Wine, Ecclestastical Use of
Wine, Ecclestastical Use Of In the celebration of the Lord's Supper, the common wine was ordinarily used. Such was probably that which our Savior used at the last supper. The ancients mixed water with the wine; and this practice seems at one period to have been general, and is abundantly authorized by canons of the Church. The proportion of water varied at different times. Sometimes it was one fourth, at others, one third. The Western Church mixed cold water only; the Greek Church first cold, and then warm water. This was said to be emblematical at once of the fire of the Holy Spirit and of the water which flowed from our Savior's side. Various idle questions respecting the sacred elements were agitated at different times. With some there was a question of what grain the bread should be made. Others mingled salt and oil with the bread. Some substituted water for the wine. Red wine was preferred in order to avoid mistakes by the use of white wine, and also more sensibly to represent the mystery. The Roman Church now uses white wine. In the 17th century claret and in the 18th century sack was employed in England. SEE EUCHARIST.