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« on: December 29, 2009, 05:10:51 PM »

When did the practice of individual Communion wafers appear in the West? In all the Eastern traditions I am aware of, the faithful partake of a single Lamb, broken and distributed. Why is this not so in the West? And if it is not an early practice, why have the Western Rite parishes adopted it (please correct me if this is incorrect)? 
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2010, 08:44:45 AM »

Anyone?
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2010, 08:52:48 AM »

This topic is related to your question: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,18899.0.html
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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2010, 09:28:17 AM »

When did the practice of individual Communion wafers appear in the West? In all the Eastern traditions I am aware of, the faithful partake of a single Lamb, broken and distributed. Why is this not so in the West? And if it is not an early practice, why have the Western Rite parishes adopted it (please correct me if this is incorrect)? 
The use of the spoon is not an early practice, but we've adopted it.  The WRO are no different.

I would think that it couldn't have appeared before the use of unleavened bread, which appeared between 800-1000.
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2010, 01:16:09 PM »

When did the practice of individual Communion wafers appear in the West? In all the Eastern traditions I am aware of, the faithful partake of a single Lamb, broken and distributed. Why is this not so in the West? And if it is not an early practice, why have the Western Rite parishes adopted it (please correct me if this is incorrect)? 
The use of the spoon is not an early practice, but we've adopted it.  The WRO are no different.

I would think that it couldn't have appeared before the use of unleavened bread, which appeared between 800-1000.

The fact that the 'actual' last supper between Christ and his own Disciples were with unleavened bread and an 'actual' species were separate from one another doesn't mean anything to any of you?
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2010, 02:19:16 PM »

If Jesus used unleavened bread at the Last Supper, why was the universal tradition of the Church originally leavened bread?
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2010, 02:24:23 PM »

If Jesus used unleavened bread at the Last Supper, why was the universal tradition of the Church originally leavened bread?

It's my understanding that the leaven is supposed to represent the presence of the Holy Spirit. I could be wrong though.
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2010, 02:39:38 PM »

If Jesus used unleavened bread at the Last Supper, why was the universal tradition of the Church originally leavened bread?

Good point, Father. The Jews used the unleavened bread on Pascha, but on Pascha, Jesus didn't have the Last Supper, but was crucified, right?
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2010, 03:11:46 PM »

Thanks for your responses. Does anyone have any more specific information as to when and why the practice of making a number of small wafers - one for each communicant, rather than all partaking of the same bread - came about? The leavened/unleavened thing has been discussed elsewhere, so it was not really the issue I was addressing.
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2010, 03:27:39 PM »

A certain Catholic wrote on his blog:
Quote
Mary asked: “Do you know the history of the Communion Wafer? I’ve been looking everywhere. I cannot figure out when churches (aside from the Orthodox who still use leavened bread) generally made the switch from unleavened bread to wafers. Any ideas?”

Interesting question! I never really thought about it, but you piqued my curiousity so I did a little digging. Here’s what I found…

Communion wafers have always been made of unleavened (flat) bread in the Catholic tradition because that’s what was used at the Last Supper (Passover).

The earliest recorded history of communion bread comes from pictures found in the catacombs dating back to the 200’s, and the bread was round in shape even then.

The earliest recorded history describing an actual communion wafer comes from a document written sometime around AD 1050. In those days the wafer was usually very large and the laity would break off pieces (“particles”) when they received the sacrament.

So it was about 1000 years ago or so churches started using communion wafers!

(credit goes out to the Catholic Encyclopedia Online for this information – http://www.newadvent.org)
Source: http://getstarted.wordpress.com/2007/11/10/the-history-of-communion/
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2010, 03:28:43 PM »

There's a pretty thorough discussion of this in the Catholic Encyclopedia
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07489d.htm

Scroll down to the sub-heading on 'moulds for hosts' and 'forms and dimensions'. Earliest evidence for the separate wafers sounds like it might have started as early at the seventh century in some places--but in the 11th century it was still controversial so it apparently spread only slowly.
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2010, 03:40:28 PM »

If Jesus used unleavened bread at the Last Supper, why was the universal tradition of the Church originally leavened bread?

Just to offer the Western view of this Sacrament... regarding separation of the body and the blood...

