The purpose of Eucharist brings us joy, not the understanding of the miracle: Patriarch Daniel on Maundy Thursday

Părintele Patriarh în Joia Mare: scopul Tainei Euharistice ne aduce bucurie, nu înțelegerea minunii / Reflecții la Cina cea de Taină

During his homily delivered at the Divine Liturgy on Maundy Thursday, Patriarch Daniel offered his reflections on the Last Supper and the eucharistic miracle. ‘It is a Mystery that we will never fully understand.’

‘But what is it that brings joy?,’ the patriarch asked. ‘Nut the understanding of how the bread and wine become the Lord’s Body and Blood, but rather why their transformation takes place.’

The transformation takes place ‘because Jesus Christ the God-Man wishes to give us His eternal love and life,’ His Beatitude noted.

‘The Holy Scripture never explains how a miracle is performed, but what is its purpose,’ he added.

Speaking about the purpose of the Holy Eucharist, the Romanian Patriarch said that through it ‘Christ the Lord gives us his life so that his life may become the life of our life. He gives us the provision of eternal life.’

On the Holy and Great Thursday, April 5, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel presided over the Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest having as concelebrants his auxiliary bishops Varlaam of Ploiesti and Ieronim of Sinaia.

PF Daniel în Catedrala Patriarhală în Joia Mare
Still during the Divine Liturgy celebrated on Maundy Thursday at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest. © Robert Nicolae / Basilica.ro

The Last Supper is not secret, but mystical

After proclaiming the gospel reading, the Patriarch said that the Last Supper was not secret, but mystical, since Christ transformed the bread and wine into His own Body and Blood.

‘This is the great mystery above understanding,’ he said.

Patriarch Daniel recalled the Jewish traditions of Pascha remembering the crossing of the Red Sea and the deliverance from Egyptian slavery.

The patriarch went on to say that ‘the Last Supper is an intimate supper.’ He said that it is called a mystical supper not because of this intimacy, but because of the great mystery of the transformation of Jewish Pascha into Christian Pascha.

The Holy Eucharist lies at the centre of the Church

Noting that the Holy Eucharist lies at the centre of the Church, the Patriarch said it is ‘a remedy, a medication of immortality, a provision of eternal life, and our strengthening to acquire God’s humble, steadfast, merciful love.’

PS Varlaam Ploieșteanul împărtășind copii în Catedrala Patriarhală
Bp Varlaam distributing Holy Communion to a child. © Robert Nicolae / Basilica.ro

Reserved Eucharist

By custom two Lambs are consecrated at the Divine Liturgy on Great Thursday. The second Lamb is used as the Reserved Sacrament. The Reserved Sacrament is used especially to give communion to the sick.

The Reserved Sacrament from the previous year is consumed by the priest after the Liturgy on either Great Thursday or Great Saturday in the usual manner.

In the event the Reserved Sacrament has been exhausted, or for any reason altered, lost or destroyed, or does not exist, as in the case of the founding of a new church, the priest may consecrate a second Lamb at any Divine Liturgy, and prepare it in the manner described above, and place it in the Artophorion.

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Photography courtesy of Robert Nicolae / Basilica.ro

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