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Author Topic: Why use leavened bread during the Holy Eucharist?  (Read 1432 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: October 16, 2014, 11:33:25 AM »

I previously asked the question, 'Would the use of leaven "proclaim the Lord's death"?':

"For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes" (1 Cor.11:26, NKJV).

The focus of the Eucharist is upon the Lord's sacrifice, not His resurrection.
But we also have: "and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.."  -- 1 Corinthians 15:17-19.  One thing that I began learning when I became Orthodox, and am still learning, is that the Orthodox take the life, death, and resurrection of the LORD as a whole.  We are not known for isolating certain aspects of it.
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« Reply #46 on: October 16, 2014, 11:36:10 AM »

I previously asked the question, 'Would the use of leaven "proclaim the Lord's death"?':

"For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes" (1 Cor.11:26, NKJV).

The focus of the Eucharist is upon the Lord's sacrifice, not His resurrection.

Ridiculous.  The death is meaningless apart from the resurrection.  The resurrection is victory precisely because of the death: "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death".  They cannot be isolated as you are doing without doing violence to the whole.  Even in the passage you highlighted, the resurrection is implied by "till he comes", unless you believe that Christ has yet to be raised from death.   

The separate "consecration" of the Eucharistic elements points to the death of Christ.  Their uniting (at the Fraction) points to the resurrection.  This is the case whether we receive the elements together (Byzantine, Armenian, Syriac) or separately (Roman, Coptic, Ethiopian?, Assyrian).     
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« Reply #47 on: October 16, 2014, 11:50:58 AM »

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« Reply #48 on: October 17, 2014, 10:19:29 AM »

I previously asked the question, 'Would the use of leaven "proclaim the Lord's death"?':

"For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes" (1 Cor.11:26, NKJV).

The focus of the Eucharist is upon the Lord's sacrifice, not His resurrection.

Ridiculous.  The death is meaningless apart from the resurrection.  The resurrection is victory precisely because of the death: "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death".  They cannot be isolated as you are doing without doing violence to the whole.  Even in the passage you highlighted, the resurrection is implied by "till he comes", unless you believe that Christ has yet to be raised from death.   

The separate "consecration" of the Eucharistic elements points to the death of Christ.  Their uniting (at the Fraction) points to the resurrection.  This is the case whether we receive the elements together (Byzantine, Armenian, Syriac) or separately (Roman, Coptic, Ethiopian?, Assyrian).     

"The death is meaningless apart from the resurrection." - No one is saying otherwise, Mor. The discussion is about the symbolism of the bread as used at the time of the Passover and the change from the unleavened bread, as instituted by our Lord, to the leavened bread as employed in 'Orthodox Christianity'. The phrase "till He comes" is not a reference to His resurrection, but to the widely held belief in Christ's return. It was Paul who said that doing "this", as instituted, proclaimed the Lord's death - and I don't think it is helpful for you to accuse Paul of being ridiculous in focusing upon this point.  Smiley

Your point about the Eucharist being meaningless if we do not consider the whole meaning, inclusive of the resurrection, I accept. This must be expressed during the service.

Now, I see a number of replies that say in effect, "Why does it matter, whether the bread is unleavened or leavened? - It is what the bread becomes and how it is received that really matters."

To some extent I can agree with this, but the symbolic interpretation of the Eucharistic elements express important aspects of the Gospel. It has been suggested that the use of leaven could suggest 'the sin' that the Lord actually in body became on the cross. -  The 'Orthodox' say that the leaven of the Eucharist speaks of the Lord's resurrection and of the Kingdom of God expanding throughout the world in the body of Christ. It is argued that this usage is ancient, but it is clear that it was not so in the beginning - as Jesus instituted it.

Rome had suffered heavily in its wars against the Jews and greatly during the reign of Hadrian. Edicts that forbade adherence to the Jewish festivals and the teachings of the laws of Moses made life for Christians everywhere, but especially in Palestine and Rome, very dangerous. Christians were still regarded as a Jewish sect. For the sake of survival in the Empire's capital, making a change to the customary Jewish Christian tradition of celebrating the Paschal festival, as for example Polycarp had done, would have seemed expedient. The desire to separate from the Jewish practice gained momentum with the accession of Constantine the Great. Antipathy towards the Jews and anything Jewish became authorized for the Church by the emperor. These are facts of history. - Just because a practice is old and traditional doesn't make it right. However, I think with respect to my understanding of the Eucharist, I am more traditional than the Orthodox.   angel




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« Reply #49 on: October 17, 2014, 12:11:18 PM »

"The death is meaningless apart from the resurrection." - No one is saying otherwise, Mor. The discussion is about the symbolism of the bread as used at the time of the Passover and the change from the unleavened bread, as instituted by our Lord, to the leavened bread as employed in 'Orthodox Christianity'.

