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Sacramental bread, sometimes called altar bread, Communion bread, the Lamb or simply the host (Latin : hostia, sacrificial victim), is the bread used in the Christian ritual of the Eucharist (also referred to as the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion, among other names). Along with sacramental wine, it is one of two "elements" of the Eucharist. The bread may be either leavened or unleavened (appearing as a wafer), depending on tradition.
The Lamb is the square portion of bread cut from the prosphora in the Liturgy of Preparation at the Divine Liturgy in the Orthodox Church and in the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church. The Lamb is placed in the center of the diskos. The prosphoron from which the Lamb is cut is a loaf of leavened bread, formed in two layers to symbolize the hypostatic union of the human and divine natures of Christ. It must be made only from the finest flour, yeast, salt and water, and is stamped on top with a seal forming a Greek cross and the Greek letters IC, XC, and NIKA, indicating that through the Cross and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has gained the victory over sin and death. The portion of the loaf demarcated by the seal will be cut out as the Lamb.
The Eucharist is a Christian rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an ordinance in others. According to the New Testament, the rite was instituted by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper; giving his disciples bread and wine during the Passover meal, Jesus commanded his followers to "do this in memory of me" while referring to the bread as "my body" and the cup of wine as "the new covenant in my blood". Through the Eucharistic celebration Christians remember both Christ's sacrifice of himself on the cross and his commission of the apostles at the Last Supper.
Sacramental wine, Communion wine, or altar wine is wine obtained from grapes and intended for use in celebration of the Eucharist. It is usually consumed after sacramental bread.
Roman Catholic theology generally teaches that at the Words of Institution the bread is changed into the Body of Christ (see transubstantiation), whereas Eastern Christian theology generally views the epiclesis as the point at which the change occurs. Some Protestants believe transignification occurs at the Words of Institution.
The Words of Institution are words echoing those of Jesus himself at his Last Supper that, when consecrating bread and wine, Christian Eucharistic liturgies include in a narrative of that event. Eucharistic scholars sometimes refer to them simply as the verba.
In Christian theology, the term Body of Christ has two main but separate meanings: it may refer to Jesus' words over the bread at the Last Supper that "This is my body" in Luke 22:19–20, or to the usage of the term by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:12–14 and Ephesians 4:1–16 to refer to the Christian Church. It may also refer to Christ's post-resurrection body in Heaven. Christ also associated himself with the poor of the world and this is also called the Body of Christ.“If we truly wish to encounter Christ, we have to touch his body in the suffering bodies of the poor, as a response to the sacramental communion bestowed in the Eucharist. The Body of Christ, broken in the sacred liturgy, can be seen, through charity and sharing, in the faces and persons of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.” said Pope Francis on launching the World Day of the Poor.
Transubstantiation is, according to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, the change of substance or essence by which the bread and wine offered in the sacrifice of the sacrament of the Eucharist during the Mass, become, in reality, the body and blood of Jesus Christ. In this teaching, the notions of substance and transubstantiation are not linked with any particular theory of metaphysics.
The word "host" is derived from the Latin hostia , which means "sacrificial victim". The term can be used to describe the bread both before and after consecration, although it is more correct to use it after consecration (prior to consecration, the term "altar bread" is preferred). The sacrifice of Jesus, according to Christian theology, puts an end to the need for animal sacrifice as had been practiced in the Jerusalem Temple and all blood sacrifice once-and-for-all. However the word was retained to describe the bread of Eucharist as a liturgical representation of the Christ's sacrifice.
Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.
Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals or humans to a higher purpose, in particular divine beings, as an act of propitiation or worship.
Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word consecration literally means "association with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups. The origin of the word comes from the Latin stem consecrat, which means dedicated, devoted, and sacred. A synonym for to consecrate is to sanctify; a distinct antonym is to desecrate.
With the exception of Churches of the Armenian Rite and the Maronite Church, Orthodox Churches and Eastern Catholic Churches use leavened bread for the Eucharist. Thus, the sacramental bread symbolizes the Resurrected Christ. The hostia or sacramental bread, known as prosphorá or a πρόσφορον (prósphoron, "offering") may be made out of only four ingredients: fine (white) wheat flour, pure water, yeast, and salt. Sometimes holy water will be either sprinkled into the dough or on the kneading trough at the beginning of the process.
The Armenian Rite is an independent liturgy used by both the Armenian Apostolic and Armenian Catholic Churches. It is also the rite used by a significant number of Eastern Catholic Christians in Georgia.
The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic sui iuris particular church in full communion with the Pope and the worldwide Catholic Church, with self-governance under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. It is headed by Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi since 2011, seated in Bkerke north of Beirut, Lebanon. Officially known as the Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch, it is part of Syriac Christianity by liturgy and heritage.
