Jesus, A.D. 30
“This is My body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me. . . . This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.” (Lk 22;19-21).
St. Paul, A.D. 51
“As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:26-27).
The Didache, A.D. 48 (?)
“On the Lord’s own day, gather together and break bread and give thanks, first confessing your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure . . . for this is the sacrifice that was spoken of by the Lord.”
St. Ignatius of Antioch, A.D. 107
“Have but one faith, one preaching and one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ; and His blood which was shed for us is one; one loaf also is broken for all, and one cup is distributed among them all. There is but one altar for the whole Church, and one bishop, with the priests and deacons, my fellow-servants.”
Pliny the Younger (a pagan Roman governor), A.D. 111
[The Christians] “were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath [in Latin, sacramentum]. . . . When this was over, it was their custom to depart and to assemble again to partake of food — but ordinary and innocent food.”
St. Justin Martyr, A.D. 150
“On the day we call the day of the sun, all . . . gather in the same place. The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read, as much as time permits. When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things. Then we all rise together and offer prayers for ourselves . . . and for all others, wherever they may be, so that we may be found righteous by our life and actions, and faithful to the commandments, so as to obtain eternal salvation. When the prayers are concluded we exchange the kiss. Then someone brings bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to him who presides over the brethren. He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and for a considerable time he gives thanks that we have been judged worthy of these gifts. When he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all present give voice to an acclamation by saying: ‘Amen.’ When he who presides has given thanks and the people have responded, those whom we call deacons give to those present the ‘eucharisted’ bread, wine and water and take them to those who are absent.”