Communion in the hand in the early Church

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Aragorn1

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What evidence is there that the early Christians received Communion in their hands, besides the well-known passage written by St. Cyril of Jerusalem? Is St. Cyril’s passage authentic? Is there any other evidence?
 
What evidence is there that the early Christians received Communion in their hands, besides the well-known passage written by St. Cyril of Jerusalem? Is St. Cyril’s passage authentic? Is there any other evidence?
This is currently being discussed in a couple of threads here and at Traditional Catholicism.

One piece I quoted can be found in the thread:

*Is this the beginning of the end for communion in the hand? *

in message #194

For your convenience here is the section I quoted in the post:
The respect and reverence due to the Holy Eucharist was to be exhibited in a particular manner whenever the faithful came into contact with the particles of the Blessed Sacrament. There were several customs observed by the early Christians in their dealing with this sacred object, which would appear strange to us at the present time. They were inspired by the fact that the Eucharistic Christ was looked upon very much as He was when walking upon this earth. As the people then mingled freely with Him, handled Him and touched Him, so likewise the Christians of the early ages felt entitled to come into direct contact with the species of the Holy Eucharist, which contained Christ. Thus, whenever they approached the table of Communion, they received the sacred particle in the palm of their right-hand. They held it there, blessed themselves with it, and then placed it on the tongue. They were permitted also to take the Blessed Eucharist to their houses, so as to be able to commune, whenever they were unable to be present at the religious services, either on account of illness or on account of severe persecution. Finally, they were authorized to carry the sacred particle with them on journeys that were dangerous, so as to have the all-powerful protection of their Lord and God. On all such occasions particular care was taken to handle the Blessed Sacrament with the utmost care and respect.
Several of the writers already mentioned, such as Tertullian, Origen, and St. Cyril of Jerusalem, warn the faithful not to permit any particle of the Sacrament to drop on the floor, while they were holding it in their hand at Communion, because that would be. a profanation inflicted on the holiest of objects. Moreover, Tertullian condemns very severely those Christians who touched the body of the Lord at Communion with the same hand with which they manufactured idols for the false worship of the pagans.
When the Blessed Eucharist was taken to private homes, care was to be observed that no dishonor should come to it; and it was presumed that its custodians should be pure in soul and body. Tertullian, in his work Ad Uxorem, recommends to his wife not to remarry after his death, unless the man of her choice were endowed with the Christian faith. If she were to marry a pagan, there would be the possibility of a profanation of the Holy Eucharist, which she might wish to keep at home. St. Cyprian in his work De Lapsis tells of a perverse Christian who assisted at a pagan sacrifice, then went to the Eucharistic service of the Christians, received the body of the Lord, and carried it away. On his return home he opened the hand in which he was holding the sacred particle, and to his astonishment he beheld that he was carrying ashes. He speaks also of a woman who was keeping the sacred host in a small case at her home. When she tried to open the receptacle, she was stopped from taking hold of the particle by flames of fire that came out from it. In both these examples the man and the woman were unworthy of receiving the body of the Lord; their souls were not free from sin. The stories were told for the purpose of admonishing others to be always pure of soul when handling or receiving the body of Christ.
 

“They were inspired by the fact that the Eucharistic Christ was looked upon very much as He was when walking upon this earth. As the people then mingled freely with Him, handled Him and touched Him, so likewise the Christians of the early ages felt entitled to come into direct contact with the species of the Holy Eucharist, which contained Christ.”​

It seems what drove the people to handle our Lord Christ -was that they were focusing on the humanity of Christ —overshadowing that He was God walking the earth.
 
Thanks!

(By the way, the reason I started a new thread when I knew there were several other threads on a similar topic was because those other threads (which deal with the more general topic of “Communion in the hand versus Communion on the tongue”) tend to devolve into highly emotional exchanges in which each side defends his/her right to receive according to his/her preference. Few posts in any of those threads deal in depth with the historical question of whether or not Communion was actually received in the hands in the early Church. So I wanted to start a thread on that specific topic.)

Could someone post references to those writings of Tertullian, Origen, and St. Cyprian which were referred to by the quotation in post #2? (There is no category for “Communion in the hand” in the doctrinal index of William Jurgens’ reference work.)

Thanks again.
 
In the early times of the Church, people were allowed to take home enough Communion from Mass for each Christian household member to eat one piece every day for the rest of the week. There was a little boy who was martyred, while trying to protect the Lord’s Body that he was taking home. Christian homes had a special box/tabernacle to keep the Body in.

So they were probably eating these pieces by hand, unless the family members administered the Body to each other’s mouths with their hands. (I don’t remember hearing anything about folks using communion tongs or gloves or communion spoons that far back, though it’s possible.)

