Prosphora (Greek for "offering") is holy bread prepared for use in the Divine Liturgy. This bread is traditionally prepared and baked by members of the local parish church, a continuation of the ancient practice in which parishioners would bring the bread and wine, and the deacons would select the best for use in the Liturgy. The bread is always leavened, because Our Lord used ordinary bread (artos) in the Last Supper. Yeast is a symbol of life, and the risen dough represents the Resurrection.
The bread is stamped with a special seal which is full of symbolism. The center portion, known as the Lamb, is consecrated during the Divine Liturgy to be the Eucharist. Other small pieces are removed in honor of the Theotokos, different orders of saints, and the living and departed Christians who we pray for. The rest of the bread is cut up and distributed at the end of the Divine Liturgy.
This seal is two-sided, enabling the baker to make either a Greek style (larger) or Slavic style (smaller) loaf. It is hand-carved from a beautiful and heavy dark wood, sure to provide a lifetime of service to Christ.
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