This is your claim, but as far as I can tell you don't have anything to back it up other than presuppositions.  If I'm not mistaken, others in this thread have pointed out the artos/azymos distinction and how the Gospel accounts of the Last Supper use the former even when describing the Passover in terms of the latter.  This is true even in I Corinthians where St Paul speaks of celebrating Christ's Paschal sacrifice with "the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (5.6-8, oddly enough in the context of a discussion on sexual immorality) but then goes on to describe the institution of the Eucharist, which he passed on to them as he received it from the Lord, by saying the Lord used "artos".  I'm not convinced that, when the authors are using both words regularly, they intentionally chose the "generic" word when what they really meant was a specific type of bread.  Others have also mentioned the other ancient translations (e.g., Syriac) which make this even clearer. 

In the East, everyone uses leavened bread except the Armenians.  The only time this has ever been an issue for anyone has been in terms of polemics.  No one says that, in principle, only one form, be it leavened or unleavened, is acceptable.  We hold to our respective traditions about the bread to be used because, like St Paul, we are passing on what we have received.  One unique example of this is the "holy leaven".           

Quote
The phrase "till He comes" is not a reference to His resurrection, but to the widely held belief in Christ's return. It was Paul who said that doing "this", as instituted, proclaimed the Lord's death - and I don't think it is helpful for you to accuse Paul of being ridiculous in focusing upon this point.  Smiley

I'm not accusing St Paul of being ridiculous, I'm accusing you of being ridiculous. 

I'm well aware what "till He comes" refers to, but it implies that he has been raised from the dead and, having ascended to heaven, is seated at the right hand of God.  So unless you're arguing that none of these things happened and Jesus is still dead, "proclaiming the Lord's death till He comes" is not a focus on "death" but on the entire mystery.  The rite proclaims this through the blessing of the separate elements (an exsanguinated body is dead) and their subsequent unification. 

Quote
Now, I see a number of replies that say in effect, "Why does it matter, whether the bread is unleavened or leavened? - It is what the bread becomes and how it is received that really matters."

To some extent I can agree with this, but the symbolic interpretation of the Eucharistic elements express important aspects of the Gospel. It has been suggested that the use of leaven could suggest 'the sin' that the Lord actually in body became on the cross. -  The 'Orthodox' say that the leaven of the Eucharist speaks of the Lord's resurrection and of the Kingdom of God expanding throughout the world in the body of Christ. It is argued that this usage is ancient, but it is clear that it was not so in the beginning - as Jesus instituted it.

Again, this is your claim based on your presuppositions, which require you to ignore Scripture.

Quote
Rome had suffered heavily in its wars against the Jews and greatly during the reign of Hadrian. Edicts that forbade adherence to the Jewish festivals and the teachings of the laws of Moses made life for Christians everywhere, but especially in Palestine and Rome, very dangerous. Christians were still regarded as a Jewish sect. For the sake of survival in the Empire's capital, making a change to the customary Jewish Christian tradition of celebrating the Paschal festival, as for example Polycarp had done, would have seemed expedient. The desire to separate from the Jewish practice gained momentum with the accession of Constantine the Great. Antipathy towards the Jews and anything Jewish became authorized for the Church by the emperor. These are facts of history. - Just because a practice is old and traditional doesn't make it right. However, I think with respect to my understanding of the Eucharist, I am more traditional than the Orthodox.   angel

You need to read more on the history of liturgy. 
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« Reply #50 on: October 18, 2014, 05:39:46 PM »

"I'm accusing you of being ridiculous." -  Shocked

"Do this ..." Whether the generic term is used (as in the passage concerning Emmaus, when Jesus "broke bread", Luke 24:30) or a specific term, during the days of unleavened bread - that was what they used. To assume the contrary because of Church tradition is placing tradition above Scripture. Yet, we should all be aware of the hazards of placing faith in Church tradition alone. Scripture must have primacy.

It could well have been that Constantinople was the place where that the practice of using leavened bread in the Paschal service first became an established tradition. The Roman bishops had moved the celebration to the Sunday in Paschal week, but may have continued with "unleavened bread" during their services. 'Leo I' (AD 400-461) wrote: "This it is that rescues from the power of darkness and transfers us into the Kingdom of the Son of God. This it is that by newness of life exalts the desires of the mind and quenches the lusts of the flesh.This it is whereby the Lord's Passover is duly kept 'with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth' by the casting away of the old leaven of wickedness," Sermon 63:7.

