Holy Communion: Sharing in the Threefold Munus of the Divine Gladiator

The Church early on espoused munus to designate the triple character or office of the God-Man, Jesus Christ: he is at the same time Priest, Prophet and King or Shepherd.

Christ as divine gladiator collage

Gladiators fighting to the death; Christ’s glorious resurrection from death; lictors bearing “fasces.” 

“Communion” is one of the very few words that we think about or even mention every single day, especially those Catholics who attend Mass more than once a week. Down through the centuries, Mother Church has taught her sons and daughters to utter this word with sentiments of sincere awe and veneration. Indeed, “Communion” is at the very heart of our Catholic religion, as it describes the inexpressible oneness of God and man in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Yet, we might ask ourselves the question as to how many Christians would be actually able to explain exactly what the word “Communion” means. This present essay has precisely that purpose: it will attempt to analyze the exceptionally rich (1) etymological (evolution of a linguistic term), (2) historical, and (3) theological context of this profoundly aesthetical and lovely noun that we are privileged to pronounce so frequently, namely, whenever we receive the God-Man, Jesus Christ, into our hearts and into our lives, in that Blessed Sacrament. Without further ado, let us begin, then, by elucidating the primordial subtext of the word “Communion”.

Holy Communion, Christ’s service and gift to his Church
Firstly, and this may be a major surprise for many a reader, the word is not derived—as mistakenly popularized by Saint Augustine—from the composite Latin stem com + unus, hypothetically expressing a mutual or collective “union/unity” or “oneness.” Rather, it originates from the Latin root *mun-, which in antiquity was widely in use as munio: 1 from the ancient root *mei-/miju/mīt, going back to the Sanskrit (indo-european) ni-mayate (see also the cognate Lithuanian maīnas, the Gothic gamains, the German gemein {schaft}, and the Slavic mĕna) we derive the following sense: “to change, exchange,” ruled by customary law, often with juridical connotation. Thus, the most divulged meaning was “official function/service of a magistrate” (see also the celtic móin “precious object,” dag-móini “presents, benefactions”). The syllabic enlargement by –es into mun-us is typical for Latin.

But let us try to look a little closer: we can distinguish three tiers that constitute the etymological essence of this term. However, before we expound on the them, let the reader be encouraged to peruse the following paragraphs, always pondering the plentiful connections that can be established between the linguistic ramification, on the one hand, and the Eucharistic Christ really present among us in the Church, on the other:

A.) Munis (early *moinis, moenis) has as its principal meaning “someone who discharges his office/duty,” “somebody accomplishing a task”; also contained is the connotation “present, gift.” Related to it are im-munis (with its derivative im-munitas {immunity}, that is, the exemption from charge or duty), and com-munis (etymologically akin to comoinem, and the celtic comman/cymmun), the ancient meaning being “to share in the duties” or simply “common” (antonym of proprius). It corresponds to the Greek koinós (cf. the noun koinonía), i.e., “something shared by all.” In some places, the term degenerated into “vulgar” or even, in ecclesial language, “impure, sullied.” Some of the spinoffs of communis are communiter (communal) and communitas (community). Communio,-nis, eventually, is of Ciceronian coinage with the significance of “community” resumed by ecclesiastical authors in the sense of “communion” (notice the expansion into ex-communis {excommunication}), “sharing by giving or receiving,” “to impart,” “to communicate,” “to fortify/strengthen,” “jointly own something,” “to have fellowship,” “to enjoy affability,” “to prepare the way” (communitio). In due course, the early Christians adopted communicare into the mainstream (see also communicabilis, excommunicare), meaning “to impart,” “share,” or “make available/common” (it entered the English language in the 14th and 15th centuries) for the central reality of their nascent religion, which is their sacramental Communion. Now, here we are already in the heart of our investigation, and we will discuss the pivotal importance of 1 Corinthians 10:16 with its neo-Vulgate translation communicatio shortly. But let us first explore the other two layers of munio.

