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Blood of Christ

Blood of Christ

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The Blood of Christ in Christian theology
Christian theology
- Divisions of Christian theology :There are many methods of categorizing different approaches to Christian theology. For a historical analysis, see the main article on the History of Christian theology.- Sub-disciplines :...

 refers to (a) the physical blood
Blood
Blood is a specialized bodily fluid in animals that delivers necessary substances such as nutrients and oxygen to the cells and transports metabolic waste products away from those same cells....

 actually shed by Jesus Christ on the Cross
Christian cross
The Christian cross, seen as a representation of the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, is the best-known religious symbol of Christianity...

, and the salvation
Salvation
Within religion salvation is the phenomenon of being saved from the undesirable condition of bondage or suffering experienced by the psyche or soul that has arisen as a result of unskillful or immoral actions generically referred to as sins. Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or...

 which Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 teaches was accomplished thereby; and (b) the sacramental blood present in the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

, which is considered by Catholic, Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

, Anglican
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

, and Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 Christians
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 to be the same blood of Christ shed on the Cross. The Catholic Church, as well as the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches, believe that in the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

, the faithful receive Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

' literal blood under the species
Species (Christianity)
Species is an older English word meaning 'external form or appearance'. In Christianity, when the wine is turned into blood, it is believed to literally become blood, retaining only the species of wine....

 of wine.

The Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox churches, the Oriental Orthodox church
Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy is the faith of those Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the First Council of Ephesus. They rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon...

es, the Assyrian Church of the East
Assyrian Church of the East
The Assyrian Church of the East, officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East ʻIttā Qaddishtā w-Shlikhāitā Qattoliqi d-Madnĕkhā d-Āturāyē), is a Syriac Church historically centered in Mesopotamia. It is one of the churches that claim continuity with the historical...

, and Lutherans, together with some Anglicans, believe in the Real Presence
Real Presence
Real Presence is a term used in various Christian traditions to express belief that in the Eucharist, Jesus Christ is really present in what was previously just bread and wine, and not merely present in symbol, a figure of speech , or by his power .Not all Christian traditions accept this dogma...

 of Christ in the Eucharist. The Catholic Church uses the term "Transubstantiation
Transubstantiation
In Roman Catholic theology, transubstantiation means the change, in the Eucharist, of the substance of wheat bread and grape wine into the substance of the Body and Blood, respectively, of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before.The Eastern Orthodox...

" to describe the change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Eastern Orthodox too have authoritatively used the same term to describe the change, as in The Longer Catechism of The Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church and in the decrees of the 1672 Synod of Jerusalem
Synod of Jerusalem
The Synod of Jerusalem was convened by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Dositheos Notaras in March, 1672. Because the occasion was the consecration of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, it is also called the Synod of Bethlehem....

.

The Lutheran churches follow the teaching of Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 in defining the presence of Christ in the Eucharistic elements as sacramental union
Sacramental Union
Sacramental union is the Lutheran theological doctrine of the Real Presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Christian Eucharist....

 (often misconstrued as consubstantiation
Consubstantiation
Consubstantiation is a theological doctrine that attempts to describe the nature of the Christian Eucharist in concrete metaphysical terms. It holds that during the sacrament, the fundamental "substance" of the body and blood of Christ are present alongside the substance of the bread and wine,...

), meaning that the fundamental "substance" of the body and blood of Christ are literally present alongside the substance of the bread and wine, which remain present. Lutherans too believe in and teach the Real Presence. Most Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 churches reject the idea of the Real Presence; they observe Eucharistic rites as simply memorials.

History


In the early Church, the faithful
Laity
In religious organizations, the laity comprises all people who are not in the clergy. A person who is a member of a religious order who is not ordained legitimate clergy is considered as a member of the laity, even though they are members of a religious order .In the past in Christian cultures, the...

 received the Eucharist in the form of consecrated bread and wine. Saint Maximus explains that in the Old Law
Biblical law in Christianity
Christian views of the Old Covenant have been central to Christian theology and practice since the circumcision controversy in Early Christianity. There are differing views about the applicability of the Old Covenant among Christian denominations...

 the flesh of the sacrificial
Korban
The term offering as found in the Hebrew Bible in relation to the worship of Ancient Israel is mainly represented by the Hebrew noun korban whether for an animal or other offering...

 victim was shared with the people, but the blood of the sacrifice was merely poured out on the altar. Under the New Law
New Covenant
The New Covenant is a concept originally derived from the Hebrew Bible. The term "New Covenant" is used in the Bible to refer to an epochal relationship of restoration and peace following a period of trial and judgment...

