Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi: How the liturgy shaped the worldview of early Christians

A 2004 paper written to fulfill the requirements of History of Christian Doctrine.

1. Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi: The role of liturgy in worldview formation

How are the words that we pray and say and sing in worship connected to what we believe?  How did the worship of early Christians shape their beliefs and actions?  The ancient Latin tagline "Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi" (literally: the law of prayer is the law of belief) has a lot to say about this.  This maxim, first popularized by Prosper of Aquitaine between 435 and 442 (Wainwright, 224-225), tells us that how and what we pray shapes how we believe and hence, how we live.  The converse is true as well.  What we believe will eventually be reflected in our prayers, our worship, and our lifestyle.  This means that our worldview, what it means to think and believe as a Christian, is somehow implicit in our liturgy and prayer life.  That is true now, it was true for Prosper, and it was true for the early Church as well.  What it means to be distinctively Christian, and believe as a Christian, should be available to everyone in our worship, at least in theory.

Now, there are multiple ways of determining the authentic, essential Christian worldview for any single time and place (or even, perhaps, for every time and place).  Those of a more modern, or revisionist, mindset may seize on a purely "scientific", sociological, or even subjective, method of determining authentic Christian belief.  This often results in a Christianity that looks peculiarly like the beliefs of the author.  Those of a "sola scriptura" mindset may try to determine the authentic Christian worldview solely by consulting the text of Scripture.  The results of this are often dubious and subjective at best, leading, at current count, to over 20,000 different denominations claiming to be the authentic version of Christianity.  Others may try to reconstruct an authentically Christian worldview from Scripture, plus a tradition made of various Conciliar definitions and certain church fathers.  This may have better results, but still come up with elements that are not definitively or even essentially Christian.  Bruce Marshall, in TRINITY AND TRUTH, has looked at all of these options and more and has made a compelling case that how the Christian community worships, found in its "liturgy", forms the most definitive way to individuate and identify authentic Christian belief (17-28).  In this, he looks mainly at His own Lutheran liturgies of initiation and Eucharist, as well as cross referencing liturgies from other traditions.  From this, he identifies the "triune God as the center of Christian belief".  A similar, if more comprehensive, project is followed be Geoffrey Wainwright in DOXOLOGY, in which he prepares an entire "systematic theology" mainly on the basis of diverse liturgical sources, along with Scripture and tradition.  The project of this paper is very similar: namely to apply the dictum of "Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi" to the extant liturgical materials of the early Church in an effort to determine what the worldview of the average Christian at that time might have looked like.

2. Which liturgical documents to use?

The liturgies used in this survey are those that would have been used by all Christians in the early Church.  First, "liturgies of Initiation" are used, which include baptism and chrismation, which would later come to be known in the West as confirmation.  Every faithful Christian was expected to go through these rites of initiation, or else they were simply not Christian.  Second, the "liturgies of the Eucharist" are used, because that is what the early Christian community would have used every week as they came together for worship.  Other liturgical texts (such as those for ordination, confession, or marriage) are not used because not every Christian would have used them, or used them very infrequently, and thus would have been unfamiliar with them.  Also not used are catechetical or mystagogical lectures (except insofar as they reproduce actual liturgical texts and rubrics).  The reason for this is because the explanations of the rituals and words used were often different from diocese to diocese, even from instructor to instructor.  Since, not everyone would have access to the explanations of a Basil or a Cyril, we have limited the exploration to what all Christians in various regions and eras region did have access to: namely the initiation and Eucharistic liturgies which would have been practiced over and over hundreds if not thousands of times during a person's lifespan.  

3. Overview of liturgical documents used 

The following are the major extant liturgical documents of Initiation and Eucharist which are referred to in the remainder of this paper.  For the most part, they are actual liturgies of Christian Initiation and Eucharistic celebration, along with any rubrics (rules for performing the various rituals) that may accompany them.  Many of the following texts are "anaphoras", which are prayers for the offering (Greek: anaphora) of the Eucharist.  A few of the texts come from baptismal and mystagogical catecheses, but only those texts which report the actual ceremonial and wording of the liturgies were consulted, since, as was noted earlier, the catechetical instruction of the specifics of the liturgy often differed in large and small ways as one went from diocese to diocese and parish to parish.  It is the wording and the ritual of the liturgy that formed the common denominator among and between different eras and different regions.

Therefore, an effort has been made to comprehensively interact with all of the extant liturgical texts that have content dating solidly before the Council of 381 AD.  Why just limit to the time before Constantinople?  Four reasons: First, the first four centuries seems to present the most development, and variety, in liturgical content.  Within a century after this period, both Eastern and Western liturgies seem to standardize in both form and content until the Reformation.  Second, the Church seems to gain much more doctrinal consistency after Constantinople.  Before that time, a return to Arianism or semi-Arianism was a viable (and hard fought for) option, since so few people seemed satisfied with the Council of Nicea (325).  Yet, after the Council of 381, and the work of the Cappadocian fathers, Trinitarianism became the norm for the Church, although there would continue to be doctrinal controversy for 400 years over just exactly how to construe Christ's humanity and divinity.  Third, the amount of liturgical material available after ca. 400 AD is not only very similar, but also voluminous, and beyond the scope of this paper.  Fourth, the main area of this paper is liturgy and worldview formation in the early, not early medieval, Church.  Therefore, we will look at liturgical documents that represent the worldview of common Christians before the time of doctrinal and Conciliar consensus.  The following are the liturgical sources used in this paper, along with their abbreviations and notes on their dating and composition, listed in date order:

Did.: The Didache, also known as "The teaching of the Twelve [Apostles]".  While probably not of Apostolic origin, it is close.  There is a "consensus among historians of the liturgy that The Didache is the oldest liturgical document that we possess and is of singular importance for the study of the liturgy" (Begley, 11).  It contains the earliest rites we have for Christian Initiation and Eucharistic celebration.  Internal evidence shows that it is a composite document put together from several sources, which was compiled as early as 70 AD and as late as 150 AD (Homes, 247).

Plin. Ep.: The Epistles of Pliny the Younger, written while he was governor of Pontus and Bithynia from 111-113 AD.  Though a non-Christian source, he provides some interesting insights on Christian worship from Christians he persecuted and tortured (in 10.95-96).

Jus.1Apol.: Justin Martyr. Liturgical excerpts from the "First Apology" (or Defense) of the Christian faith, written by Justin Martyr to the Emperor Antoninus Pius, in an effort to validate the outlawed and persecuted Christian faith.  It was probably written around 151 AD, some fifteen years before Justin's martyrdom (Begley, 15).  It is important both as a very early document describing Christian worship, and also because in it Justin does not try and keep the rituals of Christians secret, but attempts to describe the underlying rationale for such rituals.

