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The Last Supper
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The Last Supper

In Christian theology, the Last Supper was the last meal between Jesus in the flesh and his apostles.

The meal is discussed at length in all four Gospels, which agree that it was a passover meal celebrated on a Thursday night (Maundy Thursday), before Jesus' crucifixion on Friday.

In the process 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). The practice of this remembrance service took place in the context 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. See also Didache.

This worship service became known 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. The name Eucharist is from the Greek word eucharios which means thanksgiving or thank you. Catholics typically restrict the term 'communion' to the distribution to the commmunicants during the service of the body and blood of Christ.

Within many Protestant traditions, the name Communion is used. This name emphasizes the nature of the service as a "joining in common" between God and humans, due to the sacrifice of Christ Jesus.

Another variation of the name of the service is The Lord's Supper. This name tends to be 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.

See also: