The fundamental pattern of early Christian worship continued to develop through the fourth and fifth centuries. However, “families” of liturgical practice began to emerge, and styles of worship varied from one Christian region to the other. By this time, one can begin to speak of “Eastern” and “Western” characteristics of Christian liturgy.
Though the New Testament does not give any detailed information on the structure of the first Christian services, it leaves little room for doubt concerning the basic elements of primitive worship: prayer, praise, confession of sin, confession of faith, Scripture reading and preaching, the Lord’s Supper, and the collection. Early descriptions of Christian worship, such as that in Justin’s Apology, reveal a close similarity to the practice of the synagogue. Even without the synagogue model, however, the fundamental elements would surely have found a place, and distinctive Christian features would have their own origin.