The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, and in some historical cases Uniate Churches, are twenty-three Eastern Christian particular churches sui iuris in full communion with the Pope in Rome, as part of the worldwide Catholic Church. Headed by patriarchs, metropolitans, and major archbishops, the Eastern Catholic Churches are governed in accordance with the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, although each church also has its own canons and laws on top of this, and the preservation of their own traditions is explicitly encouraged. The total membership of the various churches accounts for about 18 million, according to the Annuario Pontificio, thus making up about 1.5 percent of the Catholic Church, with the rest of its more than 1.3 billion members belonging to the Latin Church, also known as the Western Church or the Roman Catholic Church.
Because leaven is symbolic of sin, the Armenian Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church traditionally offer unleavened bread (although it is distinctively different from the kind used by the Roman Catholic Church) to symbolize the sinlessness of Christ.
The Armenian Catholic Church, also referred to as the Armenian Uniate Church, is one of the Eastern particular churches sui iuris of the Catholic Church. They accept the leadership of the Bishop of Rome, known as the papal primacy, and therefore are in full communion with the Catholic Church, including both the Latin Church and the 22 other Eastern Catholic Churches. The Armenian Catholic Church is regulated by Eastern canon law, namely the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.
The baking may only be performed by a believing Orthodox Christian in good standing—having preferably been recently to Confession, and is accompanied by prayer and fasting. Before baking, each loaf is formed by placing two disks of dough, one on top of the other, and stamping it with a special liturgical seal. The prosphora should be fresh and not stale or moldy when presented at the altar for use in the Divine Liturgy. Often several prosphora will be baked and offered by the faithful, and the priest chooses the best one for the Lamb (Host) that will be consecrated. The remaining loaves are blessed and offered back to the congregation after the end of the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist); this bread is called the antidoron (Greek: αντίδωρον, antídōron), i.e. a "gift returned", or "in place of the gifts".
Christians are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The words Christ and Christian derive from the Koine Greek title Christós (Χριστός), a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term mashiach (מָשִׁיחַ).
Confession, in many religions, is the acknowledgment of one's sins (sinfulness) or wrongs.
An altar is a structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are found at shrines, temples, churches and other places of worship. They are used particularly in Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Modern Paganism. Many historical faiths also made use of them, including Roman, Greek and Norse religion.
The Byzantine Rite Eastern Catholic Churches (like the Eastern Orthodox Church) use leavened bread for Prosphora (the Greek word for Eucharistic altar bread).
The Syro-Malabar Church and the Maronite Church have adopted the use of unleavened bread due to Liturgical Latinisation.(source missing?)
A host is a portion of bread used for Holy Communion in many Christian churches. In Western Christianity the host is often a thin, round, unleavened wafer.
In the Roman Rite, unleavened bread is used as in the Jewish Passover or Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Code of Canon Law, Canon 924 requires that the hosts be made from wheat flour and water only, and recently made so that there is no danger of spoiling.
Hosts are often made by nuns as a means of supporting their religious communities. However, in New Zealand, the St Vincent de Paul Society hires individuals with intellectual disabilities to bake, cut out, and sort the bread, thereby offering paid employment to those who wouldn't have that option otherwise.
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal §321 recommends that "the eucharistic bread ... be made in such a way that the priest at Mass with a congregation is able in practice to break it into parts for distribution to at least some of the faithful. ... The action of the fraction ( breaking of bread), which gave its name to the Eucharist in apostolic times, will bring out more clearly the force and importance of the sign of unity of all in the one bread, and of the sign of charity by the fact that the one bread is distributed among the brothers and sisters."
In 1995 Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, then Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, wrote a letter to the Episcopal Conferences in which he expanded the Code of Canon Law, stating that low-gluten bread would be considered "valid matter" for hosts as long as no additional substances "alter[ed] the nature of the substance of the bread".Since the 2000s, hosts with low gluten content have been manufactured in the United States, especially in parts of Missouri and New York. Hosts are one of the causes of lack of recovery for people with celiac disease who follow a gluten-free diet, which must be strict and maintained for life to allow the recovery of the intestinal mucosa and reduce the risk of developing severe health complications.
In the varying Protestant denominations, there is a wide variety of practices concerning the sacramental bread used. Some, such as the Christian Congregation use leavened loaves of bread, others, such as Lutherans, continue to use unleavened wafers like the Roman Catholics, and some use matzo.Reformed Christians use rolls which are broken and distributed to symbolize their belief that Christ is not physically present in their bread. Among those who use the unleavened wafers, there is a great deal of variation: some are square or triangular rather than round, and may even be made out of whole wheat flour.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has no strict rules on the type of bread used for sacramental purposes. Latter-day Saint scriptures state: "For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory—remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins." (Doctrine and Covenants 27:2) Different congregations may use either commercial bread or homemade bread prepared by members of the congregation. It is permissible to substitute rice cakes or other gluten-free breads for members who suffer from food allergies.The bread is broken into fragments just prior to being blessed by one of the officiating priests.
This article contains a list of miscellaneous information. (October 2018)
In Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula , sacramental bread (referred to as sacred communion wafers) is used to ward off vampires.
A lack of symptoms and/or negative serological markers are not reliable indicators of mucosal response to the diet. Furthermore, up to 30% of patients continue to have gastrointestinal symptoms despite a strict GFD.122,124 If adherence is questioned, a structured interview by a qualified dietitian can help to identify both intentional and inadvertent sources of gluten.
