Communion Outside the Eucharist

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Joint Liturgical Studies 26

There has been, from time to time in the history of the church, the provision of communion outside the eucharist. This has been in a number of contexts, domestic, monastic, and parish. It has taken a variety of liturgical forms, from bare provision to complex liturgies. The reasons for it have varied, including such factors as persecution, calendrical theories, and the shortage of priests. It has occurred in a surprising number of churches, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental, Roman Catholic, ‘Old Catholic’, Anglican, Catholic Apostolic and Presbyterian. Perhaps what they all have in common is a strong sense of consecration to undergird the practice.

This is not a book about communion for the sick (a closely related issue), nor about reservation (to which it is necessarily linked), nor about the eucharistic cultus. Other books have been written on these subjects and constraints of space exclude their discussion. The focus is on communion outside the eucharist both in the Anglican Communion and in the other churches. As yet there are many unresolved issues, and thus conclusions can only be provisional. But it does look as if there will continue to be authorization of such rites. This study aims to further the contemporary discussion.

Phillip Tovey