Weekly Communion in the Early Church

““For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” –1 Corinthians 11:23-29

“On Sunday, a meeting of all who live in cities and villages, is held, and a section from the Memoirs of the Apostles and the writings of the Prophets is read, as long as time permits.

When the reader has finished, the President, in a discourse, gives an exhortation to the imitation of those noble things. After this we all rise in common prayer. At the close of the prayer, bread and wine with water are brought. The President offers prayer and thanks for them, according to the power given him, and the congregation responds the Amen. Then the consecrated elements are distributed to each one, and partaken, and are carried by the deacons to the house of the absent.

The wealthy and the willing then give contributions according to their free will, and the collection is deposited with the President, who therewith supplies widows and orphans, poor and needy, prisoners and strangers, and takes care of all who are in want. We assemble in common on Sunday, because this is the first day, on which God created the world and the light, and because Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead and appeared to the disciples? (Justin Martyr’s First Apology, AD 150).

Leave a Reply