Artoklasia, which means “breaking of bread” is a special prayer service offered by an individual or family typically on a Feast day or special family occasion. The service takes place at the end of Orthros, the Divine Liturgy or at Great Vespers. It includes hymns, petitions and prayers for health, well-being and strength to endure all of life’s difficulties. The five loaves are reminiscent of the five loaves that Jesus Christ blessed in the desert and by which five thousand of His followers were fed.
Items required for the service are:
- five loaves of Artoklasia bread
- a small container of oil
- a small container of wine
- the names of loved ones.
The bread is divided among the faithful in the congregation in the hopes that God’s blessings be shared and multiplied. The wine symbolizes the blood of Christ and the olive oil symbolizes the healing of our bodies and souls.
Our priest asks that you bring the Artoklasia loaves before the Liturgy or Vespers service; either on Saturday or by 8:30 am on Sunday.
A Prosforo (Altar bread) is offered when wanting to remember a departed loved one or to pray for the health and well-being of the living. Prosforo represents both Jesus, the Bread of Life as well as the offering of our life to God. The word prosforo, literally means "an offering to God." Bread represents life because it is a staff of life. Once consumed it becomes part of us. Thus, in bringing the loaf of bread to God, we are offering our life to Him as a gift of our love.
Our priest asks that you bring the Prosforo before the start of Orthros, either on Saturday or by 7:30 am on Sunday. You may also prepare a list of names (living and departed) of people you want commemorated during the service. Please write the names clearly. The priest reads the name only at the Prothasis during the Orthros or Matin Service.
Information retrieved from http://www.st-demetrios.org/guidelines.html