Leuven Encounters in Systematic Theology edition:6 location:Leuven, Belgium date:7-10 November 2007
During the recent years a number of significant statements and studies on the Eucharist have been produced by various Christian denominations. These documents testify to an increasing interest in and, at the same time, growing convergence on the subject of the Eucharist across Christian family. In particular, many of these documents tend to emphasize an intimate link between the Eucharist and the Church. This has direct implications for ecumenism, since debates on the unity of the Church imply also a discussion on the Eucharist. This paper will focus especially on recent statements of the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches with regard to the question of relationship between the ecclesial and Eucharistic communion. It will be argued that while those documents call for a more adequate understanding and celebration of the Eucharist, they do not, for the most part, seem to show a significant interest in what this implies for the ecumenical context. This presentation will show how a renewed view of the Eucharist, informed by Patristic sources and Byzantine liturgical tradition, can potentially contribute to the progress in relations between various Christian denominations, Catholics and Orthodox in particular.