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An Early Christian Eucharist
Irenaeus (c.130-c.200): Bishop of Lyons and opponent of GnosticismFragments from the lost writings of Irenaeus, chapter 37
Then again, Paul exhorts us "to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." And again, "Let us offer the sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of the lips." Now those oblations are not according to the law, the handwriting of which the Lord took away from the midst by canceling it; but they are according to the Spirit, for we must worship God "in spirit and in truth." And therefore the oblation of the Eucharist is not a carnal one, but a spiritual; and in this respect it is pure. For we make an oblation to God of the bread and the cup of blessing, giving Him thanks in that He has commanded the earth to bring forth these fruits for our nourishment. And then, when we have perfected the oblation, we invoke the Holy Spirit, that He may exhibit this sacrifice, both the bread the body of Christ, and the cup the blood of Christ, in order that the receivers of these may obtain remission of sins and life eternal. Those persons, then, who perform these oblations in remembrance of the Lord, do not fall in with Jewish views, but, performing the service after a spiritual manner, they shall be called sons of wisdom.
Read all of chapter 37 at Christian Classics Ethereal Library
IrenaeusAgainst Heresies, chapter 18
But our opinion is in accordance with the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn establishes our opinion. For we offer to Him His own, announcing consistently the fellowship and union of the flesh and Spirit. For as the bread, which is produced from the earth, when it receives the invocation of God is no longer common bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly; so also our bodies, when they receive the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, having the hope of the resurrection to eternity.
Read all of chapter 18 at Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Origen (185-254): Biblical scholar and philosopherAgainst Celsus, chapter 57
We are much more concerned lest we should be ungrateful to God, who has loaded us with His benefits, whose workmanship we are, who cares for us in whatever condition we may be, and who has given us hopes of things beyond this present life. And we have a symbol of gratitude to God in the bread which we call the Eucharist.
Read all of chapter 57 at Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Didache (date uncertain—possibly late first or early second century, authorship unknown) The document describes a code of morals for the Christian life and a manual of church order, and includes this Eucharistic liturgy:
Now about the Eucharist: This is how to give thanks: First in connection with the cup: "We thank you, our Father, for the holy vine of David, your child, which you have revealed through Jesus, your child. To you be glory forever."
Then in connection with the piece [broken off the loaf]:
"We thank you, our Father, for the life and knowledge which you have revealed through Jesus, your child. To you be glory forever.
"As this piece [of bread] was scattered over the hills and then was brought together and made one, so let your Church be brought together from the ends of the earth into your Kingdom. For yours is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ forever."
You must not let anyone eat or drink of your Eucharist except those baptized in the Lord's name. For in reference to this the Lord said, "Do not give what is sacred to dogs." After you have finished your meal, say in this way:
"We thank you, holy Father, for your sacred name which you have in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which you have revealed through Jesus, your child. To you be glory forever.
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