Ap.Trad.: Liturgical documents compiled in the "Apostolic Tradition", which is "with the exception of The Didache... the earliest and most important of the ancient Church orders which we possess" (Begley, 21).  Claims to being of Apostolic origin are apocryphal, but it may have been authored by (or during the ministry of) Hippolytus, the Bishop of Rome (died ca. 236).  While it may not be from Hippolytus himself, there is enough "internal evidence alone... to relate the document to early third century Rome than to any other Christian milieu" (Jones et al., 58).  Ironically, and perhaps because of Hippolytus' suspected heretical views, moral rigorism, and schismatic actions, the "Tradition" had great influence on the East and comparatively little on the Roman West (Begley, 21).

Add. Mar. Ana.: The anaphora attributed to Addai and Mari, the founders of the Church in Edessa in Northeast Syria.  Scholars differ on the dating of the document, with most placing it as early as the third century, while others place it no earlier than the fifth century (Begley, 33).

Cyr. Mys.: Mystagogical Lectures written to explain the rites of Initiation and Eucharist to newly baptized catechumens in Jerusalem.  Written by either St. Cyril, or his successor, John, sometime around the Lenten season of 350 AD (Begley, 99).

Ser. Euch.: The "Euchologion" (or prayer book) of Bishop Serapion, from Thumis, a small region in Lower Egypt, probably written in the middle of the fourth century (Begley, 39).  Some have argued that this is an Arian modification of Serapion's prayer book from 100-150 years later, but internal evidence seems to point to Serapion as the genuine author (Jones et al., 60-61).

Bas. Ana.: The anaphora of St. Basil.  Written sometime before Basil's death in 379 AD (Begley, 69).

Ap.Con.: Liturgical documents of rites of initiation and Eucharistic celebration compiled in the "Apostolic Constitutions", a document which "represents the largest liturgical-canonical collection of the ancient church" (Begley, 51).  Claims of Apostolic or Papal origin are apocryphal, and it seems to be compiled from Syro-Palestinian sources in the latter part of the fourth century.  The whole of the liturgy found here was never used in Church (although parts of it were incorporated into other liturgies, particularly in the East).  While suspected by some of Arian leanings, it still manifests an overwhelmingly Trinitarian witness to the faith.

Rom. Can.: The old Roman Canon, called "canon" after the Greek word for "rule" or "norm".  This term came to be used for the center piece of the Mass, as a short expression for "Canon gratiarum actio," which means "the norm to be followed in giving thanks."  This is a compilation document, bearing affinities with the work of Hippolytus and Ambrose (Begley, 79).  It probably reached its present form sometime around the year 400.

4. Problems reconstructing worldview from liturgies

Several problems present themselves in reconstructing the early Christian worldview from extant liturgical documents.  First of all, we do not have all of the documents, and the documents that we do have differ from one another in many ways.  Yet, it may be noted that we have a sampling of liturgy from the major centers of early Christianity, and those samples reflect a very similar shape, even though they were clearly in a process of evolution over time.  There is also a high degree of overlap in both explicit content and implicit content between the various liturgies.  Also, in later liturgies we find that what was implicit in earlier liturgies is made explicit in later liturgies (cf. the development of chrismation and the epiclesis prayer).  This is not to say that all problems are resolved or harmonized (cf. the issues presented in Serapion's "Epiclesis of the Word" below).  Yet, despite these difficulties, there remains large amounts of convergence among extant texts.

The next problem is that of later interpolations added to earlier documents, thereby giving an illusion of coherence with later tradition.  While this has been a problem, most modern critical editions point this out.  Also, in some composite documents (cf. Didache) the probable interpolations still come from the era being considered, and thus remain a faithful witness for early faith and practice.

The final problem is that we often do not know how these texts were used in actual liturgical life, which prayers were prayed silently by the clergy, and which were prayer for (or by) all attending.  Effort has been taken only to use the public parts of the documents, where that was obvious.  Nevertheless, for the faithful clergy or communicant who paid attention to the words of their worship, and cared about what was said on behalf of the Church community by both clergy and laity, it seems reasonable to assume that the texts used here would be familiar to them.  There will always be the problem of those who do not listen or do not care about the words (and rituals) of worship, and this paper does not purport to try and reconstruct their worldview.  The purpose of this paper is to attempt to reconstruct, from liturgical sources, the basic worldview of the faithful, attentive early Christian, whether lay or clergy.

Whatever the problems associated with reconstructing early Christian belief from early liturgy, it is worth noting how the liturgy has contributed to the endurance of a stable, and definitively Trinitarian worldview.  Liturgical affirmations and practices were effectively used by orthodox fathers to defend and define the faith against Arian, Christological, and Iconoclastic heresies.  In our own time, the words and deeds of our liturgy may be a major contributing factor in maintaining an outspoken, orthodox contingent in the midst of highly revisionist denominations such as the Episcopal Church.

5. Elements of a distinctively Christian worldview

So, in view of the fact that the liturgies of Christian weekly worship (Eucharist) and Initiation (Baptism, and charismation, or later, confirmation), are as good of an indicator as we possess of what ordinary, attentive, faithful Christians have believed, we must now ask the question of the content of those beliefs.  The question on the table is: "what belief content is explicit and implicit in these liturgical statements (and rituals), which would need to be believed, in order to make their use and utterance meaningful?"  And once we have looked at such content, how do we organize and categorize it so as to make sense of it as a coherent worldview?  

The problem of organization is relatively simple.  Over the last 1800 years or so, the discipline of systematic (or doctrinal, or dogmatic) theology has evolved so that there are now a number of standard themes or loci that are treated, usually following a rough creedal outline (McGrath, 147-148).  After consulting several systematic theologies, a rough framework was developed in an attempt to categorize the doctrinal affirmations and indications found in the early liturgies.  This framework is to look at what these liturgies say about God (Father, Son, and Spirit), and his creation (including angelic beings and humanity as both fallen and redeemed).

The problem of content is somewhat more complex.  It is one thing to "mine out" the affirmations and indications found in the liturgical texts and come up with a fairly simple statement about what seems to be affirmed in these sources.  It is quite another to interpret these statements and say what beliefs underlie these affirmations.  One would expect that for the average, faithful clergy or lay person, the underlying belief would be a fairly commonsense, plain, straightforward affirmation of the  truth value of these statements.  But, there is a history of assigning more subtle, symbolic interpretations to such texts and rituals, by both orthodox and heretical Church fathers (which is outside of the scope of this paper).  Nevertheless, for the purpose of this paper, the commonsense, straightforward meaning of these texts will be assumed.

