I was at a Romanian Orthodox Church which was celebrating their 100th anniversary, this weekend and they served a Panakhyda for those parishioners who had helped build the church and have since passed away.
As is tradition, they had a small table set up with three rather large loaves of bread and a really large bowl of kolivo (boiled wheat).
I didn't understand much of what was being said, as it was all in Romanian, however, at one point the loaves of bread where picked up by the bishops and passed back to the parishioners. In other words, each loaf was picked up by a priest/bishop and walked to the back, middle, almost front of church....and held aloft. Then all the parishioners crowded around and tried to help hold it up...others who were not close enough, simply laid their hands on those in front of them...so, in the end everyone was either directly touching the tray/bread, or touching the shoulder of someone who eventually was touching the bread.
While some prayers were being said the bread and the kolivo (which remained up front with the Archbishop and other clergy) was all raised and lowered and raised and lowered...over and over.
I had never seen this done before and was curious as to the symbolism of the act....and nobody could really tell me more than it is a Romanian tradition....but, not what it really represents or the meaning behind the raising and lowering.
Anyone have any insight in to this seemingly exclusively Romanian tradition?