Matzo, matzah, or matza is an unleavened flatbread that is part of Jewish cuisine and forms an integral element of the Passover festival, during which chametz is forbidden.
Mass is the main eucharistic liturgical service in many forms of Western Christianity. The term Mass is commonly used in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, as well as in some Lutheran, Methodist, Western Rite Orthodox, and Old Catholic churches.
Divine Liturgy or Holy Liturgy is the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine Rite, developed from the Antiochene Rite of Christian liturgy which is that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox, the Byzantine Catholic Churches, and the Ukrainian Lutheran Church. Although the same term is sometimes applied in English to the Eucharistic service of Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, they use in their own language a term meaning "holy offering" or "holy sacrifice". Other churches also treat "Divine Liturgy" simply as one of many names that can be used, but it is not their normal term.
An artos is a loaf of leavened bread that is blessed during services in the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine rite catholic churches. A large Artos is baked with a seal depicting the resurrection for use at Pascha (Easter). Smaller loaves are blessed during great vespers in a ritual called Artoklasia and in other occasions like feast days, weddings, memorial services etc.
Christmas wafer is a central European Christian Christmas tradition celebrated in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and in some parts of Slovakia during Wigilia, or the Christmas Eve Vigil.
Unleavened bread is any of a wide variety of breads which are not prepared with raising agents such as yeast. Unleavened breads are generally flat breads; however, not all flat breads are unleavened. Unleavened breads, such as the tortilla and roti, are staple foods in Central America and South Asia, respectively.
The Fraction is the ceremonial act of breaking the consecrated bread during the Eucharistic rite in some Christian denominations.
A prosphoron is a small loaf of leavened bread used in Orthodox Christian and Greek Catholic (Byzantine) liturgies. The plural form is prosphora (πρόσφορα). The term originally meant any offering made to a temple, but in Orthodox Christianity it has come to mean specifically the bread offered at the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist).
Eucharistic theology is a branch of Christian theology which treats doctrines concerning the Holy Eucharist, also commonly known as the Lord's Supper. It exists exclusively in Christianity and related religions, as others generally do not contain a Eucharistic ceremony.
The antidoron is ordinary leavened bread which is blessed but not consecrated and distributed in Eastern Orthodox Churches and Eastern Catholic Churches that use the Byzantine Rite. It comes from the remains of the loaves of bread (prosphora) from which portions are cut for consecration as the Eucharist during the Divine Liturgy. The word Ἀντίδωρον means "instead of gifts".
Anglican eucharistic theology is diverse in practice, reflecting the comprehensiveness of Anglicanism. Its sources include prayer book rubrics, writings on sacramental theology by Anglican divines, and the regulations and orientations of ecclesiastical provinces. The principal source material is the Book of Common Prayer, specifically its eucharistic prayers and Article XXVIII of the Thirty-Nine Articles. Article XXVIII comprises the foundational Anglican doctrinal statement about the Eucharist, although its interpretation varies among churches of the Anglican Communion and in different traditions of churchmanship such as Anglo-Catholicism and Evangelical Anglicanism.
The Eucharist in the Catholic Church is a sacrament celebrated as "the source and summit" of the Christian life. The Eucharist is celebrated daily during the celebration of Mass, the eucharistic liturgy. The term Eucharist is also used for the bread and wine when transubstantiated, according to Catholic teaching, into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. "At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Saviour instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood."
Fermentum is a practice of the Early Christian Church whereby bishops affirmed their communion with one another, or with their own local subordinate priests.
Azymes is an archaic English word for the Jewish matzah, derived from the Greek word ἄζυμος (ἄρτος) ázymos (ártos), "unleavened (bread)", for unfermented bread in Biblical times; the more accepted term in modern English is simply unleavened bread or matzah, but cognates of the Greek term are still used in many Romance languages. The term does not appear frequently in modern Bible translations, but was the usual word for unleavened bread in the early Catholic English Douay-Rheims Bible.
Communion under both kinds in Christianity is the reception under both "species" of the Eucharist. Sects of Christianity that hold to a doctrine of Communion under both kinds may believe that a Eucharist which does not include both bread and wine as elements of the religious ceremony is not valid, while others may consider the presence of both bread and wine as preferable, but not necessary, for the ceremony. In some traditions, water or grape juice may take the place of wine with alcohol content as the second element.
The Eucharist in the Lutheran Church refers to the liturgical commemoration of the Last Supper. Lutherans believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, affirming the doctrine of sacramental union, "in which the body and blood of Christ are truly and substantially present, offered, and received with the bread and wine."
Holy Leaven, also known as Malka, is a powder added to the sacramental bread used in the Eucharist of the Assyrian Church of the East and historically in the Church of the East. The Assyrian Church is the only Church that considers the Holy Leaven one of its seven sacraments. There are two rituals associated with the Holy Leaven: its addition to sacramental bread before it is baked, and the annual renewal of the Holy Leaven itself.