PROSPHORA

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ProsphoraPROSPHORA - The Altar Breads. Bread made from pure wheat flour, round, in 2 "layers," signifying the two natures in Jesus Christ, stamped on the top with a four-pointed cross, thus dividing it into four parts, each part is marked with the following letters: 1C, XC, NI, KA (NIKA are first letters of words meaning "By this sign conquer.") Five loaves are used for preparation for Divine Liturgy in memory of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand with five loaves. However, for the Sacrament of the Eucharist only one of the loaves is used from which the Agnets (Host) is lifted, and placed on the Paten. From the second prosphora a particle is taken in memory of the All-Holy Theotokos. From the third, nine particles are taken in commemoration of the nine ranks of glorified saints; from the fourth, particles are taken for the living and from the fifth for the dead. All these particles are placed after Consecration into the Chalice while the Priest prayers that with His Precious Blood the Lord will wash away the sins of all who were mentioned. These particles are not given in Communion.

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