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Filling of the Faithful

[Col. 2:1–7; Luke 9:12–18] The mirac­u­lous fill­ing of the mul­ti­tude in the desert is an image of the fill­ ing of the faith­ful in holy commu­ nion with the Most Pure Body and Most Pure Blood of the Lord. The Lord is sit­ting apart; the mul­ti­tude is made to sit in groups; the apos­tles are inter­me­di­aries — they receive the bread and give it out. So it is now: believ­ers are all divid­ed into groups — small indi­vid­ual church­es in which the Lord, invis­i­bly present, gives out His Body and Blood through the apos­tolic suc­ces­sors. As He did to the apos­tles then, so now to their suc­ces­sors does He say, Give ye them to eat. As then, so now do the believ­ing mul­ti­tudes stand stead­fast­ly before the Lord in fast­ ing, hear­ing the word, and a prayer­ ful desire be healed from sins as they pre­pare to approach the Divine Mys­ter­ies. Thus the mys­tery begun by the Lord’s appear­ance con­tin­ues until now and will con­tin­ue until the end of the world. And in the world to come there will be a com­ munion of its own sort, for the Lord promis­es to give to eat of the hid­den man­na and of the tree of life (Rev. 2:7,17). Our fore­fa­thers’ own mysti­ cal com­mu­nion was also arranged in the earth­ly par­adise — eat­ing from the tree of life. In the Old Tes­ tament Church its image is the eat­ ing of the paschal lamb. Thus, mys­ tical com­mu­nion began with the hu­ man race, was and will be with it until eter­nal ages, in var­i­ous forms, but in the one mean­ing of the most true com­mu­nion with the Lord; for In Him was life; and the life was the light of men (John 1:4). It is fit­ting for those who are cre­at­ed accord­ing to the image of God to be in such com­mu­nion with Him, Who being the bright­ness of his glo­ry, and the express image of his per­son (Heb. 1:3)

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse