What do non-Catholics do with the "leftovers" from their Eucharist or Lord's Supper?

We all know that Catholics, Orthodox, and some Anglicans approach the Sacred Species as not only to be consumed, but to be treated with the greatest reverence outside of the Eucharistic celebration. Orthodox and some (perhaps all) Anglicans reserve the sacrament for later reception. Some very conservative Anglo-Catholics even have Eucharistic Benediction.

But what do other Christians do? Do any of them have reserved sacrament? And what do they do with the “leftovers” after they are done receiving? Put them away (in Tupperware, plastic bags, or similar) for the next time the Eucharist/Lord’s Supper is celebrated? And what about the crumbs and the leftover wine? Throw them away? Rinse out the chalice or cups and pour the liquid down the drain?

I am aware that the Lutherans believe in “consubstantiation” or some variant thereof — Luther said that the Real Presence is as the heat of a piece of iron thrust into a fire, remove the iron from the fire and the heat is gone. Methodists also believe in a sort of “real presence” but they do not define it. And others such as Baptists and evangelicals merely think of it as a memorial or a sacred meal.

Why is the word “merely” such an important word for you folks to employ when describing a symbolic Lord’s Supper? Exchange the word “merely” with “reverently” and you would have a more realistic snapshot.


I didn’t know it was, and I find your use of the term “you folks” to be refreshingly candid. No offense taken. I find myself saying all the time, to myself, when I encounter behavior by the “other” that differs from what I’d do or recommend, “why do you people do that?”. Some people find that offensive, would say that I’m “othering” them. I think they’re being too touchy. (PMMV**)

Anyway… when I say “merely” in this context, I mean that in the Catholic Church, our celebration of the Eucharist is indeed a memorial, indeed a sacred meal — but it is far, far more than that. As I am sure you are aware, it is a holy sacrifice, the continuation of His sacrifice on Calvary, in which simple bread and wine become the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ, truly present, indeed, only prevented from appearing as the living Christ by a miracle which allows It to appear as bread and wine. That is what we mean when we say “Real Presence”. We treat It as able to be prayed to, displayed for the worship of the faithful, and able to be used to bless the faithful in Its presence. In other words, we see It as Christ incarnate in our presence, and approach It accordingly. (And, yes, I capitalize “It”, for the same reason that I capitalize “Him” and “His”. Traditional Catholic books and essays do likewise.)

** PMMV - “people’s mileage may vary”


in extension,

If Anglicans switch over to the Anglican Ordinariate , then…

Luther was a validly ordained priest. Even though he was excommunicated, he still maintained his faculties as a priest. So he could validly consecrate the Eucharist. Luther had no authority to ordain other priests. THAT comes from a validly ordained bishop.

Point being

In Protestantism, when that lineage among their clergy, who might have been validly ordained, and died out after they left the One True Church, then valid ordinations for them, died out as well. Therefore no valid Holy Orders, ergo no valid Eucharist.

In extension then, for Protestants to worship something not sacred, is idolatry. That’s why they have to say, for them, it’s merely a symbol

To the OP’s original question:

In nondenominational churches, churches of Christ, Baptist, etc. the leftovers are put away wherever they came from for next time, with the crumbs and remaining juice (not wine, usually) drops washed down the drain or thrown away, if disposable cups were used.

As an engineer this amuses me. The heat doesn’t leave the iron immediately, but it dissipates through conduction, convection, and radiation. Are there similar Real Presence transport processes? Are there equations like Fick’s law that describe Real Presence transport? It would be fun solving Real Presence differential equations.

Ok, I’m done, just having a little fun.


My church uses fresh leavened bread, so having a Eucharistic reserve would not be really feasible even if we wanted to (I would, and I would also gladly switch to hosts, but I’m clearly in the minority and I’m on the way out to Rome anyway). The bread is sometimes bought at the next bakery, sometimes specially baked by parishioners.

In my Reformed parish, bread “leftovers” are distributed to families to be eaten at the next meal. The celebrant usually finishes the wine, alone or with others depending on the leftover quantity, but it is sometimes just poured down the drain. My church mostly holds the belief that the species are the Body and Blood only as long as the congregation who witnessed the consecration is present (even though that belief doesn’t prevent people from occasionally reserving a piece of consecrated bread to be carried to homebound parishioners right after the service).

