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Eucharist, Bishop, Church: The Unity of the Church in the Divine Eucharist and the Bishop During the First Three Centuries Paperback – October 1, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-1885652515 ISBN-10: 1885652518

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Eucharist, Bishop, Church: The Unity of the Church in the Divine Eucharist and the Bishop During the First Three Centuries + Being as Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church (Contemporary Greek Theologians Series, No 4)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Holy Cross Orthodox Press (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1885652518
  • ISBN-13: 978-1885652515
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #947,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

John D. Zizioulas is Metropolitan of Pergamon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The author of Being as Communion, Zizioulas is internationally known for his writings and lectures on ecclesiology and personhood.

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By matt on October 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
Like the other reviewer I found this book to be very informative regarding the nature of ecclesiastical communion and the self-understanding (if such a reflective process even existed I have my doubts) of the Church in the early centuries. While ecclesiology as such is not strictly speaking a subject of dogma, since The Father Son and Spirit are the center, it is useful in an age when there is such misunderstanding and confusion about ecclesiology on the part of many Protestants, Roman Catholics and Orthodox.
Zizioulas, one of the world's leading ecclesiologists, demonstrates that the notion of Church centers around the interrelationship of Eucharist, Bishop, and Laity. Not positing authority in the power of the bishop, nor even in the people, but in the place of Christ's presence- the bread and wine as partaken of by the people of God. The total Christ, Head and Body, is manifested in the eucharistic celebration, given catholicity a qualitative and not a quantitative meaning. This raises the question, "does the Eucharist make the Church or vice versa?" It seems that Zizioulas would say both, but with the particular emphasis upon the former. Church qua Church only dangles off the mouth of the Father. It is always done unto, to use the phrase of Fr. Tarazi (which is why it is not its own object of study). But the context for this dangling is, according to Zizioulas, most manifest in the liturgy. So ultimately the notions of bishop, laity, eucharist are all interdependent. None exist without the other and they are continually in reference to one another.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jeri Nevermind VINE VOICE on May 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
Zizioulas asks what Paul meant when he talks about "coming together as a church". And what does he mean by "church in the household"? Zizioulas points out that "there was one activity of the Church which never took place outside Christian homes: the celebration of the Eucharist" (p 51). He argues that the celebration of the Eucharist, along with the guidance of the bishops, that formed the heart of the early church.

The church was characterized as the "body of Christ", a phrase which can be understood only in the context of the Eucharist, and a phrase which was never used in either rabbinic or Gnostic sources.

In connection with this argument, Zizioulas has an interesting section the word "catholic". The letters of Ignatius (about 110 AD) are the first place the word is found in reference to Christianity. Famously, Ignatius wrote: "Wherever the Bishop appears, there let the multitude of the people be, just as wherever Christ Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church" (letter to the Smyreans).

By the time of Polycarp the phrase "the Catholic Church throughout the whole world" was used. And, as the early Christians were under threat, not only by persecution but by a variety of heresies, orthodoxy became synonymous with the bishops and the Eucharist.

Anyone interested in early Christianity will certainly want to read this.

One complaint: there is no index!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Florida Dad VINE VOICE on July 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
This work by Metropolitan John Zizioulas is breath-taking in its ability to re-orient one's outlook towards the early church and by consequence, today's church. A few facts he demonstrates:

1) Paul's letters were written to be received and read in Eucharistic liturgies, and reading them outside that context impairs one's ability to understand them correctly.

2) The Bishop was the primary celebrant of the Eucharist during the first three centuries, and priests were typically simply co-celebrates with him.

3) The "parish" is a later construct of the Church, and its evolution muddied the clear connection between the Bishop and the Eucharist in the Church.

Zizioulas does an admirable job of making these points as well as others related to them. His writing is clear, non-polemical, and well-sourced. Although it is a historical study, it is quite applicable to today's Church, and all members of the apostolic Churches - Catholic and Orthodox - would do well to read this book to understand the inter-connection between the Eucharist, bishops and the Church.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ecclesial hypostasis on December 31, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
John Zizioulas has had a deep and wide influence in the area of systematic theology with his contributions to an understanding of the patristic doctrine of the Trinity. This, however, is an earlier work of historical theology that explores the concept of 'unity' within the emerging Catholic church of the first three centuries.

Zizioulas uses sources of the period to reconstruct the logic of the church's self-conception during this time. He argues, very persuasively, that the church fundamentally saw Christ himself as the heart and body of the church. Therefore the eucharistic assembly, where the body and blood of Christ are shared, constitutes the 'whole Church', as Christ himself is truly present. The important corollary of this is that there can only be one eucharist in any one place, since Christ is not divided. Hence the Bishop of the region was the only proper celebrant at the single, unified assembly. This thesis makes sense of a swathe of writing and practices from the first three centuries. He then goes on to explore the factors that led to the emergence of parishes as distinct eucharistic assemblies under a presbyter rather than the Bishop, and the challenge that this provided for the consciousness of the church.

In our hopelessly divided age it is a little discouraging to consider how zealously the unity of the church was guarded in its early centuries. The path back to unity is not clear, but this provides a helpful fullness to our perspective on the ecumenical question, which often dwells on doctrine to the exclusion of other aspects.
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