Eucharist VI

XII. Summary of Sources (NT-Origen)

Offered at an altar

Pure thanksgiving

Special day

Special place

Proclamation of Christ’s death

Food for eternal life

Treated with reverence


Not common food and drink, even if initiated within a meal

the Last Supper cannot simply be identified with the Christian Eucharist

the Last Supper —with its connotations of thanksgiving, offering, sacrifice, and cultic Passover, quite recognizable for a first-century Jew— does appear as the “generative moment of the institution of the Eucharist,”[1] and the historically substantial root of its content.

  • bring Communion to home bound

XIII. 40 days after Resurrection, what did Our Lord teach the apostles?

According to Justin Martyr, “Our Lord appeared to the apostles and disciples and taught them all these things.” [2]

Remarkable uniformity (without aid of books or stereotyped rite) of type rather than of detail, although in many cases the actual words are the same.[3]

Restatement of Basil’s wise words

Basil mentions the unwritten traditions known to all, such as the sign of the cross, eastward prayer[4], and the words pronounced over the bread and wine: “As everyone knows, we are not content in the liturgy simply to recite the words recorded by St. Paul and the Gospels, but we add other words both before and after, words of great importance for this mystery. We have received these words from unwritten teaching.”[5]

Ancient mind much better at remembering phrases, sequences. People in circle, come back exactly same. Modern mind totally depended on written word. Accurate recall.

Summary of Fr. Fortescue: Deduced from the Fathers of the first three centuries that there was in their time a liturgy, still fluid and liable to change in details, made up of prayers extempore, but uniform in outline and in many of its formulas, throughout Christendom.[6]

The rise of the Roman Rite is perhaps the most difficult question in the whole field of liturgical study.[7]

Thus, I agree with Fr. Fortescue, “All theories are conjecture and that the most one can state is that Justin’s account shows us the liturgy as it was before changes took place to which the Gelasian Sacramentary (ca 750 AD) represents.”[8]

XIV. Current Liturgical Scholarship

Summary of prior research:

Both brilliant men from over a hundred years ago agreed on the general structure of the Mass that was uniform throughout Christendom before Constantine/ Niceae time frame.

Fr. Meagher thought the language of the Mass in Rome would be Latin as religious services were customarily done in Latin despite the written language and language of culture in Greek.

Fr. Fortescue opines that the language of the Mass in Rome was Greek, as that was the language the New Testament and that in which Justin Martyr wrote. He does not think it is possible to know with certainty the exact wording of prayers (Gloria, Sanctus, Consecratory except for the words of Institution)

Fortescue coming in on the beginning of idea historical critical method, all gospels in Greek.

Alternative view Fr. Kloster especially Matthew in Hebrew first then Greek. After Fortescue. Seminary Scripture studies.

Farmer Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

Fortescue mark first gospel, primarily language is Greek

Primary Bible language was Aramaic.

Three Seminal Works briefly considered

Dom Gregory Nix (1901-1952) The Shape of the Liturgy, New Edition 1945

Josef Jungmann The Early Liturgy to the Time of Gregory the Great 1959

Alcuin Reid, The Organic Development of the Liturgy 2005, with foreword by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

  1. Anglican monk, Dom Dix’s insight, “Small ritual changes (in the liturgy, Eucharist Rite) are linked to great social changes. It is a demonstratable historical fact that they are linked and that the ritual change can always be historically detected before the social one.”[9] My parenthesis for clarification.

“The Eucharist at the heart of the religion of Christianity for 20 yrs before first New Testament documents were written. It trained and sanctified apostles and martyrs for over a 100 years before the collected and canonized scriptures beside and above the Jewish scriptures.”[10]

“Eucharist worship not based on scripture at all, whether Old or New Testament, but solely on tradition. The authority for its celebration was the historical tradition that it had been instituted by Jesus, cited incidentally by Paul 1 Cor 11, and attested in the second-generation Christians by written Gospels.”[11]

The following quotes support earlier scholarship discussed.

“Good reason to think the Shape of the Liturgy is of genuine apostolic tradition … Different traditions of prayer revolve around the same essential action and it is possible, even probable, they were all originally rooted in a simple type.”[12]

“Clement (I Clem 40, 41) in the preceding context seems to imply that the ‘appointed’ rules for the liturgies of the different orders are of divine institution from our Lord Himself.”[13]

Outline Linking 11 Apostles (not including Judas) substituting Mark for Judas to various Rites

Matthias Syriac

Peter Roman 98% of the Church and Latin mass we have now

Andrew Byzantine

James the Greater Mozarabic

John Byzantine Antiochene

Bartholomew Byzantine Antiochene

Matthew Ethiopian

Thomas Syro Malabar (India)

James the Less Jerusalem Egypt Syriac & Byzantine

Jude & Simon both Armenian Rite

Phillip Greek Catholic

Mark Coptic & Alexandrian Rite

[1] Daly, “Eucharistic Origins,” 4.

[2] Fortescue, 47

[3] Fortescue, 52

[4] Modern scholarship on eastward posture. Klaus Gamber, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background (Roman Catholic Books: Fort Collins, CO 1993) 77-89, 117-180 “we can say and convincingly demonstrate that neither in the Eastern or Western Church was there ever a celebration versus populum– rather there was only the practice of turning towards the East while praying. Martin Luther was the first person to demand that the priest at altar face the people.”

[5] Basil of Caesarea, On the Holy Spirit 27, 66 (New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1980), 98-99.

[6] Fortescue, 76

[7] Fortescue, 110

[8] Fortescue, 111-112

[9] Dom Gregory Dix, The Shape of Liturgy, new Edition (Bloomsbury: London 1945) xxxiv

[10] Dix, 3

[11] Dix, 3

[12] Dix, 5

[13] Dix, 1-2