Set of 4 Holy Bread Small Seals – Each 8cm
Set of 4 small Seals
THE LARGEST HOLY BREAD SEALS COLLECTION!
A prosphoron (Greek: πρόσφορον, offering) 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).
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Prosphoro is made from only four ingredients, wheat flour (white), yeast, salt, and water. Salt was not used in early times and is still not used in the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem.
Any member of the church who is in good standing and whose conscience is clean may bake prosphora. Often in a parish church the women will take turns baking the prosphora; in monasteries, the task is often assigned by the Hegumen (abbot or abbess) to one or several monastics of virtuous life.
It is common but not necessary to go to confession before baking prosphora, and it is often done in the morning while fasting. Sometimes, special kitchen implements are used for making the prosphora which are used for no other purpose. There may be special prayers said before commencing, and the baker tries to maintain a religious state of mind throughout, often saying the Jesus Prayer. Usually enough prosphora for a number of services are baked at the same time.
A prosphoron is made up of two separate round pieces of leavened dough which are placed one on top of another and baked together to form a single loaf. This double-loaf represents the two natures of Christ: human and divine. Before baking, each prosphoron is stamped with a special seal called sphragis or Panagiari, usually bearing, among other things, the image of a cross with the Greek letters IC XC NIKA (“Jesus Christ conquers”) around the arms of the cross. This impression is baked into the bread and serves as a guide for the priest who will be cutting it.
In the Slavic practice (Russian Orthodox, Bulgarian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, etc.) five smaller prosphora are used (in commemoration of the five loaves Jesus used to feed the multitudes). In the Greek practice one larger prosphoron is used (in commemoration that all share in one “Bread” 1 Cor 10:16-17).
The Lamb and particles placed on the diskos during the Divine Liturgy.
Greek-style prosphora seal, for one large loaf: in the center is the Lamb (symbol: IC XC NI KA Christogram), to the viewer’s right is the Panagia (symbol: ΜΘ (Μήτηρ Θεοῦ)), to the left are the Nine Angelic Ranks (symbol: nine triangles), and on the top and bottom are extra Lambs for Presanctified (symbol: said Christogram). The positions of the Panagia and Nine Ranks will be reversed when the impression is made.
In the part of the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist) known as the Liturgy of Preparation (Proskomedia), a cube is cut from the center of the prosphoron, and is referred to as the Lamb (Greek: Ἀμνός, translit. Amnos). It is this Lamb which is consecrated to become the Body of Christ and from it both the clergy and the faithful will receive Holy Communion, while the remainder of the prosphora is cut up for the antidoron, the blessed bread which is distributed at the end of the Liturgy.
Prosphora can vary in size and imprinted design in different liturgical traditions. Generally, the Slavic traditions use five small prosphora with a simpler stamp, while the Greek-Byzantine tradition uses one large prosphoron with a more complex stamp, indicating the place from which the Lamb is to be taken and the places from which particles are removed for each of the remaining commemorations.
In addition to the Lamb, particles are removed from the prosphoron to commemorate the following:
* The Theotokos (Panagia)
* Nine ranks of Angels and Saints
* The living (including the local authorities and the ruling bishop)
* The departed
The Slavic tradition uses a separate prosphoron for each of these, sometimes with a different seal for each prosphoron—or at least a distinctive one for the Panagia. The laity may also present smaller prosphora together with a list of the faithful living and departed whom they wish to have commemorated during the Liturgy. From each of these smaller prosphora the priest will remove a triangular piece as well as several smaller particles while he prays for each of the persons listed.