5.1. The liturgy and the identification of God the Father

A. The Father as Creator and source of all: The Father is identified as the "Lord Almighty" who has created everything for His Name's sake (Did. 10; Ap. Trad. 52-64).  As such, He is the "Father of the Universe" (Jus. 1Apol. 65).  He is explicitly identified as the "King of glory, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob... the Lord of the universe" (Add. Mar. Ana.).  This Jewish (and not Pagan) identification of the Father reflects the ancient Jewish Berekoth blessing, in which God is invoked as the "Lord [YHWH] God, King of the Universe".  This Father is the origin of all existence and the fount of reality, for He is "the source of life, the source of light, the source of all grace and all truth" (Ser. Euch.).

B. The Father as the unknowable God made known through Christ: Serapion identifies the Father as "uncreated... inscrutable, indescribable, incomprehensible to every created nature... invisible", and yet known to humanity through His Word, Jesus Christ.  The Son, and the Son alone, is He who "speaks" of the Father and "interprets" Him to the Church (Ser. Euch.).  The Father is only known in and through Christ, by the Spirit's enabling.

C. The Father as sustainer and provider for His people: The Father is the one who is asked to remember His Church, to deliver it from evil, perfect it in Love, and gather it from the four winds (Did. 10).  The reason is that He "love[s] humanity", "love[s] the poor", reconciles Himself "with all", and draws all to Himself "through the coming of [His] beloved Son" (Ser. Euch.).  This is not just limited to the Christian community, but several liturgies make it a point to identify the worshipping community as a part of the continuity of the Father's mighty acts and deeds of salvation though history, through Israel, and ultimately through Christ and His Church (Add. Mar. Ana.; Bas. Ana.).

D. The Father as the ultimate recipient toward which prayer, praise, and thanks is given:  From the earliest sources, the Eucharistic prayer has been primarily directed toward the Father, through Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit, as an act of thanksgiving to the Father as the source of salvation and all that the worshipper can be thankful for (Did. 9; Jus. 1Apol. 65; Ap. Trad. 43-47; Rom. Can. II).  The Father is identified as the primary recipient of praise and thanksgiving in the Eucharistic prayer, with the Son and the Spirit as means through which, and in which, we approach the Father.  To the Father alone are "glory and power... forever" (Did. 9; cf. 1Co. 15.24).  Many extant liturgies speak of "lifting up" our hearts to God the Father specifically, as Him to whom it is "worthy and necessary" to give thanks to (Add. Mar. Ana.).

5.2. The liturgy and the identification of God the Son

A. The historicity of Christ: Unlike mystery religions and ancient myths, the Christian community has always set the narrative of redemption found in Jesus Christ in actual history.  The Didache identifies Jesus as the historical "holy vine of David your son", and the memorial of the last supper institution narrative is part of every Eucharistic liturgy except the Didache (Did. 9; cf. Add. Mar. Ana.).  Justin clearly identifies Jesus, in the liturgical setting, as Him who "was crucified under Pontius Pilate" (Jus. 1Apol. 61). He affirms that "Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because... Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn; and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration" (Jus. 1Apol. 67).  This historical element is concretized in the liturgy by the Apostolic Tradition, which makes explicit mention of the use of a Baptismal Creed that includes most of the phrases of what would later be known as the Apostles' Creed.  This creedal affirmation included all of the historical references to His birth from the Virgin Mary, crucifixion under Pontius Pilate, death, burial, and resurrection.  These features of historicity are also regularly affirmed in the anaphora of other Eucharistic prayers (Ap. Trad. 43-47; Add. Mar. Ana.).

B. The humanity of Christ:  All of the historical affirmations are also affirmations of Christ's humanity, since it is expected that he who dwelt among us is indeed human, and not a phantasm (contra Docetism).  The anaphora of the Apostolic Tradition tells us that Jesus Christ was "sent from heaven into the womb of a Virgin" in whom He "was conceived and became incarnate, and was manifested as [God's] Son, born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin" (Ap. Trad. 43-47).  Furthermore,  Christ is identified as He who "clothed Himself in our humanity" (Add. Mar. Ana.).  Lastly, the repeated mention of His "body and blood" in nearly every Eucharistic prayer is a strong affirmation of His humanity and fleshly nature.

C. The divinity of Christ: It is clear, even to those on the outside of the Christian community, that the earliest Christians, at least as far out as Pontus and Bithynia worshipped Christ as God (Latin: quasi deo) using hymns (Latin: carmen) (Plin. Ep. 10.96).  In every extant liturgy Jesus Christ is identified as the unique Son of God (usually using the word "monogenes"), and His "beloved child", who is associated in a special way with the Father  (Ap. Trad. 43-47).  Later, this association is explicitly identified as being "begotten" of the Father (cf. Ser. Euch.).  The anaphora of the Apostolic Tradition identifies Jesus as the Father's "inseparable Word through whom [He] created all things" (Ap. Trad. 43-47).  He is called the "Lord our God", who gives us life through His "godhead" (Add. Mar. Ana.).  Also, implicit in the Church's liturgy are several affirmations of His divinity.  Christ is worshipped and supplicated on the same level as the Father in at least part of nearly every extant liturgy, even those supposedly stained by Arianism (cf. Ser. Euch.; Ap. Con.).  Furthermore, His presence (indeed His own body and blood) is celebrated in nearly every extant liturgy.  It is hard to imagine how the early Church could have kept up the practice of worshipping Christ, praying to Him, and believing that they were coming into physical contact with Him through the Eucharist, if they did not, at least implicitly, hold a high doctrine of His divinity.  The eventual outcome of the Arian controversy and the triumph of Trinitarianism would seem to lend weight to this.

