Dix, Gregory. The Shape of the Liturgy. 2nd ed. London:Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005 (republished from 1945 original edition).
Chapter 13, “The Completion of the Shape of the Liturgy” pp. 3434-526.
Dix remind us that the two parts of the worship were distinct and could be celebrated independently. The synaxis, roughly the “service of the word”, and the eucharist each had a clear structure (Dix 2005, 434). The two fused together as a great segment of the population became communicants (Dix 2005, 436). This became common between 450 and 500 (Dix 2005, 439). The synaxis gradually took on a more elaborate introduction, in the East, following one of three basic forms, discussed by Dix in turn (Dix 2005, 444ff). The Western one from Rome, documented by the sixth century, is fairly familiar throughout the West (Dix 2005, 452), and appears in similar forms, though not identical, all through Europe. All the liturgies had some sort of introduction, a psalm, normally a Kyrie and a Gloria, and a prayer before the readings (Dix 2005, 469). During the fourth century, as other elements increased, the readings became three by custom, as we have them today in most Western liturgies (Dix 2005, 470). After a sermon the liturgies mostly have specific prayers (Dix 2005, 472). As the synaxis and the eucharist joined there remained a prayer which had been used at the start of the stand-alone eucharist (Dix 2005, 473). Dix discusses the development of a veil or screen for the eucharist, dating from the 4th-5th centuries as the “laos”, meaning the noble people of God, was devalued and divided from the priesthood. At this time the people were separated from the sacred things (Dix 2005, 480). The consecrated elements were then shown to the people whose role gradually became more that of spectator. The recitation of a creed, eventually the Nicene Creed, accompanied the eucharist as a confession of the common faith (Dix 2005, 486). A variable prayer followed in the Western rites (Dix 2005, 488). After the offering came prayers for various people and affairs (Dix 2005, 498). The eucharist proper followed (Dix 2005, 511). Dix traces the various forms of prayer and institution. By about 800 the form of the liturgy was complete and static (Dix 2005, 522).