The Eucharist is the bread or wafer given (along with communion wine) in Christian communion as set forth in the Last Supper.

According to transubstantiation, these become the body and blood of Christ in all ways but appearance.

According to consubstantiation, these become simultaneously 100% the body and blood of Christ and 100% ordinary bread and wine.

According to symbolic doctrine, these remain bread and wine but commemorate the Last Supper.

A defunct death metal band from Sweden,and one of the original players in the extremely influential "Gothenburg scene." Due in part to their short career and poorly distributed albums, Eucharist never attained the widespread renown of At The Gates and In Flames, but they were quite talented and developed a distinct style very much worth hearing.

Eucharist's music was definitely metal, with the aggressive guitar chords and growly vocals typical of the genre. The highly melodic nature of their music would seem to place them in the "melodic death metal" category, but they eschewed the Iron Maiden influence of In Flames and their ilk for subtler jazz-based songs, and the overall feel is more subdued than conventionally "rocking." There's a great deal of syncopation, and solos tend to meander, lacking both the direction of conventional rock and the furious urgency of typical death metal. The band was simply too idiosyncratic to be pigeonholed in a particular genre - if you're looking for a point of comparison, think Atheist and Pestilence rather than other Swedish bands. Lyrics were more narcissistic than anything else - despite their name, Eucharist definitely weren't pushing any sort of religious agenda.

Eucharist recorded two full-length albums, A Velvet Creation and Mirrorworlds, in 1994 and 1997 respectively. Wrong Again Records, their label, was notorious both for the talent of its musicians and the ineptitude of its management, and both Eucharist albums became difficult to find when WAR went belly up. They have since been reissued by various other companies, though.

Both Eucharist albums are worthy of an extended listen. But if you can only spare the time/money for one, Mirrorworlds is your best bet. The production is far superior to that of A Velvet Creation, and the songs are better developed. There's enough in both, though, to appeal to just about any underground music listener with good taste.

Most of the band members have since disappeared from public sight, with the notable exception of drummer Daniel Erlandsson. He's since become known for his work in Arch Enemy, though he tends to be overshadowed there by the Amott brothers' guitars. Unfortunate, since Erlandsson is a genius of percussion - get the Eucharist albums and hear for yourself.

Eucharist, Christian
yoo'kah'rist; Greek. eucharistia, "thanksgiving"

Eucharist, also known as the Divine Liturgy, Holy Communion, Lord's Supper, or Mass is one of the key elements of Christian worship. The name Eucharist comes from the thanksgiving prayer used in the rite, and has been used since the second century.


According to Christian tradition, the Eucharist arises from the last supper eaten by Jesus and his disciples the night before he died. He performed a Jewish grace-ritual before the meal (taking up the bread, blessing it, and sharing it) and the customary festal thanksgiving prayer over a shared cup of wine at the end of the meal. He gave those actions a deeper significance in relation to his upcoming death. The bread became his body “given for you” and the wine his blood, with instruction to his disciples to perform them in future in remembrance of him. Partakers in the earliest eucharistic observances often claimed to experience the living presence of the resurrected Christ in these communal gatherings.

The earliest Eucharist likely included a complete meal, with all the participants bringing some food to share with the others (pot luck style). By the second century they were shortened to just the key actions of Jesus, the bread and wine, the prayer, and the recollection of what God did through Christ. Instead of being part of a meal, the Eucharist became part of the Sunday worship service along with scripture reading, preaching, and intercession. The Eucharist was a celebration of Christ’s resurrection, The bread and wine would be carried to anyone unable to attend whether because of illness or imprisonment. The bread and wine was considered healing.

The whole body and blood of Christ often got Christians in trouble since they were viewed as being cannibals, an accusation that early apology writers were quick to dismiss.

Later Developments

Over time the bread and wine themselves (rather than just the community event) took on greater importance as a method to retain connections with Christ. The bread and wine become consecrated, and as the local church community grew and became less close-knit the language surrounding the Eucharist became increasingly connected to sacrifice.

Soon the eucharistic ritual became more formalized and elaborate, and the clergy took over the performance of the ritual. Certain internal states were considered necessary for receiving the bread and wine. People in the Middle Ages still attended the rite every Sunday, but only received Communion once or twice a year, after making a confession of their sins. If you were not a member of the Church, or if you got excommunicated you could not receive communion.

Instead of being a communal meal, the Eucharist became an object of devotion. Through the words of the eucharistic prayer the bread and wine became Christ's body and blood, and so sacred and an object of distant worship. Ordinary worshipers might still be offered the bread but not the wine for fear they might spill it, and sometimes only the priest would partake at all.

The Reformation

So then comes the Reformation and a rejection of the idea that Christ was in any sense offered in the Eucharist, as well as for most Reformers the idea that an actual transformation took place in the bread and wine. They generally believed Christ was present spiritually only to the worthy recipient of Communion. That meant that everyone attending (well generally anyone that believed in Jesus) the rite should always receive bread and wine (or grape juice in some Protestant churches), but celebrated it only a few times a year in most Protestant churches, and was replaced by a preaching service on other Sundays.

Communion is also sometimes practiced by intinction. Intiction means that the host is dipped into the wine and eaten together.

Byzantine told me that in the Orthodox Church they use both bread and wine, and the wine is ussually fed to the worshipper from a spoon.

The HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion. 1995 by The American Academy of Religion.
Combt, Jean, How to Read Church History, Crossroad: New York, 1984

Eu"cha*rist (?), n. [L. eucharistia, Gr. , lit., a giving of thanks; + favor, grace, thanks; akin to to rejoice, nd prob. to yearn: cf. F. eucharistie.]


The act of giving thanks; thanksgiving.


Led through the vale of tears to the region of eucharist and hallelujahs. South.

2. Eccl.

The sacrament of the Lord's Supper; the solemn act of ceremony of commemorating the death of Christ, in the use of bread and wine, as the appointed emblems; the communion.

-- See Sacrament.


© Webster 1913.

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