Leavened vs. Unleavened Bread for Eucharist


#1

I understand that the Normans, when they invaded Sicily, forced the Easterners living there to use unleavened bread, as we Westerners do.

What does the difference mean, though, and why is it a big point of controversy? Or is it even a big point of controversy?

Why do we use unleavened bread and you use leavened bread?

Thanks.


#2

From what I understand, I believe unleavened bread is more accurate because Jesus celebrated the Last Supper during Passover. This is the feast of unleavened bread observed in Judaism. Many Eastern, Orthodox, and maybe some Western rite Churches use leavened bread, I do not know why. Although some Churches that use a leavened host mix the Body and Blood together in the chalice.

As Catholics we believe that this is no real controversy, the Catholic Church recognizes the Real Presence in the Orthodox's leavened host.


#3

[quote="Lead_Me_Home, post:2, topic:177183"]
From what I understand, I believe unleavened bread is more accurate because Jesus celebrated the Last Supper during Passover. This is the feast of unleavened bread observed in Judaism. Many Eastern, Orthodox, and maybe some Western rite Churches use leavened bread, I do not know why. Although some Churches that use a leavened host mix the Body and Blood together in the chalice.

As Catholics we believe that this is no real controversy, the Catholic Church recognizes the Real Presence in the Orthodox's leavened host.

[/quote]

leavened bread is used to symbolize the risen Christ.


#4

[quote="Lead_Me_Home, post:2, topic:177183"]
From what I understand, I believe unleavened bread is more accurate because Jesus celebrated the Last Supper during Passover. This is the feast of unleavened bread observed in Judaism. Many Eastern, Orthodox, and maybe some Western rite Churches use leavened bread, I do not know why. Although some Churches that use a leavened host mix the Body and Blood together in the chalice.

As Catholics we believe that this is no real controversy, the Catholic Church recognizes the Real Presence in the Orthodox's leavened host.

[/quote]

That is if one believes that the Last Supper was the Passover meal. The Gospel of St John the Evangelist seems to put the Last Supper as occurring before the Passover so they would not have used unleavened bread.

Some who use unleavened bread also mix the Body and the Blood together, it is called intinction.

The parish that I have helped out in Mexico does this as well as the Maronite Catholic Church.


#5

What is the prayer said over the matzot at the Seder? "This is the bread of affliction our fathers ate in Egypt."

The Eucharist is the Bread of Freedom in the Kingdom of Christ.

There is actually evidence that leavened bread was used in many places in the west before the adoption (or imposition, usually by royal fiat) of the Roman rite.


#6

As Brother David mentioned, there is a difference in interpretation, in the West we read the Gospel story as on the day of preparation when Jesus sent out those who were to prepare for the feast as the day before the feast started, (that evening at nightfall) the East has interpreted it as the day before. This would also be the time that Observant Jews would clean their houses, and look for any last bit of leven or any forbidden foods/grains, since the laws of Kashrut, are different during Passover.

Eastern Orthodox as opposed to most Eastern Catholics, also wait until after Passover is ended to celebrate Easter, or Pasca.

Leven or not, if the bread is wheat, it is valid. If the bread is in accordance to the rubrics of the rite being used it is licit.

For Jews the bread could have been made of any grain except at Passover, when it could only be made of wheat, or spelt. Most commonly it was of wheat. (Spelt is a wild form of wheat from which better quality wheat was developed) in the mountains where it is hard to grow wheat, people would grow or gather spelt.

Since both the East and the West used levened bread in the distant past, the forcing of one rite or another, and arguments over who is correct are a potential cause of disunity by those who feel that their rite is superior to other rites who do not have the same practice. The Catholic Church has settled the matter in teaching that both are valid, and within the individual rites the use approved by their own canons is licit for that Church.


#7

The Majority of Eastern Catholics celebrated the same calendar as their Orthodox counterparts.


#8

[quote="SyroMalankara, post:7, topic:177183"]
The Majority of Eastern Catholics celebrated the same calendar as their Orthodox counterparts.

[/quote]

As well as some Latin Catholic.

I have heard that the Latin Catholic Church in Eqypt celebrates Easter on the same day as the Orthodox there.


#9

[quote="ByzCath, post:8, topic:177183"]

Yes, I've been told that too. I've heard, as well, that the same is true in Cyprus and in Greece.


#10

[quote="ByzCath, post:4, topic:177183"]
That is if one believes that the Last Supper was the Passover meal. The Gospel of St John the Evangelist seems to put the Last Supper as occurring before the Passover so they would not have used unleavened bread..

[/quote]

Note quite true.

