Extracted from the Church History Site and other sites on the www. and cited here for research and educational purposes with some annotations added.

Topical - of Children at the Eucharist:
let the bishop partake, then the presbyters, and deacons, and sub-deacons, and the readers, and the singers, and the ascetics; and then of the women, the deaconesses, and the virgins, and the widows; then the children; and then all the people in order, with reverence and godly fear, without tumult. [Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, 8.2.13 ](see more here)

40 - Altar or Lord's Table. Both terms are used in the New Testament and by the early church Fathers [Heb 13.10, 1 Cor 10.31]. Wood was used by our Lord in the Last Supper. Marble and stone likely began in the catacombs, and followed in churches built over the graves of the martyrs. It was free standing and assessable from all sides. The placing of lamps/candles and cross on the Altar is from the end of the Middle Ages. Flowers even later. In the earliest church discovered, in Megiddo, it is referred to in the mosaic as the "table" and its location in the chapel is so that it may be approached from all sides.

40 - Alms - from the beginning the church collected alms for the poor, and normally made this part of the offertory.

40 - Alleluia - from Hebrew "allelu yah" Praise Jehovah. Adopted in the early Christian worship. Gregory the Great made it part of the Mass.

Mixing of Wine and water for the Eucharist. Mentioned by Justin Martyr. This was common in Jewish households to mix water and wine at about 3to1 ratio. [Westminster]

Unction - from the time of the NT. Mentioned of the apostles in Mark vi.13. Also in James. Is described in the Apostolic Traditions of the beginning of the Third Century. Oil was blessed after the Eucharist Prayer. [Westminster]

100 Around this time St. John died at Patmos. (Eusebius, Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria agree that John lived into the reign of Trajan, which began in 98.) The Didache, written in this era, indicates worship was on Sunday: ďAssemble on the Lordís day, and break bread and offer the eucharist; but first make confession of your faults, so that your sacrifice may be a pure one.Ē Note also the implication that the communion was regarded as a sacrifice.

160 Justin Martyr: Christians "neither celebrated the Jewish festivals, nor observed their Sabbaths, nor practiced circumcision" (Dialogue with Trypho). In another place he says that they were "all accustomed to meet on the day which is denominated Sunday, for reading the Scriptures, prayer, exhortation and communion. The assemblies met on Sunday, because this is the first day on which God, having changed the darkness and the elements, created the world, and because Jesus our Lord on this day arose from the dead," etc. He laid out the shape of the liturgy with Assembly, Scriptures, Sermon, Prayers, Peace, Anaphora (the Great Thanksgiving Prayer), Communion, and Dismissal

Reservation - Justin Martyr speaks of taking the Eucharisted bread out to those who were sick. In the 200s church fathers wrote of those who would take it home so they could self commune during the week, a practiced that declined after the Church became legal and celebrated daily in the cities. In about the ninth century it begins to be reserved as a viaticum for the dying. Devotional visits to the reserved sacrament began about the 11th century by priests.

190 Turtillian, "We Christians "celebrate Sunday as a joyful day. On the Lord's day we think it wrong to fast or to kneel in prayer." It was a common opinion of the earlier Christians that all public prayers on the Lord's day should be uttered standing, because kneeling is a more sorrowful attitude and inconsistent with the joy and blessedness of Christ's day." This came from Jewish tradition [e.g., 1 Sa i. 26]

190 Clement "A true Christian, according to the commands of the gospel, observes the Lord's day by casting out all bad thoughts and cherishing all goodness, honoring the resurrection of the Lord, which took place on that day." [Clement of Alexandria]

Clement "The East is an image of the day of birth". Prayer facing east was the norm in the Church. At baptism, the candidate would face west and renounce Satan, and then turn to the east to respond to the questions of the creed and be baptized.

198 In a commentary on Daniel, Hippolytus stated that Jesus was born on Wednesday, December 25, in the 42nd year of the Emperor Augustus (2 BC?). He identified March 25 as the date of Christís crucifixion, believing this to have occurred on Nisan 14, following Johnís chronology.

198 A council meeting in Caesarea of Palestine, led by Theophilos of Caesarea and Narcissos of Jerusalem, with Kassis of Akkar and Karos of Akka present, discussed the issue of the Pascha (Easter). They determined to celebrate Pascha on a Sunday, and wrote to other churches to inform them of their decision: “The day we celebrate, those in Alexandria also celebrate. … We have exchanged letters with them so that we may celebrate together on this holy day.” In the early church, it was common in Asia, Cilicia, northern Syria, and Mesopotamia to observe the Lordís crucifixion on the 14th of Nisan (April), using the Hebrew lunar calendar, and his resurrection on the 16th. But churches in Greece, Italy, Africa, Egypt, Palestine, and Pontus commemorated the passion always on a Friday, and the resurrection on a Sunday. (See 190.)

