The Holy Eucharist

The Holy Eucharist is the principal sacrament of the Orthodox Church and the most distinctive experience of Christian Worship.

The name Eucharist comes from the Greek word which means thanksgiving. Its origin is traced back to the Last Supper, where Christ instructed His disciples to offer bread and wine in His memory. The Eucharist is also known as “The Divine Liturgy”. The word Liturgy means people’s work and defines the “combined into one” character of the Eucharist. When an Orthodox attends the Divine Liturgy, he belongs to a united group that celebrates Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ, thereby participating in the Mystery of Salvation.

The Eucharist is a celebration of faith which touches the mind and all senses. Often referred to as the “Sacrament of Sacraments” the Eucharist is an experience of communion with the Living God where prayer, music, gestures, creation’s materials, art and architecture come together into full orchestration. Following the teachings of both Scripture and Tradition, the Orthodox Church believes that Christ is truly present with His people in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The Eucharistic gifts of bread and wine become for us His Body and His Blood.

The fundamental core of the Divine Liturgy dates from the time of Christ and his Apostles. Throughout the centuries prayers, hymns, and gestures have been added to it. Nowadays the Orthodox church has three forms of the Eucharist in use:

  • The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom
  • The Liturgy of St. Basil the Great
  • The Liturgy of St. James