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have only the material gathered from the middle of April until December. What it attests is a set of texts for Sundays and certain observances of martyrs and saints.

The canon of the mass - already echoing Ambrose - is first found in the older Gelasian sacramentary. In contrast to the Eastern prayers with their fixed texts, the Roman eucharistic prayer had a variable opening - a proper preface -according to the day or season. It led into the sanctus and benedictus. After the sanctus and benedictus are sung or recited, the prayer resumes with petition for the offerers, and clearly conceives of the eucharist as something which is being offered. This leads to the quam oblationem that is a petition for consecration, and then the recitation of the institution narrative. After an anamnesis, there follows another offering, mention of Abel and Melchizedek, and finally the naming of saints and other departed persons. It seems to reflect a theology articulated by Cyprian of Carthage (in his ep. 63) in the third century, and found in Ambrose: consecration is effected by petition followed by recitation of the institution narrative. The Roman canon used the language of pagan votive offerings, thus suggesting that Christ fulfilled the older religions.

Taking the various documents together, it would seem that in Rome the eucharist consisted of the following elements:

• Intercessions. These latter seem to have been a series of bidding prayers, each followed by silence, and then a collect, the latter becoming eventually a set text. This form was preserved in the Good Friday solemn prayers, but in the Sunday liturgy was later to be replaced by a litany after the Eastern pattern. Some time later this disappeared. The kyrie eleison ('Lord have mercy') at the beginning of the rite was once thought to be a remnant of the litany, but more recently scholars have concluded that the kyrie eleison was a deliberate composition placed at the beginning of the rite because it was popular and allowed congregational participation.

• The gifts of bread and wine placed on the altar with the prayer the super oblata or 'secret'.

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