A Guide for the Apostolic Western Orthodox Churches (AWOC)

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We, the Apostolic Western Orthodox Church (AWOC) cherish the Eucharist as the pinnacle of Christian worship and the source of spiritual life. This guide seeks to elucidate our understanding and practice of the Eucharist, emphasizing its foundational role in our faith. As a church committed to orthodoxy, the AWOC endeavors to uphold an orthopraxy that aligns with the Ancient Church of the first millennium, striving for continuity with the practices and beliefs held prior to the Great Schism.

The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist
At the heart of our Eucharistic celebration is the profound mystery of the real presence of Christ. In the Eucharist, through the divine action of the Holy Spirit, the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. This mystery, while beyond full human understanding, is the means through which we partake in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, affirming our belief in His living presence among us.

Embracing the Mystery of Faith
Consistent with the tradition of the Ancient Church, the AWOC emphasizes the Eucharist as a sacred mystery. Unlike the developments in theology that led to the definition of transubstantiation within the Roman Jurisdiction after the Schism, our approach is to maintain the reverence for the mystery as it was understood in the first millennium. We focus on the transformative encounter with Christ in the Eucharist, beyond a precise analytical explanation of the manner of this change.

The Salvific Importance of the Eucharist
John 6:53 serves as a cornerstone for understanding the Eucharist’s salvific importance: “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” This directive from Christ underscores the necessity of the Eucharist for eternal life, intimate union with Christ, and spiritual nourishment. The Eucharist is indispensable for salvation, embodying the covenant of love established by Christ and offering a foretaste of the heavenly banquet.

Means of Grace: The Eucharist stands as a primary conduit of grace, enabling us to embody the Christian virtues and live a life of holiness.

Covenant Renewal: Each Eucharistic celebration is a renewal of the New Covenant in Christ’s blood, calling us to a deeper communion with God and each other.

Transformation and Sanctification: Participation in the Eucharist molds us into the likeness of Christ, sanctifying us as we become bearers of His grace and ambassadors of His love.

Upholding Ancient Orthopraxy
In alignment with our commitment to maintain the orthopraxy of the Ancient Church, the AWOC practices the Eucharist in a manner that reflects the liturgical and theological understanding of the pre-Schism Church. This commitment influences not only our theological stance on the mystery of the Eucharist but also our liturgical practices, fostering a continuity with the early Christians in our worship and communal life.

The Eucharist is the spiritual lifeline of the Apostolic Western Orthodox Churches, uniting us with Christ and each other in the most profound manner. As we continue to embrace the practices and beliefs of the Ancient Church, we are reminded of the timeless nature of this holy sacrament.

Through the Eucharist, we are invited into a mystery that transcends time and space, drawing us into the heart of God’s salvific plan for humanity. This guide serves as an invitation to all members of the AWOC to approach the Eucharist with deep reverence and love, mindful of its power to transform us into the image and likeness of Christ.

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