200s - Altar cloth. One large cloth covered the cubical freestanding altar [Gnostic Gospel of Thomas] on Sunday. The altar was bear during the week. The offertory cloth was spread over the altar cloth. Altar curtains hung from the structure supporting the ciborium. Frontal is of Late Middle Ages. [Westminster]

200s - Saints intercessions. In the early church this was every Christian (e.g., Rom 1.7), and every Christian that had passed over and was at rest. There arose in the 2nd Century the extra-biblical belief that those who had been heroically martyred were rewarded by God by being entered directly into heaven without waiting for the resurrection. The Church would mention the names of the martyrs at the Eucharist, and would go to their resting place to pray upon the anniversary of their martyrdom. This practice spread and by 400AD it was found in all Eucharist liturgies. Along with it came the practice of bidding the intercessions of these hero martyrs, believing that they lived in heaven, and that their intercessions were especially efficacious. Much later came the practice of praying to the saints as if they could grant some special favors to the supplicant and cults to certain saints who were given special interests and powers. About 155 Polycarp was martyred, and it was written, "we did gather up his bones - more precious to us than jewels, and finer than pure gold - and we laid them to rest in a spot suitable for the purpose. There we shall assemble, as the occasion allows, with glad rejoicings; and with the Lord's permission we shall celebrate the birthday of his martyrdom. It will serve both as a commemoration of all who have triumphed before, and as a training and preparation for any whose crown may still be to come." Confessors were added to the list in time. The commemoration often included the celebration of the Eucharist. Also came offerings at their shrines, candles, incense, all of which, along with the remembrance of their death date. In the Seventh Eumenical council of the 8th century the service to the saints with lights, prayers, kissing, and veneration of their icons and relics became codified in the church canon.

231 A private house in the city of Dura-Europas on the Euphrates was adapted for Christian worship. This is the earliest known example of a church with religious pictures on the walls. The art appears to have been influenced by similar work in a synagogue in the same city. Depicted on frescoes are Adam and Eve, the Good Shepherd and his flock, the Samaritan woman at the well, Christ walking on the water, the raising of Lazarus, the resurrection of Christ, the healing of the paralytic and David's victory over Goliath.

280? The Chapel of the Centurion of Armageddon in Palestine. Date uncertain. It has a table for the Holy Eucharist set in the middle of the chapel and the names of the Centurion Gaianus who built the chapel, and Akeptus who donated the Holy Table.

301+ During this century, the Eastern Church began singing the Gloria in Excelsis in the Daily Offices. The hymn was originally written in Greek. It was adopted for use in the West, often during Matins. The Gloria was first introduced to Rome by Symmachus (498-514). When the Roman liturgy spread throughout the Western Church during the eighth century, the Gloria came to be used exclusively in the Eucharist.

Kyrie Elieson - Lord have mercy used first in Jerusalem, adopted by Rome by the end of the century. Three fold Kyries for a total of nine.

321 Constantine required all subjects of the Roman Empire to observe the Lord's day as a day of rest and also to honor Friday, the day of Christ's death. He allowed Christian soldiers leave to attend church on Sunday, and even enjoined pagan soldiers to pray on Sunday. (Note that this in no way implies that Constantine invented Christian worship on Sunday.) Prior to this time, the seven day week had not been officially observed by the Roman Empire. Instead, the days of the month were denoted by counting down toward the Kalends, the Nones, and the Ides of each month.

325 Westward celebration: Constantinian basilicas were built with the asp in the west. The misters stood at the west and faced east across the table to the people who faced west. This may have reflected an understanding of building the basilica like the Jewish Temple, and the Altar was in the West [Westminster p420 & 438]

325 1st Ecumenical Council at Nicaea. As a 40-day period (six weeks) Lent was mentioned in canon 5. Canon 20 forbade kneeling on Sundays or during the period of Easter through Pentecost, since these are times of joy.

325 - Churches began to be dedicated to Saints which were built over their resting place. The first was the Basilica of St Peter in Rome built by Constantine. The church adopted the Saint as its Patron and annually celebrated his martyrdom.