D. The work of Christ: From the earliest liturgies, Jesus Christ is always the means through which (Greek: dia) God is known, salvation is brought, and life is found (Did. 9).  The terminology of God's saving actions of redemption, illumination, and life-giving through Christ is used somewhere in nearly every extant liturgy.  He is the unique conduit through which God works in the world.  Jesus is repeatedly affirmed as the one "sent" by the Father to do the Father's will (cf. Ser. Euch.; Rom. Can. II).  As the Christ, or "chosen and anointed Messiah" sent from the Father, He accomplished the will of the Father by "acquiring a holy people" for Him.  The means by which He did this was by "stretching out his hands" and suffering to "deliver from suffering those who believe in [Him]" (Ap. Trad. 43-47).  Our redemption is accomplished "with the precious blood of [God's] Christ" (add. Mar. Ana.).  This suffering was not imposed on the Son by the Father, but rather, the Son "gave himself up willingly to suffering to destroy death, to break the fetters of the devil, to trample hell under his feet, to spread his light over the just, to establish the limit [Greek: telos], and manifest his Resurrection" (Ap. Trad. 43-47).  The Roman Canon affirms that "for our salvation he humbled himself, and subjected himself to death, so as to restore to us that immortality which Adam had lost, and to make us God's heirs and sons" (Rom. Can. II).  The anaphora of Addai and Mari tie the salvific work of Christ explicitly to His divinity, or godhead.  It states that His work is multi-faceted and results in (a) lifting up our lowliness; (b) restoring our fall; (c) raising up our mortality; (d) forgiving our faults; (e) justifying us out of our sins; (e) enlightening our understanding; and (f) condemning our enemies.  This work seems to be construed as ongoing, since Serapion affirms that as "the Word", he comes upon the Eucharistic offering and makes it the "blood of Truth" (Ser. Euch.; cf. the Spirit's role in Epiclesis, below).

5.3. The liturgy and the identification of God the Spirit

A. The Holy Spirit as the revealer of Jesus Christ: In worship the early Christians affirmed that the Holy Spirit is the means "through whom the prophets foretold all things about Jesus" (Jus. 1Apol. 61).  He is the "Spirit of light" who enables us to know "the True" (i.e. the Father) and "the one sent" which is Jesus Christ.  He enables us to "proclaim and tell forth indescribable mysteries" (Ser. Euch.).  His primary and unique ministry is to bring people to know, love, and follow Christ.

B. The Holy Spirit as source of guidance, wisdom, and grace:  Because of His unique role as the revealer of Christ, the Holy Spirit came to be associated with empowering and guiding Christians in their daily lives (cf. His work in initiation and epiclesis, below).  The Roman Canon affirms His work by praying to the Father: "through the grace of the Holy Spirit the gift of your love may be confirmed in us, and that we may possess in eternal glory what we already receive from your goodness" (Rom. Can. IX).  Furthermore, the Holy Spirit enables those testing candidates for baptism to make suitable decisions about who should be allowed into the catechumenate, because they "all have the Spirit of God" (Ap. Trad. 52-64).

C. The Holy Spirit's work in Baptism and Chrismation (later Confirmation): In the rites of Initiation the Holy Spirit manifests a unique role as what would later come to be called "the Giver of Life" in the creed of 381.  Through the rite of baptism the Spirit works "regeneration", "the remission of sins formerly committed", and "illumination" of the understanding of those who receive it. (Jus. 1Apol. 61).  Explicit mention of anointing with oil is made in the Apostolic Tradition, and this anointing (chrismation) is associated with the reception of the Spirit and with taking up the role of Christ as an "anointed one" following in His footsteps (Cyr. Mys.).  The oil is "blessed", "holy", and "sanctified [by prayer]", and confers the fullness of the Holy Spirit as part of the baptismal ceremony (Ap. Trad. 37-41).  It also confers "the power which heals and strengthens" to "remove from their souls, from their bodies or their spirits, every sign of sin, of iniquity or diabolic blame" (Ser. Euch.).  The chrismation is spoken of as a "seal" which shows both God's approval and the assent of the one being chrismated to follow God as a "perfect and true son".  Through this seal are imparted "the gifts of the Holy Spirit" to strengthen God's people to remain faithful to the very end (Ser. Euch.).

D. The Holy Spirit's work in the Epiclesis: Early in liturgical history, there was an effort to give witness to the unique role the Spirit played in making the Eucharist efficacious.  This came to be known as the prayer of "epiclesis" where the Holy Spirit was invited to come upon both the assembly and the gifts on the altar.  The earliest extant prayer of epiclesis asks the Father "to send your Holy Spirit upon the offering of your holy Church. Gathering and uniting all those who receive it, grant that they be filled with the Holy Spirit for the strengthening of their faith in the truth. So may we be able to praise and glorify you through your Son Jesus Christ" (Ap. Trad. 43-47; cf. Ap. Con.).  Likewise, Addai and Mari affirm that the epiclesis of the Spirit has the effect of blessing and sanctifying "the offering", as well as resting upon God's servants (i.e. the gathered Church).  The effect of this is to "procure for us... pardon for our offences and forgiveness of our sins... the great hope of the resurrection of the dead... and the new life in the kingdom of heaven".  Atypically, Serapion assigns the work of the Spirit in Epiclesis to the Word (Ser. Euch.).  Perhaps he did this as a way to affirm the divinity of the Son, or as an affirmation of the complementary work of the Spirit with the Word in making the Eucharist the "blood of Truth" (Begley, 39).  However, the Word, for Serapion, may be another Name for the Holy Spirit, since He affirms that it was the Word, the "only-begotten", who descended on the waters of the Jordan and "conferred sanctification on them".  Serapion's Pneumatology (not to mention his Christology) may not meet the exacting standards of later definitions, but it does show how at least one community came to view the work of God in the Epiclesis.  In the fourth century, a move was made to associate the epiclitic actions of the Spirit more exclusively upon the gifts of bread and wine, so as to come "upon us and upon these gifts we have offered, to bless and sanctify them... [and] make this bread the precious body of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (Bas. Ana.).

5.4. The liturgy and the relation of the members of the Godhead

A. The unity and mutual divinity of the Godhead: The divine nature of both Christ and the Spirit are already witnessed to above.  In addition to this, by around 70 AD the Christian community was not baptizing into the Name of Jesus alone, but into the divine unity which is born witness to in the phrase "in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Did. 7; Mat. 28.19; Jus. 1Apol. 61).  While no mention of the function of the Holy Spirit is found in the Didache, it does say that the Spirit shares in the "Name" of the Father and Son.  As early as time of Hippolytus, the equal dignity and honor of the three persons is affirmed by a three fold immersion, one time for each person (Ap. Trad. 52-64), and glory is given equally to all three persons (37-41; Rom. Can. X).  This practice of triple immersion into one God has continued in all the extant liturgical rites of the East (and some in the West) until the present day.  Likewise, the anointing of oil is explicitly done in ”in the Lord God, the almighty Father, Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit" (Ap. Trad. 37-41).  These implicit Trinitarian affirmations reach an explicit apex when liturgies start proclaiming God's Name as that of "the glorious Trinity, of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" who has "created the world through his grace, and in his kindness those who dwell in it... [and] saved men in his mercy... [and] granted to mortals the riches of his grace" (Add. Mar. Ana.).

