1. the love of God or Christ for
2. the love of Christians for other
persons, corresponding to the love
of God for humankind.
3. unselfish love of one person for
another without sexual implications;
4. love feast (defs 1, 2).
First recorded in
is from the
Based on the Random House Dictionary, ©
Random House, Inc. 2018.
Etymology of agape
Borrowed from Late Latin
borrowed from Greek
"to regard with affection, be fond
of, be contented (with)"
"to welcome warmly," perhaps from a
affection (on)," literally, "protect
greatly," going back to
"large, great" +
Merriam Webster Dictionary
A dominant part of early Christian worship
that few Christians would think of today
is that it
centered around a meal.
The early Christians referred to this meal
as the agape. The pre-Nicene Church, or before the
Council of Nicaea, also called First
Council of Nicaea,
(325 A.D.), continued to
practice the agape or love feast. Within a century
or so after Constantine’s conversion, this important
part of apostolic worship totally disappeared.
of Laodicea of
about 363–64 forbade the use of churches for
celebrating the agape or love feast.
The priestcraft ceremony
of the transubstantiation of bread and wine was the
only worship allowed after 363-364 A.D. in the new state sponsored
Christian religion that Constantine founded.
The original communion of St. John, the Apostles
and the early Christians was a daily mealtime love feast of fruits,
vegetables, freshly pressed grape juice, St. John's
bread or carob bread and cultured milk like cheese
THE HARMLESS MEAL
the Younger to Trajan, in
which he reported that the Christians, after having
met "on a stated day" in the early morning to
"address a form of prayer to Christ, as to a
divinity", later in the day would "reassemble, to
eat in common a harmless meal".
A harmless meal would imply a
vegetarian meal that harms no one including animals.
St. Francis reinstated the harmless meal advocating
a vegetarian diet for his order.
THE AGAPE LOVE
FEAST IS STILL PRACTICED TODAY
Wikipedia mentions that agape is still practiced to
"At the end of the 18th century the Carmelite
da San Bartolomeo reported that the ancient Saint
Thomas Christians of India still
celebrated their agapae or love-feasts, using their
typical dish called appam.
is a chapati like bread made rom fermented rice
flour and coconut milk.) In addition, Pietist
originating in the eighteenth-century, such as the Schwarzenau
celebrate the Love feast. Methodist
continue the practice."'
The United Methodist Church practices the love
feast to this day because John Wesley, the founding
father of the Methodists, instituted it
Their website describes it:
John Wesley was a
vegetarian according to
The Agape Meal, or Love Feast, is a Christian
fellowship meal that is often practiced in Covenant
Discipleship groups or other small groups.
"A simple, ritual meal in the context of which hymns
are sung, Scripture is read, and testimonies and
stories of faith are shared. John Wesley instituted
this after the Moravian pattern.
such meals derive from Jewish and early church meals
such as are referred to by Paul, and they symbolize
the unity of fellowship in the love of Christ which
the saints at rest will share.
Signs of the agape
are the loving cup and bread."
New Handbook of the Christian Year. Copyright
© 1986, 1992 by Abingdon Press. Used by permission.)
The United Methodist Book of Worship includes
a Love Feast service. It says, "The Love Feast, or
Agape Meal, is a Christian fellowship meal
the meals Jesus shared with disciples during his
ministry and expressing the koinonia (community,
sharing, fellowship) enjoyed by the family of
its origins in the early
church are closely interconnected with the origins
of the Lord's Supper, the two services became quite
distinct and should not be confused with each other.
While the Lord's Supper has been practically
universal among Christians throughout church
history, the Love Feast has appeared only at certain
times and among certain denominations."
(Editor: The "certain times" were the first 3 and a
half centuries of the Christian religion, the first
of which was the century that Jesus Christ's
Original Apostles walked the earth. Even though it
was not allowed in the official churches after
363-364 A.D., the agape feast has survived into the