Chalice communion

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Catholic bridal office with the donation of chalice communion

The offering of the consecrated wine to the faithful within or (rarely) outside of the celebration of the Eucharist is called chalice communion . The name takes the place of the formerly common name lay chalice .

historical development

Even in the ancient Church, the frequency of receiving communion by the laity at Mass decreased in both East and West. The reasons for this were varied, including the temporarily widespread postponement of baptism to a higher age (because of the possibility of forgiveness of serious guilt, which was only granted once in a lifetime to those baptized at that time), the required renunciation of marital intercourse several days before receiving communion, and finally also Fear of being guilty of accidental dishonor of the Eucharistic Body and Blood of Christ.

Allegorical representation of evangelical teaching. Luther and Hus at the Lord's Supper in both shapes.

In the Middle Ages, attempts were made in the western church to avoid the chalice communion of the believers more and more, because their rush was lively on the now only few communion days of the year and there was therefore a risk of accidental spilling. Instead of the consecrated wine, lay people were widely given to drink ablution wine, that is, ordinary wine that was used to drink after receiving communion to protect the holy figures so that no particles of the host would get back into the mouth. Theologically this behavior was supported by the teaching that Christ is completely present and will be received in each of the two forms of bread and wine . In the late Western Middle Ages, drinking from the chalice was increasingly perceived as a privilege of the celebrating priests , a privilege that set them apart from lay people. Likewise, all clerics up to the level of subdeacon, as well as non-officiating deacons and priests, did not receive the chalice at their communion.

Lay goblet

An official rejection of the “lay chalice”, however, did not take place until 1415 at the Council of Constance - as a reaction to Jan Hus's request for communion to be given in both forms (communio sub utraque specie) . The rejection and arbitrary change of the general legal practice of lay communion under one guise was forbidden in Constance, whereby the possibility of permission for the communion of believers under both guises was not fundamentally excluded. Through the agreement of the Prague compacts , the Catholic Church allowed the Hussite group of Utraquists to use the laity chalice for a while. Exceptions were also allowed later, at times for parts of the German-speaking Catholic countries, until well into modern times for the Roman-German emperor and the French king.

In the 16th century, the chalice communion at the Lord's Supper became an important concern and hallmark of all Reformation churches. This expressed the view of fulfilling the will to obedience to the biblical invitation of Christ "drink all of it".

Martin Luther introduced the “lay chalice”.

Current practice

Roman Catholic liturgy

In the Roman Catholic Church , the principle applies: "Since the Eucharistic celebration is the Easter meal, it is appropriate that the rightly disposed believers receive his body and blood as spiritual food according to the Lord's instruction." : “Holy Communion has the fuller form in terms of symbolism when it occurs under both forms. In this form the sign of the Eucharistic Supper comes out more clearly and the will of God, according to which the new and eternal covenant is made in the blood of the Lord, is expressed more clearly, as is the connection between the Eucharistic meal and the eschatological meal in the Kingdom of the Father. "

As a result, the chalice communion of the laity is "very desirable" according to church order and therefore recommended for the intended occasions. She is allowed

  • in the cases described in the liturgical books,
  • on the other occasions mentioned in the constitution of the Roman Missal and
  • additionally in accordance with supplementary provisions of the local episcopate.

Chalice communion is received by bridal couples in their bridal mass, religious people in their profession , consecrated virgins in their virgin consecration and newly baptized adults in the mass that follows their baptism. In addition, the giving of chalice communion is desirable for all members of communities in their conventual mass , the alumni in the seminaries and everyone who takes part in a retreat or in a spiritual or pastoral meeting.

As early as 1971, the German Bishops' Conference issued implementing provisions that always allow chalice communion wherever it appears to be reasonably feasible. In general, the celebrating priest can always give communion in both forms if this “appears appropriate”. The prerequisite for this is that the faithful are well informed about the sacrament, any danger of dishonor is excluded and the distribution is not made more difficult because of the number of participants or for other reasons. If necessary, the celebrant can also delegate the service of communion helper to other believers only for the respective mass in which the cup communion is to be served.

