Skip to comments.Justin Martyr on Christian worship - (the earliest record of Christian worship)
Posted on 01/07/2007 3:42:05 AM PST by NYer
I will also relate the manner in which we dedicated ourselves to God when we had been made new through Christ; lest, if we omit this, we seem to be unfair in the explanation we are making. As many as are persuaded and believe that what we teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly, are instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we praying and fasting with them. Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, "Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Now, that it is impossible for those who have once been born to enter into their mothers' wombs, is manifest to all. And how those who have sinned and repent shall escape their sins, is declared by Esaias the prophet, as I wrote above; he thus speaks: "Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from your souls; learn to do well; judge the fatherless, and plead for the widow: and come and let us reason together, saith the Lord. And though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white like wool; and though they be as crimson, I will make them white as snow. But if ye refuse and rebel, the sword shall devour you: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."
And for this rite we have learned from the apostles this reason. Since at our birth we were born without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together, and were brought up in bad habits and wicked training; in order that we may not remain the children of necessity and of ignorance, but may become the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again, and has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe; he who leads to the layer the person that is to be washed calling him by this name alone. For no one can utter the name of the ineffable God; and if any one dare to say that there is a name, he raves with a hopeless madness. And this washing is called illumination, because they who learn these things are illuminated in their understandings. And in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Ghost, who through the prophets foretold all things about Jesus, he who is illuminated is washed.
Its imitation by demons
And the devils, indeed, having heard this washing published by the prophet, instigated those who enter their temples, and are about to approach them with libations and burnt-offerings, also to sprinkle themselves; and they cause them also to wash themselves entirely, as they depart from the sacrifice, before they enter into the shrines in which their images are set. And the command, too, given by the priests to those who enter and worship in the temples, that they take off their shoes, the devils, learning what happened to the above-mentioned prophet Moses, have given in imitation of these things. For at that juncture, when Moses was ordered to go down into Egypt and lead out the people of the Israelites who were there, and while he was tending the flocks of his maternal uncle in the land of Arabia, our Christ conversed with him under the appearance of fire from a bush, and said, "Put off thy shoes, and draw near and hear." And he, when he had put off his shoes and drawn near, heard that he was to go down into Egypt and lead out the people of the Israelites there; and he received mighty power from Christ, who spoke to him in the appearance of fire, and went down and led out the people, having done great and marvellous things; which, if you desire to know, you will learn them accurately from his writings.
Baptism and the consecration of the Eucharist
But we, after we have thus washed him who has been convinced and has assented to our teaching, bring him to the place where those who are called brethren are assembled, in order that we may offer hearty prayers in common for ourselves and for the baptized illuminated person, and for all others in every place, that we may be counted worthy, now that we have learned the truth, by our works also to be found good citizens and keepers of the commandments, so that we may be saved with an everlasting salvation. Having ended the prayers, we salute one another with a kiss. There is then brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of wine mixed with water; and he taking them, gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and offers thanks at considerable length for our being counted worthy to receive these things at His hands. And when he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people present express their assent by saying Amen. This word Amen answers in the Hebrew language to genoito so be it. And when the president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced, and to those who are absent they carry away a portion.
And this food is called among us Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, "This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body;" and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, "This is My blood;" and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn.
Weekly worship of the Christians
And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost. And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); 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
(This is from chapters 61-67 of the First Apology of Justin Martyr. You can read the whole document here.)
Look and sound familiar :-)?
In your search through Justin Martyr's writings, did you find any statement of his that indicates that the apostle Peter was ever in Rome? How come he spends so much of his papyrus and ink writing about Simon Magus's 25 year episcopacy there in Rome and nothing about Peter?
In your search through Justin Martyr's writings, did you find any statement of his that indicates that the apostle Peter was ever in Rome?
Your question has no bearing on this topic. But since you raised it, other church Fathers have written about Peter in Rome.
"You [Pope Soter] have also, by your very admonition, brought together the planting that was made by Peter and Paul at Rome and at Corinth; for both of them alike planted in our Corinth and taught us; and both alike, teaching similarly in Italy, suffered martyrdom at the same time" (Epistle to Pope Soter of Rome [A.D. 166], in Eusebius, History of the Church 2:25:8).
"Matthew also issued among the Hebrews a written Gospel in their own language, while Peter and Paul were evangelizing in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church" (Against Heresies, 3:1:1 [A.D. 189]).
Then, too, so do ...
CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA
"The circumstances which occasioned . . . [the writing] of Mark were these: When Peter preached the Word publicly at Rome and declared the gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had been a long time his follower and who remembered his sayings, should write down what had been proclaimed" (Sketches [A.D. 190], in a fragment from Eusebius, History of the Church, 6:14:1).