"Moreover the separate forms of bread and wine symbolize the destruction of Christ's human nature, for the body and blood of Christ are separated one from the other upon the Altar, as they were upon the cross, when the blood flowed out of His body through the countless wounds. We also gather that the object of this unbloody sacrifice is the reconciliation of man with God, from the words Our Lord uttered at the Last Supper." pg. 533 The Catechism Explained: An Exhaustive Explanation of the Catholic Religion
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« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2010, 03:51:10 PM »

There's a pretty thorough discussion of this in the Catholic Encyclopedia
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07489d.htm

Quote
...it is stated that from the eighth century it was customary to bless small hosts intended for the faithful, an advantageous measure which dispensed with breaking the host and consequently prevented the crumbling that ensued.

As late as the eleventh century we find some opposition to the custom, then growing general, of reserving a large host for the priest and a small one for each communicant. However, by the twelfth century the new custom prevailed in France, Switzerland, and Germany; Honorius of Autun states in a general way that the hosts were in the form of "denarii". The monasteries held out for a longer time, and as late as the twelfth century the ancient system was still in force at Cluny.

Perfect! Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!
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« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2010, 04:00:47 PM »

Just to offer the Western view of this Sacrament... regarding separation of the body and the blood...

We also have seperation of the Body and the Blood: during the DL of St James (celebrated annually in many places) and in some WR parishes. Btw, what symbolism do RCs ascribe to the fact that the faithfull are not given the Blood?
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« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2010, 04:26:37 PM »

Just to offer the Western view of this Sacrament... regarding separation of the body and the blood...

We also have seperation of the Body and the Blood: during the DL of St James (celebrated annually in many places) and in some WR parishes. Btw, what symbolism do RCs ascribe to the fact that the faithfull are not given the Blood?

You mean communion under 'one' species? I think it's original inception was to but down a heresy which failed to recognize the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity to be 'fully' present in 'both' species. So, I would guess the 'symbolism' in such an act would be to recognize Christ's presence in either species.

It is most true that under the species of bread, as also under the species of wine, Christ is present, God and man, whole and entire.

"Where the body and blood of Christ are, there He must be present, not in part, but in His whole person; for now He hath risen from the dead to die no more, and consequently the body can no more be separated from the blood than the body and blood can be separated from the soul of Christ. Our Lord's words: "This is My body which is given for you," and: "This is My blood, which shall be shed for many," demonstrate that it is His living body. His living blood, that are present under the appearance of bread and wine, and therefore the living, not the dead Christ Who is present upon the Altar. As a whole landscape may be seen in the pupil of the eyes, so Christ is contained whole and entire in the sacred Host." ~ pg. 591 The Catechism Explained
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« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2010, 04:30:04 PM »

You mean communion under 'one' species?

That's right. Thank you for your answer.
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« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2010, 05:04:37 PM »

From my research, the wafer originates with the 'buccelatum' used by the Romans during periods of warfare when fresh grain was in short supply (the Roman equivalent of American 'Hard Tack' used in war up until WWII).  It was a way of preserving grain from spoiling.

It was also excellent for missionaries travelling to Gaul and other places where there was no soft wheat, and so the practice became the norm.

Let's also not forget that the Last Supper took place before the Crucifixion and Resurrection.  Not all had been accomplished.  So, we can assume that if such a sharing of the as-of-yet-not-Crucified Body of the Lord was done with unleavened bread, that the leavened bread of the Resurrected Body would be appropriate to a post-Paschal Communion.

The Last Supper reveals that Lord's connection to all of us before the Cross, and so what what was connected to Him before the Cross and Resurrection then shares in the Cross and Resurrection.  Our time in the hardship of Exodus is over and the new leaven is now made ready.
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« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2010, 05:14:02 PM »

I have always found it interesting that this is a point of contention at all. St. Thomas Aquinas argued that each particular Church (Latin, Greek, Oriental, etc.) should follow their particular traditions on this matter.
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« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2010, 05:19:06 PM »

I have always found it interesting that this is a point of contention at all. St. Thomas Aquinas argued that each particular Church (Latin, Greek, Oriental, etc.) should follow their particular traditions on this matter.

reference?
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« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2010, 06:44:32 PM »

You mean communion under 'one' species?

That's right. Thank you for your answer.

No. The Liturgy of James involves partaking of the species separately, but it does not involve partaking of only one of them.
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« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2010, 06:44:55 PM »

When did the practice of individual Communion wafers appear in the West? In all the Eastern traditions I am aware of, the faithful partake of a single Lamb, broken and distributed. Why is this not so in the West? And if it is not an early practice, why have the Western Rite parishes adopted it (please correct me if this is incorrect)? 
The use of the spoon is not an early practice, but we've adopted it.  The WRO are no different.

