Zizioulas on Baptism and Eucharist  

Posted by Joe Rawls in ,

Metropolitan John Zizioulas is a leading contemporary Eastern Orthodox theologian. In this essay he discusses the intimate relationship between the two sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. Orthodoxy stresses the ontological changes made by the sacraments in their recipients; changes leading the Christian to a progressively closer union with God. Many liberal mainline Christians, by contrast, see these sacraments as thoroughly demystified rituals reinforcing social bonds between community members. These issues are especially prominent in the Episcopal Church, where there is an ongoing debate over the fairly widespread practice of giving communion to non-baptized people. Compare and contrast.

A hat-tip to Facebook friend Freeman Ioannis Edward.


Baptism...is not only the death of the past--which is henceforth abolished--but also the Resurrection into a new life, which new life however is expressed...with our incorporation into the body of the Church. There can be no baptism which does not automatically entail incorporation into the Body of the Church...For us Orthodox...it is of vital importance to insist that Baptism, the Chrism [Confirmation] and the Divine Eucharist constitute a unified and inseperable liturgical unity. Our criterion is that we undergo an ontological change; that a person must enter a new relationship with the world. One cannot be baptized and yet distance himself from experiencing the Community of the Church; this is why Baptism simultaneously signifies a placement within the Community of the Church and participation in the Divine Eucharist.

...What is important with regard to the Eucharist experience is that man now enters into a relationship with others and the world in general, with Christ as its center. The Church has, at her center, the Body of him who overcame death, and this victory over death that the risen Christ possesses is the same victory from whence life springs for all members of the Church. This Christ-centeredness of the Divine Eucharist is what makes it different from every other experience that the faithful (or people in general) may have. There is nothing so Christ-centered as the Divine Eucharist. There is no other experience that the faithful can have, which is so directly associated to the corporeal presence of the risen Christ.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at Tuesday, June 29, 2010 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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