Voöbus, Arthur. "Part 2: On the Rite of the Eucharist." "Chapter Two: Celebration of the Eucharist." Liturgical Traditions in the Didache. Stockholm: ETSE, 1968, 85-112.
In this chapter Voöbus reviews the Didache's description of the eucharist in detail. He considers the document "priceless" because it "is unique in granting us a more complete idea of the celebration of the Lord's Supper than any of the most ancient documents at our disposal" (Voöbus 1968, 85).
The material opens with a thanksgiving for the cup. While Voöbus would like to trace any materials from which this grew, he cannot identify any means to do so (Voöbus 1968, 86). He then moves on to a rubric and prayer pertaining to the loaf. The themes of "life and knowledge" may have been substituted for one theme, "resurrection." "Knowledge" is absent from the Apostolic Constitutions and may have been added to the Didache text later. While "resurrection" may have been present where "life" now appears is a matter of speculation, as "life" is represented both in the Didache and Apostolic Constitutions (Voöbus 1968, 86) The third prayer asks that God's people would be gathered together as the scatterd κλάσμα was gathered from fields (Voöbus 1968, 87). The term is surprising as it was not the typical description of bread, but rather as a fragment of a consecrated wafer used in liturgy (Voöbus 1968, 88). Further, it is rare in antiquity to refer to a gathering "into the kingdom" using the term βασιλεία. Voöbus considers this a challenging problem (Voöbus 1968, 89).
After the actual meal the liturgy concludes witha threefold prayer, each part ending with a doxology (Voöbus 1968, 90). Voöbus notes that a thanksgiving for knowledge may be an insertion, as it is not present in Apostolic Constitutions. There is some question whether the concept in the second petition should be that of God giving food to "man" or to "men" (Voöbus 1968, 91). This usage may reflect an Aramaic background. It is not plural in the Coptic fragment. The third petition is not strongly parallel with the first two. Voöbus finds a similarity to Greek liturgies but does not htink they influenced this prayer. He thinks, rather, the idea is of an older origin (Voöbus 1968, 92). The extent of an explanation he gives is a reference to Peterson, Probleme der Didache-überlieferung, p. 172.
Again, Voöbus notes a distinction between use of the word βασιλεία as opposed to ἐκκλησία in prayers for the church (Voöbus 1968, 93). He considers it a matter of later adjustment to the text.
The eucharistic liturgy in the Didache has a number of details which Voöbus considers important. First is the absence of any Words of Institution (Voöbus 1968, 94). He considers this an indicator of a very early form of liturgy. A second feature Voöbus notes is the centrality of the bread in the liturgy (Voöbus 1968, 95). Third, the ritual begins with the cup. This is not the pattern normally found in antiquity, which begins with the bread. The order in the Didache suggests a period during which there may have been variation in the order. Fourth, the lack of a consecration formula is noteworthy (Voöbus 1968, 96). Voöbus does not necessarily consider this a problem. In his evaluation, the prayers of the epiclesis indicate something central to the eucharist - the presence of Jesus (Voöbus 1968, 97-99). This may be an answer to the practice he sees prevalent of reading significance of a later liturgical development back into an earlier period.
The eucharistic celebration can be identified through the text of the Didache. Voöbus finds in the text a prayer of invocation, one over the cup, and a larger prayer over the loaf (Voöbus 1968, 100). Voöbus observes that in some Jewish meal traditions the bread is mostly distributed but some is set aside for later. This would allow for a scenario in which the bread comes before the cup. The meal is described as satisfying. Voöbus maintains that we can easily conceive of a eucharistic celebration within the confines of a fellowship meal (Voöbus 1968, 101).
There may be evidence in the prayers of a liturgy including congregational response. The three prayers contain doxologies which Voöbus considers may represent a congregational respons (Voöbus 1968, 102). Based on practices which are later described we can expect the prayers and responses may well be rather a thumbnail sketch of what actually happened, includign the possibility of hymnody, chanted Psalms, etc. (Voöbus 1968, 103). The variation of wording among the Greek and Coptic record, as well as variations in the Latin of Apostolic Constitutions suggests some latitude in the understood practice (Voöbus 1968, 104).
Voöbus finds the requirement of holiness for participation to be striking (Voöbus 1968, 106). If one should depart from holiness, that holiness is restored through repentance. Voöbus takes this to be a factor of the unified nature of the church. The people have been called into unity. If that unity is broken it is a problem for the entire community (Voöbus 1968, 107). Within an understanding of a unified Christian community, the concept of "sacrifice" is applied to both the eucharist and to the overall sacrifice for sins. Damaging the purity which is present in the sacrificial life is tantamount to harming the whole body (Voöbus 1968, 108). Confession and purification restores the unity of the community. This explains the concept of holiness being placed parallel to confession of sins, also a prerequisite for participation in the eucharist (Voöbus 1968, 109).
We are given little information abotu the actual administration of the Eucharist. The most clear rule is that prophets could pray however they wanted (Voöbus 1968, 110). Bishops, however, were togoven the liturgy, though Voöbus considers this to still have an element of congregational preference (Voöbus 1968, 111). The eucharist is on the Lord's day, but possibly on other occasions as well. All in all, the directions are not terribly specific.