Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Ancient Mass not as informal as claimed by liberal liturgists

August 22nd, 2014, Promulgated by Bernie

 From The Archdiocese of Washington


…These ‘houses’ (domus ecclesia or domus Dei) were usually rather sizable, with a central courtyard or large room that permitted something a little more formal than Mass “around the dining room table.”  I remember being taught (incorrectly) that these early Masses were informal, emphasized a relaxed, communal quality, and were celebrated facing the people. Well, it turns out that really isn’t true. People didn’t just sit around a table or sit in circle—not at all. They sat or stood formally, and everyone faced in one direction: east… 

(from the Didiscalia (ca. 250) …Now, in your gatherings, in the holy Church, convene yourselves modestly in places of the brethren, as you will, in a manner pleasing and ordered with care. [So these ‘house liturgies’ were NOT informal Masses. Good order and careful attention to detail were essential.] Let the place of the priests be separated in a part of the house that faces east. [So even in these early house Masses, the sanctuary (the place where the clergy ministered) was an area distinct from where the…

Read the whole post HERE



4 Responses to “Ancient Mass not as informal as claimed by liberal liturgists”

  1. avatar militia says:

    “none who whisper….!” Those early Christians would be horrified at the irrelevant and irreverent conversation in church before the Mass begins. Those early deacons would have thrown them out on theirears.

  2. avatar christian says:

    Very Interesting. Bernie, Do you know what the courtyard was used for? Was that for conversation and fellowship after Eucharist, Baptism, or Instruction?

  3. avatar Bernie says:

    christian: The courtyard (“atrium”), open to the sky, provided light and ventilation to the rooms of the home. Even Roman apartment buildings had a central atrium. Roman dwellings were inward looking with few if any windows on the exterior walls. The rooms were arranged off of the atrium on all the sides. The roof sloped toward the center so rain water could sometimes be collected in a recessed area of the floor. I suppose it was a space conducive to conversations just as atria in public buildings are today.

  4. avatar christian says:

    Thank you for your explanation Bernie.

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