The Celebration of the Lord’s Supper
No one may share in the Eucharist except those who believe in the truth
of our teachings and have been washed in the bath which confers forgiveness
of sins and rebirth, and who live according to Christ’s commands.
A reading from the first apology of Justin Martyr
in defense of the Christians, c. 100-165
For we do not receive this food as ordinary bread and as ordinary drink;
but just as Jesus Christ our Savior became flesh through the word of God,
and assumed flesh and blood for our salvation, so too we are taught that
over which the prayer of thanksgiving, the word received from Christ,
has been said, the food which nourishes our flesh and blood by assimilation,
is the flesh and blood of this Jesus who became flesh.
The apostles in their memoirs, which are called gospels, recorded that
Jesus left them these instructions: he took bread, pronounced the prayer
of thanksgiving, and said: “Do this in memorial of me. This is my
body”. In the same way he took the cup, pronounced the prayer of
thanksgiving, and said; “This is my blood”, and shared it among them and
no one else. From that time on we have always continued to remind
one another of this. Those of us who are well provided help out any
who are in need, and we meet together continually. Over all our offerings
we give thanks to the Creator of all through his Son Jesus Christ and the
On Sundays there is an assembly of all who live in towns or in the country,
and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read
for as long as time allows.
Then the reading is brought to an end, and the president delivers an
address in which he admonishes and encourages us to imitate in our own
lives the beautiful lessons we have heard read.
Then we all stand up together and pray. When we have finished
the prayer, as I have said, bread and wine and water are brought up; the
president offers prayers and thanksgiving as best he can, and the people
say “Amen” as an
expression of their agreement. Then follows the distribution
of the food over which the prayer of thanksgiving has been recited; all
present receive some of it, and the deacons carry some to those who are
Those who are well provided for, if they wish to do so, contribute what
each thinks fit; this is collected and left with the president, so that
he can help the orphans and the widows and the sick, and all who are in
need for any other
reason, such as prisoners and visitors from abroad; in short he provides
for all who are in want.
So on Sunday we all come together. This is the first day, on which
God transformed darkness and matter and made the world; the day on which
Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead. For on the day before
Saturday he was crucified, and on the day after Saturday, that is the Sunday,
he appeared to his apostles and disciples and taught them the truths which
we have put before you for your consideration.