The Eucharist

The Eucharist is a sacred meal in which the bread and wine are truly Christ's body and blood. When we celebrate the Eucharist, we recall the sacrifice Jesus made when he suffered for our sake on the cross.

The night before he died, Jesus had supper with his friends. He blessed the bread and wine, and commanded his friends to share them in remembrance of him.

Everyone who receives Holy Communion receives forgiveness. Trusting in Christ as we receive bread and wine, this sacred meal binds us to Christ and the love of our neighbour.

Through the Eucharist and the life of faith, God assures us that Christ's body is the bread of life and his blood the source of eternal life.

Along with Baptism, the Eucharist is one of two sacraments accepted by Lutherans. The Eucharist fortifies both the spiritual life initiated in Baptism and the promise of eternity. It is a meal of reconciliation, joy and thanksgiving.

“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Cor. 10:16–17)

How often is the Eucharist celebrated?

The Eucharist can be celebrated every day, but in most Finnish parishes, it is the main service every Sunday.

Who celebrates the Eucharist?

Everyone – especially those attending the service. Bread and wine are placed on the altar, and the officiant says the prayer of consecration. In the Lutheran Church, the officiant must be an ordained pastor, but deacons and licensed lay people assist in administering the Holy Communion.

Who may receive Holy Communion?

All baptised and confirmed Lutherans. Members of the Anglican Churches of the Porvoo Communion and the Church of Scotland may also receive Holy Communion. Children who are baptised but not yet confirmed may receive Holy Communion if they are accompanied by a parent or a godparent.

Baptised Christians of other denominations may receive Holy Communion in cases of illness or emergency, although this rule may be subject to local interpretation.

The Church’s practice is that no one presenting themselves at the altar should be refused.

May I receive gluten-free bread or non-alcoholic wine?

Both are generally available: ask at the church before the service where they are offered.

What do I do if I don't wish to receive Holy Communion?

Simply place your right hand on your left shoulder to receive a blessing.

For more information about the Eucharist, please contact your local parish.

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