… although the catholicity of the Church is ultimately an eschatological reality, its nature is revealed and realistically apprehended here and now in the eucharist. The eucharist understood primarily not as a thing and an objectified means of grace but as an act and a synaxis of the local Church, a “catholic” act of a “catholic Church”, can therefore be of importance in any attempt to understand the catholicity of the Church. (144-145)

Zizioulas opens the fourth chapter of Being as Communion, entitled “Eucharist and Catholicity”, by attempting to understand the catholicity of the Church in the light of the eucharistic community. For the early Christians, “catholicity” was not concerned with universality as it later came to be understood in the West (and in some ways also in the East), but was rather concerned with the catholicity of the local Church. They spoke of “catholic Churches” in the plural. This had to do with a concrete gathering together which identifies the whole Christ and the whole Church with the local episcopal community.

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