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The Orthodox Faith
Media available for download
Daily Icons Gallery Jan - Jun
Photo Gallery
A Dictionary of Orthodox Terminology
Frequently Asked Questions
Orthodox Spirituality
Orthodox "Myth Busters"
Tradition in the Orthodox Church
Dogma and authority in the Church
The Bible and the Church
The Ever-Virginity of the Mother of God
Jesus Christ in the Orthodox Church
The Holy Trinity
House of God
Holy Icons
The Divine Liturgy
The True Nature of Fasting
From Evangelical to Orthodox
The Funeral Service
A Love Story
The Feast of Epiphany
Christmas - the Nativity of Christ
The Great & Holy Feast of Pascha
Great Lent
Holy Week
Seeing and Believing: The Thomas Incident
The Da Vinci Code
Articles by His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos
Laws, Regulations and Documentation required for an Orthodox wedding
Personal Relationship with God
Noah and His Flood: History or Fantasy?
Prosphoro - Holy Bread
The New Acropolis Museum - Raising the bar on cultural morality
Feast of Holy Pentecost
Sermons given by Father Steven Scoutas
Why Are Priests Called ‘Father’ In our Church?
 
 


 
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Prosphoro - Holy Bread

Introduction
Preparation
Keeping Traditions Alive



Introduction

The word prosphoro denotes the bread which is brought to the Church as an offering for use in the preparation of the Holy Gifts for Holy Communion. Only the center part of the loaf is used for this purpose; the rest is distributed at the end of the Holy Liturgy to communicants and all worshipers in remembrance of the custom of the original Church, the custom of Agape, or Christian love.

The symbolic importance of bread in the life of the Church and its worship is great. In this regard we hear the words of our Lord saying:
”I am the bread of life... I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever, and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I give for the life of the world. (John 6:51)

The role of the prosphoro in the celebration of the Holy Liturgy of the Orthodox Church is therefore paramount. Indeed, the Holy Liturgy is a re-enactment and re-living of the Last Supper of our Lord. St. Paul writes, “The Lord Jesus, on the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread. And when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body which is broken for you. This do in remembrance of me.’" (I Cor.. 11:23)

The round loaf of bread used in the preparation of the gifts of Holy Communion is called Prosphoron, meaning "offering," that is, the "bread of offering." On the top surface of the prosphoron a seal (sfrayitha) is stamped before baking.

During preparation of the Eucharist, the priest conducts the Liturgy (Proskomithi) in which he first cuts out the center of the stamped design that says "IC,XC, NIKA (Jesus Christ Conquers). It becomes the Body of Christ (the Lamb). The large triangular piece is then removed and placed on the paten in honor and commemoration of our Lord's Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then the nine smaller triangular pieces are removed and also placed on the patent. These commemorate the Old Testament Patriarchs, the Angelic Hosts, and the Prophets, Apostles and Saints of the Holy Orthodox Church.

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Preparation



1 teaspoon Salt
2 ¼ teaspoon Yeast
2 ¾ cups warm Water (divided)
7 cups Bread Flour
2 x 9" round pans (with at least a 2 inch rim to ensure that the bread is at least 3-4 inches high after baking)


Dissolve yeast in glass bowl, using ¾ cup warm Water (do not stir), for 10 minutes
Whilst dissolving, start with the following prayer

Opening Prayers:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

O God, be merciful to me a sinner.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, for the sake of the prayer of Thy most pure Mother, our holy and God-bearing fathers and of all the saints, have mercy on us. Amen.

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

O Heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good thing and Giver of life: Come and abide in us, and cleanse us of all impurities, and save our souls, O Good One.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have Mercy on us. (x3)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen

Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, blot out our sins. Master, pardon our iniquities. Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy name’s sake.

Lord, have Mercy (x3)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hollowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us’ and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Only-begotten Son of Thine unoriginate Father, Thou hast said with Thy most pure lips: For without Me, ye can do nothing. My Lord, O Lord, in faith having embraced Thy words, I fall down before Thy goodness; help me, a sinner, to complete through Thee Thyself this work which I am about to begin, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.



Cut Parchment Paper to fit pans or lightly flour bottom

Mix 7 cups Flour and 1 teaspoon Salt together in large glass bowl

Make a “well” in flour mixture for yeast and 2 cups warm Water.

Mix thoroughly

Knead till dough is not sticky adding small amounts of additional flour if necessary (about 10 minutes)

Cut dough in half

Knead each half again (about 15 minutes each) till dough begins to feel “silky”

Shape dough into disks to fit pan (not allowing them to touch sides)

Dip Seal into flour & shake slightly

Make sign of the Cross with Seal (x3)

Press seal FIRMLY into dough

Remove seal slowly

Toothpick dough at joints & several times around side of bread

Cover with double towels, and let rise (about 30 minutes)

Toothpick again in same spots before baking

Bake @ 350 degrees (about 45 minutes) until a golden brown.

Check after 10 minutes - poking holes along sides where the prosphoro starts to separate around the edges.

Remove from Oven - Let cool completely


Closing Prayers:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Thou art the fullness of all good things, O my Christ; fill my soul with joy and gladness, and save me, for Thou alone art plenteous in mercy. Amen.


Family Prayer:
Dear Lord, this bread that we have baked represents each one of us in this family and in our congregation. We are offering ourselves to You, our very life, in humble obedience and total commitment to You. We place ourselves on Your holy altar through this bread to be used by You in any way that You feel will help enlarge Your kingdom. Accept our gift and make us worthy to receive the greater gifts that You will give us when You consecrate this bread and give it back to us as Your Precious Body. Amen.

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Keeping Traditions Alive

Of course, baking Prosphoro bread for the Divine Liturgy Services is but one of the many things we can do. Reading the Holy Scriptures and Orthodox Literature, blessing our home with the incense of the Thymiato and lighting the Oil Lamp in remembrance of Christ's words "I am the light of the world" are some of the things we can do everyday to keep the Orthodox Tradition alive in our home.

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