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Hatchett, Marion J.
IntroductionThe first Christians had no explicitly liturgical books. Apparently they continued the ritual pattern of Judaism, but interpreted and remodeled it in accordance with the Christian gospel. Once the church moved further from its Jewish roots and sought to adapt itself to the languages, culture, and thought of the Gentile world, there developed a type of book, the church order, which contained descriptions of various liturgies, models for prayers, and directions for the conduct of rites. The most important of these orders still extant are: the Didache, an Eastern document probably dating from the second century; the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus, usually considered a Roman document, dating about A.D. 215; the Didascalia, a third century Syrian document; and the Apostolic Constitutions, a Syrian document of the late, fourth century which used the three earlier church orders as sources.Early in the fourth century, Christianity was officially recognized by the Roman State. The monastic movement and the theological controversies of the period led to elaboration of the liturgy, more theological definition within the rites, strict regulation of the functions of various orders of ministers, and the establishment of fixed, written texts. During the fourth and fifth centuries the church orders were supplemented or replaced by "libelli (booklets) which were eventually put together to form books for those responsible for various parts of the rites. The celebrant, for example, had a sacramentary which contained the prayers to be read by him. The reader's parts were written or indicated in a lectionary which might have been in any of three forms: (1) a table which indicated thebeginnings and endings of the readings; (2) a marked Bible; (3) a collection of pericopes or selections. In another book were the litanies and any other portions of the rites for which a deacon might be responsible. The cantor and cHatchett, Marion J. is the author of 'Commentary on the American Prayer Book' with ISBN 9780060635541 and ISBN 0060635541.