The dying person and others present should receive communion in both forms if possible; if the dying cannot receive communion in the form of bread, it is also possible for him to receive communion alone as chalice communion.

For the Mass of the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday , Chalice Communion is expressly provided in the liturgical rubrics ; it is highly recommended for celebrating Easter Vigil.

Special liturgical regulations apply to the distribution of chalice communion. The same applies to the regulations on the composition of the mass wine used for the celebration .

Eastern Church Liturgies

Byzantine communion under both forms
Byzantine communion spoon

The Eastern Churches have consistently maintained communion under both forms, so that a controversy over the subject of chalice communion could never develop there. Depending on the ecclesiastical or regional tradition, in the Divine Liturgy, the faithful are given the chalice directly or the holy wine is given to them with the help of a liturgical spoon ( cochlear ), which the Byzantines began to practice gradually in the 9th century. Even in late Byzantine times, the emperor received the sacred bread in his hand at his coronation ( communion in hand ) and drank the consecrated wine directly from the goblet without using a spoon. As a rule, in the Byzantine rite, the bread that was cut up during the breaking of the bread is placed in the chalice before the communion of the faithful and from this both Eucharistic figures are distributed to the people together with a liturgical spoon. Other Eastern rites have remained with the separate dispensing and allow the believers to drink the sacred wine directly from the chalice. Infants receive the holy blood immediately after their baptism with the help of the thumb of the baptizing priest dipped in the chalice; small children communicate in the manner of adults.

Old Catholic liturgy

In the Old Catholic Church , cup communion is the rule within the celebration of the Eucharist. If more wine is required than a goblet can hold, a carafe with wine is placed at the edge of the corporal and consecrated with the goblet. Post-consecration in the same mass due to increased, but not properly assessed needs, as is customary in Protestant and some Anglican churches , is not part of liturgical practice. When giving communion for sick people , when they are being taken away and during communion celebrations , communion sub utraque specie can be omitted. The Old Catholic Church in Germany has also since 1959, the dispensation in the form of Intinktion generally allowed in all parishes. For the Old Catholic Church in Austria , the intinction is the standard for the presentation of communion.

Forms of giving communion

At the cup communion in the Catholic Church, according to ancient Roman tradition, the communicant usually drinks from the cup that is given to him by the communion giver. In the cup communion of deacons and lay people, in addition to drinking directly from the cup given to them, the intinctio is permitted, in which a priest dips the host into the cup and the recipient thus receives communion in both forms in the form of communion on the mouth . Although the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship is expressly not permitted, it is customary in some places for the recipient to dip the host received in their hand slightly into the chalice in order to communicate under both forms. This shape is sometimes preferred for reasons of hygiene or when there are large numbers of communion recipients.

In the Orthodox, but not all Eastern churches, communion is distributed today with a liturgical spoon, the cochlear ( Greek : λάβις; lábis , Church Slavonic : Лжица Lzhítza ). Both Eucharistic figures are united with him and passed from the chalice into the mouth of the recipient.

Since late antiquity, the faithful in the western church did not drink directly from the chalice, but instead used a suction tube called a pugillaris , calamus or fistula . The fistula was used in the papal mass for the communion of the pope and the assistant cardinal deacon until the 20th century . Even today, their use is not fundamentally excluded, but it is uncommon for lay communion and is no longer provided for in the Roman Missal (2002).


  • Heinrich Spaemann (Ed.): "... and everyone drinks from it". For cup communion in our congregations . Herder, Freiburg i. Br. 1986, ISBN 3-451-20840-7 .
  • G. Constant: Concession à l'Allemagne de la communion sous les deux espèces. Étude sur les débuts de la Réforme catholique en Allemagne (1548–1621) . Paris 1923 ( online ).
  • Rudolf Pacik : Who is allowed to receive communion under both forms and when? The Roman regulations from the Second Vatican Council until today . In: Law - guarantor of freedom . Festschrift for Johannes Mühlsteiger for his 80th birthday. Berlin 2006, ISBN 978-3-428-12262-2 , pp. 827-844.
  • Jean Grancolas : Traité de l'intinction ou de la coutume de tremper le pain consacré dans le vin . Ch.Remy, Paris 1694.
  • Robert F. Taft: Communion via Intinction . In: Studia Liturgica 26 (1996), pp. 225-236.