"It is recorded that Paul was beheaded in Rome itself and Peter, likewise, was crucified, during the reign [of the Emperor Nero]. The account is confirmed by the names of Peter and Paul over the cemeteries there, which remain to the present time. And it is confirmed also by a stalwart man of the Church, Gaius by name, who lived in the time of Zephyrinus, bishop of Rome" (Disputation with Proclus [A.D. 198] in Eusebius, History of the Church 2:25:5).
"But if you are near Italy, you have Rome, where authority is at hand for us too. What a happy church that is, on which the apostles poured out their whole doctrine with their blood, where Peter had a passion like that of the Lord, where Paul was crowned with the death of John [the Baptist, by being beheaded]" (De Prescriptione 36 [A.D. 200]).
My apologies. I saw Justin Martyr's name in the title and thought this was about him and/or his writings. I was just curious as to how he explained the transubstantiation of the Eucharist there in Rome without reference to Peter, the keys, the 25 year episcopacy, the priesthood, etc.
In reading through the Scriptures, I find that the original Lord's Supper and subsequent communion gatherings of the church were more like pot lucks than what later became the Mass. The people ate supper together and then afterwards ate and drank the consecrated bread and wine. In Justin Martur's day in Rome, were they still more like pot lucks, I wonder?.
Go recheck Paul on those who take the body and blood unworthily.
In your search through Justin Martyr's writings, did you find any statement of his that indicates that the apostle Peter was ever in Rome? How come he spends so much of his papyrus and ink writing about Simon Magus's 25 year episcopacy there in Rome and nothing about Peter?Any answers for our friend Uncle Chip?
St. Justin Martyr is one of several Church Fathers. It is difficult not to identify his testimony with an early version of the Catholic Mass, the president or presider being a priest [presbyteros being the Greek root for our English word priest] as he speaks of the Eucharist about 155 A.D.:
For we do not receive these as common bread and common drink; but just as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have learned that the food over which thanks has been given by the prayer of the word which comes from him, [see 1 Cor 11: 23-26; Lk 22; 19] and by which are blood and flesh are nourished through a change, is the Flesh and Blood of the same incarnate Jesus.
Other Church Fathers also speak of the Eucharist. For example, St. Ignatius of Antioch may be considered an apostolic Father in the sense that he heard the Apostle John preach. About 110 A.D. he was sentenced to a martyr's death in the arena by the Emperor Trajan, who also put Pope Clement to death. On the almost 1000 mile journey to Rome from Antioch, Syria, the third largest city of the Empire, Ignatius wrote seven letters, which are his only surviving letters. They are addressed to Christian communities he presided over as bishop. He speaks of the Eucharistic mystery in mystical terms saying, "Therefore arm yourselves with gentleness, renew yourselves in faith, which is the Flesh of the Lord, and in charity, which is the Blood of Jesus Christ." His most famous passage says:
I am Gods grain, and I am being ground by the teeth of wild beasts in order that I may be found [to be] pure bread for Christ. My love has been crucified, and there is in me no fire of material love, but rather a living water, speaking in me and saying within me, Come to the Father. I take no pleasure in corruptible food or in the delights of this life. I want the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who is the seed of David; and for drink I want his Blood which is incorruptible love.
Like St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 10: 17, he saw the Eucharistic Body of our Lord as the unifying force in the Church. He wrote the Philadelphians:
Be careful to observe [only] one Eucharist; for there is only one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ and one cup of union with his Blood, one altar of sacrifice, as [there is] one bishop with the presbyters and my fellow-servants the deacons.
You still have not answered my question.
It's not in the Bible. History stopped when the last book was written.
You forgot ;)
protestant services are man made and they were created to supplant the Sacrifice of the Mass. Sadly, protestants do not have a Sacrificial Worship. It is, IOW, worship unacceptable to God.
Worship acceptable to God is the Worship Jesus Himself Commanded. His Last Supper/First Mass is the Pluperfect Sacrifice of the New Covenant and it is the Heavenly Banquet of the New Covenant
the 16th century revolutionaries rejected the Sacrifice of the Mass and substituted songs and sermons in its place.
Malchias 1 prophesied a perfect Sacrifice and Oblation - the prot revolutionaries falsified Holy Writ, excised Sacrifice and Oblation and substituted words congruent with their non-sacrificial ideology - and Jesus Commanded that Sacrificial Worship via the Eucharist continue until the end of time.
the prot revolutionaries thought Jesus was wrong in Commanding us to Worship God as He Commanded. He had to decrease. They had to increase
A the Lasst Supper, and in the Mass/Divine Liturgy, Jesus, as both priest and victim, offers Himself to God as an act of propitiation and we Redeemed Christians, gathered at the altar with the Ordained Priest, offer our lives - works, joys, sufferings etc - and our Sacrifice, matched with Jesus' PluPerfect Sacrifice is thereby made acceptable to God and innumerable Angels, gathered about the altar, take our Sacrifice to the Altar in Heaven.
meanwhile, on the other side of town...songs and a sermon
The Last Supper was a Passover meal, wasn't it? Not exactly 'bring whatever you feel like making'. More like a liturgical function with some pretty specific instructions by the Lord. (Eat the lamb.)