, however, Jesus' blood was the drink shared by all of Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

's faithful
Faithful
Faithful may refer to:* Faithfulness* Faithful , a baptised Catholic* Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season, a book about the Boston Red Sox...

. St. Justin Martyr, an early Church father of the 2nd century, speaks of the Eucharist as the same body and blood of Christ that was present in His Incarnation.

The tradition continued in the Church in the East to commingle the species of bread and wine, whereas in the West, the Church had the practice of communion under the species of bread and wine separately as the custom, with only a small fraction of bread placed in the chalice
Chalice (cup)
A chalice is a goblet or footed cup intended to hold a drink. In general religious terms, it is intended for drinking during a ceremony.-Christian:...

. In the West, the communion at the chalice was made less and less efficient, as the dangers of the spread of disease and danger of spillage (which would potentially be sacrilegious) were considered enough of a reason to remove the chalice from common communion altogether, or giving it on only special occasions. However, it was always consecrated and drunk by the priest, regardless of whether or not the laity partook. The Protestant controversy
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 turned this into one of its main issues. As a consequence, the Catholic Church first wanted to eliminate ambiguity, reaffirming that Christ was present both as body and as blood equally under both species of bread and wine. As time went on, the chalice was made more available to the laity. After the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

, the Catholic Church gave a full permission for all to receive communion from the chalice at every Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 involving a congregation, at the discretion of the priest.

Roman Catholic


The Catholic Church teaches that the bread and wine, through transubstantiation, become the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ— in other words, the whole Christ— when consecrated. Precious Blood Prayer: May the most Precious Blood which flowed from the most Holy wounds of our loving Lord Jesus pour over us, to wash, cleanse, purify, heal, guide, and protect us from all evil, harm, sickness, and bless and make us as Holy as we can be. We ask this in the Holy name of Jesus and through His most Precious Blood and His most Holy wounds. Amen.

The devotion to the Precious Blood was an especial phenomenon of Flemish
Flemish people
The Flemings or Flemish are the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of Belgium, where they are mostly found in the northern region of Flanders. They are one of two principal cultural-linguistic groups in Belgium, the other being the French-speaking Walloons...

 piety in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, that gave rise to the iconic image of Grace
Divine grace
In Christian theology, grace is God’s gift of God’s self to humankind. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man - "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" - that takes the form of divine favour, love and clemency. It is an attribute of God that is most...

 as the "Fountain of Life
Fountain of Life
The Fountain of Life, or in its earlier form the Fountain of Living Waters, is a Christian iconography symbol associated with baptism, first appearing in the 5th century in illuminated manuscripts and later in other art forms such as panel paintings....

,"
filled with blood, pouring from the wounded "Lamb of God
Lamb of God
The title Lamb of God appears in the Gospel of John, with the exclamation of John the Baptist: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" in John 1:29 when he sees Jesus....

"
or the "Holy Wounds
Holy Wounds
The Five Holy Wounds or Five Sacred Wounds refer to what are believed to be the five piercing wounds that was suffered during the crucifixion of Jesus....

"
of Christ. The image, which was the subject of numerous Flemish painting
Flemish painting
Flemish painting flourished from the early 15th century until the 17th century. Flanders delivered the leading painters in Northern Europe and attracted many promising young painters from neighbouring countries. These painters were invited to work at foreign courts and had a Europe-wide influence...

s was in part spurred by the renowned relic of the Precious Blood, which had been noted in Bruges
Bruges
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country....

 at least since the twelfth century and which gave rise, from the late thirteenth century, to the observances, particular to Bruges, of the procession of the "Saint Sang" from its chapel.

Litany of the Most Precious Blood


The following litany
Litany
A litany, in Christian worship and some forms of Jewish worship, is a form of prayer used in services and processions, and consisting of a number of petitions...

 is a part of Roman Catholic devotion to the Precious Blood:

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us.

Christ, graciously hear us.



God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.

God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.



Blood of Christ, only-begotten Son of the Eternal Father, save us.