Web links

Wiktionary: Chalice communion  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Missale Romanum. Editio Typica Tertia 2002, Basic Order of the Römisches Missbuch, preliminary publication for the German Missal (3rd edition), ed. from the Secretariat of the German Bishops' Conference (Working Aid No. 215), Bonn 2007, No. 80 ( PDF ); see. Catechism of the Catholic Church n. 1355: “In communion, preceded by the Lord's prayer and the breaking of the bread, the faithful receive the 'bread of heaven' and the 'cup of salvation', the body and blood of Christ”.
  2. Basic order of the Roman Missal, preliminary publication for the German Missal (3rd edition), ed. from the Secretariat of the German Bishops' Conference, Bonn 2007, No. 281 ( PDF ).
  3. Second Vatican Council : Constitution on the Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium , No. 55; Basic order of the Roman Missal [as above] No. 85: "as the priest himself has to do".
  4. a b Basic Order of the Roman Missal Book, preliminary publication for the German Missal Book (3rd edition), ed. from the Secretariat of the German Bishops' Conference, Bonn 2007, No. 283 ( PDF ).
  5. Basic order of the Roman Missal, preliminary publication for the German Missal (3rd edition), ed. from the Secretariat of the German Bishops' Conference, Bonn 2007, No. 284 ( PDF ).
  6. Ceremonies of the Bishops No. 298: "It is sensible that all believers are given the opportunity to have cup communion on this evening".
  7. Basic order of the Roman Missal, preliminary publication for the German Missal (3rd edition), ed. from the Secretariat of the German Bishops' Conference, Bonn 2007, No. 283 ( PDF ); Congregation for Divine Worship, Circular “On the Celebration of Easter and its Preparation” (January 1988) n. 92: “It is appropriate to give communion on Easter vigil the fulness of the Eucharistic sign by placing it under the forms of bread and wine is enough. "
  8. Basic Order of the Roman Missal [as above] No. 284–287.
  9. Basic order of the Roman Missal, preliminary publication for the German Missal (3rd edition), ed. from the Secretariat of the German Bishops' Conference, Bonn 2007, No. 322 f. ( PDF ); CIC , Can. 924; Instruction Redemptionis sacramentum , 50.
  10. pseudo Codinus, De officiis 7 (Jean Verpeaux: pseudo-Kodinos Traité des Offices Editions du Center National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris 1966, 268, 6-17.).
  11. Kurt Pursch: Old Catholic. An information . 2nd Edition. H. Neusser, Bonn 1965, p. 44.45 .
  12. Johann Josef Demmel : What is Old Catholic? Diocese publisher, Bonn 1957, p. 10 .
  13. ^ Basic order of the Roman Missal [as above] No. 286 and 287; Redemptionis sacramentum , No. 103, 104 ( online )
  14. ^ Congregation for Divine Worship, Instruction Redemptionis sacramentum No. 104.
  15. An example for many:  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective . Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. .@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  16. ^ FE Brightman: Liturgies Eastern and Western , Vol. 1. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1896, p. 588; Rupert Berger : The liturgical devices. In: Rupert Berger u. a. (Ed.): Shape of worship. Linguistic and non-linguistic forms of expression. Pustet, Regensburg 1987 (Church service. Handbuch der Liturgiewwissenschaft. Part 3), pp. 289–307, here p. 305.
  17. ^ Josef Andreas Jungmann : Missarum Sollemnia. Second volume. 5th edition, Vienna 1962, p. 475f.
  18. ^ Basic order of the Roman Missal [as above] No. 245.