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Artos

Artos, an ancient Christian tradition, blessing and sharing specially made bread in a short liturgical ceremony, symbolizing Christ’s blessings.

Three artos means engraved personalized round breads sating vertical on wood surface

Artoklasia, which means “breaking of artos” (=breaking of bread), is a special prayer service offered by an individual or family typically on a feast day or special family occasion. The service takes place at the end of Orthros, the Divine Liturgy or Great Vespers. It includes hymns, petitions, and prayers for health, well-being and the strength to endure life’s difficulties.

The five loaves are reminiscent of the five loaves that Jesus Christ blessed in the desert, feeding five thousand of His followers. To perform the service, you need five “artos” (bread), a small container of oil, a small container of wine and the names of loved ones. The artos is divided up among the faithful in the congregation in the hope that God’s blessings will be shared and multiplied. The wine symbolizes the blood of Christ and the olive oil symbolizes the healing of our bodies and souls.

Ingredients for 5 (8 inches) artos (Lenten):
2 packages of dry yeast
1/2 cup vegetable oil
12 – 14 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon aniseed (optional)
3 teaspoons salt
honey (optional)
2 1/2 – 3 cups lukewarm water
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

Preparation of the artoklasia bread:
Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of the 2 1/2 – 3 cups of lukewarm water. Add sugar and salt and stir well. Add the remaining water, oil, cinnamon and six cups of flour. Stir the mixture until creamy, then slowly add enough of the remaining flour to make medium consistency dough. Divide the dough into five parts; shape into round loaves and place into five round slightly oiled pans. Cover with towels and let the rise in a warm place until they double in bulk (about one hour). Bake loaves in a hot oven (about 175º C/350º F) for about 45 minutes or until brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. Boil aniseed in one cup of water and brush the tops of loaves with the liquid or lightly brush the loaves with honey. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

Photo: tavolamediterranea.com

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