EULOGIA, yu-lō'ji-a: A word used several times in the New Testament, with the general sense of "blessing." In patristic and ecclesiastical writers it has a double meaning. The earlier was that of a definite clerical blessing, which, according to the Apostolic Constitutions, the deacon was not to impart, while the presbyter received it at his ordination only from the bishop, and the latter only from other bishops; it was imparted to the laity in the Eucharist and on other solemn occasions by the bishop or presbyter. The word was applied also to the special blessing given to catechumens or competentes, and to the hallowing of liturgical materials, such as water and oil; in the later ritual books it occurs of the marriage blessing, the setting apart of monks, etc.
The second and better-known use of the word was in a sacramental connection. The use of it in I Cor. x. 16 was compared with that of eucharistēsas and eulogēsas in Matt. xxvi. 26, 27, which were taken as equivalent; and eulogia was employed for the Eucharist itself. In the third century eulogein was used for the act of consecration and administration of the elements (Eusebius, Hist. eccl., vi. 43), and numerous passages in Cyril of Alexandria show that in his time eulogia meant either the Lord's Supper itself or the consecrated bread. But this meaning underwent various modifications. As early as Irenæus it was customary for bishops to send the sacrament to other places in token of unity. The Council of Laodicea forbids this practise (can. xiv.) on the ground of possible profanation. In the fifth century eulogiæ were given even to catechumens and penitents, who were debarred from the reception of the sacrament; but later liturgical writers explain these as portions of the bread offered at the Eucharist but not consecrated, only blessed and given as a sort of substitute for the sacrament to these classes. This "blessed bread" is what is called antidōron in the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom; its connection with the term under consideration is explained by the formula of administration found there which begins with the words "the eulogia of God." This use of the word was handed down to the modern Greek Church, and the custom persisted in the West (Conc. Nannetense, can. ix. 890, where the priest is to keep such pieces of bread previously blessed to distribute after the mass to those who have not been prepared for communion).