Of course, the Roman Catholic view would be similar to the Orthodox in that the words of our Lord are believed not to be taken metaphorically.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #51 on: October 18, 2014, 06:19:47 PM »

"I'm accusing you of being ridiculous." -  Shocked

"Do this ..." Whether the generic term is used (as in the passage concerning Emmaus, when Jesus "broke bread", Luke 24:30) or a specific term, during the days of unleavened bread - that was what they used.

So you keep saying. 

Quote
To assume the contrary because of Church tradition is placing tradition above Scripture. Yet, we should all be aware of the hazards of placing faith in Church tradition alone. Scripture must have primacy.

The early Christians were celebrating the Eucharist for about twenty years before the first NT reference to the Last Supper was written down.  If anything, the accounts of the Last Supper in the Synoptics and I Corinthians derive from that consistent practice, not vice versa.  St Paul says as much.   

Quote
It could well have been that Constantinople was the place where that the practice of using leavened bread in the Paschal service first became an established tradition. The Roman bishops had moved the celebration to the Sunday in Paschal week, but may have continued with "unleavened bread" during their services. 'Leo I' (AD 400-461) wrote: "This it is that rescues from the power of darkness and transfers us into the Kingdom of the Son of God. This it is that by newness of life exalts the desires of the mind and quenches the lusts of the flesh.This it is whereby the Lord's Passover is duly kept 'with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth' by the casting away of the old leaven of wickedness," Sermon 63:7.

Again, this reference doesn't occur in the context of St Paul's description of the Corinthian Eucharistic meal, but in terms of how to deal with the sexual immorality in the community.  You haven't made the case for lifting this imagery out of its context (I Cor 5) and applying it to the Eucharistic meal in a primary sense in order to figure out what kind of bread to use.   

Quote
Of course, the Roman Catholic view would be similar to the Orthodox in that the words of our Lord are believed not to be taken metaphorically.  Roll Eyes

We take Ss Matthew, Mark, Luke, Paul, and St John's account of Jesus' Bread of Life discourse at their word.  You want to take some of them literally and out of context in order to figure out which is "the one and only" bread to use but you do not take all of them literally when they tell you plainly what the Eucharist means.  So much for Scripture having primacy.     
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« Reply #52 on: October 18, 2014, 06:32:58 PM »

I previously asked the question, 'Would the use of leaven "proclaim the Lord's death"?':

"For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes" (1 Cor.11:26, NKJV).

The focus of the Eucharist is upon the Lord's sacrifice, not His resurrection.

Ridiculous.  The death is meaningless apart from the resurrection.  The resurrection is victory precisely because of the death: "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death".  They cannot be isolated as you are doing without doing violence to the whole.  Even in the passage you highlighted, the resurrection is implied by "till he comes", unless you believe that Christ has yet to be raised from death.   

The separate "consecration" of the Eucharistic elements points to the death of Christ.  Their uniting (at the Fraction) points to the resurrection.  This is the case whether we receive the elements together (Byzantine, Armenian, Syriac) or separately (Roman, Coptic, Ethiopian?, Assyrian).     

Interesting.

When I was a Roman Catholic, we were taught that the passage, "till He comes" referred to the Second Coming of Christ, and that the Divine Liturgy would be celebrated until His Second Coming at least somewhere on earth even if a priest were to celebrate the Divine Mysteries in a cave hidden deep in the mountains.
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« Reply #53 on: October 20, 2014, 12:54:49 PM »

Sometimes I wonder, if man has placed God in an awfully tiny box.

Look at your own box.  Wink

Hey, Yesh, let's put Mor into his own little box and ship him to Siberia. Wink

Or how about to the South Pole?
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« Reply #54 on: October 20, 2014, 12:56:55 PM »

I cannot trace back the historic motif of it, but there are many motives invoked such as :

- the Orthodox Church centres its worship on the Resurrection of Christ more than his death

- unleavened bread was the bread of affliction, the eucharist is referred to(from what I heard) as the Bread of Life

- the leavened bread represents the Risen Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven(Matt 13:33 is brought into discussion when mentioning this)

-"According to the Bible, unleavened bread was the bread of slaves while leavened bread was for free men, God's children. So for that reason the Orthodox Church uses leavened bread at Holy Communion." From Woman as a Symbol of Christ By Saint Nikolai Velimirovich



- "A thought on that. The Eucharist is, literally, a thanksgiving, from the Greek word meaning "gratitude". And in the OT, the thanksgiving sacrifices, unlike the others, were specifically to include leavened bread:

Quote
Lev. 7:13 - With the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving he shall bring his offering with cakes of leavened bread.

