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Prosforo

Prosforo: Essential to Eastern Orthodox Eucharist. Round bread stamped with sacred symbols. “Lamb” used in ceremony, remaining pieces as “antidoro.” Quality wheat flour, not unleavened like Roman Catholic bread.

round decorative bread for ‘Prosforo’

Prosforo is the name typically given to the bread, wine and oil provided by the faithful in order to conduct the sacrament of the Divine Eucharist with the ceremonial cutting of bread, in accordance with traditions of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The round shape of the bread was established during the era of Ottoman rule. Beginning in even earlier times, a special wooden stamp (bread-stamp) is used to impress a variety of square or triangular shapes and letters on the bread-offering. These are predominately impressed on the bread in a quadrant pattern where, typically, the letters IC – XP, NI – KA, meaning “Jesus Christ Is Victorious” are displayed.

A deep cut into the quadrant produces a uniformly sized cube of bread, the called the “lamb”, that is used for conducting the ceremony of the Divine Eucharist. The remainder of the bread loaf is cut into small pieces, the so-called antidoro (‘holy gift’), is distributed to the faithful at the end of the Mass.

The prosforo is kneaded with the highest quality wheat flour. The Eastern Orthodox Church does not use unleavened bread, as is the case for Roman Catholics.

Photo: in-agiounikolaoutouneou.gr

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