As to why what we have of Justin's writings don't deal with all the subjects we might be intereseted in? I guess we could speculate that not every single thing he wrote has been preserved, or he didn't feel the need to write about those subjects.
He's an interesting guy. His conversion story is interesting. And I think he's the earliest of the Church Fathers that is not a member of the clergy.
Do a study sometime of the difference between the Last Supper and the Catholic Mass, and then a between the Communion feasts of the early church and the Catholic Mass, and then ask yourself who is really doing "this", you know, the "this" that Jesus asked them to do.
To answer your question: As close to "this" as possible.
From the Last Supper/First Mass to the Mass I went to this morning it has all been the same Sacrifice.
Jesu sas both Priest and Victim offering Himself to God as an act of propitiation on our behalf.
When the Bible speaks about "breaking bread" that is the Mass.
The Didache teaches the same thing. Christian gathering on Sunday to offer the Sacrifice
Other than Scripture/Tradition/Church and MORE THAN TWENTY ONE UNINTERRUPTED CENTURIES OF ORTHOPRAXIS, we really don't have any evidence, I guess :)
Would you care to summarize for us the study you did?
The Mass is well framed in the last chapter of Luke:
"their hearts were burning in their breasts as He explained Scripture to them"....and they asked Him to "remain with them" and He answered their request and ... "they recognized Him in the breaking of the bread."
The two parts of the Mass are the reading and explanation of the Scriptures (the Old Testament and/or the Epistles, the Psalms, and the Gospel), followed by words of Consecration and the Breaking of the Bread.
We recognize Him in the "breaking of the Bread" and the reception of his Body, Blood , Soul and Divinty in the Eucharist. In this way, by Word and Sacrament, He fulfills our desire for Him to "remain with us."
And up to this day, He does so, at all hours around all the world.
The 16th century LUZR's, (Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and other Revolutionaries), dethroned Jesus and chased Him out of the Sanctuary.
Now, I have nothing against the progeny of the protestant progenitors. They are doing their level best to study Scripture and attend Sunday services and they try and follow Jesus.
However, not one in one million know the truth about the 16th century LUZR's.
Malachias 1 prophesies ...
For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts.
*But, the protestant revolutionaries falsified Scripture substituting incense for Sacrifice and pure offereing for oblation (and also heathen for gentile)
*It is clear they absolutely had no love for Scripture when it came to a Prophesy their ideology rejected. They simply falsified Scripture to cement their revolution which abandoned the Commands of Jesus vis a vis Worship.. Now, is there one in one hundred million well-intended protestant who knows this? NO. We must preach it to them.
We must preach this truth to them because they have been denied their birthright as Baptised Christians. As Baptised Christians, they ARE related,imperfectly, to the Church.
However, their worship is sans Sacrifice.
For Catholic and Orthodox, our Churches are permeated with the Odor of Sanctity because ours is not only the Worship Prophesied by Malachias, it is the Worship Malachias Prophesied and Perfected by Jesus and He Commanded His Apostles to Worship this way as The Way until the end of time.
At a Catholic Mass/Orthodox Divine Liturgy, it is the action of Jesus, as Priest, Victim, Meal, which is the focus and essence of Worship.
In a protestant service, it is solely the action of man - reading and commenting upon scripture and singing hymns and praising God. Now, there is nothing wrong with that. HOWEVER, there IS something wrong in that Our Lord and Saviour has been excised from the exercise. Protestants tells us the works of man are bloody rags. By their own words they are condemned. Their service is solely about the work of man (bloody rags)as the protestant progenitors jettisoned the Sacrifice, Priesthood, Eucharist and rejected Apostolic Succession, Eucharist, Mass etc.
What IS acceptable to God as Worship? Bloody Rags or the PluPerfect Sacrifice of the New Covenant?
They need to hear the truth. And I will preach it to them
June 1, 2007
Justin never ended his quest for religious truth even when he converted to Christianity after years of studying various pagan philosophies.
As a young man, he was principally attracted to the school of Plato. However, he found that the Christian religion answered the great questions about life and existence better than the philosophers.
Upon his conversion he continued to wear the philosopher's mantle, and became the first Christian philosopher. He combined the Christian religion with the best elements in Greek philosophy. In his view, philosophy was a pedagogue of Christ, an educator that was to lead one to Christ.
Justin is known as an apologist, one who defends in writing the Christian religion against the attacks and misunderstandings of the pagans. Two of his so-called apologies have come down to us; they are addressed to the Roman emperor and to the Senate.
For his staunch adherence to the Christian religion, Justin was beheaded in Rome in 165.