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Communion wafer

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Communion wafer

Part of the series on the
Eucharist

also known as
"Holy Communion", "The Lord's Supper",
"Divine Liturgy", or "Blessed Sacrament"

Theology
Real Presence
Transubstantiation
Transignification
Sacramental Union
Memorialism
Consubstantiation
Impanation
Consecration
Words of Institution
Anglican Eucharistic theology
Eucharist (Catholic Church)
Eucharist (Lutheran Church)
Divine Liturgy (Orthodox Church)

Important theologians
Paul · Aquinas
Luther · Calvin
Chrysostom · Augustine
Zwingli · Basil of Caesarea

Related Articles
Origin of the Eucharist
Christianity
Sacramental bread
Christianity and alcohol
Catholic Historic Roots
Closed and Open Table
Divine Liturgy
Eucharistic adoration
Eucharistic discipline
First Communion
Infant Communion
Mass · Sacrament
Sanctification

Sacramental bread (Hostia), sometimes called the body of Christ, altar bread, the host, the Lamb or simply Communion bread, is the bread which is used in the Christian ritual of the Eucharist.

Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches


Main articles: Prosphora and Azymes

The Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox 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.

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".

Roman Catholic Church


A Hostia 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.



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, though it is more correct to use it after consecration—"altar bread" being preferred before consecration. Western theology teaches that at the Words of Institution the bread is changed or altered (known as either transubstantiation or transignification according to tradition or denomination) into the Body of Christ, while Eastern theology sees the epiclesis as no less necessary.

Hosts are often made by Canon 924 requires that the hosts be made from wheat flour only and recently made so that there is no danger of spoiling.

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 or 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".

Protestant


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. Reformed Christians use rolls which are broken and distributed to symbolize their belief that Christ is not physically present in the bread.[1] 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. Most denominations do not believe that the bread physically becomes the body of Christ.

Latter-day Saint

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.[2] The bread is broken into fragments just prior to being blessed by the officiating priest.

See also

Notes

Bibliography

  • Tony Begonja, Eucharistic Bread-Baking As Ministry, San Jose: Resource Publications, 1991, ISBN 0-89390-200-4.

External links

  • New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia: Altar Breads
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