Leavened or unleavened bread in the Eucharist

kx9

Sr. Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2012
Messages
213
Reaction score
0
Points
0
The issue over whether to use leavened or unleavened bread for the Eucharist is one of the many reasons for the Great Schism of 1054 which split the Church into the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The EOC uses leavened bread while the RCC uses unleavened bread.

So I started this thread to find out why this is such a big issue.

I'd like to hear from both EO's and RC's why their own position (on leavened and unleavened bread) is correct.
 

jmbejdl

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Jan 28, 2005
Messages
1,480
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
44
Location
Aylesbury
kx9 said:
The issue over whether to use leavened or unleavened bread for the Eucharist is one of the many reasons for the Great Schism of 1054 which split the Church into the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The EOC uses leavened bread while the RCC uses unleavened bread.

So I started this thread to find out why this is such a big issue.

I'd like to hear from both EO's and RC's why their own position (on leavened and unleavened bread) is correct.
Your information is incorrect. It is one of the differences between us and the RCs but was not in itself a cause of the Great Schism. We do believe that it is wrong to use unleavened bread but Rome had been doing it prior to the Schism whilst remaining in communion with us. The practice was criticised but it was not used as a reason for severing communion.

James
 
Joined
Aug 5, 2012
Messages
83
Reaction score
0
Points
0
This is interesting...
Why was it criticised? What exactly is the reason(s) for claiming that it is a doubtful practise?

As an RC, I have not really heard exactly why this point was in dispute. According to RC sacramental theology, it does not affect the validity of the sacrament at all.

As a wild guess... Was it considered wrong by the Easterners because the bread people normally ate at the time of Christ was leavened and that it was this bread He used himself?
If so, it would be an argument which I  would  personally be very sympathetic to, at least initially, even if it turns out to be wrong, since I am always more sympathetic to the traditional side  in any dispute anyway :)

 

kx9

Sr. Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2012
Messages
213
Reaction score
0
Points
0
jmbejdl said:
The issue over whether to use leavened or unleavened bread for the Eucharist is one of the many reasons for the Great Schism of 1054 which split the Church into the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The EOC uses leavened bread while the RCC uses unleavened bread.

So I started this thread to find out why this is such a big issue.

I'd like to hear from both EO's and RC's why their own position (on leavened and unleavened bread) is correct.
Your information is incorrect. It is one of the differences between us and the RCs but was not in itself a cause of the Great Schism.  
I obtained this information from Wikipedia :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East%E2%80%93West_Schism
...Prominent among these were the issues of "filioque", whether leavened or unleavened bread should be used in the Eucharist[3] the Pope's claim to universal jurisdiction, and the place of Constantinople in relation to the Pentarchy.[4]


We do believe that it is wrong to use unleavened bread
So what is the reason that it is an error to use unleavened bread?

I heard that the Catholic position why they believe that using unleavened bread is correct is that [The passover week is for eating unleavened bread, Exodus 12:18-20]
 

jmbejdl

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Jan 28, 2005
Messages
1,480
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
44
Location
Aylesbury
kx9 said:
I obtained this information from Wikipedia :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East%E2%80%93West_Schism
...Prominent among these were the issues of "filioque", whether leavened or unleavened bread should be used in the Eucharist[3] the Pope's claim to universal jurisdiction, and the place of Constantinople in relation to the Pentarchy.[4]
I was about to say 'don't trust Wikipedia' but then went and read the passage in question and it seems to me that you just misinterpreted it. It doesn't say it was a cause of the schism but that it was one of the things which east and west had disputed prior to the schism, which is closer to what I wrote in my reply.


So what is the reason that it is an error to use unleavened bread?

I heard that the Catholic position why they believe that using unleavened bread is correct is that [The passover week is for eating unleavened bread, Exodus 12:18-20]
I doubt I know all the reasoning behind it, though I could probably look it up, but we certainly don't believe that the Last Supper took place during Passover but rather before and I'm pretty certain that the Greek used specifies leavened not unleavened bread (artos as opposed to azymes).

James
 

Second Chance

Merarches
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 13, 2009
Messages
8,017
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
74
Location
South Carolina
kx9 said:
The issue over whether to use leavened or unleavened bread for the Eucharist is one of the many reasons for the Great Schism of 1054 which split the Church into the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The EOC uses leavened bread while the RCC uses unleavened bread.

So I started this thread to find out why this is such a big issue.

I'd like to hear from both EO's and RC's why their own position (on leavened and unleavened bread) is correct.
I hope you have read and found the answers to be informative (I certainly did). I think, however, that the larger question is whether such a difference is indicative of larger issues. I think that the reason why the EO made such a big deal about this is that they were (and still are) opposed to the RC way of forging ahead without regard to the rest of the Church--that is, as if only the Roman Catholic Church is the Church. I think it was quite natural for the RC to then proclaim the unorthodox (and heretical) dogma of Papal Infallibility at the First Vatican Council, for example. So, this is issue is tied in with many others, just as it was in the 11th Century.
 