The other offering which is brought with leaven is the offering of first fruits:

Quote
Lev. 23:17 - You shall bring from your dwellings two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah; they shall be of fine flour, they shall be baked with leaven, as first fruits to the Lord.

And we know that Christ Himself is called the first fruits in I Cor. 15:20 - "But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep." And for the Orthodox the Paschal celebration centers upon that resurrection of our Lord, moreso than upon His death.

Note also that unleavened bread is called the "bread of affliction" (Deut. 16:3) - it could be argued that this is not really appropriate for the resurrectional and "eucharistic" celebration of the Lord's Day.

Finally, while Christ was indeed without the "leaven of sin", the other thing symbolized by leaven - as you noted - is the kingdom of heaven/kingdom of God; thus, at least to me, the presence of leaven seems a more applicable symbolism for the Eucharist than its absence.

I'm having trouble organizing my thoughts on a couple of other ideas (it's been a long day), I might try to get to those tomorrow or Friday.

In Christ,
Michael " http://www.monachos.net/conversation/topic/1728-leavened-bread-for-communion/?p=113070
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« Reply #55 on: October 21, 2014, 09:46:16 AM »

I cannot trace back the historic motif of it, but there are many motives invoked such as :

- the Orthodox Church centres its worship on the Resurrection of Christ more than his death

- unleavened bread was the bread of affliction, the eucharist is referred to(from what I heard) as the Bread of Life

- the leavened bread represents the Risen Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven(Matt 13:33 is brought into discussion when mentioning this)

-"According to the Bible, unleavened bread was the bread of slaves while leavened bread was for free men, God's children. So for that reason the Orthodox Church uses leavened bread at Holy Communion." From Woman as a Symbol of Christ By Saint Nikolai Velimirovich



- "A thought on that. The Eucharist is, literally, a thanksgiving, from the Greek word meaning "gratitude". And in the OT, the thanksgiving sacrifices, unlike the others, were specifically to include leavened bread:

Quote
Lev. 7:13 - With the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving he shall bring his offering with cakes of leavened bread.

The other offering which is brought with leaven is the offering of first fruits:

Quote
Lev. 23:17 - You shall bring from your dwellings two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah; they shall be of fine flour, they shall be baked with leaven, as first fruits to the Lord.

And we know that Christ Himself is called the first fruits in I Cor. 15:20 - "But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep." And for the Orthodox the Paschal celebration centers upon that resurrection of our Lord, moreso than upon His death.

Note also that unleavened bread is called the "bread of affliction" (Deut. 16:3) - it could be argued that this is not really appropriate for the resurrectional and "eucharistic" celebration of the Lord's Day.

Finally, while Christ was indeed without the "leaven of sin", the other thing symbolized by leaven - as you noted - is the kingdom of heaven/kingdom of God; thus, at least to me, the presence of leaven seems a more applicable symbolism for the Eucharist than its absence.

I'm having trouble organizing my thoughts on a couple of other ideas (it's been a long day), I might try to get to those tomorrow or Friday.

In Christ,
Michael " http://www.monachos.net/conversation/topic/1728-leavened-bread-for-communion/?p=113070


This is admittedly a well-reasoned response, although somewhat biased in its presentation of details. Leviticus 7:13 is quoted to infer the use of leaven when giving thanks before God. What is not stated is Lev.7:12: "If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer, with the sacrifice of thanksgiving, unleavened cakes mixed with oil, unleavened wafers anointed with oil, or cakes of finely blended flour mixed with oil."

The idea that unleavened bread cannot be used with thanksgiving is not scriptural. The Passover, during the Days of Unleavened Bread, was a time of thanksgiving for God's deliverance from slavery. The people had to put away the leaven of Egypt to be set free by the Lord. Unleavened bread was eaten with joy, not sorrow, during this feast - which remembered Israel's release from bondage.

Moreover, leaven was forbidden to be offered with all sacrifices on the altar.

At Emmaus, during the days of unleavened bread, it was unleavened bread that Jesus broke. Only unleavened bread was permitted to be kept in homes during this festal period - yet Luke employed the generic, common term for bread in this passage. This usage here, therefore, means that this term when used in the Paschal narratives cannot be said to evince that the bread employed was leavened. These were the days of unleavened bread we are told - and the silence of Scripture to indicate otherwise should make this clear.