A.)    Munia,-ium (archaic moenia) resembles munera, (cf. C.) signifying “official functions, duties, service, work, responsibilities of a public official, expressing the individual’s responsibility to provide a service or contribution to his community; a post, employment, office, obligation, burden, tribute, favor, last service, rites to honor the dead, i.e., burial, but also a public building for the use of the people, erected at the expense of an individual” (classic Latin synonyms are officium, ministerium, onus). Munia would even depict the structure of the universe. Interestingly enough, in some places munium (nominative singular) is rendered by the Greek leitourgía (laós + érgon: service of the people, at the origin of the Christian concept of liturgy). Yet, the form that survives with most steadiness is munus:

C.) Munus,-eris (also moenus),  plural munera, “significat officium cum dicitur quis munere fungi. Item donum quod officii causa datur” (“signifies the discharge of an office, as well as the gift given by that office”). The meaning of the gift offered, not received, is subordinate but quite frequent. Stirring, too, is the sequel re-munerare (recompense). The municeps was the one who took part in duties, and the inhabitants of such a civic circumscription then formed a municipium. Other etymological offshoots include: municipalis, munidator, munifex, munificium, munificus, munificentia (the latter signaling soldiers forced to discharge duties, or give gifts; or: someone who generously accomplishes his duties {cf. “munificence”}). Incidentally, the duties of a Roman magistrate included the offering of spectacles and games to the people, which in time became a prevalent connotation of munus: “representation, games offered, a public show, spectacle, entertainment, exhibition, especially involving the combat of gladiators” (during the imperial era called munerarius and munerator). The latter was given to the people by the magistrates, normally by the ædiles, as a sign of gratitude for the honorable office to which they had been elected. In detail, the munus designated a funeral gift or games for the dead, paid for by the descendents of the dead person being honored; literally “a duty.” These games, or munera, would be held annually or every five years for the purpose of keeping the dead person’s memory alive.

Hence, since “communion” is so genuinely and indissolubly rooted in the soil of the ancient munus, we can effortlessly draw a comparison between the public services and presents of Greco-Roman magistrates to their civic entities on the one hand, and Christ serving the Church, his Bride and Mystical Body, through the total self-gift in Holy Communion. The former seems to symbolize, and even adumbrate, the latter. But let us now explore, without trying to be exhaustive, the striking historical backdrop of such munera.

Holy Communion, a share in Christ’s gladiatorial victory
As we begin to consider the historic framework of the ancient Roman munera, 2 the linguistic font of our word “Communion,” we will occasionally juxtapose them to Christ, and especially the Eucharist, in order to highlight its astonishing wealth of meaning and symbolism. The munus gladiatorium had become the munus par excellence: early literary sources indicate that gladiator games originated in the Etruscan culture (Roman historians stress their being a foreign import), a civilization in ancient Italy (800 BC), that is eventually assimilated into the Roman empire (first  century B.C.). There is evidence of gladiatorial contest in funeral rites during the Punic Wars of the third century B.C., and, thereafter, it promptly became an essential feature of politics and social life in the Roman world. It is described as a munus, a commemorative duty owed the dii manes (house gods) of a dead ancestor, especially a nobleman, by his descendants, in order to appease the spirit of the deceased. The earliest munera took place at or near the tomb of the departed, and these were organized by their munerator who made the offering, i.e., the human sacrifice of the gladiators. We should pause for a second and reflect: did Christ not institute the Eucharist as a perpetuation of his sacrifice on the cross that frees us from eternal death? One might also evoke the fact that the celebration of Holy Mass does honor the dead by delivering them from purgatory. Munera in antiquity were owing to the private largesse of an individual, in contrast to the ludi (“games”), athletic contests or spectacles sponsored by the state. This circumstance somehow foretells the generosity of Christ himself, who by his Incarnation and Paschal Triduum presents us with the inestimable gift of Holy Communion.

