JustinMartyrand the Eucharist-VicarDoug
From the First Apology in Defense of the Christians
By Justin, Martyr

No one may share the Eucharist with us unless he believes that what teach is true, unless he is washed in the regenerating waters of baptism for the forgiveness of his sins, and unless he lives according to the principles that Christ gave us.

We do not eat the Eucharistic bread and wine as if it were ordinary food and drink, for we have been taught that as Jesus Christ our Savior became a man of flesh and blood by the power of the Word of God, so also the food that our flesh and blood takes for its nourishment becomes the flesh and blood of Jesus by the power of his own words contained in the prayer of thanksgiving.

The apostles, in their stories, 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 each other of these things.  The rich among us help the poor and we are always united.  For all that we receive we praise the Creator of the universe through his Son Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.

On Sunday, we have a common assembly of all our members, whether they live in the city or in the country.  The stories of the apostles or the writing of the prophets are read, as long as there is time.  When the reader has finished, the president of the assembly speaks to us; he urges everyone to imitate the examples we have heard in the readings.  Then we all stand up together and pray.

At the end of our prayer, bread and wine and water are brought forward.  The president offers prayers and gives thanks to the best of his ability, and the people agree by saying, Amen.  The Eucharist is distributed, everyone present eats and Eucharist 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.  The collection is taken care of by the president, who uses it to help the orphans and widows and all who for any reason are having problems, whether because they are sick, in prison, or away from home.  In a word, the president takes care of all who are in need.

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, and because on that same day our Savior Jesus Christ rose from the dead.  For he was crucified on Friday and on Sunday he appeared to his apostles and disciples and taught them the things that were passed on for our consideration.