The Eucharist is celebrated in remembrance of the Lord's Passover sacrifice by which we are set free to worship God in Spirit and in truth. (- One cannot escape this fact, even though the celebration indirectly also speaks of the Lord's resurrection - for it would be pointless to celebrate it without the faith that He lives!) So, the symbolism used in 1 Cor.5:1-8 by Paul would surely have seemed incongruous if it had become Church tradition to use leaven. In the context of Paul’s usage, those who continue in old and corrupting ways should not be accepted into the fellowship of Christ’s body and family - that each Church congregation should remain unleavened and free from the corrupting influence permeating from false brethren (1 Cor.5:1-8).

Even so, I respect the sincerity of the contrary views expressed above and I thank all for helping towards a better understanding 'Orthodox' doctrine. Blessings!
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« Reply #56 on: October 21, 2014, 10:22:25 AM »

I cannot trace back the historic motif of it, but there are many motives invoked such as :

- the Orthodox Church centres its worship on the Resurrection of Christ more than his death

No, it doesn't.

Quote
And we know that Christ Himself is called the first fruits in I Cor. 15:20 - "But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep." And for the Orthodox the Paschal celebration centers upon that resurrection of our Lord, moreso than upon His death.

No, it doesn't.
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« Reply #57 on: October 21, 2014, 10:34:39 AM »

I cannot trace back the historic motif of it, but there are many motives invoked such as :

- the Orthodox Church centres its worship on the Resurrection of Christ more than his death

No, it doesn't.

Quote
And we know that Christ Himself is called the first fruits in I Cor. 15:20 - "But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep." And for the Orthodox the Paschal celebration centers upon that resurrection of our Lord, moreso than upon His death.

No, it doesn't.
Can you elaborate on this, Mor?  I always thought Holy Week was the time that we contemplated the suffering and death of Christ and then Pascha was when we celebrated the Resurrection.
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« Reply #58 on: October 21, 2014, 01:25:44 PM »

Quote
And we know that Christ Himself is called the first fruits in I Cor. 15:20 - "But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep." And for the Orthodox the Paschal celebration centers upon that resurrection of our Lord, moreso than upon His death.

No, it doesn't.
Can you elaborate on this, Mor?  I always thought Holy Week was the time that we contemplated the suffering and death of Christ and then Pascha was when we celebrated the Resurrection.

The problem is that we--as individuals and communities--tend to think of these events as specific points on a time line, and so we celebrate them in that way.  But the liturgical texts and rites presume that, even while focusing on a particular "moment", we have the whole in mind.  So it's not surprising to see "Lenten/Holy Week" texts which celebrate the Resurrection, and "Paschal" texts which speak of the Passion and the Cross.  Not only is it not surprising, but it is necessary.  When we separate these too much, we misunderstand each as well as the whole.  The common stereotype, for example, is that Roman Catholicism is more focused on the Passion and Orthodoxy on the Resurrection, and this may be true on a popular level, but in terms of the liturgy, it's true for neither.  We need to recover that balance wherever it has been lost.   
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« Reply #59 on: October 31, 2014, 05:43:44 PM »

Sometimes, things are what they are.

All this over-pulling apart serves nothing but to fracture -belief- in the average man.

Yes, there are people of every generation that are theologians and scholars who debate the big topics of our Christian life.


I will be shocked and awed if I make it to Paradise and over in the 'Theologians and Wise men' section, is anyone from here.  We are just not -that- special in the bigger picture.

It is more important to focus on truly believing that it is the Body and Blood of Christ, then what sort of stuff the Priest put in the Chalice. 

Bread and wine???
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« Reply #60 on: November 01, 2014, 04:36:13 PM »

If we look at the word for the bread used at the Last Supper is "artos", the Greek generic term for bread that almost always...though not necessarily always referred to every day leavened bread. The Greek term that specifically means unleavened bread is azymes. This gap is cleared up if we look at the earliest Aramaic translations of the Gospels (third century or earlier), the word they use to translate bread at the Last Supper is not generic, but specifically means leavened bread.
This is just a warmed-over version of the old anti-Western and anti-Armenian polemic according to which leavened bread must be used because Jesus celebrated an illegal passover.

That's cute, but the Last Supper was most certainly not a passover meal. It may have been after Jesus observed the passover (as suggested by St. John of Damascus) or before it (as the Johannine timeline suggests), but it obviously does not have the crucial elements of a passover meal included in it.
You don't seem to have read what I wrote.
Not at all. Your claim is essentially a variant of the claim that the last supper was a passover meal.
Wrong.  Read it again.
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