St. Justin records early Christians’ celebration of the Eucharistic

St. Justin, born in Samaria at the beginning of the second century, became an early Christian apologist. Around the year 155, St. Justin Martyr wrote the pagan emperor Antoninus Pius in Rome, explaining what Christians did at the Eucharist.

“No one may share the Eucharist with us unless they believe that what we teach is true. They must be washed in the regenerating waters of baptism for the remission of their sins, and they must live according to the principles given us by Christ.

“We do not consume the Eucharistic bread and wine as if it were ordinary food and drink. We have been taught that Jesus Christ our Savior became a human of flesh and blood by the power of the Word of God.

“The apostles, in their recollections, which are called gospels, handed down to us what Jesus commanded them to do. They tell us that he took bread, gave thanks and said: Do this in memory of me. This is my body. In the same way he took the cup, he gave thanks and said: This is my blood. The Lord gave this command to them alone. Ever since then we have constantly reminded one another of these things. The rich among us help the poor and we are always united.

“On Sundays we have a common assembly of all our members, whether they live in the city or the outlying districts. We read the recollections of the apostles or the writings of the prophets, as long as there is time (the Scripture readings).

“On the conclusion of our prayer, bread and wine and water are brought forward. The president offers prayers and gives thanks to the best of his ability, (the Eucharistic Prayer) and the people give assent by saying, ‘Amen.’ The Eucharist is distributed, everyone present communicates, and the deacons take it to those who are absent.

“The wealthy, if they wish, may make a contribution, and they themselves decide the amount.

“We hold our common assembly on Sunday because it is the first day of the week, the day on which God put darkness and chaos to flight and created the world.”

About Wilmer Todd 100 Articles
Father Wilmer Todd is author and lives in Bourg. Until his retirement, he lived in Thibodaux.

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