Hello everyone I have just returned from my first visit to the Divine Liturgy and I loved it. First a bit of background; I was raised a Roman Catholic, became disinterested as a teenager and returned as a twenty-something (pretty common story). The more I learned about Catholic history (namely papal issues) the more I began feeling troubled about my beliefs. Learning about Orthodoxy made it seem like the perfect fit, and I became very attracted to the Litrugy, icons, saints and music. I still attend a Catholic mass but I was becoming more and more curious about attending the Divine Liturgy.
So fast forward to this morning, I found that I am only a short drive to a small Greek Orthodox monastery, and lo and behold they are having a Liturgy this morning. There was a priest, two nuns and one other woman in attendance (thank God for her otherwise I would have been totally lost). The Liturgy was beautiful, it was 80% Greek but I tried to absorb myself in the sights around me and keep in prayer. The Liturgy ends and the priest comes out with a basket of bread (only the nuns took communion). He offered it to me and I paused and said no, I was under the impression I couldn't take it, and the woman next to me began telling the priest in Greek what I assume was "He's Catholic, it's his first time etc", and he smiled, asked me how I liked the Liturgy and explained I could take the bread. He than told me I was welcomed to go next door for some coffee (wish I went but I had work...). I left with the woman and she explained to me the rules of fasting and how this bread was for the people who do not fast.
So here are my questions. What exactly was the bread I was given? Is it purely symbolic, or was it actual communion? Is there a Missal or a book available that will translate and explain what is going on in the mass?
I plan on going again this Sunday and hopefully Saturday night for vespers if I can get off of work.