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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIV:
The Canons of the Synods of Sardica, Carthage, Constantinople, and Carthage Under St. Cyprian, Which Canons Were Received by the Council in Trullo and Ratified by II. Nice.: Canon XLI

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Canon XLI.  (Greek xliv.)

That by men who are fasting sacrifices are to be offered to God.

That the Sacraments of the Altar are not to be celebrated except by those who are fasting, except on the one anniversary of the celebration of the Lord’s Supper; for if the commemoration of some of the dead, whether bishops or others, is to be made in the afternoon, let it be only with prayers, if those who officiate have already breakfasted.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XLI.

The holy mysteries are not offered except by those who are fasting.

This canon is Canon xxviij. of the Synod of Hippo, a.d. 393.


From this canon and the 29th of Trullo, it is evident that by the Lord’s Supper, the ancients understood the supper going before the Eucharist, and not the Eucharist itself, and that on Maunday-Thursday 442 yearly, before the Eucharist, they had such a public entertainment in imitation of our Saviour’s last Paschal Supper.  I refer it to the consideration of the learned reader, whether St. Paul, by the Δεῖπνον κυριακὸν, 1 Cor. xi. 20, does not mean this entertainment.  For the obvious translation of that verse is, “It is not your [duty or business] when you meet together [in the church] to eat the Lord’s Supper.”  p. 462 He would not have them to eat this supper in the public assembly:  “For” (says he) “have ye not houses to eat and drink in, or despise ye the Church of God?”  From the 4th age forward, the Eucharist was sometimes called the Lord’s Supper; but from the beginning it was not so.  And even after it did sometimes pass by this name, yet at other times this name was strictly used for the previous entertainment, as may be seen by this canon, which was made in the 4th century.  Further it seems probable, that the Lord’s Supper and the Love-feast was the same, though it was not usually called the Lord’s Supper; but only (perhaps) that love-feast, which was made on the day of the institution of the Eucharist, which we now call Maundy-Thursday.



This is Johnson’s spelling here, but not in the last phrase of this same note.

Next: Canon XLII

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