St. John notes that "before" the Passover feast, Christ noted that His hour was coming. (John 13:1)

The "before" modifies Christ's noting His hour, not necessarily the supper discussed in Jn 13:2 .That is not quite the same thing as saying that the meal was outside the season of Passover.

And either way, if it was just prior to Passover, all leaven would have alread been removed from Jewish houses in preparation of the feast.


#11

[quote="Brendan, post:10, topic:177183"]
Note quite true.

St. John notes that "before" the Passover feast, Christ noted that His hour was coming. (John 13:1)

The "before" modifies Christ's noting His hour, not necessarily the supper discussed in Jn 13:2 .That is not quite the same thing as saying that the meal was outside the season of Passover.

And either way, if it was just prior to Passover, all leaven would have alread been removed from Jewish houses in preparation of the feast.

[/quote]

This is as I have been told by Eastern Catholics and Orthodox. I am sorry that you disagree with it.

Also, if I am not mistaken, Christ is Crucified in the Gospel of John at the same time that they are slaying the lambs for the passover meal.

Isn't Christ our passover Lamb?


#12

[quote="ByzCath, post:11, topic:177183"]
This is as I have been told by Eastern Catholics and Orthodox. I am sorry that you disagree with it.

Also, if I am not mistaken, Christ is Crucified in the Gospel of John at the same time that they are slaying the lambs for the passover meal.

Isn't Christ our passover Lamb?

[/quote]

The problem then becomes: which Gospels are wrong? Pitting them against eachother in this way means that we have clear, and significant, errors in Scripture.

A better explaination is that it was a Seder meal, but it wasn't according to the calendar of the Pharisees but of the Essenes (which we now know to have been different by a couple of days). That makes a lot more sense of the matter without making the Gospels contradict.

Of course this really doesn't enter into the issue of the Eucharist, IMO. Both leavened and unleavened were used throughout the history of the Church, and it is only later polemics that made an issue out of it. Most probable is that the issue was first raised between the Armenians and the Byzantines who were in bitter conflict with eachother (Armenians use unleavened bread, and this became a sticking point), and then the Byzantines transferred the fight over onto the Latins when it became widely known that Latins also used unleavened bread, at least in some places, and the issue had already become a hot-button in Constantinople because of the arguments with the Armenians. :shrug:

Peace and God bless!


#13

What ever the occasion was, the Jewish Tradition states that before the Passover meal, the Jews remove leaven weeks before the Passover, and there is a formal searching of leaven a day before the passover, the Jewish Wife, make sure that before this searching is done she made sure that all leaven is removed, they do this, weeks before the formal searching is performed.

So, what ever the occasion was, According to Jewish Tradition, it should be unleavened bread. But this issue should not be a cause of division for us, because both bread were used by the apostles.


#14

according to John Salza the Last Supper used Leavened bread:

Second, the Seder meal employs only unleavened bread, but the Last Supper used leavened bread. The Greek for unleavened bread is AZUMOS, which corresponds to the Hebrew MATZOT (where we get the English phrase “matzot bread”). We can see the correspondence between the two words in the LXX (e.g., Ex 12:18; 23:15; Lv 23:6).

But the Greek for leavened bread is ARTOS, and the Hebrew equivalent is LEKHEM, and this correspondence also appears in the LXX (e.g., Lv 23:17). The importance of the distinction is this: in the passages of the New Testament that describe the Last Supper, in each case, the Greek word ARTOS (leavened bread) is used, never AZUMOS (unleavened bread) (e.g., Mt 26:26; Mk 14:22; Lk 22:19; 1Co 11:23-28). This must be distinguished from “the feast of Unleavened Bread” that is referred to in Mt 26:17; Mk 14:1,12; Lk 22:1, 7. In each of these verses, the Greek word AZUMOS is used for the word “Unleavened.”


#15

[quote="BerhaneSelassie, post:14, topic:177183"]
according to John Salza the Last Supper used Leavened bread:

[/quote]

Actually, artos doesn't mean "leavened bread", it just means "bread". In the Old Testament the "showbread" of the Temple is referred to as "artos", despite being unleavened.

Peace and God bless!


#16

CATHOLIC SCHOLARS SAY THAT THE CHURCH OF ROME USED LEAVENED BREAD
for the first 800 and more years.

The change to unleavened bread in Rome took place towards the end of the first millennium.

Fr. Joseph Jungman -- in his The Mass of the Roman Rite -- states that:

"In the West, various ordinances appeared from the ninth century on, all demanding the exclusive use of unleavened bread for the Eucharist. A growing solicitude for the Blessed Sacrament and a desire to employ only the best and whitest bread, along with various scriptural considerations -- all favored this development.