I would think that it couldn't have appeared before the use of unleavened bread, which appeared between 800-1000.

The fact that the 'actual' last supper between Christ and his own Disciples were with unleavened bread and an 'actual' species were separate from one another doesn't mean anything to any of you?

Why do you assume that it was with unleavened bread?
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« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2010, 07:09:46 PM »

You mean communion under 'one' species?

That's right. Thank you for your answer.

No. The Liturgy of James involves partaking of the species separately, but it does not involve partaking of only one of them.

I know that. My "That's right" was an answer to ignatius' "You mean communion under 'one' species?", which was a question which followed my "Btw, what symbolism do RCs ascribe to the fact that the faithfull are not given the Blood?" - and that was not about the DL of St James, but the RC Mass.
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« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2010, 07:33:51 PM »

When did the practice of individual Communion wafers appear in the West? In all the Eastern traditions I am aware of, the faithful partake of a single Lamb, broken and distributed. Why is this not so in the West? And if it is not an early practice, why have the Western Rite parishes adopted it (please correct me if this is incorrect)?  
The use of the spoon is not an early practice, but we've adopted it.  The WRO are no different.

I would think that it couldn't have appeared before the use of unleavened bread, which appeared between 800-1000.

The fact that the 'actual' last supper between Christ and his own Disciples were with unleavened bread and an 'actual' species were separate from one another doesn't mean anything to any of you?

Why do you assume that it was with unleavened bread?

Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new paste, as you are unleavened. For Christ our Pasch, is sacrificed. Therefore let us feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. ~ 1 C. 5:7-9

The unleavened bread of the Eucharist is a 'literal' symbol of this unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, the Very Flesh of Our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know that the Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (Jn. i.17).

The visible sign is the form of bread and of wine, the audible sign is the words of Christ; the invisible grace is the reception of the body and blood of Christ; the institution of this sacrament took place at the Last Supper. The visible form portrays the invisible grace: the bread prepared with water and the flour of wheat, and baked with fire, represents the body of Christ which was subjected to cruel suffering; the wine, the juice pressed from the grape, represents the blood of Christ, which flowed from the wounds of His sacred body. The bread is unleavened, to denote the purity of Christ's body; it is round in shape, because it conceals Him Who is without beginning and without end (Heb. vii.3). Water is mixed with the wine, to signify the intimate union of the Godhead and manhood in His person. Bread and wine being the principal means of nourishment for the body, signify that the body and blood of Christ are the chief sustenance of the soul. This Sacrament is called the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, because the change of substance takes place upon the Altar; it is called the Blessed Sacrament, because in it not only are the graces of the Sacrament received, but the Author and Giver of all gracel and it is besides the most exalted and sublime of all the Sacraments. It is called the Bread of Heaven, the Bread of angels, because Our Lord comes down from heaven to be our food, a food which makes men like angels. ~ pg. 590 The Catechism Explained
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« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2010, 07:34:15 PM »

You mean communion under 'one' species?

That's right. Thank you for your answer.

No. The Liturgy of James involves partaking of the species separately, but it does not involve partaking of only one of them.

I know that. My "That's right" was an answer to ignatius' "You mean communion under 'one' species?", which was a question which followed my "Btw, what symbolism do RCs ascribe to the fact that the faithfull are not given the Blood?" - and that was not about the DL of St James, but the RC Mass.

Oops. I see. Sorry.
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« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2010, 07:39:28 PM »

When did the practice of individual Communion wafers appear in the West? In all the Eastern traditions I am aware of, the faithful partake of a single Lamb, broken and distributed. Why is this not so in the West? And if it is not an early practice, why have the Western Rite parishes adopted it (please correct me if this is incorrect)? 
The use of the spoon is not an early practice, but we've adopted it.  The WRO are no different.

I would think that it couldn't have appeared before the use of unleavened bread, which appeared between 800-1000.

The fact that the 'actual' last supper between Christ and his own Disciples were with unleavened bread and an 'actual' species were separate from one another doesn't mean anything to any of you?

Why do you assume that it was with unleavened bread?

Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new paste, as you are unleavened. For Christ our Pasch, is sacrificed. Therefore let us feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. ~ 1 C. 5:7-9

The visible sign is the form of bread and of wine, the audible sign is the words of Christ; the invisible grace is the reception of the body and blood of Christ; the institution of this sacrament took place at the Last Supper. The visible form portrays the invisible grace: the bread prepared with water and the flour of wheat, and baked with fire, represents the body of Christ which was subjected to cruel suffering; the wine, the juice pressed from the grape, represents the blood of Christ, which flowed from the wounds of His sacred body. The bread is unleavened, to denote the purity of Christ's body; it is round in shape, because it conceals Him Who is without beginning and without end (Heb. vii.3). Water is mixed with the wine, to signify the intimate union of the Godhead and manhood in His person. Bread and wine being the principal means of nourishment for the body, signify that the body and blood of Christ are the chief sustenance of the soul. This Sacrament is called the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, because the change of substance takes place upon the Altar; it is called the Blessed Sacrament, because in it not only are the graces of the Sacrament received, but the Author and Giver of all gracel and it is besides the most exalted and sublime of all the Sacraments. It is called the Bread of Heaven, the Bread of angels, because Our Lord comes down from heaven to be our food, a food which makes men like angels. ~ pg. 590 The Catechism Explained

You realize that it is not clear whether the Last Supper was the Passover Sedar, right? And if it was not that it is likely that they used unleavened bread. I don't understand your confidence in thinking that it was unleavened bread, because most people who have studied the accounts have concluded that it could have been one or the other. And the cites you provide don't really seem to prove anything.
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« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2010, 07:43:28 PM »


You realize that it is not clear whether the Last Supper was the Passover Sedar, right? And if it was not that it is likely that they used unleavened bread. I don't understand your confidence in thinking that it was unleavened bread, because most people who have studied the accounts have concluded that it could have been one or the other. And the cites you provide don't really seem to prove anything.

The unleavened bread of the Eucharist is a 'literal' symbol of this unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, the Very Flesh of Our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know that the Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (Jn. i.17).

The order of the paschal meal can be determined rather accurately by reconstructing the order of the Jewish festive meal of the Seder and then changing and adjusting that order on the basis of the texts which deal specifically with the paschal meal. Outside of modern scholarships desire to deconstruct everything into nothing, the Eucharist is the fulfillment of the Jewish Seder.
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« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2010, 03:36:04 AM »


You realize that it is not clear whether the Last Supper was the Passover Sedar, right? And if it was not that it is likely that they used unleavened bread. I don't understand your confidence in thinking that it was unleavened bread, because most people who have studied the accounts have concluded that it could have been one or the other. And the cites you provide don't really seem to prove anything.

The unleavened bread of the Eucharist is a 'literal' symbol of this unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, the Very Flesh of Our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know that the Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (Jn. i.17).

The order of the paschal meal can be determined rather accurately by reconstructing the order of the Jewish festive meal of the Seder and then changing and adjusting that order on the basis of the texts which deal specifically with the paschal meal. Outside of modern scholarships desire to deconstruct everything into nothing, the Eucharist is the fulfillment of the Jewish Seder.

And yet, it is still not clear that the Last Supper was a literal coinciding with the Mosaic Passover Sedar, and thus that the bread used at it was unleavened.
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« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2010, 06:57:55 AM »

There's too much polemics regarding the use of azyme bread. The truth is that we can't and shouldn't dogmatize too much. The Roman Catholic Church is somehow more prudent in this (at least in our days): knowing not whether that bread was azyme or leavened, much freedom was given in the end to those churches in the East in communion with the Pope who want leavened bread to be used. Why insisting on the idea that John is right while the synoptics are wrong in setting the Passover either on the Last Supper or on Christ's death? The important thing is the context of the Last Supper "I have long desidered to eat this Pesach with you". This sentence by Jesus proves that Christ was celebrating a Passover Seder. Whether he adapted to the circumstances (i.e. the fact that the official Passover was on the next day) and thus used common leavened bread, or on the contrary that he had azyme bread prepared to celebrate the Last Supper according to the official prescriptions of the Law - I think this is not a matter of faith. Jesus is the Divine Author of the Law and might have done whatever he liked to adapt it to the circumstances, being the only Judge to interpret it in the right light.
I think that the practice of using common bread was dictated more by praxis then by liturgy. Azyme bread was not so common in everyday life so people brought common bread for the Eucharist. That's all. Discussing on different liturgical sensibilities is quite useless when we don't focus on the essentials of faith. Christ consecrated bread and wine, thus until we use wheat bread and a cup of wine we are respecting God's law - if we were using something else (as many did in the first centuries heresies or as 7th Day Adventists use replacing wine with unfermented grape juice) then we're outside of the teachings of Christ.
Also, we should read in the different traditions. Leaven is used in the East to mean the Holy Spirit and also the "new leaven" of Christ; in the West, leaven "corrupts" the wheat so it is identified with sin. Different symbologies coherent with different interpretations from the Scripture are valid and should be preserved.
I hope I haven't offended anybody here.
In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2010, 11:34:51 AM »