325 Eusebius: "The Word" (Christ) "by the new covenant translated and transferred the feast of the Sabbath to the morning light, and gave us the symbol of the true rest, the saving Lord's day, the first of light, in which the Saviour gained the victory over death. On this day, which is the first of the Light and the true Sun, we assemble after the interval of six days, and celebrate holy and spiritual Sabbath; even all nations redeemed by him throughout the world assemble, and do those things according to the spiritual law which were decreed for the priests to do on the Sabbath. All things which it was duty to do on the Sabbath, these we have transferred to the Lord's day, as more appropriately belonging unto it, because it has the precedence, and is first in rank, and more honorable than the Jewish Sabbath. It hath been enjoined on us that we should meet together on this day, and it is evidence that we should do these things announced in this psalm [Eusebius of Cśsarea on Psalm 92 "A Song for the Sabbath Day]

347 Two monks living in Antioch, Flavian and Diodore, promoted the practice of singing the Psalms with short responsory choruses: the first Christian litanies. Diodore later became bishop of Tarsus (378), while Flavian became bishop of Antioch (381).

350 Around this time (348-50) Cyril of Jerusalem (elected bishop in 350) produced the Mystagogical Catecheses for new believers. He described the church service as follows:

Then having sanctified ourselves by these spiritual hymns, we call upon the merciful God to send forth his Holy Spirit upon the gifts lying before him: that he may make the bread the body of Christ, and the wine the blood of Christ, for whatever the Holy Spirit has touched is sanctified and changed. Then after the spiritual sacrifice is perfected, the bloodless service upon that sacrifice of propitiation, we entreat God for the common peace of the Church, for the tranquility of the world, for kings, for soldiers and allies, for the sick, for the afflicted; and in a word for all who stand in need of succour we all supplicate and offer this sacrifice. Then we commemorate also those who have fallen asleep before us, first patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, that at their prayers and intervention God would receive our petition. Afterwards, also on behalf of the holy fathers and bishops who have fallen asleep before us, and in a word of all who in past years have fallen asleep among us, believing that it will be a very great advantage to the souls, for whom the supplication is put up, while that holy and most awful sacrifice is presented."

Late 300s - Insense is used in the Church. Turtillian spoke against such in 200 relating it to emporer worship. First reported use in holy week. Used in procession first with bishops, then with the Gospel. In the middle ages, when the communion elements began to be elevated it was used. [Westminster]

Jerome refers to the deacons in the Paschal feast singing the Praeconium (Exultet) He normally carried the Pascal Candle in procession into the church to begin the service on Easter Eve

400s Advent initiated as a six-week solemn period of fasting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to prepare for the "coming" Christ's Mass. Later five Sunday observed, now four Sundays.

400s - Cross at baptism. - Augustine speaks of the importance of this motion. Before this time, the cross was used on the forehead of the baptized and on the waters of baptism.

400s Sacristy appears first in Syria for the preparation and the ablutions, vesting, etc.

400s Rogation Days began to be observed. Three days before Ascension Sunday. First called for by Mamurtus with fasting and prayer when Vienne was threatened by the enemy.

400s Riddle, a curtain hung between columns of the ciboria about the Altar.

450 - Pre Lent. Septigesima, Sexigesima, Quinqagesima, the three Sundays before the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Fully observed in the West by the end of the Fifth century.

450 The short "Collect" prayers were introduced as propers for days in the calendar in the west [Barbee and Zahl, The Collects of Thomas Cranmer]

450 - Super Oblata - Prayer over the offerings - Originated in the West - Prayer offered when the wine and bread are set upon the holy table before the eucharistic prayer, with a prayer for acceptance of the offering. In the middle ages became a secret prayer said in a low voice, revived today into a congregational prayer often sung.

471 - Peter Fullo of Antioch orders the Nicene-Constantinople creed to be said at every assembly of the church.

c 480 - Palm Sunday - Jerusalem first, a blessing of palms or olive branches, the reading of the Gospel from the Summit of the Mount of Olives, then a procession into Jerusalem with palms carried by all to worship. There

** The first five centuries marks end of the liturgical development that the Order of Centurions recognizes as "early church" and which it emulates **

500 - Secret prayers by the celebrant in the Eucharist begin to appear for the first time, and become common by the end of the sixth century. [Westminster]

511 - Timotheos of Constantinople orders Nicene-Constantinople creed to be said in liturgy

589 - Council of Toledo orders Nicene-Constantinople creed for every assembly

610 - All Saints - 13 May 610, Mary and All Saints since there were many martyrs not remembered in liturgical prayers. Moved to 1 November in 835.

