COMMUNION OF SAINTS (lcom-mon'yiln by stints), a part of Article tit of the Apostles' Creed: "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints." The phrase is not found in the creeds of the Greek Church; and in the West we find it first in Faustus, Bishop of Reji, South Gaul, A. D. about 455. Among the views held are: (1) Roman Catholic. "The communion of saints consists in the union which binds together the members of the Church on earth, and connects the Church on earth with the Church suffering in purgatory and triumphant in heaven. The faith ful on earth have communion with each other be cause they partake of the same sacraments, are under one head, and assist each other by their prayers and good works. . . . They communicate with the souls in purgatory by praying (or them, . . .with the blessed in heaven by obtaining their prayers" (CatIi. Diet., s. v.).
(2) Protestant. The Churches of the Refor mation rejected these views, although Protestant definitions vary somewhat. (a) Luther declared the Church was the body of believers, who, by faith, were saints; hence the phrase was exeget ical of the "Iloly Church." So also the Reformed Church, at first in its symbols, the First Helvetic and the Scotch Confession of 156o. (b) Calvin
understood it as a peculiarity of the Church. "It excellently expresses the character of the Church: as though it had been said that the saints arc united in the fellowship of Christ on this condi tion, that whatever benefits God bestows upon them they should mutually communicate to each other." lie is followed in the Geneva and Heidel berg Catechisms, and in the Westminster Cate chism, which says: "All saints . . . being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other's gifts and graces, and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man." ( t) Pearson and Leighton agree substantially in stating that Chris tians have communion with the Father (1 John i : 3; 2 Pet. i :41, with Christ (1 John i :3 ; John xvii :23), with the Holy Ghost I Phil. ii .1; 2 Cor. xiii:14), with angels (Ileb. i:14; Luke xv:10; Matt. xvii :to), with all saints on earth as the liv ing members of Christ ( John i :7; Col. ii to), and that they form one family with the saints who are in glory (Hehd xii :22, 23). (Barnes, Rib. Cyc., Mc. & Str. Bib. Cyc.)