There's too much polemics regarding the use of azyme bread. The truth is that we can't and shouldn't dogmatize too much. The Roman Catholic Church is somehow more prudent in this (at least in our days): knowing not whether that bread was azyme or leavened, much freedom was given in the end to those churches in the East in communion with the Pope who want leavened bread to be used. Why insisting on the idea that John is right while the synoptics are wrong in setting the Passover either on the Last Supper or on Christ's death? The important thing is the context of the Last Supper "I have long desidered to eat this Pesach with you". This sentence by Jesus proves that Christ was celebrating a Passover Seder. Whether he adapted to the circumstances (i.e. the fact that the official Passover was on the next day) and thus used common leavened bread, or on the contrary that he had azyme bread prepared to celebrate the Last Supper according to the official prescriptions of the Law - I think this is not a matter of faith. Jesus is the Divine Author of the Law and might have done whatever he liked to adapt it to the circumstances, being the only Judge to interpret it in the right light.
I think that the practice of using common bread was dictated more by praxis then by liturgy. Azyme bread was not so common in everyday life so people brought common bread for the Eucharist. That's all. Discussing on different liturgical sensibilities is quite useless when we don't focus on the essentials of faith. Christ consecrated bread and wine, thus until we use wheat bread and a cup of wine we are respecting God's law - if we were using something else (as many did in the first centuries heresies or as 7th Day Adventists use replacing wine with unfermented grape juice) then we're outside of the teachings of Christ.
Also, we should read in the different traditions. Leaven is used in the East to mean the Holy Spirit and also the "new leaven" of Christ; in the West, leaven "corrupts" the wheat so it is identified with sin. Different symbologies coherent with different interpretations from the Scripture are valid and should be preserved.
I hope I haven't offended anybody here.
In Christ,   Alex


Erev Peshah, Passover Eve, there is now, and was previously, a lot of symbolic getting rid of the leaven, and eating the last of it.  St. John refers to this.

Although the Armenains have used unleavened bread at least since the 6th century, when the Catholicos Moses II said that he would not cross the Azat, eat bread baked in ovens or drink warm wine
http://books.google.com/books?id=Es8IUlpYMGAC&pg=PA88&dq=Armenian+eucharist+I+will+not+cross+the+Azat&cd=4#v=onepage&q=Armenian%20eucharist%20I%20will%20not%20cross%20the%20Azat&f=false

the problem is that the Church universally used leavened bread.  Understood correctly, I don't think the difference is a problem.  The problem is that I don't think Judaizing is not understanding correctly.
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« Reply #29 on: January 09, 2010, 01:31:20 PM »