Blood of Christ, Incarnate Word of God, save us.

Blood of Christ, of the New and Eternal Testament, save us.

Blood of Christ, falling upon the earth in the Agony, save us.

Blood of Christ, shed profusely in the Scourging, save us.

Blood of Christ, flowing forth in the Crowning with Thorns, save us.

Blood of Christ, poured out on the Cross, save us.

Blood of Christ, price of our salvation, save us.

Blood of Christ, without which there is no forgiveness, save us.

Blood of Christ, Eucharistic drink and refreshment of souls, save us.

Blood of Christ, stream of mercy, save us.

Blood of Christ, victor over demons, save us.

Blood of Christ, courage of Martyrs, save us.

Blood of Christ, strength of Confessors, save us.

Blood of Christ, bringing forth Virgins, save us.

Blood of Christ, help of those in peril, save us.

Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened, save us.

Blood of Christ, solace in sorrow, save us.

Blood of Christ, hope of the penitent, save us.

Blood of Christ, consolation of the dying, save us.

Blood of Christ, peace and tenderness of hearts, save us.

Blood of Christ, pledge of eternal life, save us.

Blood of Christ, freeing souls from purgatory, save us.

Blood of Christ, most worthy of all glory and honor, save us.



Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord!.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord!.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.



V/.
Versicle
A versicle is the first half of one of a set of preces, said or sung by an officiant or cantor and answered with a said or sung response by the congregation or choir...

 Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord, in Thy Blood.

R/.
Response (liturgy)
A response is the second half of one of a set of preces, the said or sung answer by the congregation or choir to a versicle said or sung by an officiant or cantor...

 And made us, for our God, a kingdom.



Let us pray. Almighty and everlasting God, Who didst appoint Thine only-begotten Son the Redeemer of the world, and hast willed to be appeased by His Blood; grant unto us, we beseech Thee, so to venerate (with solemn worship) the price of our redemption, and by its power be so defended against the evils of this life, that we may enjoy the fruit thereof forevermore in Heaven. Through the same Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R/. Amen.

Eastern Orthodox


The Orthodox teach that what is received in Holy Communion is the actual Resurrected
Resurrection of Jesus
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

 Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. In the West, the Words of Institution
Words of Institution
The Words of Institution are words echoing those of Jesus himself at his Last Supper that, when consecrating bread and wine, Christian Eucharistic liturgies include in a narrative of that event...

 are considered to be the moment at which the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. But for the Orthodox there is no one defined moment; rather, all that Orthodox theology states is that by the end of the Epiklesis, the transformation has been completed. The Orthodox also do not use the theological term Transubstantiation
Transubstantiation
In Roman Catholic theology, transubstantiation means the change, in the Eucharist, of the substance of wheat bread and grape wine into the substance of the Body and Blood, respectively, of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before.The Eastern Orthodox...

 to define the conversion from bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, they simply use the word "change".

According to Saint John Damascene, the Sacred Mysteries
Sacred Mysteries
The term sacred mysteries generally denotes the area of supernatural phenomena associated with a divinity or a religious ideology.-Pre-Christian religious mysteries:...

 (under the form of bread and wine) do not become incorruptible until they are actually received in faith by a believing Christian in a state of grace.

Devotion


In the Eastern Orthodox churches, and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite
Byzantine Rite
The Byzantine Rite, sometimes called the Rite of Constantinople or Constantinopolitan Rite is the liturgical rite used currently by all the Eastern Orthodox Churches, by the Greek Catholic Churches , and by the Protestant Ukrainian Lutheran Church...

, there is no individual devotion to the Blood of Christ separate from the Body of Christ
Body of Christ
In Christian theology, the term Body of Christ has two separate connotations: it may refer to Jesus's statement about the Eucharist at the Last Supper that "This is my body" in , or the explicit usage of the term by the Apostle Paul in to refer to the Christian Church.Although in general usage the...

, or separated from the reception of Holy Communion.

When receiving Holy Communion, the clergy (deacons, priests and bishops) will receive the Body of Christ separately from the Blood of Christ. Then, the remaining portions of the consecrated Lamb (Host) is divided up and placed in the chalice
Chalice (cup)
A chalice is a goblet or footed cup intended to hold a drink. In general religious terms, it is intended for drinking during a ceremony.-Christian:...

 and both the Body and Blood of Christ are communicated to the faithful using a liturgical spoon (see also Intinction
Intinction
Intinction is the Eucharistic practice of partly dipping the consecrated bread, or host, into the consecrated wine before consumption by the communicant.-Western Christianity:...

