Mazza, Enrico. "Chapter Eight: The Early Patristic Period." The Celebration of the Eucharist: The Origin of the Rite and the Development of Its Interpretation. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press/Pueblo, 1999, 93-115
Mazza begins his survey of early patristic authors with Ignatius of Antioch, who mentions the eucharist only in passing (Mazza 1999, 93). When he does mention it, he insists, in contrast to the Docetists, that it is a real body, and in discussing unity of Christians, that the eucharist brings unity. Ignatius is much more focused on the role of the Christian bearing Christ in himself, particularly in terms of Christ's passion (Mazza 1999, 94-95). This life does include the sacramental celebrations as a matter of course. Mazza takes the monarchical view of the bishop, who is central to the eucharistic celebration, to be a development since the time of the Didache, also likely of Antiochian origin (Mazza 1999, 96).
Mazza describes the "sacramental" nature of the bishop and his actions as Ignatius seems to conceive it (Mazza 1999, 98ff). From a typological point of view, God in Christ is the true and invisible bishop, serving as a type. The bishop of presbyter is an antitype, fulfilling what God has given.
Mazza moves on to walk through Ignatius' letters exploring individual eucharistic elements. First, he finds it as a regular occurrence and that there is an expectation that all communicants will be present every time (Mazza 1999, 100). The prayers are participated in by all, sung together, as all partake of unity in Christ (Mazza 1999, 101). This reflects the unity of God in Christ. Ignatius describes the unity of the body of Christ, the liturgy, the actions, and the elements in terms of the unity of the Godhead (Mazza 1999, 102).
Mazza finds no example of the specific Thanksgiving in Ignatius. There is, however, some suggestion, both in his letter to the Romans and in the later Martyrdom of Polycarp describing martyrdom as sacrifice and martyrs as bread (Mazza 1999, 103). Polycarp's prayer at his martyrdom is patterned on part of the Thanksgiving in the paleoanaphora. This suggests a relatively fixed liturgical pattern (Mazza 1999, 104). Ignatius' allusions to elements of the eucharist suggest he is also familiar with a traditional eucharistic liturgy (Mazza 1999, 105). He clearly understands the bread as Christ's body and the wine as Christ's blood. He refers to the eucharist as "medicine of immortality" and a "remedy" against death (Mazza 1999, 106).
Justin Martyr describes the eucharist as well, in two forms, one as a regular Sunday celebration and the other, celebrated after a baptism (Mazza 1999, 107). Because Justin is writing to an emperor, we assume his report is intended to be official and definitive (Mazza 1999, 107). Mazza summarizes Justin's description in brief. The assembled Christians gather, the elements are prayed over, and then eaten and drunk as the body and blood of Christ (Mazza 1999, 108). The remaining elements may be taken to those who could not attend. The process is essentially the same after a baptism and in the weekly celebration on Sunday. There is a prayer of thanksgiving, along with other prayers. These are not described in detail by Justin, but it is clear that the celebration is related to the passion of Christ (Mazza 1999, 109). The practice was handed down to the time of Christ by the apostles and other leaders (Mazza 1999, 110).
Mazza finally reviews three passages from Irenaeus' Against Heresies (Mazza 1999, 111). The texts are strongly parallel and, taken together, provide us with a doctrine very like that of Justin. "The bread and wine become Eucharist, that is, the Body and Blood of Christ" (Mazza 1999, 112). The "Word of God" is a participant in the consecration. Irenaeus uses the phrase to indicate a word of prayer which comes from God. Tertullian describes this as a prayer taught by Jesus (Mazza 1999, 113).
Mazza concludes that the prayer has an effect on the bread and the wine, making them a eucharist of body and blood (Mazza 1999, 114). The meal is seen typologically and serves as a fulfillment of the work of Christ (Mazza 1999, 115).