The most illustrious of the munera, the gladiatorial fights, began as a service, or gift rendered to the dead at funeral games. A gladiator (Latin: gladiator, “swordsman,” from gladius, “sword”) was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Empire in violent confrontations with other gladiators, wild animals, and condemned criminals. Some gladiators were volunteers who risked their legal and social standing, and their lives, by appearing in the arena. Most were despised as slaves, schooled under harsh conditions, socially marginalized, and segregated even in death. All of this might remind us of Jesus’ voluntary abasement in his Incarnation (cf. Phil 2:6-11). Irrespective of their origin, gladiators offered audiences an example of Rome’s martial ethics and, in fighting or dying well, they could inspire admiration and popular acclaim. They were celebrated in art, and their value as entertainers was commemorated throughout the Roman world. Does this not also herald our Lord Jesus himself, who came to conquer and vanquish here on earth his enemy, the Evil One, by fatally wounding him through his own death on the cross (cf. Rev 13:14). This might sound quite audacious, yet, Christ could, as a result, be likened to one of those ancient gladiators, through whose Communion we receive strength for our own spiritual warfare. The comparison does not look too far-fetched, however, when one recalls the passages in the New Testament that depict him with a sword, especially Rev 1:16; 2:16; 19:15.21 (see also Mat 10:34: Lk 2:35; 23:36; Eph 6:17; Heb 4:12).

The most sophisticated gladiatoria munera of the imperial era conjured up the ancestral deities of the underworld and were framed by the protective, lawful rites of sacrificium, yet another prefigurement of the unique sacrifice of the Son of God. Their popularity made their co-option by the state inevitable, leading to their use in ever more lavish and costly games (panem et circenses). The shows reached their peak between the first century B.C. and the second century A.D., before finally declining during the early fifth century after the adoption of Christianity as state religion following the Edict of Milan in 313 A.D.

Classical authors also accentuate the later theatrical ethos of the gladiator show, which brings us to St. Luke’s description of Golgotha as a spectacle or theater (Luke 23:48). The munus became a morally instructive form of historic enactment in which the only honorable option for the gladiator was to fight well, or else die well. And so, when we receive Holy Communion, we truly benefit from the sacramental re-enactment of Christ’s agonizing death on Calvary. He did die well, indeed, and is acquitted by his heavenly Father, raising him from the dead, and freeing us from unending death.

Moreover, the munera appear to have served as a morale-raising agenda in an era of military threat and expansion, which adds to the symbolism, and reminds us of the strengthening effect of the Eucharistic Communion in our lives. At their peak, the munera would be the greatest and most celebrated games throughout the empire, now identified with the state-sponsored imperial cult, which furthered public recognition, respect and approval for the emperor, his law, and his agents. Also noteworthy is the fact that the martyrdom of Christians came to be associated with the games: the execution of the verdict ad bestias (fight with wild animals) preceded the actual gladiatorial event. 3

Furthermore, from Augustus’ time, official munera seem to have followed a standard sequence. A procession (pompa) entered the arena led by lictors  bearing fasces  that signified the magistrates power over life and death. They were followed by a small band of tubicines playing a fanfare. Images of the gods were carried in to “witness” the proceedings, followed by a scribe to record the outcome, and a man carrying the palm branch used to honor victors. The magistrate (editor) entered among a retinue who carried the arms and armor to be used; more musicians followed, then horses. The gladiators presumably came in last. Here, one cannot miss the figurative association with our Eucharistic processions, carrying our Communion in a theophoric (deity bearing) fashion.

In the earliest munera, death was considered the proper outcome of combat. During the imperial era, matches were sometimes advertised sine missione, that is, without release from the sentence of death, which suggests that missio, that is, the sparing of a defeated gladiator’s life, had become a common practice at the games. Is there not again a metaphorical link with our “Ite Missa est”, inviting the faithful to carry the Body of our Lord into our own everyday lives, and preparing us for our own death (cf. Viaticum)? The night before the munus, the gladiators were given a banquet and an opportunity to order their personal and private affairs, a ritualistic “last meal”: another foreshadowing of the Lord’s Last Supper, and our participation in the sacrificial meal through Communion.

By common custom, the spectators decided whether or not a losing gladiator should be spared, and chose the winner in the rare event of a “standing tie”: what a realistic adumbration of Christ having died for all of us, for our sins. Victors then received the palm branch, and an award from the editor. An outstanding fighter might receive a laurel crown and money from an appreciative crowd, but for anyone originally condemned ad ludum the greatest reward was manumissio, i.e., emancipation, symbolized by the gift of a wooden training sword or staff (rudis) from the editor. Thus, the munus represented an essentially military, self-sacrificial ideal, taken to extreme fulfillment in the gladiator’s oath, and mysteriously brought to fulfillment in Christ’s death in the Sacrifice of the Mass. Note also the similarity of us hoping to receive the palm branch of eternal life through Holy Communion.

