Liturgical Changes in the Roman Rite-Part 2
The first historical data we have concerning the liturgy can be found in the Acts of the Apostles, where we read “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” and “day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts.” (Acts 2:42.46). In the very first days following the apostolic era, worship would have been celebrated using the Scripture texts taken from the Septuagint translation in the Koine Greek (2). It has been observed that in this earliest period of liturgical development, improvisation (within certain parameters) was the norm, and that worship of the time was spiritualized in response to Jewish and pagan ritualism (3). Much has been made of the introduction of vernacular languages to the liturgy after the Second Vatican Council. One must keep in mind that in from the earliest days of the Church, preference has been given to the vernacular languages. The lingua franca in the first centuries of the Church’s existence was Greek, but even from earliest times, we see the emergence of different liturgical rites using a language other than Greek. One of the oldest ones (we find textual evidence from texts dating from the end of the 4th century) found in the mother church in Jerusalem is the so-called “Liturgy of Saint James,” used in Antioch and celebrated in Syro-Aramaic dialacts9. Other rites and languages of note are the Jacobite rite, first celebrated in Greek, then Syriac, and finally Arabic; the Coptic rite, celebrated in Coptic and Arabic; Armenian rite, celebrated in classical Armenian, and the Byzantine rite celebrated in Greek, Romanian, and Old Slavonic. This diversity of languages goes to show that Latin was by no means the only liturgical language of the universal Church
2. Martin Julian López, La Liturgia De La Iglesia: Teología, Historia, Espiritualidad Y Pastoral, p. 44.
3. Ibid., p. 45.