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Full communion

Full communion is a mutual recognition between Christian churches or denominations that the partner churches hold "the essentials of the Christian faith". It includes
  • mutual recognition of members,
  • common celebration of the Lord's Supper/Holy Communion/Eucharist,
  • mutual recognition of ordained ministers
  • mutual recognition of sacraments
  • a common commitment to mission.

Full communion does not mean that the involved churches join into one denomination or forgo their distinctive traditions and theology.

Examples of churches in full communion:

Full communion is distinguished from partial communion such as exists between Catholics and Protestants, who recognize each other as their fellow Christians but are of different Christian denominations.

The word "communion" is also sometimes used as a synonym of "denomination", in the sense in which the latter word is used above.

Denominations that practice "closed communion" will only share the Eucharist (or Lord's Supper) with those with whom they are in full communion. Among those are the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Denominations that practice "open communion" will typically also share the Lord's Supper with those with whom they are in partial communion.

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