisibly thin. Back then, people’s postures in life used to be primarily affected by: a) the shortage of food, b) the state of a never-ending tribal war, in which they were forced to exist throughout their lifetime.

While waging wars on each other, our primeval ancestors did not only seek to ensure their domination, but also to guarantee the steady flow of nutrients into their bodies – in the literal sense of this word. As Bell noted: “Anthropologists believe that cannibalism began in earliest human history and proliferated with man’s increasing attempt to appease the gods, survive famine, or exact revenge on or control his enemies” (par. 1). We can hypothesize that the early ritualization of cannibalism must have occurred following the first cannibal’s realization that, after having consumed some parts of its freshly killed enemy, he was able to take good care of his sense of hunger – hence, endowing him with the sense of being empowered: “The savage thought of all the original character passing over with the flesh and blood.

If bread could strengthen man and wine make glad his heart, surely the brave, strong, sacred body of an animal could impart its own excellence” (Smith 164). This, of course, naturally predetermined the process of the practice of cannibalism becoming progressively less concerned with nutrition, while growing increasingly ritualistic. The rationale behind this suggestion is quite apparent – the ongoing socio-technological progress implies that, the more technologically/culturally advanced people happened to be, the more they generate of the so-called ‘surplus product’.

Nevertheless, just as it was pointed out earlier, one of the most prominent characteristics of a true ritual, is that its apparent pointlessness does not have much of an effect of the measure of this ritual’s popularity. Apparently, people simply could not resist the pressure or their consciously suppressed ‘archetypal’ (DNA-coded) memories, concerned with the sensation of empowerment, experienced by a cannibal, in the aftermath of his meal. As Eliade pointed out: “For the archaic mentality, reality manifests itself as force, effectiveness, and duration” (11).

In its turn, this prompted the emergence of theophagy, defined as the: “Sacramental eating of a god typically in the form of an animal, image, or other symbol as a part of a religious ritual and commonly for the purpose of communion with or the receiving of power from the god” (“theophagy” par. 1). As of today, there is a plenty of historical data, as to the fact that, prior to the time when it began to be the case with Christianity, theophagy was already well incorporated in a number of the world’s animistic religions.

There were two forms of religious theophagy, which can be defined as ‘cannibalistic’ and ‘symbolical’. The first of them was is in essence pure cannibalism – just as its name implies. For example, the ancient Aztecs used to perform the annual religious ritual of locating the best-looking youth in the community, proclaiming him a ‘god’ and serving him as his lowly servants for the duration of one year – only to have him killed and quartered in the end, with the parts of ‘god’s’ body distributed among believers. As time went on, however, the religious extrapolations of theophagy were becoming increasingly more ‘symbolical’.

In this respect, we can refer to yet another religious ritual, which used to be performed by the ancient Aztecs – the symbolic eating of the god Huitzilopochtli: “Twice a year, in May and December, an image of the great Mexican god Huitzilopochtli or Vitzilipuztli was made of dough, then broken in pieces, and solemnly eaten by his worshippers” (Fraser par. 1). The religion of Mithraism, which used to thrive in the Roman Empire throughout the first centuries A.D., can also be considered the ‘symbolic’ form of theophagy.

What is particularly notable, in this respect, is that regardless of whether their practice of ‘consuming God’ was de facto cannibalistic or merely symbolical of cannibalism, the ritual’s early affiliates never doubted the validity of the assumption that the ‘eating of God’ (in the literal sense of this word) is the actual pathway towards happiness/respect of others. This, of course, suggests the conceptual fallaciousness of the Protestant idea that, by encouraging his disciplines to ‘eat’ and ‘drink’ him, Jesus meant something different from what he was actually referring to.

This simply could not be otherwise –the earlier provided insights into the origins of desire for theophagy in people, and the fact that Jesus used to preach amongst the uneducated/superstitious/rurally-based Jews, leaves only a few doubts that the Protestant interpretation of the Eucharist does not hold much water.

