Was it stated in any one of the universal councils before the schism in 1054 that the One Universal Church is defined by Eucharist? I mean a statement that if the Eucharist is not practiced in a certain Christian group than this group is not a part of the Church.

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    If anyone ever tells you they have doctrinally, philosophically, ethnographically, or in any other way "defined" (as opposed to just describe) the holy mystery that is Christ's body, watch out! – Robert Haraway Feb 15 '12 at 8:31


The general rule of the Councils is that they are created out of a great crisis in the Church. This could be either theological (as in the first seven), or political (the healing of the Great Western Schism). While the identification of the eucharist with the body and blood of Christ can be seen in both the East and the West prior to the split, the first major challenges (there had been a minor challenge while the Church was united, but that never gained real traction) to the doctrine were only felt immediately after the schism (literally, within the same decade).

A couple of related thoughts:

  • One can only wonder if the anti-eucharistic theology had gotten traction earlier if the resulting Council would have helped prevent the schism.
  • Vatican II was the only Council which was not created at a definitive time of crisis. Interesting to think about at least.
  • While the major crises of the East were resolved by Councils, Manichaeism and Donatism really never had a presence in the East. Those two heresies had a profound impact on Western theology. That is one reason why there is a difference between how Catholics and Orthodox view who is appropriate minister of Baptism (Catholic = anyone, clergy preferable; Orthodox = clergyman only).
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  • Do you have a reference for your third point? It seems at odds with what I know about the subject. – user304 Feb 10 '12 at 21:17
  • No. It is from at least three sources (one on the life of Augustine, one on early heresies, and an article by an Orthodox clergyman condemning Augustine and western theology on that point). I don't have the link to the Orthodox article, and I have too many theology books to be able to find those two quotes easily. If I were to guess, I would wager that it is in a forward to Confessions, but it might even have been a lecture I listened too at one point. – cwallenpoole Feb 11 '12 at 17:47

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