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The various Christian liturgies are described each under its own name.( See ALEXANDRINE LITURGY; AMBROSIAN LITURGY; ANTIOCHENE LITURGY; CELTIC RITE; Clementine Liturgy, treated in CLEMENT I ; RITE OF CONSTANTINOPLE ; GALLICAN RITE; LITURGY OF JERUSALEM; MOZARABIC RITE; SARUM RITE; SYRIAN RITE; SYRO-JACOBITE LITURGY.) In this article they are considered only from the point of view of their relation to one another in the most general sense, and an account is given of what is known about the growth of a fixed liturgy as such in the early Church.So in Christian use liturgy meant the public official service of the Church, that corresponded to the official service of the Temple in the Old Law.

The other sense of the word liturgy, now the common one in all Eastern Churches, restricts it to the chief official service only -- the Sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist, which in our rite we call the Mass.

This is now practically the only sense in which leitourgia is used in Greek, or in its derived forms (e.g., Arabic al-liturgiah ) by any Eastern Christian.

Thence it comes to have a religious sense as the function of the priests, the ritual service of the temple (e.g., Joel 1:9 , , etc.).

In the New Testament this religious meaning has become definitely established.

In Luke , Zachary goes home when "the days of his liturgy " ( ai hemerai tes leitourgias autou ) are over.

In Hebrews 8:6 , the high priest of the New Law "has obtained a better liturgy ", that is a better kind of public religious service than that of the Temple.All ceremonial evolves gradually out of certain obvious actions done at first with no idea of ritual, but simply because they had to he done for convenience.The bread and wine were brought to the altar when they were wanted, the lessons were read from a place where they could best be heard, hands were washed because they were soiled.With regard to the first question it must be said that an Apostolic Liturgy in the sense of an arrangement of prayers and ceremonies, like our present ritual of the Mass, did not exist.For some time the Eucharistic Service was in many details fluid and variable.Liturgy ( leitourgia ) is a Greek composite word meaning originally a public duty, a service to the state undertaken by a citizen.

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