The crumbs are thrown away, and any wine remaining in the chalice is rinsed out.

In the nearby Reformed monastery, the sisters (who have a much more Catholic understanding of Real Presence) congregate in the sacristy after each Eucharist to consume any leftovers, including a careful washing of the chalice. They also exclusively use bread without crust and pre-cut so as to avoid crumbs.


in extension, may I add, why we use unleavened bread.

Because that is what Jesus used in instituting the Eucharist.

Scripturally speaking

Ex 12:14-20 note: the insistence of unleavened bread


Lk 22:
7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread , on which the passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 So Jesus[a] sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the passover for us, that we may eat it.”
[snip for space]

The Institution of the Lord’s Supper

14 And when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I tell you I shall not eat it[b] until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks εὐχαριστέω he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I tell you that from now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19[u] And he took bread, and when he had given thanks εὐχαριστέω he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. “DO THIS ποιεῖτε in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.[c] “

open the links . When Jesus says Do this, He ordains them here, giving them the power and authority, to do, to make, exactly what Jesus made happen, and do it each and every time the Eucharist is celebrated.

So the Eucharist is instituted

during the feast of Passover,
It’s a Passover meal,
Jesus is the Passover lamb,
He institutes the Eucharist at this meal,
making unleavened bread (His body)
making wine (His blood)


He validly ordained His apostles… And His Church, continues in unbroken apostolic succession, ordaining bishops and priests to then DO what Jesus tells them to DO, Using those same elements

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I don’t doubt that, though I would use the word “orders” rather than “faculties”. Father Luther had some valid grievances, things that needed to be discussed and “hashed out”. I have to wonder how things would have turned out if they’d had CAF back in those days :innocent:

This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for. Thank you.

I didn’t know the Reformed had monasteries. I have heard of Anglican and Lutheran religious, and there is even a Methodist community along these lines. And of course there is Taize.

You sure are :slightly_smiling_face:

I don’t think Luther approached the matter with this kind of precision, though it’s interesting to think of how he would have answered questions like “it’s not glowing anymore but it’s still hot”, “it’s cooled down but it’s still a little warm”, and so on. What then?

At the church I attended for many years communion was only celebrated once a year. I have no idea what they did with the leftovers but I hope they didn’t keep them for next time. :slight_smile:


Consume, throw it away, other than Anglicans/Episcopals and maybe Lutherans, I don’t think there are set norms.

You’re welcome !

The Reformed monasteries I know of (all in Europe except for one in Korea) are relatively few, and all feminine. The first communities mostly started out as deaconesses’ houses, often linked to a hospital, but as time went on contemplative communities developed too.

There are a few Reformed brothers and sisters at the Monastero di Bose in Italy, and in France there is one famous Reformed hermit, Daniel Bourguet (around whom a huge fraternity similar to a third order has developed).
And of course there is Taizé, a place I love very much :blush:

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Does this look reverent to you?

Because to us, it is absolutely horrific.

And I’m aware that not all non-Catholic Churches have this nonsense going on, but some do and overall, either you believe it’s the Lord or you don’t. And it will reflect one way or the other.

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Yes, it is.

The first thing I thought of was a Tide Pod.

And I found this:

“Gregorian chant and the smoke machine” — the first thing I thought is that this could be the name of an edgy indie alternative rock band.

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Not universally true with all the Churches in communion with Rome, leavened bread is used in some of the particular Churches.


He answered that by his actions:
Lapping up Christ’s blood spilled from the chalice.
Shaving wood where blood had been spilled.
There are other examples.

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No, I agree, it is horrific.

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It sounds like whatever else we could say about him, Father Luther had the reverence for the Eucharist that a priest should have. Keep in mind that he did not set out to start a new religion. Things just kind of snowballed over time. Before the doctrine of transubstantiation was proclaimed as dogma at Trent, there may have been some leeway for speculating “yes, but what does transubstantiation mean?”.

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And there is no single voice that they recognize to correct this. :frowning_face: You would think the concept of letter writing for correction would still be in play as it was in Paul’s day.


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