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The Altar Table

The Altar Table

ALTAR means table and represents the table of the Last Supper and the tomb which the body of Jesus was buried after he died. The altar table is located in the Sanctuary behind the Iconostasis and is raised higher than the Nave. Jesus said: If I be raised up I will draw all men to Me.” Therefore, we go to meet Jesus there. The Church faces east. This was the direction when Jesus ascended to heaven.

Contents of the Altar Table

1. Tabernacle:

Looks like a small church and contains the Eucharist which is the Presanctified Holy Communion that is given to the sick and/or dying.

2. Antimins:

Silken cloth which has a picture of Christ in the tomb with a sewn in relic of a Saint. The Divine Liturgy cannot be celebrated without this cloth.

3. Gospel Book:

Written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The written records of the teachings of Jesus Christ.

4. Cross:

Placed on the right hand of the Altar Table.

5. Candles:

Seven candies from the Old Testament temple.

The Table of Oblation or The Table of Preparation

The Table of Oblation is located in the Sanctuary behind the Iconostasis and is where the Liturgy of Preparation takes place before the Divine Liturgy each Sunday. The Liturgy of Preparation is when the priest prepares the bread and wine that is to be used for Holy Communion that Sunday.

Contents of The Table of Oblation

1. Altar Bread or Prosphora which means offering. The Prosphora must be made from pure wheat, yeast, water and some salt. It is round in shape and has two layers which signify the two natures of Jesus Christ, (heavenly and earthly), Five loaves are used and one large loaf may also be used. The top of the bread is stamped and baked in with the symbols IC XC NI KA.

IC XC means Jesus Christ.

NI KA means Prevails or Victor.

The five loaves of bread represent the feeding of 5,000 by Jesus Christ. Of the five loaves of bread, one loaf is used for the Sacrament of Holy Communion and this is called AGNETS (host). The priest cuts and lifts the Agnets from one loaf with the spear and places it on the Paten. This portion of the preparation represents the placing of Jesus Christ in the manger of His nativity.

2. Wine: Must be red in color to represent the blood of Christ and made from grapes.

3. Water: To be poured in the Chalice with the wine. The mixing of the wine and water together symbolizes the blood and water which flowed from the side of the crucified Christ when a soldier pierced His side with a spear

4. Spear: Used to cut the Prosphora.

5. Spoon: Used to serve Holy Communion.

6. Chalice: A cup to consecrate and serve Holy Communion.

7. Diskos or Paten: A raised plate on which the Prosphora is placed and cut.

8. Star: The Star is placed over the paten after the Prosphora is cut. The Star covering represents the Star that shown over where the child Jesus lay in the manger.

9. Chalice and Paten Covers: Covers the Holy Eucharist.

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