In the early third century A.D., the Christian writer, Tertullian, had acknowledged power of these matches over the Christian flock, and was compelled to issue this censure: the combats were murder, their witnessing spiritually and morally harmful, and the gladiator an instrument of pagan human sacrifice. 4  In the next century, Augustine disapproved of the youthful fascination of his friend, and later fellow-convert and bishop, Alypius, with the munera spectacle as hostile to a Christian life and salvation. 5 In 325 A.D., Constantine banned the gladiator munera. Of course, the one bloody Sacrifice of Christ was from now on the only one that was necessary. We could identify that era as the moment when munus was endorsed by Christian literature. Let us not overlook a further analogy between the splendor of gladiatorial games, and the radiant beauty of Eucharistic liturgy in our churches, surrounded by sacred art and music. At this moment let us scrutinize an additional horizon of meaning enshrined in the sacred word “communion”.

Holy Communion, partaking in Christ’s Munus Triplex
The epic journey of munus out of the ancient Etruscan/Roman adumbrations of gladiatorial sacrifice into the glowing light of our Catholic Eucharist leads us subsequently through the New Testament notion of koinonía (κοινωνία). The term is used 19 times to define the communion within the Early Church (cf. Luke 5:10; 2 Cor 13:13), as well as the rite of breaking bread in the manner which Christ prescribed during the institution of the Eucharist (1 Corinthians 10:16). The essential meaning of koinonía embraces concepts conveyed in the English terms of “community,” “communion,” “joint participation,” “sharing and intimacy.” The first occurrence is found in Acts 2:42-47, where we find that outstanding portrayal of the common life shared by the early Christian believers in Jerusalem: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the communion, to the breaking of bread and to prayer … All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need … They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.”

Yet, the most poignant application of the word koinonía is the Communion that existed at the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, or the Sacrament of the Eucharist, 1 Corinthians 10:16: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” The Neo-Vulgate renders communion as ommunication: “Calix benedictionis, cui benedicimus, omm ommunication sanguinis Christi est? Et panis, quem frangimus, omm ommunication corporis Christi est?” Joining, therefore, in the Lord’s Supper effectively means to unite oneself with other believers in the ecclesial reality of Christ’s death. This particular passage in Greek, and its Latin version, can be considered the most incisive moment of “communion” becoming one of the most crucial terms of our Catholic religion. The Eucharist is the sacrament of communion with one another in the one body of Christ, and that was the full meaning of Eucharistic koinonía in the early Church. Her Fathers and Doctors concurred in that the Eucharist is the sacrament of the unity in the Church, which results from the fact that many are one in Christ.

The final and probably most pertinent phase in this etymological peregrination is that the Church early on espoused munus to designate the triple character or office of the God-Man, Jesus Christ: he is at the same time Priest, Prophet and King or Shepherd. 6 This trilogy of duties is perpetuated in the sacrament of Holy Orders, or, to use the canonical expression, munus sacerdotalis, which comprises the munus docendi as the duty to teach, based on Christ’s role as Prophet, the munus sanctificandi as the duty to sanctify, springing from Christ’s role as Priest, and finally the munus regalis vel regendi as the responsibility to shepherd, founded on Christ’s role as King. Altogether, especially in pope and bishops, they constitute the munus pascendi (cf. John 21:15-17).

Although the threefold typology or office (Latin munus triplex) is nowhere explicitly applied to Christ in the New Testament, it is a doctrine built upon the teachings of the Scriptures: 7 He performed three functions or “offices” in his earthly ministry—those of prophet (Deuteronomy 18:14-22), priest (Psalm 110:1-4), and king (Psalm 2). In the Old Testament, the appointment of someone to any of these three positions could be indicated by anointing him. Thus, the Hebrew term, Messiah, meaning “anointed one,” is associated with the triple munus. While the office of king, or shepherd, is that most frequently related to the Messiah; the role of Jesus as priest is also prominent in the New Testament, being most fully explained in chapters 7 to 10 of the Letter to the Hebrews.

