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From Sacrifice to Supper: Eucharist Practice in the Lutheran Reformation

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Chapter Summary

The Reformation-era altarpiece in the City Church of Saint Mary at Wittenberg, Germany, provides a stunning visual testimony to the understanding and practice of the Eucharist promoted by Martin Luther and Lutheran reformers throughout the course of the sixteenth century. From Luther to the Lutheran church orders of the sixteenth century, the celebration of the Eucharist developed a distinctive character. The efforts of Lutheran reformers generated an Evangelical order for Mass, both in continuity with the Latin Mass of the Western medieval church and in contrast to it. The Lutheran Eucharist was not a new rite; it was a reformed practice of the old rite. Evangelical Masses bore the form of the Latin Mass and many of its material elements. Lutheran eucharistic practice emerged in a conflict about the understanding and practice of the Mass between Lutheran reformers and their Roman opponents in the sixteenth century.

Keywords: eucharistic practice; Lutheran reformation; Wittenberg



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