Apparently, one of the reasons why Christianity was able to prevail in the West, as its dominant religion, is that while preaching the ‘good news’, Jesus proved himself as a rather efficient psychologist – contrary to the fact that it will take another two millennia for the term to emerge. Somehow, he knew perfectly well that many people are unconsciously predisposed towards theophagy, as a ritual thoroughly consistent with the manner, in which they perceive the surrounding reality. This refers to the fact that, as many scientific studies indicate, the workings of one’s mind are being strongly reflective of what happened to be the qualitative particulars of the ‘collective archetype’ (Jungian term), with which he or she is being affiliated.

Because the deepest roots of this archetype reach the innermost depths of people’s unconscious psyche, there is nothing surprising about the fact that, as practice indicates, the idea of eating God’s flesh/drinking his blood does emanate a strong appeal to many. The reason for this is the layer of the culturally/intellectually refined humanness around just about anyone is only skin-deep. Deep inside, the representatives of the human race continue to remain nothing short of animals. And, as etiologists are being well aware of, one of the main existential advantages of animals over people, is their ‘stealth’ – in the sense of being able to blend with the natural environment.

If we assume that people did evolve out of animals, then we should be able to detect the psychological signs that this was indeed the case. One of these signs can be considered the fact that many people appear to be endowed with the so-called ‘holistic’ mentality – something that is being extrapolated by these people’s close affiliation with the ideas of pantheism/orientalism.

The mentioned ideas are ultimately concerned with the assumption that, in this world, everything has to do with everything, and that humans are most definitely not ‘special’. To be a ‘holistically minded’ individual, is to be trying to attain the state of objectification (oneness) with the surrounding reality – something that often assumes the form of one’s unconscious desire to be ‘dissolved’ within the environment, as its integral part. This is what the religion of Buddhism is all about.

Thus, the actual significance of the Eucharist, can be interpreted as follows: It is one of the clearest indications that, as far as the unconscious workings of the most ardent monotheistic believers are being concerned, these individuals never cease being polytheists. The reason for this is that, by consuming (and consequentially digesting) Christ’s ‘body’ and ‘blood’, Christians extrapolate their deep-seated emotional discomfort with the idea of the hierarchically organized universe – even though it is being strongly endorsed by just about every Christian denomination.

As Turner noted: “Rituals of status reversal… mask the weak in strength and demand of the strong that they be passive” (176). After all, the possibility for God’s flesh to be devoured by its very followers, presupposes the erroneousness of the monotheistic dogma about the omnipotence of God. The ritual of the Eucharist symbolizes that the observable emanations of the surrounding reality are innately interrelated and that it is possible for effects to be simultaneously their own causes – something that is being fully consistent with the provisions of today’s Quantum Physics.

The discursive implication of the above-argued is quite apparent – it is specifically Catholicism, which provides the most ‘genuine’ Christian interpretation of the ritual in question. However, this is not because Catholicism is being more ‘Christian’ than the rest of the world’s major Christian religions. Rather, it is a consequence of this religion continuing to remain utterly ‘magical’ – contrary to its own negative stance towards magic.

Just as it used to be the case with Jesus, who knew that if he had not periodically performed miracles in front of his followers, he would not have followers, in the first place, the high-ranked members of the Catholic clergy are being fully aware that the Church must provide believers with the opportunity to experience ‘miracles’. How this can be done, given the fact that miracles are simply nowhere to be found? The ritual of the Eucharist comes quite handy, in the respect. After all, just as it can be interpreted as the indication of people’s psychological primevalness, it can also serve as the tool of convincing believers that miracles do occur – even despite being undetected by one’s perceptual apparatus.

This is the reason why the Catholic dogma of ‘transubstantiaon’ came into being, in the first place. Once a particular Catholic has enough faith in miracles, he or she will be able to ‘perform miraculously’ on its own – something that can be well illustrated, in regards to the phenomenon of stigmata. The same can be done in regards to the fact that the rate of ‘miraculous recoveries’ among terminally ill Catholics is indeed comparatively high.