B. The roles of the Father, Son, and Spirit in the divine economy: The liturgical texts never systematically differentiate the roles of the persons of the Trinity, yet Serapion seems to hit upon a recurrent theme when He states that we are only "able to adore... the eternal Father, through Jesus Christ, in Holy Spirit" (Ser. Euch.).  That is, the Father is the Source and the Goal, the Son the Conduit through which the Father is found, and the Spirit is the One in whom, or by whom, we are taken through Christ to the Father.  Similarly, Justin affirms that "we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost" (Jus. 1Apol. 67).  The Father is the Father and source of His unique Son in every extant liturgy, and the Father is differentiated as the "Lord of all", while Jesus takes up the role of "our Savior" (Jus. 1Apol. 61).  Frequently the Apostolic blessing of Paul is invoked over the worshipping community, asking that "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all" (cf. Add. Mar. Ana.; 2Co 13.13).  Note that an important addition is made to this formula, namely that it is no longer just the "love of God", but specified as "the Love of God the Father".  This makes it an explicitly Trinitarian statement.  

What can be made of these affirmations of mutual divinity, yet separate roles, of the three persons of the Father, Son, and Spirit?  It is beyond the scope of the paper to speculate on what was happening in the minds of the whole early Christian community, much less in the minds of the various writers, some of whom are suspected of Arian leanings by current scholarship.  Yet, what does seem clear is an incipient Trinitarianism that was affirmed and more fully defined by the Ecumenical Councils. 

5.5. The liturgy and other spiritual beings

A. The reality of other-worldly beings:  A "split-level", even dualistic, reality is strongly affirmed in the early liturgies, and it is apparent that they strongly believed that there was a parallel world of angelic and spiritual beings which affects this world (and likewise, is affected by this world).  Sometime in the third or fourth century, the "sanctus" prayer was added, in which it is affirmed that the spiritual "other world" is not populated by God alone, but by an angelic host.  This host includes an army of "thousands of heavenly spirits... [and] myriads upon myriads of the holy angels" along with Cherubim and Seraphim who "ceaselessly" glorify and adore God's greatness (Add. Mar. Ana.; Ser. Euch.; Ap. Con. Bas. Ana.; Cyr. Mys.).  Yet, these beings are subservient to God, who is "above every Principality, Power, Virtue and Domination, above every name that is named in this age as in the age to come" (Ser. Euch.).

B. The nature and function of angels:  On one side of this parallel reality are the good angels, whose job it is to protect and guide God's people.  Serapion asks the Father to "send your Angels to be with this people, to help them triumph over the Evil One and to strengthen your Church".  Similarly, the Roman Canon asks God to "accept this offering [of the Eucharist] carried by your angels to your heavenly altar" (Rom. Can. VIII).  It is important to note that the angels are never supplicated directly in any extant text, but that God is always asked to send them.

C. The nature and function of fallen angels:  On the other side of the spiritual world are fallen angels, or demons, who want to seduce God's people and destroy His creation.  Justin tells the Roman Emperor that "wicked demons" produce counterfeits of the rituals of the Church (Jus. 1Apol. 66).  It seemed to be commonly held that demons affect everyone coming from out of the world into the Church.  Yet, they are drawn out by repeated exorcism of initiates desiring Baptism, because "it is impossible for the Stranger [i.e. demon] to remain always hidden" when repeatedly exorcised by Church members (Ap. Trad. 52-64; cf. Cyr. Mys.). 

D. The power of Christ and His Church to overcome spiritual evil: As a result of this perceived spiritual warfare, the early Church relied on Christ's power to overcome demons, since the effect of Christ's death and resurrection was "to break the fetters of the devil, to trample hell under his feet" (Ap. Trad. 43-47).  From at least the third century on, exorcism of evil spirits was a commonplace practice for those preparing for baptism.  It seems to be assumed that everyone coming into the Church would be plagued by spiritual darkness to a greater or lesser extent.  As a result, it was a regular (sometimes daily) practice for the bishop to cast demons out of the catechumens by means of "lay[ing] his hands on them... conjur[ing] all the foreign spirits to depart from them and never to return to them again... breath[ing] upon their faces, mak[ing] the sign on their forehead, ears and nose and then bid[ding] them rise" (Ap. Trad. 52-64; cf. Ser. Euch.).  In addition, those being baptized must pledge themselves to Christ and reject evil by pledging: "I renounce you, Satan, and all your undertakings, and all your works" (Ap. Trad. 52-64).  These acts freed the worshipping community from the schemes of the devil.

5.6. The liturgy and the nature of humanity

A. The inability of humans in their sinful condition: While there are few explicit affirmations of sin's destructive effects on human nature, it is clear that the early Church saw sin, especially open, un-confessed sin that hurt or used others, to be incompatible with fellowship with God and His Church.  Any persistent problem with sin separates one from the community of God, and hence from God Himself.  Those involved in sinful lifestyles (such as those that promote sexual immorality, murder, degradation, and frivolity) are not even allowed to become catechumens unless they repent from these lifestyles and professions (cf. Ap. Trad. 52-64).  Furthermore, several liturgies specify that those who have lapsed back into sin, particularly sin that harms those within the Church, are restricted from partaking of the Eucharist until they repent (cf. Did. 10, 14; Jus. 1Apol. 65, 66).

B. The need of humanity for redemption and grace:  As a result, the need of humans for God to save, deliver, and empower humanity is strongly affirmed.  The anaphora of Addai and Mari paints a comprehensive picture of humanity's need for grace and redemption when it states that we are God's "servants, weak, feeble and frail" who stand in constant need of, and praise for, "the measureless grace that [God] has done us for which we cannot repay".  

C. The nature of redeemed humanity: When humans are redeemed and brought into fellowship with God, always through an interior personal faith combined with exterior participation in the Church and her rituals, the human nature is radically transformed.  Those who have been redeemed, baptized, and participate in the Eucharist have the "Holy Name" of the Father dwelling in their hearts, as well as divine knowledge and faith made known within them, thereby representing an interior regeneration wrought by God (Did. 10).  This Name of the Father, which is also that of the Son and the Spirit, is pronounced over them by the baptizing official (Jus. 1Apol. 61).  As a result, those baptized and regenerated become "holy and spiritual... no longer flesh and blood... able to adore... the eternal Father, through Jesus Christ, in Holy Spirit" (Ser. Euch.).  By participating in the rites of the Church, accompanied always by faith in Christ, "his word changes the bitterness of our hearts to gentleness" and "the inward man who is spiritual may receive the same effect as the body [which is salvation and healing]" (Ap. Trad. 43-47).  Once redeemed by the suffering of Christ and believing in the Father on His behalf, they are made a "holy people" (Ap. Trad. 43-47).  Instead of the living dead, they become "living men" filled with the "Spirit of light" (Ser. Euch.).  Addai and Mari's anaphora affirms that the "frailty of our feeble nature" has been "restored", "raised up", and forgiven through the "abundant mercies" of Christ's help and grace.  As a result, we have "open mouths and faces uncovered" and can "offer praise and glory, blessing and adoration to thy living, holy and life-giving name".  Finally, it is only "according to [God's] grace" that we are able to keep God's commandments (Ser. Euch.).