There's much more Judaizing in many other elements of Orthodoxy (and Roman Catholicism too) which have never been suppressed, for example the structure of the temple and the physical division between the nave and the altar area. The same could be said of the liturgical vestments, which look very similar to those of the Jewish priests (of course partially fused with imperial court vestments). That doesn't make all those liturgical elements "Judaizing practices". On the contrary, Jesus was a Jew and the Jews based their liturgy and their symbology on the teachings of the Old Testament which had been dictated to Moses by Jesus himself before the Incarnation, and the Catholic Church has loved many of those symbols and adopted them in her life (another example is the use of ashes in Ash Wednesday). "Judaizing" would mean accepting entirely the so-called Holiness Code or preserving the Old Testament rites (such as sabbath and circumcision) which have been replaced in the New Testament (Sunday and baptism respectively). The rest of the liturgical and aesthetical sensibility of the Jews isn't per se negative, and technically I don't see where Catholics and Armenians, adopting unleavened bread, ever showed a different belief in the Eucharist or in Christ's nature. Somebody in the past, in a similar way, didn't understand why the Oriental Churches adopted wine not tempered with water. If we had to look at Scripture alone, water shouldn't be in the "recipe" for the Holy Cup. Now, different churches based themselves on the local traditions and sensibilities which, it must be said, can even change through time. While the Jews used tempered wine, others didn't, and thus different traditions came out of the same faith. It was evidently the extreme abuse of the principle "lex orandi lex credendi" even in the details (which is somehow Pharisaic) that brought to misunderstandings with the Coptic Church... Since I don't really think that Copts are heretic just for affirming the dual nature of Christ in different words (which is more or less the reason why the byphisite Catholic Church could reunite without difficulty with Copts letting them preserve their traditional understanding of Christ), I also don't think that using leavened or unleavened bread could be wrong, specifically because the Catholic Church allows both: if the azymes mirrored a different christological or sacramental understanding, why would the same Catholic Church allow different practices in the 2% of her faithful who use leavened bread? Evidently, the Latin Church doesn't make a point of faith in preferring either. To comfort myself of this, when I have received Holy Communion during a Tridentine Mass in the Roman Catholic Church I really felt Christ was what I was receiving. I don't think it affects the nature of the sacrament in anything!!!
The main problem is that we should keep our dialogue on much more important issues of faith then the preference of azyme or leavened bread. This is my opinion, and you might agree with it or not... but I think that if we can overcome the differences and understand each other better (a responsibility on both sides) then we could see the liturgical differences from another perspective.

In Christ,    Alex

PS: I love your prosphoras and I'd like hosts to be replaced with a real bread even in the Latin Church, anyway.
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« Reply #30 on: January 09, 2010, 05:35:20 PM »


Why insisting on the idea that John is right while the synoptics are wrong in setting the Passover either on the Last Supper or on Christ's death? The important thing is the context of the Last Supper "I have long desidered to eat this Pesach with you". This sentence by Jesus proves that Christ was celebrating a Passover Seder.

Actually, at the very least John's Gospel indicates that it was not the Passover Sedar, but the night before that. Here is a website that shows this and even makes a case that this is not inconsistent with the Synoptics:

http://www.herealittletherealittle.net/index.cfm?page_name=Last-Supper-Passover-Meal
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« Reply #31 on: January 10, 2010, 12:55:22 AM »

Quote
If we had to look at Scripture alone, water shouldn't be in the "recipe" for the Holy Cup.

Not quite true, Alexander. The water mixed with wine in the chalice represents the blood and water which flowed from the crucified Christ's side when pierced by the lance. The priestly prayers intoned in the altar during the Divine Liturgy are most illuminating.
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« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2010, 01:26:33 AM »


Quote
If we had to look at Scripture alone, water shouldn't be in the "recipe" for the Holy Cup.

Not quite true, Alexander. The water mixed with wine in the chalice represents the blood and water which flowed from the crucified Christ's side when pierced by the lance. The priestly prayers intoned in the altar during the Divine Liturgy are most illuminating.

Nonetheless, the Scriptures nowhere suggest that we use water in the Eucharistic sacrifice.

(note that this does not mean I have a problem using water in the Eucharist)
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« Reply #33 on: January 10, 2010, 02:59:21 AM »

Quote
If we had to look at Scripture alone, water shouldn't be in the "recipe" for the Holy Cup.

Not quite true, Alexander. The water mixed with wine in the chalice represents the blood and water which flowed from the crucified Christ's side when pierced by the lance. The priestly prayers intoned in the altar during the Divine Liturgy are most illuminating.


Proverbs 9:4-6 (King James Version)
Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,
Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.
Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.


Although I don't have the citations, I was told this was a prophetic account of the Eucharist.

Historically speaking, most wine was mingled with water not only to stretch it out but also as an antiseptic for water in general.  Drinking straight wine was more the exception than the rule from what what I was taught.
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« Reply #34 on: January 10, 2010, 03:23:23 AM »


the problem is that the Church universally used leavened bread.  Understood correctly, I don't think the difference is a problem. 

The great problem with unleaved bread is that the Church first encountered it as a phenomenon of heresy.  It was adopted by the Armenians as a way to asssert that Christ has only one nature.  So when the Churches of the East come upon unleavened bread in the Eucharist ancient warning signals go off for them...

