Mithraism and Transubstantiation?

In an attempt to convince me to not celebrate my Rite of Acceptance, my dad once again tried to drive home the notion of the Constantine Shift and supposed Paganization of Christianity; he is claiming that the doctrine of Transubstantiation emerged from the Mystery Religion of Mithraism, where adherents believed that bread and wine became the body and blood of their god…

I answered my own question:

First Apology, Ch 66:

And this food is called among us Εὐχαριστία [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, “This do in remembrance of Me, Luke 22:19 this is My body;” and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, “This is My blood;” and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn.

It’s worth mentioning that the quote you cite is dated to between 150-155 AD, which puts it at LEAST a century and a half before the reign of Constantine. How could Constantine create something that was already in obvious use for at least the better part of two centuries? This establishes the doctrine at least to the second generation of Christians, and Justin Martyr knew several of the original Apostles, so the source is likely very good.

You must have some interesting discussions in your home.

You might mention to your dad that we know very little about the actual practice and beliefs of Mithraism, but that no, Mithraists didn’t believe that. I doubt he’ll accept the second-hand word of a poster on a Catholic forum, though.

Here is a link to other patristic writings on the transubstantiation, many also pre-Constantine and with no mention of Mithra:

There is an excellent article refuting the “copycat” claims of Mithra/Jesus and other pagan deities. Look up the devine evidence dot com. Yes, I know that’s not how you spell divine, but that’s the URL.


Just a note, the site mentioned above (devine evidence) is not a Catholic site and not from a Catholic perspective. I’ve come across several anti-Catholic comments in the first few minutes of browsing it so will not be returning.

You MUST set boundaries with these people. They are completely out of line.

This is complete nonsense.

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