And so, let us briefly recapitulate the biblical background of munus triplex as affirmed by the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Jesus fulfilled the messianic hope of Israel in his threefold office of priest, prophet, and king” (436):

1) Christ, the Prophet, is the mouthpiece of God, speaking and teaching the Word of God, infinitely greater than all prophets, who spoke for God and interpreted the will of God. The Old Testament prophet brought God’s message to the people. Christ, as the Word (John 1:1-18), is the Source of revelation. Accordingly, he never uses the messenger formula, which links the prophet’s words to God in the prophetic phrase, “Thus says the Lord”. Christ, being consubstantial with the Father, provides a definitive and true exegesis of God.

2) Christ, the Priest, whom believers draw near to in confidence, offered himself as the sacrifice to humanity (Hebrews 4:14). Old Testament priests declared the will of God, gave the covenant of blessing, and directed the processing of sacrifices. The priest represents humankind before God, mediating between both. As High Priest, Christ became one with humanity in human weakness, offered prayers to God, chose obedience through suffering, and sympathized with the struggles of human life and history. The atoning death of Christ is at the heart of his work as High Priest. Metaphors are used to describe his death on the cross, such as “the Lamb of God,” shedding his blood on the cross as the sin offering for humankind. He accomplished one absolute sacrifice sufficient to redeem all, in contrast to the Old Testament priests who continually offered sacrifices on behalf of Israel. Our human priests in the Church, having received the Sacrament of Holy Orders through the laying on of hands, share the one priesthood of Christ, and thus offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice, from which derives Holy Communion.

3) Christ, the King, enjoys full rights to reign over the Church and the Universe. He is seated at the right hand of God the Father, crowned in glory as “King of kings and Lord of lords.” God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and glorified him in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet, and has made him the head over all things through the Church, and his Kingdom will have no end.

Justin Martyr appears to be the first to group together the three munera of King, Prophet and Priest; Jerome, Eusebius of Caesarea, and Peter Chrysologus apply the trilogy to Christ; however, it is John Chrysostom who begins to extend its application to all the baptized. Later on, both Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure will use it, but applying the titles to Christ. 8 Especially the Second Vatican Council has emphasized the importance of the laity’s participation in that trilogy. 9

Thus, the corollary from the above chapter should be that, since com-munis means to “share in the office/duty/service/gift,” then what is essential about receiving Holy Communion is that we partake of Christ’s munera. Indeed, it is the moment when we are most intimately configured to our divine High Priest, Prophet, and King.

After having examined the etymological, historical, and theological implication of that most cherished expression “Communion,” we come to appreciate how multifarious, enriching, and stimulating its symbolism is. And it is not least for this reason that we prefix it with “Holy,” since, without any personal merit, we are made sharers in (1) the official and dutiful self-gift, (2) the ultimate victory over death, and (3) the threefold messianic character of our dear Lord, whom we could describe—with reverential boldness—as the Divine Gladiator, offered in the ecclesial Circus Maximus of Holy Communion.

