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Full communion
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Full communion

Full communion is a mutual recognition between Christian churches or denominations that the partner churches hold "the essentials of the Christian faith". It includes Full communion does not mean that the involved churches join into one denomination or forgo their distinctive traditions and theology.

Examples of full communion among churches:

Full communion is distinguished from partial communion such as exists between Catholics and Protestants, who recognize each other as their fellow Christians but are of different Christian denominations.

The word "communion" is also sometimes used as a synonym of "denomination", in the sense in which the latter word is used above.

Denominations that practice "closed communion" will only share the Eucharist (or Lord's Supper) with those with whom they are in full communion. Among those are the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. This may be for a number of reasons; for example, a church that believes in Transubstantiation (i.e. that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus Christ at the consecration during the Mass) might hold that to allow those who do not believe in transubstantiation to take the Eucharist would be to show disrespect to Christ present in the bread and wine or even imperil the souls of those who partake improperly. Denominations that practice "open communion" will typically also share the Lord's Supper with those with whom they are in partial communion.