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Memorialism is the belief held by some Christian denominations that the elements of bread and wine (or juice) in the Eucharist (more often referred to as The Lord's Supper by memorialists) are purely symbolic representations of the body and blood of Jesus, the feast being established only or primarily as a commemorative ceremony. The term comes from Luke 22:19: "This do in memory of me" and the attendant interpretation that the Lord's Supper's chief purpose is to help the participant remember Jesus and his sacrifice on the Cross.

This viewpoint is commonly held by Anabaptists, the Plymouth Brethren segments of the Restoration Movement and some nondenominational churches,[1] as well as those identifying with Liberal Christianity, but it is rejected by most branches of Christianity, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Church, the Church of the East, Independent Catholic Churches, Lutherans, Presbyterians and other traditional Calvinists, as well as the vast majority of Anglicans and Methodists, who variously affirm the doctrine of the real presence.

The early Reformed theologian Huldrych Zwingli is commonly associated with memorialism.[2]:56 In fact, Zwingli affirmed that Christ is truly (though not naturally) present to the believer in the sacrament, but that the sacrament is not used instrumentally to communicate Christ, as John Calvin taught.[2]:74


  1. ^ "University of Virginia Library". 2006-09-07. Archived from the original on 2007-10-30. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  2. ^ a b Riggs, John (2015). The Lord's Supper in the Reformed Tradition. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox. ISBN 978-0-664-26019-4. 
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