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Author Topic: Agape...  (Read 1901 times)


  • Nabori Daca
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« on: May 12, 2006, 11:22:am »
Someone told me that in the early church there was some feast of Agape, but it was banned because people made it into an orgy. Is this true and what exactly did it consist of ?
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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2006, 11:07:pm »

Uhhh ... that's what the Romans accused the early Christians of doing.  A couple of the early writers had to defend themselves against the charge, which was more properly associated with the Mystery cults of the time.


Agape means "love," yes, but it's precisely the spiritual contrast to eros, which is carnal, sexual love.


The agape feast was simply a shared meal, celebrated in connection with the Eucharist.  The Church discontinued the practice eventually - I think because the "meal" was overshadowing and obscuring the purpose of the gathering (see 1 Cor. 11).


« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2006, 01:46:pm »

The agapè (Greek) was the Love Meal the early Christian parishes would have - in some places - as a reminder of the real Last Supper in the first centuries AD, though they often disappeared already after 100 AD, or even earlier in many places. After this agape the true celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist would follow; the congregation would, after having cleaned the room and placed the seats to the walls, after the priest had vested himself and prepared and cleaned and blessed the table serving as the sacrifice table (=table of the Lord=altar), turn to the east together with the priest (presbuteros/presbyter) and deacons who would serve at the Eucharistic altar.


St. Paul already warned of the excesses (drunk of wine, over-saturated by food) of these agapè which would make the reception of Holy communion at the Lord's Sacrificial service afterwards a sacrilege, for which St. Paul warns.


In Rome and many other regions the agapè disappeared as house and home celebrations of the Eucharist made place for Masses in the catacombs and on the cemeteries at night, where the Christians would celebrate Mass at the tombs and graves of the martyrs.


In some places it was cut off from the Eucharistic celebration very early, in apostolic times, though in Greece and Greek areas the agapè remained until the 2nd century at least. It was celebrated before the Mass, in the same room, though the eucharistic table (altar) was blessed afterwards and only used by the priest.


It is a popular custom of the early Christians, not intrinsically linked to the Holy Eucharist and its institution, as e.g. in Rome the graves of the martyrs, and prisons etc. were used for the Holy Eucharist directly from the beginning. It was never part of the Sacrament, and we know how wise the Holy Catholic Church was in discontinuing the practice, by the complaints of Saint Paul of Tarsus in his divinely inspired Epistles against the agapè and its abuses.  

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