Something interesting from  Fr John H Erickson, Dean of Saint Vladimir's Seminary

http://www.svots.edu/Faculty/John-Erickson/articles/beyond-dialogue.html/

"...... Particularly instructive are the ways in which certain distinctive Armenian liturgical practices, such as the use of azymes (unleavened bread) and a chalice unmixed with water in the eucharist, come to be linked to Christological doctrine.  The origins of these practices are unknown, but they certainly antedate any division of the churches.  By late sixth century, however, they were becoming symbols of Armenian identity vis-a-vis the Greeks, who used leavened bread and wine mixed with warm water in the eucharist. 

"Refusing an invitation from Emperor Maurice to come to Constantinople to discuss reunion, Catholicos Movses II in 591 declared:  “I will not cross the River Azat nor will I eat the baked bread of the Greeks or drink their hot water.” [9]   

"By the late seventh century these distinctive liturgical practices, already symbols of national identity, have become even more potent symbols of Christological doctrine.  Reflecting the aphthartodocetism of Julian of Halicarnassus, which was then in the ascendency in the Armenian Church, Catholicos Sahak III (d. 703) writes:  “Now we profess the body of Christ [to be] incorrupt and all-powerful always and constantly from [the moment of] the union of the Logos.  This is why we take azymes [unleavened bread] for the bread of holiness with which we offer the salvific sacrifice, which signifies incorruptibility.” [10]   Then, after a barrage of typological and moral arguments supporting the use of unleavened bread, Sahak goes on in like manner to associate the unmixed chalice, free from the adulteration of added water, with the incorruptible blood of Christ. 

"The Byzantine Church quickly enough responded in kind.  The Synod in Trullo (691-92) almost certainly had Sahak’s treatise in mind when it decreed that any bishop or presbyter who does not mix water with the wine in the eucharist is to be deposed, on the grounds that he thus “proclaims the mystery incompletely and tampers with tradition” (canon 32). [11]   Very possibly Trullo also had Armenian liturgical practice in mind when it decreed “Let no man eat the unleavened bread of the Jews...” (canon 11).  In any case, in subsequent  polemical literature the issue of the bread and wine of the eucharist figures prominently, frequently to the exclusion of deeper theological reflection. 

"Thus, despite their common rejection of Chalcedon and the generally Severan orientation of their shared Christology,  the Armenian and Syrian churches in the Middle Ages sometimes attacked each other precisely because of such liturgical differences.  So also, as schism yawned between the Byzantine and Latin churches in the eleventh century, Byzantine polemicists transferred their anti-azyme arguments from the Armenians to the Latins, notwithstanding the latters’ manifestly Chalcedonian Christology.  Use of leavened bread and mingled wine, or conversely of unleavened bread and pure wine, immediately marked a community as either heretic or orthodox, no matter what Christological doctrine the community in question actually held!"
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« Reply #35 on: January 10, 2010, 03:48:51 AM »


The great problem with unleaved bread is that the Church first encountered it as a phenomenon of heresy.  It was adopted by the Armenians as a way to asssert that Christ has only one nature.  So when the Churches of the East come upon unleavened bread in the Eucharist ancient warning signals go off for them...

Actually, as the article below states, the practice predates the Christological "one nature vs. two nature" controversy.   Smiley


Quote
Something interesting from  Fr John H Erickson, Dean of Saint Vladimir's Seminary

http://www.svots.edu/Faculty/John-Erickson/articles/beyond-dialogue.html/

"...... Particularly instructive are the ways in which certain distinctive Armenian liturgical practices, such as the use of azymes (unleavened bread) and a chalice unmixed with water in the eucharist, come to be linked to Christological doctrine.  The origins of these practices are unknown, but they certainly antedate any division of the churches.  By late sixth century, however, they were becoming symbols of Armenian identity vis-a-vis the Greeks, who used leavened bread and wine mixed with warm water in the eucharist. 


What happened was that this preexisting practice later had a polemical meaning projected onto it, within the context of the Christological controversies.

