Prosphora Particles of Commemorations
People who have specific prayer requests, for either the living or the reposed, according to our Tradition, bring or (if they do not have time to bake their own) buy (in the Church foyer or vestibule) a "prosphora" (a small loaf of bread used for Divine Liturgy) and write their prayer requests on a small chit provided.
The Prayers are offered up for those for whom prayers are requested, during the Proskomidia, and during various portions of the Divine Liturgy, by both the Presbyter and the Deacon and the entire community of the Faithful.
Also a Particle is cut out from the small Prosphora corresponding to each prayer request, and the Particle of commemoration is place on the Diskos and offered up with the Holy Gifts and mixed into the Holy Communion praying again for those for whom prayer is requested.
During the Liturgy, the Prosphora (with the Commemorative Particle removed) are blessed and offered up during the Divine Liturgy.
The Faithful take the blessed Prosphora home with them and reverently consume them, sharing them with their family, friends and others of the Faithful, whom they ask also to join them in prayerful intercession for the persons for whom prayer is requested.
Prosphora is made of unbleached flour, yeast and water. The Slav tradition uses a small seal, stamped on five loaves, in honor of the "feeding of the 5000." These small loaves are made with two layers to represent both the two-fold nature of Christ and the uniting of heaven and earth. The Greek style, which uses one large loaf marked with IC-XC NIKA in the center, surrounded by several other seals, signifies the one Body of Christ. After the liturgy, the scraps left over from the preparation are distributed to the faithful especially those who did not receive communion.
Prosphora is also used in homes and monasteries during meals. On special occasions, a triangular piece of bread is offered up in memory of the Mother of God. This ritual is called the Panagia which is Greek for "All Holy one". It is then distributed as the first course of the meal to all those that are eating. This Service is regularly celebrated at our Mother of God Monastery, Orangeville, Ontario.
Fr. Roman Galadza