World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Viaticum

Article Id: WHEBN0000067477
Reproduction Date:

Title: Viaticum  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Words of Institution, Anointing of the Sick (Catholic Church), Missa Sicca, Epiclesis, Eucharistic discipline
Collection: Eucharistic Devotions
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Viaticum

Viaticum is a term used especially in the Catholic Church for the Eucharist (communion) administered, with or without anointing of the sick, to a person who is dying, and is thus a part of the last rites. According to Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, "The Catholic tradition of giving the Eucharist to the dying ensures that instead of dying alone they die with Christ who promises them eternal life."[1] For Communion as Viaticum, the Eucharist is given in the usual form, with the added words "May the Lord Jesus Christ protect you and lead you to eternal life".

Administration of the Eucharist to a dying person (painting by 19th-century artist Alexey Venetsianov)

The word viaticum is a Latin word meaning "provisions for a journey," from via, or "way." The Eucharist is seen as the ideal spiritual food to strengthen a dying person for the journey from this world to life after death.

The desire to have the bread and wine consecrated in the Eucharist available for the sick and dying led to the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament, a practice which has endured from the earliest days of the Christian Church. Saint Justin Martyr, writing less than fifty years after the death of Saint John the Apostle, mentions that “the deacons communicate each of those present, and carry away to the absent the consecrated Bread, and wine and water.” (Just. M. Apol. I. cap. lxv.)

If the dying person cannot take solid food, the Eucharist may be administered in the "species" of wine alone, since the bread and wine are the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.

The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is often administered immediately before giving Viaticum if a priest is available to do so. Unlike the Anointing of the Sick, Viaticum may be administered by a priest, deacon or by an extraordinary minister, using the reserved Blessed Sacrament.

Alternatively, viaticum can refer to an ancient Roman provision or allowance for traveling, originally of transportation and supplies, later of money, made to officials on public missions; mostly simply, the word, a haplology of viā tēcum ("with you on the way"), indicates money or necessities for any journey. Contrary to church doctrine, during late Antiquity and the early medieval period the host was sometimes placed in the mouth of a person already dead, perhaps owing to traditional superstition[2] that scholars have compared to the pre-Christian custom of Charon's obol, a small coin placed in the mouth of the dead for passage to the afterlife and sometimes called a viaticum in Latin literary sources.[3]

Finally, viaticum can also refer to the enlistment bonus received by a Roman legionary, auxiliary soldier or seaman in the Roman Imperial Navy.

References

  • Rubin, Miri, Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
  • Snoek, C. J. K., Medieval Piety from Relics to the Eucharist: A Process of Mutual Interaction, Leiden: Brill, 1995,
  1. ^ L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's newspaper.
  2. ^ Gregory Grabka, “Christian Viaticum,” Traditio 9 (1953), pp. 38–42; G.J.C. Snoek, Medieval Piety from Relics to the Eucharist (Leiden 1995), pp. 103, 122–124; Edward T. Cook, A Popular Handbook to the Greek and Roman Antiquities in the British Museum (London 1903), pp. 370–371.
  3. ^ A. Rush, Death and Burial in Christian Antiquity (Washington, D.C. 1941), pp. 93–94; Gregory Grabka, “Christian Viaticum: A Study of Its Cultural Background,” Traditio 9 (1953), 1–43; Frederick S. Paxton, Christianizing Death: The Creation of a Ritual Process in Early Medieval Europe (Cornell University Press 1990), pp. 32–33 online; G.J.C. Snoek, Medieval Piety from Relics to the Eucharist: A Process of Mutual Interaction (Leiden 1995), passim, but especially pp. 102–103 online and 122–124 online; Paul Binski, Medieval Death: Ritual and Representation (Cornell University Press 1996), p. 32 online; J. Patout Burns, “Death and Burial in Christian Africa: The Literary Evidence,” paper delivered to the North American Patristics Society, May 1997, full text online.


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.