Mass History

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Can anyone give me any help to compose a list of significant dates and the major developments in the history of the Liturgy of the Mass from the first century to before Vatican II?
(Popes, Liturgical changes, additions, subtractions, combinations and eras etc.)

Thanks. 🙂

(I say up to before Vatican II, so as to avoid any VII debate. 😉 )
Can anyone give me any help to compose a list of significant dates and the major developments in the history of the Liturgy of the Mass from the first century to before Vatican II?
(Popes, Liturgical changes, additions, subtractions, combinations and eras etc.)

Thanks. 🙂

(I say up to before Vatican II, so as to avoid any VII debate. 😉 )
From My personal research from Cathoic Sources this is what I have to date. It is not final, however, since I am still confirming the below dates with Catholic Teaching (Church History-Catholic) & Catechism. The problem is that sources differ on the dates. If you need my sources, I can get you that later. The Bible is a good place to start also. It usualy has timelines in there either at the beginning or end.
Hope this helps - Davemcher
Part I

***Mass History Time Line (compiled by Davemcher)*****Year Description **
  • Note: It is commonly accepted that Jesus died in his 30’s. If Jesus was 33, then his life span would be 4 BC to 29 AD, with his public ministry starting in 26 AD. I do not believe He was older than 37.]
6-4 BC* Birth of Jesus Christ
26-30 AD* Jesus Public Ministry (3 years,
depends on birth date)
29 or 30 AD* Institution of Eucharist by
Jesus at Last Supper
Death of Jesus Christ (&
Resurrection & Ascension) Matthias replaces Judas as
one of 12 Apostles
37 AD Conversion of Saul (Paul)
41 AD 1st Voyage of Paul
49 AD Council of Jerusalem
2nd Voyage of Paul
50-100 AD New Testament writings: Gospels, Letters,
Acts, and Revelations
58 AD 3rd Voyage of Paul; Paul is arrested
64-67 AD Paul & Peter are martyred under Roman
Emperor Nero’s rule
90 AD Judaism and Christianity are separate
100 AD Didache - Teachings of the 12 Apostles
155AD Apology of St. Justin Martyr - structure of
200 AD Apostolic Tradition of St. Hippolytus -
Eucharistic Prayer
(3rd Century) Offertory Procession added to Mass
312 AD Edict of Milan - Freedom or Religion for
(4th Century) Gloria first sung by Bishops’ at Midnight
Christmas Mass
325 AD 1st Council of Nicea - Nicene Creed
(4th Century) Alleluia added to Easter Mass by Pope
Damasus (368-384)
381 AD Council of Constantinople - Affirms &
Expands Nicene Creed
393 AD Council of Hippo - List of Official Books of
New Testament (27)
397 AD Council of Carthage - Ratifies New
Testament Books (27)
Bible OT & NT Books are complete
(4th Century) Antiphonal Singing introduced (Precedes
modern Entrance Hymn)
Eucharistic Prayer 1 - Roman Canon
Lord Have Mercy - Antioch-Jerusalem
400 AD Council of Toledo - Promotes regular
attendance of Eucharist Celebrations
(5th Century) Gloria is said at every Mass, except
during Lent & Advent
450 AD (mid 5th) Opening Prayer is introduced
451 AD Council of Chalcedon - Pope Leo I (Leo
the Great):
1. Jesus has human & divine natures.
2. Pope/ Bishop of Rome is successor of
St. Peter.
(6th Century) Alleluia said at every Mass, except during
Lent & Advent - Pope Gregory (540-604)
(7th Century) Lamb of God added to Mass
(Between 8th & Nicene Creed is introduced into the Mass
11th Centuries)
787 AD 2nd Council of Nicea - Reinstates teaching
that images can help Christians worship
1000 AD Christmas Mass Prayer from which comes
modern commingling of water & wine
1054 AD 1st Schism: Church Splits into East
(Greek Orthodox) and West
(Roman Catholic)
part 2 Mass Time Line

Year Description
1270 AD Summa Theologica (Sum of Theology) -
St. Thomas Aquinas
(13th Century) Elevation of Bread & Wine strongly
encouraged to affirm the real presence
of Christ in Bread & Wine
1521 AD Martin Luther breaks with the Catholic
Reformation Begins
1533 AD English Church and King Henry VIII of
England break with Catholic Church
Anglican Church begins

1545-1565 AD Council of Trent- Pope Paul III:
1. Get rid of corruption & abuses
(nepotism, simony, & indulgences).
2. Church clearly defines doctrines.
3. Seminaries are formed; priests are
better trained.
4. Church is more conservative to change
5. Lay people are not allowed to
read/study/interpret Bible.
6. Lay people are kept at distance from
altar/not fully participate
1570 AD Missal of 1570 Published
1791 AD Freedom of Religion Upheld - US
1st Catholic Seminary (Saint Mary’s)
formed in Baltimore, MD
1870 AD Council of Vatican I - Pope Pius IX:
1. Doctrine of Infallibility - Pope: Pope is
infallible on faith & morals.
(20th Century) Missals are written (in people’s language)
so one could follow the Mass and priest
prayers (both in Latin)
1905 AD Frequent reception of Communion by
adults & children encouraged -
Pope Pius X
1955 AD Holy Week Reforms, encourage
participation of laity & relaxed fasting
regulations to encourage frequent
reception of Communion - Pope Pius XII
1962-1965 AD Council of Vatican II - Pope John XXIII & Pope Paul VI:
[1963 AD] Constitution on Sacred Liturgy
(Mass changes)
1. Mass said in language of people
(vernacular), so they understand it.
2. Altar faces the people.
3. Lay persons participate: Lectors/
readers, Eucharistic Ministers
4. Communion offered Communion in hand
and mouth 5. Eutraquism: offered wine at Communion
6. Preservation of Sacred Art & Veneration
of Sacred Images
Other Changes/Documents:
1. Ecumenism: attempt to bring back
other Christian religions
2. Religious Orders - updated &
modernized, except Carthusians
3. Parishes & involvement of laity
4. Condemned anti-Semitism
(hatred of Jews)
5. Bishops given more local Authority
6. Bishops’ councils & synods
7. Religious Liberty
8. Lay persons encouraged to study &
teach Catholic Theology
1970 AD New Missal Published
1983 AD Cannon Law Revised
1992 AD Catechism is Revised; The Catechism of
the Catholic Church is presented to
the Church
2004 AD General Instruction of (for) The
Roman Missal (GRIM) is released
(updated with corrections)
Thanks Davemcher. Great timeline! (very well researched) I sent you a private message, which I hope you got. Can I use some of the info?
that was a great list but i was hoping to find a book that talked about the history of the mass in more detail.

would you know of such a book?

thank you,
Dan Sisk
There is one error I have found in your long dates:

Communion in hand was not introduced at Vatican II. It was at first abused by Modernist Bishops and later Pope Paul VI capitulated and approved an indult allowing Communion in the hand in 1977 I believe.
By the way, Communion was taken in the hand up until at least the 10th century.
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