5.7. The liturgy, the nature of the Church and her mission

A. The nature and identity of the Church: The Church is seen as a world-wide, ecumenical community joined by baptism, Eucharist, and faith in God, which is spread to "the ends of the earth" (Did. 9).  The language of Didache speaking of the Church as scattered like bread over all the world is taken up by Serapion, who gives it a distinctively universal cast, by saying that the Holy Church is "from every people, from every land, from every town, village and house" making "one living and catholic [i.e. universal] Church".  We are "one flock" of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  The Church is seen as an extended family, a community of peace, which was intimate enough (and forgiving enough) to make the "kiss of peace" a weekly ritual in its worship (Jus. 1Apol. 65; Ap. Trad. 37-41; Cyr. Mys.; Ap. Con.).  This peace within the Church among its members is predicated on regular, habitual, forgiveness of one another (Did. 14).

The Church is identified with each of the members of the triune God.  First, it is the community that worships and thanks the Father.  Second, The anaphora of Addai and Mari identify the Church as those "redeemed with the precious blood of thy Christ".  Third, in the Baptismal creed the Church is identified as a "Holy Church" explicitly in connection with the "Holy Spirit" (Ap. Trad. 37-41).  

Over time, the Church seems to grow more and more hierarchical.  The Didache bears witness to not only elders presiding over the Church's liturgy, but also itinerant prophets.  By the time of Justin Martyr, there is a definite "president" or "presider" over the Church's worship, but the laity still had an important voice in their prayers and great "Amen" (cf. Jus. 1Apol. 65, 67; cf. Ap. Trad. 43-47).  By the time of the later liturgies of the 4th and 5th century, the clergy (including bishops, priests, and deacons) were almost the sole voice heard in the Eucharistic liturgy.  The preparation for Baptism, however, maintained a strong element of lay participation throughout the early Church.

B. The mission of the Church in initiation: Both those coming to the Church to be a member of Christ, as well as those overseeing Christian initiation, had definite responsibilities as part of the Church's mission to "make disciples of all nations".  As early as 70 AD, those being baptized were to prepare themselves by means of a one or two day fast (Did. 7; Jus. 1Apol. 61; Ap. Trad. 52-64).  By the third century, an all night prayer and Scripture reading vigil was added (Ap. Trad. 52-64).  Before baptism, the initiates are "taught in prayer and fasting to ask God to forgive their past sins", while their baptismal sponsors pray and fast with them (Jus. 1Apol. 61).  This later became a period of instruction (Greek "catechesis"), in which those who wished to become Christians were enrolled as learners (Greek "catechumens").  This period of time could be as short as Lent, or as long as three years, depending on the rule of the bishop and the progress of the catechumen (cf. Ap. Trad. 52-64).

Before allowed to receive baptism, the catechumens were required to give witness, by their lives, "whether they have lived devoutly during their catechumenate... [and] practiced all the other good works" (Ap. Trad. 52-64). This usually took the form of questioning by the clergy, and answers by the catechumen and his or her God-parent or sponsor.  After exorcism (or multiple exorcisms) the catechumens are expected to openly renounce Satan and all the ways of the world, while pledging allegiance to Christ and making a contract to follow Him, in return for salvation and protection (Ap. Trad; Ap. Con.; Cyr. Mys.).  Implicit in this process is a strong sense of mutual connectedness and accountability.  Becoming and Christian (and remaining one- see below) was not just a "me and Jesus" thing, but a profoundly "us and the Trinity" thing.  Catechumens were accountable to the clergy and their baptismal sponsors, and likewise, there was a strong responsibility on the part of the sponsors to be involved with the catechumens personally and nurture them in the faith.

Echoing themes of nurturing and growing the faith of others, children are to be baptized before everyone else.  Even very young children are allowed to be baptized, provided they have a parent or family member who can answer for them (Ap. Trad. 52-64).  Although there was wide-spread and well known support for infant baptism (cf. Cyprian's defense of the practice), it was by no means a settled practice among the early Churches (cf. Tertullian's opposition to it).  It seems that infant baptism did not become the norm until around the fifth century (Jones et al., 91-93).

C. The mission of the Church in worship: The life-giving meal of the Eucharist was clearly for the Church and for no-one else.  Only the baptized are allowed to partake of the Eucharist (Did. 9; Jus. 1Apol. 65, 66).  The earliest sources instruct Christians that "If any one is holy, let him come [to partake of the Eucharist]; If anyone is not, let him repent" (Did. 10; cf. Jus. 1Apol. 65).  Likewise, making amends within the Church was essential for the unity of the Body.  The Didache instructs Christians that "on the Lord's Day, after you have come together, break bread and offer the Eucharist, having first confessed your offenses, so that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one who has a quarrel with his neighbor join you until he is reconciled, lest your sacrifice be defiled" (Did. 14).  In fact, living "as Christ enjoined" is a pre-requisite for partaking of the Eucharist (Jus. 1Apol. 66).

Pliny, in his interrogations of Christians, seems to point to a type of two-stage worship of the early Christian community.  The first stage was a pre-dawn meeting in which the community hymned Christ as God and bound themselves to live morally by a holy oath or "sacramentum".  This meeting was dispersed, only to come together later to "take food of an ordinary and simple kind" (Plin. Ep. 10.96).  The meaning of this is unclear and may be a reference to Eucharist or the common Agape meal (Jones et al., 51-52). 

Early on the ritual of the Lord's Supper took the name "Eucharist" (literally thanksgiving), which means that the Christian community saw this meal primarily as a giving of thanks to God, or a "sacrifice" of thanksgiving and praise (Did. 9; cf. Heb. 13.15).  The ritual of the Eucharist is explicitly connected with offering a "pure" and "clean" sacrifice in the earliest sources (Did. 14; Ap. Trad. 52-64).  Often it is known merely as the "offering" or even "oblation" which the Church makes to God, through Christ, by the power of the Spirit (Ap. Trad. 43-47; Add. Mar. Ana.).  By the fourth century the meal is being called a "living sacrifice" and a "bloodless offering" (Ser. Euch.).  Essential to the proper offering of the Eucharist are the prayers and assent of the laity, not just the clergy (Jus. 1Apol. 65; Ap. Trad. 43-47).  Furthermore, so that the Church may give its hearty "amen" and participate in the offering, the bishop is to explain the meaning of the Eucharist "to those who receive communion" (Ap. Trad. 43-47).

