Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Canons of the Councils of Ancyra, Gangra, Neocæsarea, Antioch and Laodicea, which Canons were Accepted and Received by the Ecumenical Synods.: Canon XIV
p. 132 Canon XIV.
The holy things are not to be sent into other dioceses at the feast of Easter by way of eulogiæ.
Ancient Epitome of Canon XIV.
It is not right to send the holy gifts to another parish.
It was a custom in the ancient Church, not indeed to consecrate, but to bless such of the several breads of the same form laid on the altar as were not needed for the communion, and to employ them, partly for the maintenance of the clergy, and partly for distributing to those of the faithful who did not communicate at the Mass. The breads thus blessed were called eulogiæ. Another very ancient custom was, that bishops as a sign of Church fellowship, should send the consecrated bread to one another. That the Roman Popes of the first and second centuries did so, Irenæus testifies in his letter to Pope Victor in Eusebius. In course of time, however, instead of the consecrated bread, only bread which had been blessed, or eulogiæ, were sent abroad. For instance, Paulinus and Augustine sent one another these eulogiæ. But at Easter the older custom still prevailed; and to invest the matter with more solemnity, instead of the eulogiæ, the consecrated bread, i.e., the Eucharist, was sent out. The Synod of Laodicea forbids this, probably out of reverence to the holy Sacrament.
Binterim (Denkwürdegkeiten, vol. IV., P. iij., p. 535.) gives another explanation. He starts from the fact that, with the Greeks as well as the Latins, the wafer intended for communion is generally called sancta or ἅγια even before the consecration. This is not only perfectly true, but a well-known fact; only it must not be forgotten that these wafers or oblations were only called sancta by anticipation, and because of the sanctificatio to which they were destined. Binterim then states that by ἅγιαin the canon is to be understood not the breads already consecrated, but those still unconsecrated. He further conjectures that these unconsecrated breads were often sent about instead of the eulogiæ, and that the Synod of Laodicea had forbidden this, not during the whole year, but only at Easter. He cannot, however, give any reason, and his statement is the more doubtful, as he cannot prove that these unconsecrated communion breads really used before to be sent about as eulogiæ.
In connection with this, however, he adds another hypothesis. It is known that the Greeks only consecrate a square piece of the little loaf intended for communion, which is first cut out with the so-called holy spear. The remainder of the small loaf is divided into little pieces, which remain on or near the altar during Mass, after which they are distributed to the non-communicants. These remains of the small loaf intended for consecration are called ἀντίδωρα and Binterims second conjecture is, that these ἀντίδωρα might perhaps have been sent as eulogiæ and may be the ἅγια of this canon. But he is unable to prove that these ἀντίδωρα were sent about, and is, moreover, obliged to confess that they are nowhere called eulogiæ, while this canon certainly speaks of eulogiæ. To this must be added that, as with regard to the unconsecrated wafer, so we see no sufficient cause why the Synod should have forbidden these ἀντίδωρα being sent.
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