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Author Topic: Use of Leavened Bread  (Read 779 times) Average Rating: 0
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Yurysprudentsiya
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« on: July 27, 2011, 10:48:37 AM »

Can anyone point me to any resources which will discuss how the use of leavened bread became a part of the Divine Liturgy?  I know that the Roman Catholic Church uses unleavened bread.  The Methodist Church, of which I was a part for many years, used leavened bread. 

What got me thinking about this was while I was reading in Exodus the other day, I came across this passage, in Exodus 34, where God is instructing Moses on how to properly observe the festivals:

"Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Festival remain until morning."  (Exodus 34:25)  Likewise, in Leviticus 2:5, it explains that an offering of grain to the Lord is to be made without yeast.

Now, I know that all of the instructions given to Moses concerning the feasts and the construction of the tabernacle are not explicitly applicable to the Church in the present time.  Likewise, I know that one passage such as this must not be read in isolation, but must be understood in the context of the whole Scripture as illuminated by the holy Tradition of the Church.  Yet, I wonder why, as the sacrifice on the altar has always been explained to me as a foretelling of Christ's sacrifice ("A mercy of peace, a sacrifice of praise," as we sing each Sunday in the Liturgy), we now use leavened bread in the holy Eucharist.

The only other places where I can recall this being mentioned in the Bible are Galatians 5:9 and 1 Corinthians 5:6, where "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" seems to be the First-century equivalent of, "One rotten apple can spoil a whole barrel."  Not so helpful here.  :-)

Anyway, if someone can guide me to sources from the Church and the Fathers which explain the use of leavened bread, I know that I would be blessed to read them.
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2011, 11:01:53 AM »

I think it is the symbolism of the Risen Christ.

Here is a link:

http://www.prosphora.org/page27.html

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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2011, 11:05:36 AM »

For something which touches on your questions please see the article at
message 21
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13141.msg272267.html#msg272267

CATHOLIC SCHOLARS SAY THAT THE CHURCH OF ROME USED LEAVENED BREAD
for the first 800 and more years.

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Yurysprudentsiya
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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2011, 11:30:29 AM »

I think it is the symbolism of the Risen Christ.

Here is a link:

http://www.prosphora.org/page27.html



This quote from the link you sent is very helpful to my understanding:

In the service of Proskomide, the priest blesses it and says, “In remembrance of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”  We must then ask, was Christ not full of the Kingdom of Heaven?  Was He not full of the Spirit and good works to which the Fathers liken leaven?  It does not appear entirely inappropriate that we should commemorate the Body of Christ with leavened bread, so long as it is not sourdough or made of coarse and cheap flour.

And that the Savior received first-fruits of those whom He was to save, Paul declared when he said, ‘And if the first-fruits be holy, the lump is also holy,’ teaching that the expression ‘first-fruits’ denoted that which is spiritual, but that ‘the lump’ meant us, that is, the animal Church, the lump of which they say He assumed, and blended it with Himself, inasmuch as He is ‘the leaven.’
-St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies , Book 1, ch. 8, para. 3

If the bread and wine we offer are a sacrifice, then they can only be likened to the first-fruit sacrifice of the Old Testament, since Christ’s death replaced all other atonement for sin.  And, as we recall, the first-fruit sacrifice was made with leavened bread.  This is what St. Irenaeus is implying by his mentioning of the first-fruits.  We offer ourselves with the bread (i.e. the lump as the Church), but we are filled with Christ (i.e. as leaven).  We cannot offer ourselves apart from Christ as an unleavened loaf, and so we use a leavened loaf to symbolize Christ within us as we offer the spiritual first-fruits of our lives."

From this, it appears that leaven is used many different ways in the Scripture to symbolize many different things, and that the unleavened bread used as a sacrifice for sin in the old testament, prefiguring the coming sacrifice of Christ, might be understood as our attempt to offer sacrifice on our own without Christ, but when Christ's light fills our humanity (which He did through His incarnation, life, death, and resurrection) as leaven fills the bread) it makes it new and our sacrifice thus capable of truly pleasing God.  It seems a hard and complex issue and I look forward to reading and studying further about this.
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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2011, 11:44:33 AM »

Unleavened bread is very inappropiate for the Christian Eucharist.

1. Unleaven bread is always the "Bread of Affliction" as in Deuteronomy 16:3-4

"Seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction:
for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste:
that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt
all the days of thy life. "

2.  The Jewish law forbade the use of unleavened bread as a temple sacrifice, for the same reason - it is the bread of sorrow and affliction.  This alone should prevent it being used in the eucharistic sacrifice.

3.  God's law permitted the Jews to eat unleavened bread for only 7 days of the year.

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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2011, 12:05:02 PM »

Unleavened bread is very inappropiate for the Christian Eucharist.

1. Unleaven bread is always the "Bread of Affliction" as in Deuteronomy 16:3-4

"Seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction:
for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste:
that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt
all the days of thy life. "

2.  The Jewish law forbade the use of unleavened bread as a temple sacrifice, for the same reason - it is the bread of sorrow and affliction.  This alone should prevent it being used in the eucharistic sacrifice.

3.  God's law permitted the Jews to eat unleavened bread for only 7 days of the year.


I went into some detail about this here:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,25677.msg413150.html#msg413150

IIRC, Father, burnt offerings were with unleaven bread.  There is a dispute over the Bread of the Presence (pagan cults specified unleavened).
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