: the miraculous change by which according to Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox dogma the eucharistic elements at their consecration become the body and blood of Christ while keeping only the appearances of bread and wine
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transubstantiation noun (Concise Encyclopedia)
In Christianity, the change by which the bread and wine of the Eucharist become in substance the body and blood of Jesus, though their appearance is not altered. This transformation is thought to bring the literal truth of Christ's presence to the participants. The doctrine was first elaborated by theologians in the 13th century and was incorporated into documents of the Council of Trent. In the mid-20th century, some Roman Catholic theologians interpreted it as referring to a change of meaning rather than a change of substance, but in 1965 Paul VI called for the retention of the original dogma.
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