680 - Agnus Dei introduced at the Fraction, "O Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us...", probably of Syrian origin. Repeated until completed. Later moved to a period when the peace was exchanged and the last verse changed to be "grant us thy peace."

c750 - Stripping of the Altar. Altar symbolizes Christ, Altar cloths which now remained on the Altar, symbolized his clothing.

900s Trinity Sunday evolves in the West. [Westminster]

1000 - All Souls follows All Saints in the Clunic houses.

1000 - Ablutions introduced into the liturgy. In the early church this was conducted after the liturgy in the sacristy. The use of wine for ablutions was directed in the Western church by Pius V. [Westminster]

1000 - Confession and Absolution entered the liturgy. In the early church there was only the reconciliation of the penitent, but the confession was made in private.

1014 - The church of Rome orders Nicene-Constantinople creed for every assembly

1054 - (or pehaps earlier) The Great schism over the addition to the Creed by the west.


The Apostles Constitution, c380, had a tag on the end of the Sanctus, "Blessed be thou forever", but the Benedictus in the prayers of most churches, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord," did not appear in western liturgies until the Middle Ages.

Tbe simple bow is used at the words in the nicene creed of the Holy Ghost and also at the Gloria Patri [Westminster p 246]

The church in the west begins to use crossings at the Eucharist, a part of the emerging doctrine of ex opere operato. [Westminster]

1100s Marian Devotion and the Rosary begin to appear. Encourage by the Order of Dominicans. With the loss of the Latin tounge by the illiterate, the Rosary was promoted for their devotion during Latin Eucharist known as the "poor man's Psalter" reciting 150 Our Fathers to replace the psalms that the monks recited, replaced in the "Ave Maria". It evolved to the Creed, and fifteen "decades" with an Our Father, 10 Hail Marys and a Gloria Patri, often with a genuflect or other devotion at each of the 15 decades.

1210 Elevation. First ordered for no higher than breast high by the bishop of Paris. Used to indicate the achievement of the consecration. Closely tied to the medieval doctrine of transubstantiation in the West, and the adoration of the consecrated host. This was an extension and exaggeration of the ancient but modest raising of the bread and wine in the liturgy when the president spoke the words of the institution from the Gospel. At the end of the canon a minor elevation was practiced with a doxology.

Washing of the Altar with wine and water on Maundy Thursday.

The issue of leavened vs. unleavened bread came up in the 11th century [Ladd]

1200 - The west departs from standing in the Eucharist. Before then the people were commanded to kneel for silent confessions and preparation, then commanded to stand. This agreed with the 1st Ecumenical Council and tradition. Then the West dropped the silent individual prayers and then the order to stand. [Westminster p. 439]

The first Eucharists were of joy, lost in the Middle Ages. [Ladd]

Monstance is introduced to show the people the consecrated host due to the cult that developed around the worship of the reserved sacrament in the middle ages in the west. This is unknown in the east. [Westminster]

Early style Crucifix showed the living Lord - Christi rex, later the sorrowful Christ [Ladd] Prayers of the faithful. The deacon would announce the topic of the prayer, people would individually pray, and the President would conclude with a short collect, then on to the next prayer topic. [Ladd 64]

No prayers were made to Christ, all directed to God in the name of Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Even if we dismiss the evidence of the early dating of the Diatesseron as evidence of the earliest lectionary system, the year] 411 AD is without question the date of a calendar system upon which the lessons are ordered (British Museum ms. 12150). The arrangement of the scripture lessons as we know them today (see the Order's Lessons and Homilies that use the old Prayer Book lectionary) with few modifications was arranged by Daniel, a monk of the Monastery of Beth Batin and his disciple Benjamin, Bishop of Edessa. The latter was assisted by the monk Isaac, an industrious pupil of the Bishop. It is believed that Daniel used lessons from the Diatesseron and Peshitto readings from the four Gospels. see more here

1660s - Altar rails introduced in England

The student of early liturgical worship may enjoy reading this Early Eucharist historical summary. I've also included some notes taken from various sources concerning early worship as well as links to source documents concerning the Early Church liturgies.

[Justin Martyr 1st Apology Ch LXV & LXVII]

[Apostolic Teaching and&n bsp;Constitutions LVII]

[John Chrysostom]


[Aposto lic Tradition of Hippolytus]< /font>

Powers, Joseph Eucharistic Theology
Spencer, Bonnel A Functional Liturgy

The New Westminster Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship

Copyright. Reviewed 1/21/2014

Tidy 1:03 PM 6/2/2006