Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Last Supper
- This article relates the event related in the New Testament of the Bible, see The Last Supper (disambiguation) for other uses, including a list of famous works of art with this name.
In the Christian faith, the Last Supper was the last meal between Jesus and his apostles before his death. The Last Supper has been the subject of many paintings, perhaps most famously by Leonardo da Vinci.
The meal is discussed at length in all four Gospels of the canonized Bible. The meal is considered by most scholars to likely have been a Passover seder, celebrated on a Thursday night (Maundy Thursday), before Jesus was crucified on Friday (Good Friday). This belief is based on the chronology of the Synoptic Gospels, but the chronology in the Gospel of John has the Last Supper occurring before the Passover, for in that Gospel, Christ's death occurs at the time of the slaughter of the Passover lambs. (The latter chronology is the one accepted by the Orthodox Church.) In the course of the last supper, and with specific reference to taking the bread and the wine, Jesus told his disciples, "Do this in remembrance of me" (1 Cor 11:23-25).
Last Supper remembrances
Early Christianity created a remembrance service that took place in the form of meals known as agape feasts. Agape is one of the Greek words for love. This form of the service apparently was a full meal, with each participant bringing their own food, with the meal eaten in a common room.
These worship services became codified as the Mass in Catholic traditions, and as the Divine Liturgy in Oriental traditions, which embrace both Eastern Rite Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox. At those services, Catholics and Eastern Orthodox celebrate the Eucharist, held to be the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus (Orthodox traditionally only refer to it as the "body and blood of Christ" without the further elaboration). The name Eucharist is from the Greek word eucharistos which means thanksgiving or thank you. Catholics typically restrict the term 'communion' to the distribution to the communicants during the service of the body and blood of Christ.
Another variations of the name of the service is The Lord's Supper. This name usually is used by the churches of minimalist traditions, such as those strongly influenced by Zwingli. Some echoes of the agape meal may remain in fellowship or potluck dinners held at some churches.
As well, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints commonly refers to the service as The Sacrament.
Each major division of Christianity has formed different theology about the exact meaning and purpose of these remembrance ceremonies.
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