Sacramental bread

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Unleavened hosts on a paten Oblater Alterbrod 3.jpg
Unleavened hosts on a paten

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.

Lamb (liturgy) 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 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.

Eucharist Christian rite

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

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.

Contents

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.

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.

Body of Christ

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 Catholic doctrine that the body and blood of Jesus are present in Eucharist

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.

Etymology of host

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 Indo-European language of the Italic family

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 offering to gods

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.

Eastern traditions

The Lamb and particles placed on the diskos during the Liturgy of Preparation for the Divine Liturgy Patene-byzantine.jpg
The Lamb and particles placed on the diskos during the Liturgy of Preparation for the Divine Liturgy

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.

Armenian Rite

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.

Maronite Church Eastern Catholic sui iuris particular church of the Catholic Church

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.

Eastern Catholic Churches Autonomous, self-governing particular Churches in full communion with the Pope

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.

Armenian rite

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.

Armenian Catholic Church one of the Eastern particular churches sui iuris of the Catholic Church

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.

Eastern Orthodox 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 people who adhere to Christianity

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 (religion) acknowledgment of ones sins

Confession, in many religions, is the acknowledgment of one's sins (sinfulness) or wrongs.

Altar structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes

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.

Eastern Catholic Churches

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?)

Western traditions

Roman Catholic Church

Detail of tongs for baking hosts Kleste na hostie detail.jpg
Detail of tongs for baking hosts

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.

Roman Catholic unleavened hosts for the Celebrant and wafers for the communicants. Hostia i komunikanty.JPG
Roman Catholic unleavened hosts for the Celebrant and wafers for the communicants.

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. [1]

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". [2] Since the 2000s, hosts with low gluten content have been manufactured in the United States, especially in parts of Missouri and New York. [2] Hosts are one of the causes of lack of recovery for people with celiac disease who follow a gluten-free diet, [3] 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. [4]

Protestantism

United Methodist Elder presiding at the Eucharist, using a leavened loaf of bread Methodistcommunion6.jpg
United Methodist Elder presiding at the Eucharist, using a leavened loaf of bread

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. [5] Reformed Christians use rolls which are broken and distributed to symbolize their belief that Christ is not physically present in their bread. [6] 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.

Latter-day Saints

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. [7] The bread is broken into fragments just prior to being blessed by one of the officiating priests.

In Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula , sacramental bread (referred to as sacred communion wafers) is used to ward off vampires. [8]

See also

Notes

  1. "Altar Breads". vinnies-wellington.org.nz. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  2. 1 2 "Low-Gluten Diet Alternatives Have Reached A New Frontier: The Catholic Church".
  3. Ciacci C, Ciclitira P, Hadjivassiliou M, Kaukinen K, Ludvigsson JF, McGough N, et al. (2015). "The gluten-free diet and its current application in coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis". United European Gastroenterology Journal (Review). 3 (2): 121–35. doi:10.1177/2050640614559263. PMC   4406897 . PMID   25922672.
  4. See JA, Kaukinen K, Makharia GK, Gibson PR, Murray JA (Oct 2015). "Practical insights into gluten-free diets". Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol (Review). 12 (10): 580–91. doi:10.1038/nrgastro.2015.156. PMID   26392070. 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.
  5. Wecker, Menachem. "Matzah Communion". American Jewish Life Magazine. Archived from the original on 2016-03-14. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  6. Benedict, Philip (2002). Christ's Churches Purely Reformed. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 205. ISBN   978-0300105070.
  7. Christianson, Thira. "Accepting Allergies". Friend. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
  8. "COMMUNION AND THE SACRED WAFER". shmoop.com. Retrieved October 14, 2018.

Bibliography

Related Research Articles

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The Fraction is the ceremonial act of breaking the consecrated bread during the Eucharistic rite in some Christian denominations.

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Antidoron food

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Anglican eucharistic theology

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