This custom eventually died out because of the obvious abuse potential. But some Eastern churchgoers still take home a special blessed bread, which was instituted to console Christians for the loss of keeping the Real Presence in their homes all week long.
 
In the early times of the Church, people were allowed to take home enough Communion from Mass for each Christian household member to eat one piece every day for the rest of the week. There was a little boy who was martyred, while trying to protect the Lord’s Body that he was taking home. Christian homes had a special box/tabernacle to keep the Body in.

So they were probably eating these pieces by hand, unless the family members administered the Body to each other’s mouths with their hands. (I don’t remember hearing anything about folks using communion tongs or gloves or communion spoons that far back, though it’s possible.)

This custom eventually died out because of the obvious abuse potential. But some Eastern churchgoers still take home a special blessed bread, which was instituted to console Christians for the loss of keeping the Real Presence in their homes all week long.
LOL that naughty primitive church!! Not only communion in the hand BUT encouraging self communicating!!

:whacky: :whacky: :eek:
 
LOL that naughty primitive church!! Not only communion in the hand BUT encouraging self communicating!!

:whacky: :whacky: :eek:
What exactly is underlying your motivation to personally handle the Blessed Sacrament? :confused:

Is it not enough to simply and reverently receive communion? :confused:
 
What exactly is underlying your motivation to personally handle the Blessed Sacrament? :confused:

Is it not enough to simply and reverently receive communion? :confused:
What is not reverent in using one of the forms of reception available to us?
 
I often wonder that myself, what is the Christian motivation to not want to receive on the tongue?
I know all the reasons such as, personal preference and an aversion to possible germs, (which is interesting as I have never heard a defender of communion in the hand want to reject the cup) So that doesn’t seem very honest, but maybe there are some honest objections here.

But since this is a Christian forum what is the Christian motivation?

I often ask this sort of question as every Catholic should have Christian motivations for their actions at Mass.

God Bless
Scylla
 
I am not sure why on needs to have a Christian reason as well as a Catholic reason for their choice of how to receive Holy Communion.

Can we not trust the HMC, who has provided us with these options and deemed them equally appropriate methods and equally revererent?
 
Can we not trust the HMC, who has provided us with these options and deemed them equally appropriate methods and equally revererent?
They are not equal. Receiving on the tongue is the universal norm, whereas receiving in the hand is an indult (approved exception), and only in certain countries.

For an example of just one document that addresses this:

See Article 92 of “Redemptionis Sacramentum On certain Matters to be Observed or to be Avoided Regarding the Most Holy Eucharist” by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. It refers to communion on the tongue as a “right” (i.e., the presumed norm) and in the hand as a “choice” where licit, (i.e., an approved exception).

“Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her.”

Source:
vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20040423_redemptionis-sacramentum_en.html

So I ask again, what is your motivation behind your desire to personally handle the Blessed Sacrament?
 
They are not equal. Receiving on the tongue is the universal norm, whereas receiving in the hand is an indult (approved exception), and only in certain countries.
They are equal as the OF of the Mass is equal to the EF.

Communion in the hand is not defined by the Church as a lesser form of reverence and it’s status as being by indult does not change that.

Since this is both approved and appropriate (as seen by the Church) I do not understand what you are trying to ask about when you say ‘motivation’.
 
The OF of the Mass is not an indult.

Communion in the hand IS an indult.
 
They are equal as the OF of the Mass is equal to the EF.

Communion in the hand is not defined by the Church as a lesser form of reverence and it’s status as being by indult does not change that.
In the US, it is allowed but it is NOT the preferred method. In other words, it is the inferior exception to the universal norm. Mere toleration of a practice that is regional, idiosyncratic, and has its roots in disobedience does not make it good.
Since this is both approved and appropriate (as seen by the Church) I do not understand what you are trying to ask about when you say ‘motivation’.
Why do you insist on handling the Blessed Sacrament? (Sorry, but I don’t know how more simply I can ask this question.)
 
In the US, it is allowed but it is NOT the preferred method. In other words, it is the inferior exception to the universal norm. Mere toleration of a practice that is regional, idiosyncratic, and has its roots in disobedience does not make it good.
It is not an inferior practice, it is a valid and current indult.

Your question regarding ‘motivation’ has long stopped making any kind of sense. I am not being disobedient, I am not being irreverent, I am not defaming the Sacred Species - if I was then maybe this faux issue of ‘motivation’ may have some bearing.
 
It is not an inferior practice, it is a valid and current indult.
Then why isn’t it universally practiced? In many parts of the world communion in the hand is unthinkable.
Your question regarding ‘motivation’ has long stopped making any kind of sense. I am not being disobedient, I am not being irreverent, I am not defaming the Sacred Species - if I was then maybe this faux issue of ‘motivation’ may have some bearing.
I didn’t say that you are any of those things. I’m just asking you WHY you want to handle the Blessed Sacrament.
 
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