Green_Umbrella

Sr. Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2012
Messages
188
Reaction score
0
Points
0
kx9 said:
The issue over whether to use leavened or unleavened bread for the Eucharist is one of the many reasons for the Great Schism of 1054 which split the Church into the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The EOC uses leavened bread while the RCC uses unleavened bread.

So I started this thread to find out why this is such a big issue.

I'd like to hear from both EO's and RC's why their own position (on leavened and unleavened bread) is correct.
The schism is about good ole Power. Who gets to wield it and who does not. Leavened or unleavened bread and all the rest is just superfluous trappings.

I think it was quite natural for the RC to then proclaim the unorthodox (and heretical) dogma of Papal Infallibility at the First Vatican Council, for example. So, this is issue is tied in with many others, just as it was in the 11th Century.
That is not the song that was being sung at the Council of Florence.
 

pensateomnia

Archon
Joined
Mar 25, 2005
Messages
2,360
Reaction score
0
Points
0
kx9 said:
The issue over whether to use leavened or unleavened bread for the Eucharist is one of the many reasons for the Great Schism of 1054 which split the Church into the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.
If one looks at the actual 11th and 12th century sources, it is the main issue.

The Byzantines saw unleavened bread (άζυμα) as a Judaizing practice, a denial of the new life in Christ, and also as an Apollinarian denial that Christ had a human soul, since the bread had no "soul" in it. See the works of Archbishop Leo of Ochrid, Niketas Stethatos, or even the 13th century records of the union negotiations at Nymphaeum. The main issue was Christological for the Byzantines: only those who deny some aspect of the Incarnation, and Christ's presence in the bread, would use a flat, lifeless, Jewish-inspired, Old Law-style bread for Holy Communion. There were also linguistic and historical arguments, e.g. the Scripture talks of Christ using άρτος (leavened bread), not άζυμα (unleavened).

The Latins/Germans, in turn, said the Byzantines were Judaizers for not shaving their beards, as if they were Nazarenes.

In short, there were a lot of polemics having to do with liturgical customs. Both sides believed they had the original tradition and explained the significance of those traditions with various theological arguments. Very, very few of the polemical works discussed the filioque: that had more or less reached a detente after the healing of the Photian schism, although it could obviously pop up as another example in the long list of contested practices.

Modern scholars have shown that both leavened and unleavened bread were used in the early centuries, but that leavened became the norm for several centuries, to be replaced in the West no later than the time of Bede. Armenians, however, started to use unleavened a bit earlier. It may actually be the Byzantine dislike for Armenians that played a role in their dislike of the unleavened bread they saw in the Latin rite churches in Constantinople in the 11th century. Also, they didn't like that the new German-backed Pope was making the Byzantine Rite churches in Italy use it.

So, in summary, leavened bread had been the most common thing for some time, but it became common in the West to use unleavened bread for centuries leading up to the 11th century, and, as Cardinal Humbert pointed out, the Byzantines had stopped giving communion in the hand, which was the most ancient of all.

Basically, no one knew about how diverse Christian liturgical practices had been, and assumed their way was the only way ever. As for why this became such a big issue: Much easier to get excited about something tangible like this. Just look at people's visceral (and theological) responses to those who have used or proposed using something like Doritos and Pepsi for communion today; or, less extreme, the polemics one can find over beards and clerical attire.
 

choy

Archon
Joined
Jul 11, 2012
Messages
2,316
Reaction score
0
Points
0
pensateomnia said:
as Cardinal Humbert pointed out, the Byzantines had stopped giving communion in the hand, which was the most ancient of all
What is the source for this?  I'd love to read it.
 

orthonorm

Hoplitarches
Joined
Jul 24, 2010
Messages
17,715
Reaction score
0
Points
0
pensateomnia said:
kx9 said:
The issue over whether to use leavened or unleavened bread for the Eucharist is one of the many reasons for the Great Schism of 1054 which split the Church into the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.
If one looks at the actual 11th and 12th century sources, it is the main issue.

The Byzantines saw unleavened bread (άζυμα) as a Judaizing practice, a denial of the new life in Christ, and also as an Apollinarian denial that Christ had a human soul, since the bread had no "soul" in it. See the works of Archbishop Leo of Ochrid, Niketas Stethatos, or even the 13th century records of the union negotiations at Nymphaeum. The main issue was Christological for the Byzantines: only those who deny some aspect of the Incarnation, and Christ's presence in the bread, would use a flat, lifeless, Jewish-inspired, Old Law-style bread for Holy Communion. There were also linguistic and historical arguments, e.g. the Scripture talks of Christ using άρτος (leavened bread), not άζυμα (unleavened).

The Latins/Germans, in turn, said the Byzantines were Judaizers for not shaving their beards, as if they were Nazarenes.