Thus, this paper’s qualitative insights into the discussed subject matter can be formulated as follows:

  1. The literal interpretation of the Eucharist’s theological significance, promoted by Catholics, is indeed consistent with the original spirit of early Christianity, as initially a pantheistic religion. This, of course, can be seen as the proof that Catholics are ‘closer’ to God; as compared to what it is being the case with the members of the rest of Christian denominations. At the same time, however, this claim can be countered by the reference to the fact that, throughout the course of its history, Christianity never ceased being theologically refined. What it means is that it is indeed impossible to provide a definitive answer to the question of what particular Christian doctrine can be considered ‘genuinely Christian’.
  2. The ritual of the Eucharist can be seen as one among many indications that religions do not affect the innermost workings of the affiliated believers’ psyche. It is understood, of course, that this substantially undermines the validity of just about any religion’s claim that it holds the answers to all questions and that it alone has been illuminated by the ‘shining truth of God’. After all, as it was shown earlier, there can be no religion, as a ‘thing in itself’ – just about every world’s religion is about reinterpreting ‘divine’ messages.
  3. The ritual of the Eucharist is ultimately concerned with the practice of theophagy. The validity of this suggestion can be easily illustrated by the Catholic postulate that, while encouraging the Apostles to consume the symbolic representations of his flesh and blood, Jesus did not mean to sound figurative/allegorical. In its turn, this presupposes that, contrary to what many Christians believe, the ritual’s origins date back to the dawn of humankind’s history. Simultaneously, this also implies that the ritual of the Eucharist can be well used, within the context of psychologists making a qualitative inquiry into what accounts for the rudimentary ‘leftovers’ of the perceptual atavism in people.

Conclusion

I believe that the provided line of argumentation, as to what should be considered the Eucharist’s discursive significance, is fully consistent with the paper’s initial thesis. Apparently, it is indeed fully appropriate reflecting upon what this ritual means from the religiously unbiased perspective. This, however, does not undermine the validity of the mentioned theological interpretations of the Eucharist – especially given the fact that they do reflect the unconscious longings of the affiliated believers.

After all, people do tend to assess the significance of a particular theological dogma in the manner that corresponds well with what happened to be their largely biologically predetermined sense of self-identity. What it means is that in this world, there can be no absolute ‘truths’ and absolute ‘untruths’. It appears to be only the matter of time, before the realization of this fact will affect the world’s major religions, as well.

Works Cited

“theophagy”. Merriam-Webster. 2014. Web.

Bell, Rachael 2014. Cannibalism: The Ancient Taboo in Modern Times. Web.

Cardo, Daniel and Marcus Mallick 2004. Web.

Christ in the Eucharist 2004. Web.

Courtois, Charlie 2010. Understanding the Protestant and Catholic Views of the Eucharist (Holy Communion). Web.

Eliade, Mircea. Cosmos and History. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1959. Print.

Eilam, David; Zor, Rama; Hermesh, Haggai and Henry Szechtman 2005. . Web.

2014. Web.

Fitzgerald, Thomas 2014. Web.

Fraser, James 1922. . Web.

Kalsched Donald and Alan Jones 1986. Myth and Psyche: The Evolution of Consciousness. Web.

Levi-Strauss, Claude. “The Structural Study of Myth.” The Journal of American Folklore 68.270 (1955): 428-444. Print.

Smith, Preserved. “Christian Theophagy: An Historical Sketch.” The Monist 28.2 (1918): 161-208. Print.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers, 2001. Print.

Turner, Victor. The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. New York: Cornell University Press, 1966. Print.

Weber, Max 1905. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2020, June 17). Ritual and Symbolism of Holy Communion. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/ritual-and-symbolism-of-holy-communion/

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"Ritual and Symbolism of Holy Communion." IvyPanda, 17 June 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/ritual-and-symbolism-of-holy-communion/.

1. IvyPanda. "Ritual and Symbolism of Holy Communion." June 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ritual-and-symbolism-of-holy-communion/.


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IvyPanda. 2020. "Ritual and Symbolism of Holy Communion." June 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ritual-and-symbolism-of-holy-communion/.

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