World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Blessed Sacrament

The Blessed Sacrament is displayed in a procession at the Diocese of Charlotte Eucharistic Congress in 2005. It is normally reserved in the tabernacle.

The Blessed Sacrament, or the Body and Blood of Christ, is a devotional name used in the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Catholic Churches, Old Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches, to refer to the host or prosphora and eucharistic wine after it has been consecrated at celebration of the sacrament of the Eucharist. Christians in these traditions believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the eucharistic elements of the bread and wine and some of them, therefore, practice eucharistic reservation and eucharistic adoration. This belief is based on interpretations of biblical scripture and tradition. The Roman Catholic understanding is defined by numerous church councils, including the Fourth Lateran Council and the Council of Trent and is quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (which explains the meaning of transubstantiation).[1]

The capital city of California, Sacramento, is named for the Blessed Sacrament.


  • Roman Catholicism 1
  • Anglicanism 2
  • Lutheranism 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Roman Catholicism

The Blessed Sacrament exposed on the main altar of Sta. Cruz Church, Manila
Perpetual adoration at the National Expiatory Temple of San Felipe de Jesus, Mexico City

The Blessed Sacrament may be received by Catholics who have undergone First Holy Communion (i.e., given by a priest or deacon or an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and immediately consumed by the communicant) as part of the Liturgy of the Eucharist during Mass. Roman Catholics believe that the soul of the person receiving the Eucharist should be in a "state of grace", i.e., have no mortal sin in their soul at the time of communion (Matt 5:23-24).

The Blessed Sacrament can also be exposed (displayed) on an altar in a monstrance. Rites involving the exposure of the Blessed Sacrament include Benediction and eucharistic adoration. According to Catholic theology, the host, after the Rite of Consecration, is no longer bread, but the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, who is transubstantiated in it. Catholics believe that Jesus is the sacrificial Lamb of God prefigured in the Old Testament Passover. Unless the flesh of that passover sacrificial lamb was consumed, the members of the household would not be saved from death. As the Passover was the Old Covenant, so the Eucharist became the New Covenant. (Matt 26:26-28), (Mark 14:22-24), (Luke 22: 19-20), and (John 6:48-58)


Reception of the Blessed Sacrament in the Anglican Communion and other Anglican jurisdictions varies by province. Formerly, Confirmation was generally required as a precondition to reception, but many provinces now allow all the baptised to partake as long as they are in good standing with the Church and have previously received First Communion.

Devotions to the Blessed Sacrament vary. Individuals will genuflect or bow in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, which may be reserved in a tabernacle or aumbry on, behind, or near the altar. Its presence is usually indicated by a lamp suspended over or placed near the tabernacle or aumbry. Except among Anglo-Catholics, the use of a monstrance is rare. This is in keeping with the Article XXV of the Thirty-Nine Articles that "the Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use Them." Nonetheless, many parishes do have services of devotions to the Blessed Sacrament, in which a ciborium is removed from the tabernacle or aumbry and hymns, prayers, psalms, and sentences of devotion are sung or read. In some parishes, when the Blessed Sacrament is moved from the tabernacle (from a high altar to a chapel altar, for instance), sanctus bells are rung and all who are present kneel.


In most Lutheran churches, a person must have had catechetical training prior to a First Communion (or have received Confirmation in the Lutheran Church) to receive the Eucharist. Recently, more liberal churches allow all who are baptized to received it. Similar to the Anglican teaching, Lutherans are also taught to genuflect or bow in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, which is normally located on an altar. In the Lutheran churches that still celebrate the Corpus Christi, like the Roman Catholic Church, a Monstrance is used to display the Blessed Sacrament during the Benediction.

Lutheranism has its roots mostly in German cultural area and therefore the terminology may often historically differ slightly from general English use. Therefore, traditionally the English term "Blessed Sacrament" has been substituted by "Sacrament of the Altar", (lat. Sanctissimum Sacramentum Altaris) which is used in the same meaning in Luther's Small Catechism. Later due to Reformed influence "The Sacrament of the Altar" has often been wrongly and misguidedly used as the term of the Eucharistic liturgy.

See also


  1. ^ , paragraph 1376Catechism of the Catholic Church

External links

  •, "The Blessed Eucharist as a Sacrament". Article from the Catholic Encyclopedia
  • - Live Video Stream of the Blessed Sacrament
  • Paragraph 1376 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • EWTN - The Holy Eucharist - Easy yet comprehensive website with Catholic Teaching on the Eucharist
  • New Bedford's Feast of the Blessed Sacrament
  • Melkite Greek Catholic Rite of Benediction
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.