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Prosphora baking


A prosphoron (Greek: πρόσφορον, translation: offering) is a small loaf of bread used in Orthodox Christian liturgies. The plural form is prosphora (πρόσφορα). The term originally meant any offering made to a temple, but in Orthodox Christianity has come to mean specifically the bread offered at the Divine Liturgy.


A prosphoron is made up of two separate round pieces of dough which are placed one on top of another and baked together to form a single loaf. This double-loaf represents the two natures of Christ: human and divine. Before baking, each prosphoron is stamped with a seal usually bearing the image of a cross with the Greek letters IC XC NIKA ("Jesus Christ Conquers") around the arms of the cross. This impression is baked into the bread and serves as a guide for the priest who will be cutting it. 



In many parishes there is a custom to offer prosphora in the memory of a loved one, on the occasion of an anniversary, or a birthday, or in general thankfulness for the many blessings received. In this case, parishioners sign up for prosphora baking in the parish bulletin for a particular Sunday day, and then bring it to the church before Great Vespers Saturday evening, if the parish has this service, or, prior to the Proskomidy (Service of preparation for the Liturgy) on Sunday morning. As a custom, prosphora should be freshly baked, wrapped in a cloth, and accompanied with with a list of name of the living and departed Orthodox Christians, dear to the family, who will be commemorated during the Liturgy. 

There are various recipes of prosphora baking. 
A number of them, illustrated with videos and photos, could be found on the website prosphora.org. Among them are "Byzantine," Greek, Russian, Serbian, Melchite, Macedonian, etc. The site also offers a variety of resources and guidelines on baking all kinds of church breads, prosphora stamps, and baking in general.
















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