Why does the Mass have so many Eucharistic prayers?


Why so many options for the Eucharistic prayer? How do they go about choosing which one to use?


I"m not sure, but during Mass today the priest was saying that Eucharistic Prayer II is the oldest one. Maybe someone has some more accurate information, but EP II has been around for some 1700-1800 years, I think, with very little change.


I’m curious about this too. Please, those who might know, don’t be afraid to “chime in” here. :wink:


My question would be the opposite. Why don’t we have more Eucharistic Prayers. In the early church, the priest was expected to compose his own to use. Many imitated or copied a large church near them rather than writing their own. Eucharistic Prayer II was proposed by a priest in Rome in the 2nd century as one that should be used universally. It was modified a little before it was restored to use. III comes from the Eastern Churches and was adapted to the West. It may even be older than II. I comes from Trent. IV is a new one. C I, II, III, R I, II, SO I, II, III, IV all date to some time after V II. SO … are the most recent and were first suggested as Eucharistic Prayers by the Church in Switzerland (according to the reports [rumors] I have heard.


Interesting article from the Adoremus folks:



Well, actually it’s changed quite a bit. If one were to compare EP II right after the Sanctus (Lord, you are holy indeed…) to the end, there are indeed differences. But many people are not aware that EP II has its own preface, and St. Hippolytus’ Anaphora did include the preface. So actually when I compared the Eucharistic Prayer WITH preface against the early Anaphora, they were indeed remarkably similar. But they are not identical.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.