Prosphora – what it is and why: the essence of bread

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An important church treat is the prosphora, the use of which in the church is treated with special scrupulousness. In fact, these are unleavened bread on holy water, wheat flour, which for some parishioners become a source of holiness. In reality, it is required to know exactly what a prosphora is, so that one day in the temple one does not get into an awkward situation. This topic must be given special attention among the masses..

What is prosphora in the orthodox church

The prosphora translated from the Greek language means “offerings”, has taken its strong position in the Orthodox religion. In fact, this is a loaf of wheat flour, the main ingredients of which are yeast, holy water, salt. Such fresh pastries according to the church laws of Orthodoxy symbolize the union of the human, divine essence in Jesus Christ. It is necessary to know what a prosphora is, and why it is tasted in Orthodoxy, so as not to show the priest his own lack of education in church affairs.

Appearance and taste

Not all believers know for certain that the prosphora symbolizes the bread of the Last Supper, which Jesus Christ once shared between the disciples. Outwardly, it is a small round cookie, on the upper side of which you can see a cross with equal sides and letters in the corners: IS XI NI KA. Such an inscription also has its own meaning and decoding, and translates as “Jesus Christ conquers.” A prosphora is a seal of the image of the Lord, which can rarely mold, dry out, become unusable..



Before using such bread in the church, it is important to know its purpose and all existing varieties. According to church laws, the classification is as follows:

  1. Mother of God prosphora. This is a large loaf of triangular shape, which has the inscription “Mary” or “Holy Mother of God.” It is put on a special dish with the lamb, and is used mainly on religious holidays..
  2. Lamb. This is a large cubic-shaped bread, which during the liturgy becomes the true body of Jesus Christ. Externally, the prosphora is equipped with a cross, from which a lamb is cut with a special knife. The unused portion of the loaf, called the antidor, after the service is distributed free to parishioners.
  3. Ninefold. From the print of such a variety 9 particles are taken out, which are dedicated to all saints. It is required to use it for John the Baptist, Joachim and Anna, the prophets, saints, apostles, the archdeacon Stephen and the martyrs, the disinterested, Methodius and Cyril, Prince Vladimir, all the saints. Dedicated to the holy author of the liturgy, for example, John Chrysostom or Basil the Great.
  4. Overwhelming. The sacred bread is divided into two symmetrical parts, eaten for all participants in the liturgy after the service in the church.
  5. Funeral. For such a case, only one particle is taken from the upper part of the prosphora, which must be eaten for all the dead and deceased. You can’t do this in the cemetery after the funeral and burial of the newly appointed servant of God, it is strictly forbidden to crumble bread on the graves.


Artos and Antidor in Orthodoxy

Studying the varieties of prosphora, it is worth highlighting such a church concept as “arthos”. This is the Greek word “arto”, which literally translates as “leavened bread.” So what is arthos and why is this concept important in the Orthodox religion? Such a prosphora is placed in front of the altar in the Easter Light Week, at the same time it is consecrated for Easter, and it is shared and distributed to believers on Saturday of the Bright Week. Such a loaf should be stored at home, and eat, if a believer suddenly overtakes the ailment, he became ill.


Antidor (translated as “instead of the sacrament”) is an unused portion of bread, which, after the end of the liturgy, is distributed to all parishioners. From the point of view of Christianity, this is the memory of Christ’s suffering on the cross. Therefore, it is necessary to use an antidor carefully and carefully. It is important to clarify that such a portion of the sacred bread should not be given to unbaptized people. If arthos is a symbol of the resurrection of Christ and a reminder of his presence on earth, but the antidor is the eternal memory of his suffering for human sins.

Antidor and the Lamb

How to eat prosphora at home and keep it

This liturgical liturgical bread is supposed to be eaten only by chance, so the prosphora should not become part of the usual diet of parishioners. It is necessary to store the bread at the altar in the church or at the house of holy icons. It is necessary to use prosphora inside slowly, chewing each crumb qualitatively. If after the meal there are crumbs, they must be picked up, eat too. Other rules for the use and storage of this sacred bread are presented below:

  1. It is important not to swear and do not swear, if on the table there are prosvira or prosphora. Complete silence and spiritual conquest are needed..
  2. Bread rolls should not remain on the table; after eating, they must be carefully folded into a special bag.
  3. It is allowed to use the sacred bread inside only after the adoption of the Orthodox faith and the end of God’s activities.
  4. You can bring prosforin home, and use it only after ardent prayer with pure thoughts and always on an empty stomach.
  5. Such a meal favors good deeds, helps to feel spiritual sanctity and lightness, allows a person to start a new life in the right way of thinking..

Girl put a finger to her lips

When there is a prosphora

The prosphora, like sacred bread, sanctifies the one who eats them. Such bread rolls should be stored in special tins, it is advisable not to remove them from the icons, but to use them mainly on an empty stomach. If a woman has menstruation, it is important to remember that during critical days it is better for her not to appear at church at all and, especially, not to use this sacred bread. The same restriction applies to Good Friday, when it is also undesirable to sanctify your own body. The following are other rules for the proper use of this church ingredient:

  1. It is important not to mix the use of sacred mash with other dishes during the main meal.
  2. Before you put a piece in your mouth and slowly experience it, you should pray earnestly.
  3. Before eating such a loaf, after serving in the church, it is required to lay a clean and snow-white tablecloth on the table, pour about three sips of holy water into a glass.
  4. When using it is important to be especially vigilant so that not a single crumb remains on the floor.
  5. After chewing the prosphora, you need to drink about three sips of holy water and not choke.

Priest cuts prosphora

If the prosphora is dry or moldy

Milk can not go bad – to mold and sour. The only thing a prosphora can do in a church is to dry. In this case, it is not recommended to use it, and it is unlikely to succeed. But throwing it into the ballot box is also strictly prohibited. To properly dispose of the bridle, you must:

  • burning lamb loaf;
  • digging into damp earth;
  • direction to running water.

Many exemplary parishioners prefer to take it to church and give it to ministers for further disposal. This is a good option, because the temple knows what to do if the food suddenly dried up and finally became worthless. Nothing is difficult, especially since leaving such a spoiled and unusable dish in the house is also not recommended.

Withered and moldy in a bag

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