Wine and bread have been part of Christianity and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper for centuries. Questions about the connection between bread and wine have always emerged, with critics arguing that Jesus only instructed us to use wine to celebrate His memory. Questioning the type of wine, whether white or red, also brings to light questions about Holy Communion and how it should be celebrated.

It all began at the Last Supper, which had only one purpose: to satisfy the Apostles’ physical hunger. This then turned their behavior of passing the cup and breaking the bread into a form of communion meal among the early Christians. Over the centuries, the Holy Communion evolved from a celebratory act to a sacrament at the scale of the divine service.

Wine and bread have been part of Christianity and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper for centuries. Questions about the connection between bread and wine have always emerged, with critics arguing that Jesus only instructed us to use wine to celebrate His memory. Questioning the type of wine, whether white or red, also brings to light questions about Holy Communion and how it should be celebrated.It all began at the Last Supper, which had only one purpose: to satisfy the Apostles’ physical hunger. This then turned their behavior of passing the cup and breaking the bread into a form of communion meal among the early Christians. Over the centuries, the Holy Communion evolved from a celebratory act to a sacrament at the scale of the divine service.

The use of wine for transubstantiation started in the 12th century, which began the use of the drink to symbolize the body and blood of Christ.

Initially, grape juice was used, but Catholics and Orthodox agreed that it had to be real wine later on. The Western Church insisted on using white wine, while the Eastern Church allowed red wine instead.

The Cup to the Laity

The Roman Catholics offered the cup to the Laity from the 1st to the 12th century, which involved public Communion in Churches offered publicly to worshipers. This then ended in the 12 century, when the Church withheld the cup from the Laity. The final suppression of intinctio followed in the 13th century. In 1970, under Vatican II, the Church reintroduced the cup of Laity again[1].

According to the historical texts, there were about nine centuries when only the priests were allowed to take the blood of Jesus. Since 1970, Catholic believers have been allowed to drink from the Laity, which symbolizes the blood of Christ[2]. Therefore, wine has been an essential part of the Catholic faith for centuries, marking significant historical changes in its recent practices and beliefs.

Holy Communion wine is perceived to be pure, so hygiene has been a critical component of the sacramental wine history. Given that there are different ways through which the Holy Communion is shared maintaining hygiene has been paramount. For instance, there are small individual cups in the Protestant world, while in Catholicism, the Priest takes the cup. Getting every member of the Church to drink from the same cup raised hygiene concerns, leading to further changes. See more resources here.

On this day

12th century: On this day, the use of wine for transubstantiation started, which symbolizes the body and blood of Christ. Initially, grape juice was used, but Catholics and Orthodox agreed that it had to be real wine later on. It is still practiced to this day.

In 1970: On this day, Vatican II reintroduced the cup of Laity again, which involved drinking wine from the cup to symbolize the blood of Jesus.

Reference

D’antonio, William, James D. Davidson, Dean R. Hoge, Katherine Meyer, and William B. Friend, American Catholics: Gender, generation, and commitment (Rowman Altamira, 2001).

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!