The Eucharist, Part 5: Clement of Rome

Note: This is part of this series on the Eucharistic liturgy found in the patristics. The series is an expanded response to FishEaters’ “What the Earliest Christians Wrote About the Eucharist.”

The original liturgy:

The Roman liturgy:

Clement of Rome

In Letter to the Corinthians. §38,44”, Clement of Rome speaks of helping the poor, the giving of thanks (“ευχαριστειν”), and of presenting the tithe offerings or gifts (“δῶρα”), although as with Justin Martyr you need to reference Roman Catholic J.P. Migne’s Patrologia Graeca (1857–1866) in vol I, 285,300, to see how the English translation linked above obscures this.

Such obscuring leads to apologists taking these quotes

A decade after the Didache was written, Clement of Rome wrote, “Our sin will not be small if we eject from the episcopate those who blamelessly and holily have offered its sacrifices. Blessed are those presbyters who have already finished their course and who have obtained a fruitful and perfect release” (Letter to the Corinthians 44:4–5 [A.D. 80]).

…to imply—since it is not stated—that the early church offered a sacrifice of consecrated bread or of Christ, rather than a sacrifice (or “δῶρα” gift) of the tithe:

Luke 21:1-4 (NIV)
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts (“δῶρα”) into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts (“δῶρα”) out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.

But all Clement does is echo the language of scripture to describe the eucharist—tithe offering—giving of thanks. The Roman liturgy is nowhere to be found. In other words, Clement only describes the (1-3) offering of the Eucharist and not (4-5) celebration of the Lord’s Supper, just as modern Protestants treat these as separate “ceremonies”—though they are related by the tithes themselves, as the elements are selected from the tithes.

Reference: “The Collapse of the Eucharist, Part 1

4 Comments

  1. Pingback: The Eucharist, Part 6: Irenaeus of Lyons

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  3. Pingback: The Eucharist, Part 11: Cyprian of Carthage

  4. Pingback: The Eucharist, Part 12: Hippolytus of Rome

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