D. The mission of the Church in the world: The mission of the Church in no way stops at the doors of the sanctuary, with initiation and worship, but is carried out into the world.  From the earliest times, the Christian community has seen it as their sacred duty, or "sacramentum", to live according to the moral prescriptions of the Biblical commandments in the world (Plin. Ep. 10.96).  After Eucharist is finished, each person who has receive "hastens to do good works, to please God and to live a good life... to devote himself to the Church, putting what he has been taught into practice and making progress in the service of God" (Ap. Trad. 43-47).  

Those baptized are expected, "according to [God's] grace", to keep the commandments, serve God at all times, keep firm his moral life and conduct, and no longer be slaves of evil (ser. Euch.).  In addition, those who receive the Eucharist have the responsibility to carry it to their brethren who, for whatever reason, were unable to partake (Jus. 1Apol. 65).  Justin tells the Emperor that "now that we have learned the truth, by our works also to be found good citizens and keepers of the commandments" (Jus. 1Apol. 65), and that "the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied" (Jus. 1Apol. 67).  This mission of social justice, compassion, and witness outside the Church was clearly just as important as the mission of initiation and worship inside the Church.  In fact, as shown above, the ability to partake of the means of grace within the Church depended in large part on one's commitment to share that grace outside the Church with others, by living "as Christ enjoined" (Jus. 1Apol. 66).

5.8. The liturgy, the Church, and her sacraments as means of grace and salvation

A. The Church as a saving entity: While there are no explicit statements of the Church as a saving entity in the liturgy, such as Cyprian's maxim "no one can have God as a Father, who does not have the Church as His mother", or "no salvation outside the Church", nevertheless, the liturgy implicitly paints the Church as the only place where salvation is found.  Both baptism and Eucharist conferred the salvific grace of Christ's sacrifice.  Yet, baptism and Eucharist are found only in one place: the Church.  Thus, the Church is the vehicle for salvation, outside of which there seems to be none.  Note that the Church and sacraments as means of grace were not merely magical.  The liturgies always presuppose partaking the sacraments by faith, for the ancient Church seems to have no concept of a bare faith without participation in the sacraments, nor participation in the sacraments without faith (see below).

B. Baptism and initiation as a saving event: Baptism is seen as a means of "regeneration" through Christ (literally being "born again", Greek palingenesia) as they are washed with baptismal water (Jus. 1Apol. 61; cf. Tit. 3.5).  "In the water" initiates obtain "the remission of sins formerly committed".  The Baptismal event (and possibly some form of anointing) is called "illumination" because now the initiates are "illuminated in their understandings"  (Jus. 1Apol. 61).  The baptism, accompanied by laying on of hands and anointing with oil, "merits" the remission of sins, regeneration, and the infilling of the Holy Spirit (Ap. Trad. 37-41).  Those who participate in Baptism are "transfigured", "regenerated", "saved" and "judged worthy of [God's] Kingdom".  The water is "sanctified" by God and made able to render those entering into it "holy and spiritual... no longer... flesh and blood", who are now "able to adore... the eternal Father" (Ser. Euch.).

C. The Eucharist as a saving and life-giving meal: Early on the Eucharistic meal is seen as "food and drink that gives eternal life, through Jesus" (Did. 10).  By the time of Justin, the consecrated elements of bread and wine were deemed "Eucharistii", or "that which has been made a thanksgiving".  It is no longer "common food and common drink", but is "the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh", made so by a process of "transmutation" (Jus. 1Apol. 66).  The Eucharist is called "the flesh of Christ" by which those who receive are "nourished like little children, for the sweetness of his word changes the bitterness of our hearts to gentleness".  The water mixed with wine is "the offering to signify purification, so that the inward man who is spiritual may receive the same effect as the body" (Ap. Trad. 43-47).  The Eucharistic meal is also referred to as "communion", presumably with Jesus Christ, although it ma also refer to the communion of God's people as well (Ap. Trad. 43-47).  The Eucharistic meal, as long as it received in faith, is able to keep someone from suffering any harm, even after being given "deadly poison" (Ap. Trad. 43-47).  Serapion affirms that the sacrifice of the Eucharist is filled with the "power and participation" of God, and is able to "reconcile al of us".  All who "communicate" the elements "may receive a life-giving remedy, which may heal every infirmity in them, [and] which may strengthen them for all progress and virtue" (Ser. Euch.).  Thus, the Eucharist not only effects an external change and healing in the physical body, but also an interior transformation for those who partake it in faith.

D. An implicit sacramental consciousness: The extant liturgies seem to give a strong indicator of a definite sacramental consciousness, in which God uses created things to convey His presence and power to those who believe.  Conversely, things in creation may also be used by dark spiritual forces as well and transmit their diabolic influence.  That is why common things, such as bread, wine, water, and oil, are consecrated to God by prayer that they might become instruments used by the Holy Spirit to convey grace and Christ's presence.

5.9. The liturgy, human destiny, and cosmic consummation

A. The ever-present reality of life after death and the communion of saints: From Serapion on, there is a movement within the liturgy to remember and pray for, not only the souls of the living and all their manifold needs, but also for the departed as well (Cyr. Mys.; cf. John Chrysostum and Theodore of Mopuestia).  Indeed, the Church lives "in the expectation of the hope of heavenly life and of the eternal promises of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ" (Ser. Euch.).  As a result, Serapion (and many, many others after Him) are led to pray: "Sanctify these [departed] souls, for you know them all.  Sanctify all those who have fallen asleep in the Lord.  Number them all with your holy Powers. give them a place and a dwelling in your Kingdom" (Ser. Euch.).

B. The reality of a future return of Christ, and future judgment: The early Baptismal Creed affirms that Jesus Christ "will come to judge the living and the dead", and that there will be a "resurrection of the flesh" (Ap. Trad. 52-64).  In addition, Addai and Mari affirm that in the celebration of the Eucharist, by the work of the Holy Spirit, we "procure... the great hope of the resurrection of the dead... and the new life in the kingdom of heaven".  

