Origin and Development of the Christian Liturgy According to Cultural Epochs Volume One

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These books on the origin and development of the Christian liturgy are the result of the author’s teaching the subject to university students. It is not an original work, but rather a collection, compendium and thesaurus of historical, and especially liturgical, data through the centuries, with names, dates, and an ample bibliography. This publication is a significant contribution to the liturgical literature, since no book of the history of liturgy exists in the English language.

The history of the liturgy is divided according to cultural epochs. If liturgy is the communal manifestation of religious encounter between God and his people, then this manifestation would be influenced in each age according to certain cultural patterns. The books do not provide the liturgical data in isolation, but considers them within their political, cultural and church-historical context.

The main purpose of the work is to give some tools to readers today for distinguishing the essential, permanent elements of liturgy and its historically conditioned manifestations. At the same time, besides the scientific apparatus of specialized bibliography, the reader will enjoy the political, cultural and ecclesial overview of each epoch before becoming familiar with the changes in the liturgy itself.


“The Second Vatican Council solemnly proclaimed: ‘Liturgy is the summit toward which the action of the church is directed and it is the source from where all her energy surges’ (SC.10) It follows that there is no more noble service to the Christian community than to promote her progress toward this spiritual summit and to assist her to let this energy keep flowing. Fr. Attila Miklósházy has rendered such service to the church throughout his long career of teaching, preaching, and celebrating the liturgy. The best fruit of his spiritual and intellectual activity is invisible to us: it lives on in the minds and hearts of his students, hearers, and partners in worship. In these books, however, he makes a part of his learning and reflections accessible to the public: it is an extensive documentation in five volumes of how in the course of history Christian communities kept incorporating the elements of human culture into their ‘sacrifice of praise’ offered to God ...” – (from the Foreword) Professor Ladislas Orsy, S.J., Georgetown University Law Center

“ ... I have known Bishop Miklósházy for some thirty-five years, and count myself among his friends. All this time, I have greatly respected his penetrating theological and liturgical knowledge as well as his sound pastoral sense, the kind of common sense without which no pastor can operate. I look forward to the publication of this work.” – His Eminence Aloysius Cardinal Ambrozic, Cardinal of the Archdiocese of Toronto

“ ... while a few, select periods of history have been analyzed by scholars, and there are a few popular histories of the Mass, there has not been a complete compendium that examines all aspects of sacraments and liturgies of the Church throughout history. This work will be of great value not only to seminarians, priests, and scholars, but to serious students of liturgy and readers who seek to study and understand the current situation from an historical perspective ...” – Rev. John G. Hibbard, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Parish, and Chairperson of the National Council for Liturgy of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2005

Table of Contents

Foreword by Ladislas Orsy
General Bibliography

Volume 1:
The Antecedents of Christian Liturgy
Liturgy in the Sacred Books of the New Testament

Other Religion-Patristics & Early Christianity Books

More Books by this Author