The Mass Of The Early Christians Using the words of the early Christians themselves -- from many documents and inscriptions -- Aquilina traces the Mass's history from Jesus' lifetime through the 4th century. The Mass stood at the center of the Church's life, evident in the Scriptures as well as the earliest Christian sermons, letters, artwork, tombstones and architecture. Even the pagans bore witness to the Mass in the records of their persecutions.
"It must be understood that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishop and he is not in the Church who is not with the bishop."
~ St. Cyprian of Carthage, bishop, martyr; in early writings (Epist., lxvi, 8; circa A.D. 250), noting that a man was rightly considered in schism when he disregarded the authority of his own bishop.