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Shape of the Mass

Justin's Apology - c.150 A.D.


And on the day which is called the day of the sun there is an assembly of all who live in the towns or in the country; and the memoirs of the Apostles or the writings of the prophets are read as long as time permits.

Then the reader ceases and the president speaks, admonishing us and exhorting us to imitate these excellent examples. Then we arise all together and offer prayers; and...when we have concluded our prayer, bread is brought, and wine and water, and the president in like manner offers up prayers and thanksgivings with all his might; and the people assent with AMEN; and there is the distribution and partaking by all of the Eucharistic elements; and to them that are not present they are sent by the hand of the deacons.

This food is called with us the Eucharist, and of it none is allowed to partake but he that believes that our teachings are true and who so lives as Christ directed. For we do not receive them as ordinary food or ordinary drink; but as by the word of God Jesus Christ our Saviour took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also, we are taught, the food blessed by the prayer of the word which we received from him... is the flesh and blood of Jesus who was made flesh. For the Apostles in the memoirs made by them, which are called gospels, have thus narrated that the command was given; that Jesus took bread, gave thanks, and said, 'This do ye in remembrance of me; this is my body.' And he took the cup likewise and said, 'This is my blood,' and gave it to them alone.