Another example of this, given by Fr. Erickson, was the difference in fasting practices between Armenians and Greeks before Lent:

Quote
    One final example illustrates particularly vividly the ease with which a minor liturgical difference can be transformed into a symbol of division.  In the Coptic, Syrian and Armenian liturgical traditions, a week of strict fasting - variously called the Fast of Heraclius, the Fast of Ninevah or the Forefast (Arachavorats) - preceeds the “Forty-Day” Great Fast of Lent.  The same week in the Byzantine tradition calls only for abstinence from meat, not from dairy products.  The historical development of the fasting practices of these various liturgical traditions is complex, but the differences between them were not the result of any dogmatic differences. [14]   Yet in the context of church division, these differences came to be given a polemical explanation.  Here is the rubric given in the Byzantine Triodion for Cheesefare Sunday, which introduces the week in question: “During this week the accursed Armenians fast from eggs and cheese, but we, to refute their damnable heresy, do eat both eggs and cheese for the entire week.” What one side does is enough to prompt the other to do the opposite!  We see here the tragic way in which our sense of ecclesial identity has, in the context of division, been formed by opposition rather than by reference to a common faith.  The characteristics by which we identify ourselves and our churches as “orthodox” all too often have been simply those extrinsic elements which make us different from others.
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« Reply #36 on: January 10, 2010, 09:29:11 AM »


Why insisting on the idea that John is right while the synoptics are wrong in setting the Passover either on the Last Supper or on Christ's death? The important thing is the context of the Last Supper "I have long desidered to eat this Pesach with you". This sentence by Jesus proves that Christ was celebrating a Passover Seder.

Actually, at the very least John's Gospel indicates that it was not the Passover Sedar, but the night before that. Here is a website that shows this and even makes a case that this is not inconsistent with the Synoptics:

http://www.herealittletherealittle.net/index.cfm?page_name=Last-Supper-Passover-Meal

Then I offer to you another perspective. What kind of bread was Jesus breaking in the presence of the Emmaus disciples, so that they recognized him at the "fraction of the bread"? No matter on what day you place the Passover Seder, that bread was necessarily azyme since the Days of Azymes last seven days and the First Day of Azymes was either on the vigil of Christ's death (if the Synoptics, being three witnesses, are more accurate) or on the very same day of Jesus' sacrifice on Calvary, so that the seven days of Azymes would end only next Thursday or Friday. So we could say that on the very same day of His resurrection - the first Eucharist of the New Kingdom - Jesus our God didn't disdain to break azyme bread, becoming recognizable to the two disciples. I must also underline that the "fraction of bread" was always meant to be, in the Gospels, as the Eucharist or a sign for it.
My understanding is the same referenced in this article of the Catholic Encyclopedia (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14341a.htm) that there was a discrepancy between the official Pharisaic calendar adopted by the Sanhedrin and the one adopted by Christ. Among the different solutions, two are proposed in that webpage, and two others have been proposed at different times by others:
1) The Sanhedrin moved Passover in order not to have to consequential Sabbaths (I consider this to be odd and improbable)
2) Jesus anticipated the Passover Seder to celebrate it before his trial and death (possible, but unlikely)
3) Jesus followed the Essene calendar which is different then the official one. This is also possible, the only doubt is that we don't have any proof that the Essene Passover on that year could drop one day before the date chosen by the Sanhedrin.
4) The Sanhedrin erred in calculating the Day of Passover due to bad weather conditions, as the calculation of the 14th Nisan derived from a direct observation of the new moon, while Jesus the Creator corrected their error and fixed the right day every year.

All of these are just conjectures proposed first by others. Personally, I like the 4th better. Anyway, what the Bible proves is that we can't rely exclusively on the chronology of one Gospel and refuting the accuracy of the other three!

On the matter of tempered wine, as Salpy has pointed out, it was the Orthodox-Catholic Church that "read" into the choices of others the wrong intentions. Everybody knows that the Catholic Church, for example, but the Armenian Catholics are still allowed to use pure wine according to their own traditions.

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #37 on: February 03, 2010, 09:09:01 PM »

And if it is not an early practice, why have the Western Rite parishes adopted it (please correct me if this is incorrect)?

It is correct as far as many WRO parishes are concerned, but definitely not all. I have recently attended my first WRO service (at a ROCOR mission) and a prosfora-like bread was used for the Eucharist.
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« Reply #38 on: February 08, 2010, 06:15:28 AM »

I have recently attended my first WRO service (at a ROCOR mission).
Where? I guess there isn't any WR missions in Poland.
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« Reply #39 on: February 08, 2010, 06:34:25 AM »

Where?

Christchurch, England.

I guess there isn't any WR missions in Poland.

You're right.
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« Reply #40 on: April 18, 2011, 06:19:37 PM »

The WRO churches that use wafers use leavened ones. The bread is pressed into wafer form.
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