In short, there were a lot of polemics having to do with liturgical customs. Both sides believed they had the original tradition and explained the significance of those traditions with various theological arguments. Very, very few of the polemical works discussed the filioque: that had more or less reached a detente after the healing of the Photian schism, although it could obviously pop up as another example in the long list of contested practices.

Modern scholars have shown that both leavened and unleavened bread were used in the early centuries, but that leavened became the norm for several centuries, to be replaced in the West no later than the time of Bede. Armenians, however, started to use unleavened a bit earlier. It may actually be the Byzantine dislike for Armenians that played a role in their dislike of the unleavened bread they saw in the Latin rite churches in Constantinople in the 11th century. Also, they didn't like that the new German-backed Pope was making the Byzantine Rite churches in Italy use it.

So, in summary, leavened bread had been the most common thing for some time, but it became common in the West to use unleavened bread for centuries leading up to the 11th century, and, as Cardinal Humbert pointed out, the Byzantines had stopped giving communion in the hand, which was the most ancient of all.

Basically, no one knew about how diverse Christian liturgical practices had been, and assumed their way was the only way ever. As for why this became such a big issue: Much easier to get excited about something tangible like this. Just look at people's visceral (and theological) responses to those who have used or proposed using something like Doritos and Pepsi for communion today; or, less extreme, the polemics one can find over beards and clerical attire.
Great post. Thanks, you always have good stuff. Informative as it is disheartening. Seems as if they go hand in hand.

 

JoeS2

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
1,675
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
80
Location
Abington, PA USA
choy said:
pensateomnia said:
as Cardinal Humbert pointed out, the Byzantines had stopped giving communion in the hand, which was the most ancient of all
What is the source for this?  I'd love to read it.
Here is something else to consider: The leavened bread represents the Risen Christ, the living Christ in that the warmth of the hot water that is added to the wine (red, never white) reminds us that God in Christ is alive and our Salvation.
 

choy

Archon
Joined
Jul 11, 2012
Messages
2,316
Reaction score
0
Points
0
JoeS2 said:
choy said:
pensateomnia said:
as Cardinal Humbert pointed out, the Byzantines had stopped giving communion in the hand, which was the most ancient of all
What is the source for this?  I'd love to read it.
Here is something else to consider: The leavened bread represents the Risen Christ, the living Christ in that the warmth of the hot water that is added to the wine (red, never white) reminds us that God in Christ is alive and our Salvation.
Oh yes, definitely!  As we have said, the bread is alive, literally!  As the leaven is actually living organism.

But I'd still like to see Cardinal Humbert's statement supporting Communion in the Hand.  I'd like to give some trads a heart attack :p
 

JoeS2

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
1,675
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
80
Location
Abington, PA USA
  Oh My I just love the Liturgy, it is the high point of my week.  Its the only thing that matters....
 

xOrthodox4Christx

Taxiarches
Joined
Apr 28, 2013
Messages
7,322
Reaction score
0
Points
0
I have to continue this discussion in light of a video I saw of the Armenian OO Archbishop who used unleavened bread, like Latins do, in the Eucharist.

Is this standard OO practice of the Eucharist? Or is this only the Armenian Rite? Or, dare I say, a non-standard practice of the Holy Sacrifice?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6erre_9lvc4
 

JoeS2

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
1,675
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
80
Location
Abington, PA USA
xOrthodox4Christx said:
I have to continue this discussion in light of a video I saw of the Armenian OO Archbishop who used unleavened bread, like Latins do, in the Eucharist.

Is this standard OO practice of the Eucharist? Or is this only the Armenian Rite? Or, dare I say, a non-standard practice of the Holy Sacrifice?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6erre_9lvc4
Maybe, but I think they also bless themselves 'left to right' as well. 
 

ialmisry

Strategos
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Messages
41,794
Reaction score
0
Points
36
Location
Chicago
xOrthodox4Christx said:
I have to continue this discussion in light of a video I saw of the Armenian OO Archbishop who used unleavened bread, like Latins do, in the Eucharist.

Is this standard OO practice of the Eucharist? Or is this only the Armenian Rite? Or, dare I say, a non-standard practice of the Holy Sacrifice?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6erre_9lvc4
Standard just for the Armenians.  It has been an issue in the past for the other OO, but not now.  It has not really been an issue for the EO, not like it has been with the Latins.
 

sheenj

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Jan 31, 2012
Messages
1,429
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
28
JoeS2 said:
xOrthodox4Christx said:
I have to continue this discussion in light of a video I saw of the Armenian OO Archbishop who used unleavened bread, like Latins do, in the Eucharist.

Is this standard OO practice of the Eucharist? Or is this only the Armenian Rite? Or, dare I say, a non-standard practice of the Holy Sacrifice?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6erre_9lvc4
Maybe, but I think they also bless themselves 'left to right' as well. 
All OO cross themselves left to right, but only the Armenians use unleavened bread.
 
Top