  1. Cf. A. Ernout – A. Meillet, Dictionnaire Étymologique de la Langue Latine, Histoire des Mots, Paris 41985; pp. 421-422; H. Cancik – H. Schneider, eds., Brill’s Encyclopedia of the Ancient World, The New Pauly, vol. 9, Leiden – Boston 2006, pp. 301-311.
  2. Suggested ancillary literature: R. Auguet, Cruelty and Civilization: The Roman Games, 1994 New York, New York: Routledge; M. Carter, “Archiereis and Asiarchs: A Gladiatorial Perspective”, Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 44 (2004) 41–68; K.M. Coleman, “Fatal Charades: Roman Executions Staged as Mythological Enactments”, The Journal of Roman Studies 80 (1990) 44–73; C. Edwards, Death in Ancient Rome, 2007 New Haven: Yale University Press; R.L. Fox, The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer to Hadrian, 2006 New York: Basic Books; A. Futrell, A Sourcebook on the Roman Games, 2006 Oxford, United Kingdom: Blackwell Publishing; E. Gibbon – D. Womersley, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 2000 New York, NY: Penguin; M. Grant, Gladiators, 2000 London, United Kingdom: Penguin Books ; M. Junkelmann, Das Spiel mit dem Tod: So Kämpften Roms Gladiatoren, 2000 Mainz, Germany: Verlag Philipp von Zabern; E. Köhne – C. Ewigleben – R. Jackson, Gladiators and Caesars: The Power of Spectacle in Ancient Rome, 2000 Berkeley and Los Angeles, California: University of California Press; D.G. Kyle, Spectacles of Death in Ancient Rome, 2000 London, United Kingdom: Routledge; Ibd., Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World, 2007 Oxford, United Kingdom: Blackwell Publishing; D.S. Potter – D.J. Mattingly, Life, Death, and Entertainment in the Roman Empire, 1999 Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press; T. Wiedemann, Emperors and Gladiators, 1999 London, United Kingdom: Routledge; S. Wisdom – A. McBride, Gladiators: 100 BC – AD 200, 2001 Oxford, United Kingdom: Osprey Publishing.
  3. Cf. Passio Perpetuae.
  4. Cf. De Spectaculis 22.
  5. Cf. Confessiones 6.8.
  6. For an historical sketch of the threefold office of Christ cf. J. Fuchs, “Origines d’une Trilogie ecclésiologique à l’epoque rationaliste de la Theologie”, Revue de sciences philosophiques et théologiques 53 (1969) 186-211; L. Schick, Das Dreifache Amt Christi und der Kirche: Zur Entstehung und Entwicklung der Trilogien, Frankfurt am Main: P. Lang, 1982; Y. Congar, “Sur La Trilogie: Prophète-Roi-Prêtre”, Revue de sciences philosophiques et théologiques 67 (1983) 97-115; J.H. Crehan, “Priesthood, Kingship, and Prophecy”, Theological Studies 42 (1981) 216-231; P. Drilling, “The Priest, Prophet and King Trilogy: Elements of Its Meaning in Lumen gentium and for Today”, Eglise et Théologie 19 (1988) 179-206; D.J. Goergen, “Priest, Prophet, King: The Ministry of Jesus Christ”, in D.J. Goergen – A. Garrido, eds., The Theology of Priesthood, Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press: 2000, 187-209; L. Ullrich, “Offices of Jesus Christ”, in Beinert – Schüssler Fiorenza, Handbook of Catholic Theology, 509-12.
  7. Cf. M. De Jonge, “Messiah”, in D.N. Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. 4, 1992 New York: Doubleday, 777-788; Ibd., “Christ”, in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, I: 914-921.
  8. Cf. Justin Martyr, Dial., 86.2. 11; Jerome, Com. in Hab., 2.3; Eusebius, Hist. eccl., 1.3.7-10; Peter Chrysologus, Serm., 40; John Chrysostom, 2 Cor. homilia, 3, 5; Thomas Aquinas, Ad Rom., lect. 1; Super ad Hebr. 1.1.4; In Ps. 44.5; STh 3, q. 22, a. 1; STh 3, q. 31, a. 2.; Bonaventure, Lign. vit., 39.
  9. Cf. Lumen Gentium 10-13, regarding the whole People of God; 20-21 and 25-31, regarding the hierarchy; and 34-36, regarding the laity. Also, the Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People, Apostolicam Actuositatem, promulgated a year after Lumen gentium (18 November, 1965), reiterates the laity’s participation in the three offices (AA 2 and 10); see also the prominent presence of the munera in the very structure of the 1983 Code of Canon Law (Liber II-IV; can. 204).
Fr. Andreas Hoeck, SSD About Fr. Andreas Hoeck, SSD

Andreas Hoeck, born 1964 in Cologne/Germany, studied Philosophy, Theology, and Exegesis in Bonn/Germany, Anápolis/Brazil, Rome, and Jerusalem. After his priest ordination in 1992 he earned his doctorate at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome in 2002. Member of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Denver in Colorado, he has served as the Academic Dean at Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary from 2010 till 2015. After a Sabbatical, he has resumed his full time position of Seminary teaching as an Associate Professor in the spring of 2016. Fr. Hoeck has contributed to the field of Scriptural Exegesis by publishing books and articles, both in scholarly periodicals, as well as in popular journals. His field of specialized research is the New Testament literature of Saints John and Paul.


  1. Avatar Stephany says:

    Great post.


  1. […] The Church early on espoused munus to designate the triple character or office of the God-Man, Jesus Christ: he is at the same time Priest, Prophet and King or Shepherd.     Gladiators fighting to the death; Christ’s glorious resurrection from death; lictors bearing  ”fasces.”  “Communion” is one of the very few words …read more […]