Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes in One). Amazon Kindle Edition, 2014.
Volume 2, Ante-Nicene Christianity A.D. 100-325, “Chapter 5. Christian Worship” (Includes an introduction and sections 59-74).
§68. Celebration of the Eucharist.
The Eucharist and its prayers were early considered the high point of Christian worship (Schaff 2014, Loc. 15243). Schaff records the account of Justin Martyr of the rite. His observation is, “We are not warranted in carrying back to this period the full liturgical service, which we find prevailing with striking uniformity in essentials, though with many variations in minor points, in all quarters of the church in the Nicene age. A certain simplicity and freedom characterized the period before us” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 15257). Schaff does acknowledge the “pseudo-Apostolical Constitutions” but dates the current form in the fourth century. He considers the Didache to be too scanty in detail. However, the communion was celebrated weekly or even daily (Schaff 2014, Loc. 15264). There was a sharing of peace, a reception of an offering, and prayers of invocation and thanksgiving (Schaff 2014, Loc. 15277). Schaff notes some variations in the prayers. Bread and wine were used, with the bread being placed in the hands of the communicants (Schaff 2014, Loc. 15283). Afterward, deacons carried elements to those sick or imprisoned. Schaff notes also the practice of taking some consecrated bread home for daily use in family prayers (Schaff 2014, Loc. 15290). A “love feast” was found in conjunction with communion but was later separated from it (Schaff 2014, Loc. 15297).