C. The consummation of the future Kingdom: The Didache affirms that "[a]s this broken bread was scattered over the mountain tops and after being harvested was made one, so let your Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom" (Did. 9).  In the final consummation, God is expected to "gather [the Church] from the four winds, sanctified for [His] kingdom which [He has] prepared for it" and to have "grace come" while "this world (kosmos)" passes away (Did. 10).  This resurrection and ingathering as God's people is our "great hope" which is sustained and nourished in the weekly celebration of the heavenly feast in the Eucharist (Add. Mar. Ana.).

6. Conclusion: Liturgy and the Trinitarian worldview

While many questions and problems may remain, such as the specific definitions of the nature and roles of the Trinity and Christ which arose in the Ecumenical Councils, or the issues of grace versus works in the sacramental economy that would arise 12 centuries later in the Reformation, it is clear that the early Church had a solidly Trinitarian worldview in which the grace of the Triune God was poured out from the Father, through Jesus Christ, by the Spirit's working, into the Church, to transform humanity and all of creation.  The consensus of liturgical texts clearly indicates a rich, if often implicit, worldview in which the Trinity is clearly at the center of everything.  Reality exists on multiple planes, or dimensions, in which the spiritual worlds and physical worlds interact with each other in mutual interdependence.  The entire created order seems to have one of two orientations: either toward the triune God or away from Him.  Those oriented away from the triune God wander in perpetual darkness, harassed by dark spiritual forces.  Those oriented toward come into fellowship with God the Father through the person of the Son, by the enabling of the Holy Spirit.  This Holy Spirit has knit together a community of people in and through whom Christ is worshipped and known.  This community is unified and empowered by the Spirit, and made worthy to be in fellowship with the Father through the salvific actions of Jesus Christ, specifically in His death and resurrection.  The specific means of grace through which the Spirit is given and Christ is encountered is found in the community celebration of baptism, chrismation, and Eucharist.  Those in this community are protected from the spiritual darkness around them, guarded and guided by angels, and enabled to be truly alive and filled with the Spirit.  This Triune worldview is the Law of belief that drove the Law of prayer in the early Church.

7. Works Cited

Translations of Various Liturgies

Ambrose, Saint. On the Sacraments in Theological and Dogmatic Works. Vol. 44 of THE FATHERS OF THE CHURCH. Translated by Roy J. Defarrari. Washington: The Catholic University of America Press, 1963.

Anaphora of Addai and Mari. Deiss, Lucien., ed. EARLY SOURCES OF THE LITURGY. Translated by Benet Weatherhead. London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1967.

Anaphora of St. Basil. Hamman, Adalbert., ed. THE MASS: ANCIENT LITURGIES AND PATRISTIC TEXTS. Translated by Thomas Halton. Staten Island: Alba House, 1967.

Anaphora of St. John Chrysostom. Hamman, Adalbert., ed. THE MASS: ANCIENT LITURGIES AND PATRISTIC TEXTS. Translated by Thomas Halton. Staten Island: Alba House, 1967.

Apostolic Constitutions: Liturgical documents. Deiss, Lucien., ed. EARLY SOURCES OF THE LITURGY. Translated by Benet Weatherhead. London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1967.

Apostolic Tradition: Liturgical documents. Deiss, Lucien., ed. EARLY SOURCES OF THE LITURGY. Translated by Benet Weatherhead. London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1967.

Baptismal Homilies of Theodore Mopsuestia. Translated by Edward Yarnold, THE AWE-INSPIRING RITES OF INITIATION. Slough: St. Paul Publications, 1971.

Cyril of Jerusalem, Saint. Mystagogical Lectures in THE WORKS OF SAINT CYRIL OF JERUSALEM. Vol. 2., Vol. 64 of The Fathers of the Church. Translated by Leo P. McCauley and Anthony A. Stephenson. Washington: The Catholic University of America Press. 1970.

Didache, in The Apostolic Fathers. Vol. 1 of THE FATHERS OF THE CHURCH. Translated by Francis X. Glimm, Joseph M.-F. Marique, Gerald G. Walsh. New York: CIMA Publishing Company, 1947.

Divine Liturgy of Saint James.  Roberts, Alexander and Donaldson, James, eds.  EARLY CHRISTIAN LITURGIES OF THE ANTE-NICENE PERIOD.  Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2001.

Divine Liturgy of the Evangelist Mark.  Roberts, Alexander and Donaldson, James, eds.  EARLY CHRISTIAN LITURGIES OF THE ANTE-NICENE PERIOD.  Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2001.

Euchologion of Serapion. Deiss, Lucien., ed. EARLY SOURCES OF THE LITURGY. Translated by Benet Weatherhead. London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1967.

John Chrysostom. Second Instruction in Baptismal Instructions. Vol. 31 of ANCIENT CHRISTIAN WRITERS. Translated and edited by Paul W. Harkins. Westminster: The Newman Press, 1963.

Justin Martyr. FIRST APOLOGY IN SAINT JUSTIN MARTYR. Vol. 6 of Fathers of the Church. Translated by Thomas B. Falls. New York: Christian Heritage, Inc., 1948.

Roman Canon. Vagaggini, Cipriano. THE CANON OF THE MASS AND LITURGICAL REFORM. Translation editor, Peter Coughlan. Staten Island: Alba House, 1967.

Secondary Sources cited and consulted

Begley, John J. ed. The Welcoming Church: Christian Initiation, A Handbook Of Liturgical And Patristic Sources. Scranton, PA: University of Scranton Press. 2000.

Cross, F. L. and Livingstone, E. A. eds.  The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church.  New York: Oxford University Press.  1997.

Douglas, J.D., and Cairns, Earle E. eds. New International Dictionary of the Christian Church (Electronic Ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.  2002.

Homes, Michael W. ed. The Apostolic Fathers: Greek texts and English Translations of their Writings. Second Edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.  1992.

Jones, Cheslyn; Wainwright, Geoffrey, and Yarnold, Edward. eds. The Study of Liturgy.  New York: Oxford University Press.  1978.

Kelly, J.N.D.  Early Christian Doctrines. Second Edition.  New York: Harper & Row Publishers.  1960.

Marshall, Bruce D.  Trinity and Truth.  Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.  2002.

McGrath, Alister E.  Christian Theology. Second Edition.  Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers. 1994.

Wainwright, Geoffrey.  Doxology: The Praise of God in Worship, Doctrine, and Life.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.

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This is a bunch of stuff to make us think hard about our incredible love affair with the God of the universe, our astounding infidelities against him, and his incredible grace to heal and restore us through Christ. Everything on this site is copyright © 1996-2015 by Nathan L. Bostian so if you use it, cite me... otherwise you break the 8th commandment, and make God unhappy. You can contact the author by posting a comment.