"The main purpose of this work is to trace elements of Eucharistic doctrine from the day our Lord Jesus Christ announced it for the first time in the synagogue in Capernaum (John, Chapter 6) down to our day." Rev. Roberto de la Vega, Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Eucharist Through The Centuries.
The first historical period after the Apostolic times is called the Patristic Period. These men lived between 100 a.d. and 800 a.d., known for their orthodoxy, the time period was called the period of the Church Fathers.
St. Ignatius of Antioch (died c. 110)
St. Ignatius, the second successor of St. Peter was condemned to death by wild beast during the Roman persecution of the Church. On his way to his death in the amphitheater in Rome, St. Ignatius wrote seven letters to Christian communities along the route. Here is a selection of his writings:
"Where the bishop is, there let the people be, just as where Jesus is, there is the catholic (universal) Church."
St. Ignatius calls the Eucharist "the medicine of immortality," "the antidote against death," and "everlasting life in Jesus Christ."
"Take care, then, to partake of one Eucharist; for one is the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one the cup to unite us with his blood, and one altar, just as there is one bishop assisted by the priests and the deacons."
St. Justin, Martyr (died c. 165)
St. Justin was a layman, born in Palestine of pagan parents. While walking along the shore he met a man who told him to read from the prophets of the Bible. This in turn led him to accept Christianity. For his writing, which was in defense of Christianity, he was put to death.
It is from his writings that we have a description of the Mass as celebrated in Rome in the year 150.
"On the day we call the day of the sun (Sunday), all who dwell in the city or country gather in the same place. The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read,...When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things.
Then we all rise together and offer prayers for ourselves...and for all others...When the prayers are concluded we exchange the kiss. Then someone brings bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to him who presides...He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...all present give voice to an acclamation by saying 'Amen.'
When he who presides has given thanks and the people have responded, those whom we call deacons give to those present the "eucharisted" bread, wine and water and take them to those who are absent.
And this food is with us called 'Eucharist' and it is not lawful for anyone to partake of it but him who believes our teaching to be true, and has been washed with the washing which is for the forgiveness of sins and unto a new birth, and lives as Christ commanded.
For it is not as common bread or common drink that we receive these, but just as by God's word Jesus Christ our Savior became flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food made Eucharist by the word of prayer that comes from Him is both flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh."
St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, France (died c. 202)
St. Irenaeus was born in what is now Turkey. He was a pupil of St. Polycarp, who was in turn a pupil of St. John, the last of the twelve Apostles.
Concerning the Eucharist, St. Irenaeus writes: "When, therefore, the mingled cup and the manufactured bread receive the word of God and the Eucharist becomes the body and blood of Christ, from which things the substance of our flesh is increased and supported..."
Blessed be the Lord our God, blessed from age to age.