"Still, the new custom did not come into exclusive vogue until the middle of the eleventh century. Particularly in Rome it was not universally accepted till after the general infiltration of various usages from the North" [Rome itself, conservative as alwaysr, did not change to unleavened bread until a few decades after the schism.]

~ Joseph Jungman, The Mass of the Roman Rite, volume II, pages 33-34

Fr. Jungman goes on to say that:

". . . the opinion put forward by J. Mabillon, Dissertatio de pane eucharistia, in his answer to the Jesuit J. Sirmond, Disquisitio de azymo, namely, that in the West it was always the practice to use only unleavened bread, is no longer tenable."

"Now, the fact that the West changed its practice and began using unleavened bread in the 8th and 9th century -- instead of the traditional leavened bread -- is confirmed by the research of Fr. William O'Shea, who noted that along with various other innovative practices from Northern Europe, the use of unleavened bread began to infiltrate into the Roman liturgy at the end of the first millennium, because as he put it, "Another change introduced into the Roman Rite
in France and Germany at the time * was the use of unleavened bread and of thin white wafers or hosts instead of the loaves of leavened bread used hitherto"

~ Fr. William O'Shea, The Worship of the Church, page 128

"Moreover, this change in Western liturgical practice was also noted by Dr. Johannes H. Emminghaus in his book, The Eucharist: Essence, Form, Celebration, because as he said:

"The Eucharistic bread has been unleavened in the Latin rite since the 8th century -- that is, it is prepared simply from flour and water, without the addition of leaven or yeast. . . . in the first millennium of the Church's history, both in East and West, the bread normally used for the Eucharist was ordinary 'daily bread,' that is, leavened bread, and the Eastern Church uses it still today; for the most part, they strictly forbid the use of unleavened bread. The Latin Church, by contrast, has not considered this question very important."

~ Dr. Johannes H. Emminghaus, The Eucharist: Essence, Form, Celebration, page 162

"Thus, with the foregoing information in mind, it is clear that the use of leavened bread by the Eastern Churches represents the ancient practice of the undivided Church, while the use of unleavened bread by the Western Church was an innovation introduced near the end of the first millennium."*


#17

[quote="Ghosty, post:15, topic:177183"]
Actually, artos doesn't mean "leavened bread", it just means "bread". In the Old Testament the "showbread" of the Temple is referred to as "artos", despite being unleavened.

Peace and God bless!

[/quote]

And also the LXX refers to Manna as being 'artos' even though it was also simply flakes.


#18

Thanks for pointing out Artos can refer to any bread.

It seems in the Early Church the type of bread did not matter, otherwise leavened or unleavened would have been explicitly mentioned.

Its interesting St Thomas Aquinas and other medieval theologians believed Leavened bread became standard custom in the East due to Judaizers, ie, the Ebionites believed only unleaven bread should be used, so the East responded by almost exclusively using leavened bread.

According to this book there were Syrian Orthodox (Jacobites) using unleavened bread in the 6th century,

books.google.com/books?id=staKxp3zWVEC&pg=PA67&dq=unleavened+bread+divine+liturgy#v=onepage&q=unleavened%20bread%20divine%20liturgy&f=false

Pg 68


#19

[quote="marlo, post:13, topic:177183"]
What ever the occasion was, the Jewish Tradition states that before the Passover meal, the Jews remove leaven weeks before the Passover, and there is a formal searching of leaven a day before the passover, the Jewish Wife, make sure that before this searching is done she made sure that all leaven is removed, they do this, weeks before the formal searching is performed.
So, what ever the occasion was, According to Jewish Tradition, it should be unleavened bread. But this issue should not be a cause of division for us, because both bread were used by the apostles.

[/quote]

The Eucharist was not, and is not, a "Seder meal". It uses elements of the Seder meal, and the Seder meal is a foreshadowing of it, but it goes far beyond the Seder meal, quite obviously. To impose the requirements of Jewish Tradition to the Eucharist is an example of what Jesus was talking about when He said that we don't pour new wine into old wineskins. It is the same logic used by the Sabbatarian sects. Orthodox Christianity is characterized by its breaking away from, or rather transformation and fulfillment of, Judaism, not a conformity to it. This was decided as far back as the Council of Jerusalem. Joe


#20

\Its interesting St Thomas Aquinas and other medieval theologians believed Leavened bread became standard custom in the East due to Judaizers, ie, the Ebionites believed only unleaven bread should be used, so the East responded by almost exclusively using leavened bread. \

This says a lot about the level of liturgical scholarship at the time of Aquinas and his fellows at the time.


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