John Zizioulas – Ecclesiological presuppositions of the holy Eucharist

Thus in the office of the Bishop we encounter at least two fundamental paradoxes which are also paradoxes of the Eucharist. One is that in him the One become Many and the Many becomes One. This is the mystery of Christology and Pneumatology, the mystery of the Church and at the same time of the Eucharist. The other paradox is that in the Bishop the local Church becomes Catholic and the Catholic becomes local. If a Church is not at the same time local and universal, she is not the body of Christ. Equally the Eucharist has to be at the same time a local and catholic event. Without the Bishop it cannot be so.

This links the question of the ecclesiological presuppositions of the Eucharist closely with another aspect of ecclesiology, namely conciliarity. The Eucharist by its very nature transcends the dilemma ‘local or universal’, because in each eucharistic celebration the Gifts are offered in the name of, and for, the ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church’ which exists in the whole world. In practical terms this means that if one is a member of a certain eucharistic community (or local Church), one is ipso facto also a member of all the eucharistic communities of the world: one can communicate in any one of these communities.

It was precisely this nature of the Eucharist and its practical implications that led to emergence of the synod system in the early Church. Conciliarity is closely connected with eucharistic communion – both in its theory and its practice – and with its presuppositions. If two or more Churches are in schism, the eucharistic life (and perhaps also validity?) of all local Churches is upset. Conciliarity as an expression of the unity of the local Churches in one Church, constitutes a fundamental condition for the Eucharist. Just as the many individuals of a local Church must be united in and through the ministry of the One (the bishop, representing Christ), in the same way the many local Churches must be united into one for their Eucharist to be proper ecclesiologically. Ecclesial unity on a universal level is essential for the Eucharist.

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Preface to The Eschatological Economy

This is a book of Christian theology. Theology is what the Church does when it checks that it is fully expressing and passing on the word it receives from God. This book relates our understanding of time and history to Christian theology, to conform our understanding of ourselves to the theological truth that God is changing us. Sanctification is the term the Christian tradition uses for the process of our transformation. In this book I connect the concepts of paideia, our formation, and the doctrine of sanctification. It is a very old theme in Christian theology, associated with Irenaeus, that God always intended come to man and stay with him, and that in the course of this coming, man would grow up, a process delayed, but not halted, by sin and rebellion. This book discusses the ways in which Christian doctrine and biblical studies tackle this issue of the education or formation of humanity, and in particular the role of the people of Israel in this. It explores the relationship of sacrifice, along with other models of the work of Christ, to sanctification, and it re-examines the connections between Israel, Jesus Christ, time, history and Scripture, by closely linking them to the Christian doctrine of God.

This book compares the Christian view of who we are with other modern views. It suggests that modern thought, ever ready to take things apart but unable to put them together again, creates intellectual divisions which give us a series of partial, and so defective, understandings of who we are. In this book I suggest that the trinitarian doctrine of God alters the way we understand secularisation and the world of modernity, and avoids the tunnel vision that determine modern existence. To do this, this book makes some proposals about the relation of theology to the world.
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