).

Relics of the Blood around the world


  • Basilica of the Holy Blood
    Basilica of the Holy Blood
    The Basilica of the Holy Blood is a Roman Catholic minor basilica in Bruges, Belgium. Originally built in the 12th century as the chapel of the residence of the Count of Flanders, the church houses a venerated relic of the Holy Blood allegedly collected by Joseph of Arimathea and brought from the...

    , Bruges
    Bruges
    Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country....

    , Belgium
    Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

  • Weingarten Abbey
    Weingarten Abbey
    Weingarten Abbey or St. Martin's Abbey is a Benedictine monastery on the Martinsberg in Weingarten near Ravensburg in Baden-Württemberg .-First foundation:...

    , Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

  • Abbey of the Holy Trinity
    Fécamp Abbey
    Fécamp Abbey is a Benedictine abbey in Normandy, northern France.The abbey was the first producer of Bénédictine, a herbal liqueur, based on brandy.-First foundation:...

    , Fécamp
    Fécamp
    Fécamp is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the Haute-Normandie region in northern France.-Geography:Fécamp is situated in the valley of the river Valmont, at the heart of the Pays de Caux, on the Albaster Coast...

    , France
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

  • St. Jakob Church, Rothenburg ob der Tauber
    Rothenburg ob der Tauber
    Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a town in the district of Ansbach of Mittelfranken , the Franconia region of Bavaria, Germany, well known for its well-preserved medieval old town, a destination for tourists from around the world. In the Middle Ages, it was an Imperial Free City...

    , Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

  • Basilica di Sant'Andrea di Mantova
    Basilica di Sant'Andrea di Mantova
    The Basilica concattedrale di Sant'Andrea is a Renaissance roman catholic church and minor basilica in Mantua, Lombardy .Commissioned by Ludovico II Gonzaga, the church was begun in 1462 according to designs by Leon Battista Alberti on a site occupied by a Benedictine monastery, of which the bell...

    , Mantua
    Mantua
    Mantua is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy and capital of the province of the same name. Mantua's historic power and influence under the Gonzaga family, made it one of the main artistic, cultural and notably musical hubs of Northern Italy and the country as a whole...

    , Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

  • The Sudarium of Oviedo
    Sudarium of Oviedo
    The Sudarium of Oviedo, or Shroud of Oviedo, is a bloodstained cloth, measuring c. 84 x 53 cm, kept in the Cámara Santa of the Cathedral of San Salvador, Oviedo, Spain. The Sudarium is claimed to be the cloth wrapped around the head of Jesus Christ after he died, as mentioned in the Gospel of...


See also

  • Anglican Eucharistic theology
    Anglican Eucharistic theology
    Anglican Eucharistic theology is diverse in practice, reflecting the essential comprehensiveness of the tradition. Some High church Anglicans, especially those considered to be Anglo-Catholics, hold beliefs identical with, or similar to, the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation...

  • Blood of Jesus Christ (military order)
  • Body of Christ
    Body of Christ
    In Christian theology, the term Body of Christ has two separate connotations: it may refer to Jesus's statement about the Eucharist at the Last Supper that "This is my body" in , or the explicit usage of the term by the Apostle Paul in to refer to the Christian Church.Although in general usage the...

  • Eucharist
    Eucharist
    The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

  • Missionaries of the Precious Blood
    Missionaries of the Precious Blood
    The Missionaries of the Precious Blood form a community of priests and brothers within the Latin Church, one of the 23 sui iuris churches which make up the universal Catholic Church. The Society was founded by Saint Gaspar del Bufalo in 1815...

  • Precious Blood Catholic Church

Further reading

  • Michael Heinlen, An Early Image of a Mass of St. Gregory and Devotion to the Holy Blood at Weingarten Abbey, Gesta, Vol. 37, No. 1 (1998), pp. 55-62
  • Caroline Walker Bynum, The Blood of Christ in the Later Middle Ages, Church History, Vol. 71, No. 4 (Dec., 2002), pp. 685-71

External links