Diversity in Early Christian Eucharist


Jeon, Chang Hee

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The primary source for Christian worship in any period is people and the worship community itself. Therefore, if we agree to regard early Christianity as a primary liturgical community in relation to forming Christian worship, it is meaningful work to research the early christian church worship. In fact, Christianity experienced huge changes in every field of Christian worship for five hundred years after the New Testament period. During this period, many practices of Christian worship and liturgy developed with detailed structures, preserving the essential elements in the New Testament. Scholars call this period early Christianity. During this period, Christianity had been changed from the object of persecution to the official religion of the empire and spread rapidly to all areas of the Roman Empire and even beyond the territory of the Empire, encountering different cultures. The diverse and distinctive forms of worship and liturgy developed with their own cultural characteristics in all areas where Christianity spread. In fact, cultural factors is very important in understanding Christian worship. Diversity is actually nothing new in Christian worship. Early Christianity shows the abundant information for liturgical diversity. A wide variety of peoples of different cultures developed “distinctive forms of worship, contributing their own cultural characteristics, yet preserving an essential unity.” Especially, This article examines how form of worship and liturgy developed distinctively in various areas, focusing on the Eucharist. Scholars agree with the statement that “Diversity characterized Protestant worship from the start.” Like in the early Christianity, in many contemporary churches, the liturgical laissez-faire is still tried with their own cultural characteristics in places where they are. In addition, it might be show us that harmony between unity and diversity of the early Christianity in worship and liturgy are valuable teachings that the early church gives us today.


I. Introduction
 II. The Spread of Christianity and the Diverse cultures until the Third Century
 III. Diversity and Unity After the Fourth Century
 IV. Conclusion


  • Jeon, Chang Hee Hyup-Sung University


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