Tonight at our Bible Study we shall examine the History, the Tradition, the Symbolisms, as well as the Preparing and the Offering to the Church of the Holy Bread.
The Holy Bread, the so-called Prosforo in Greek, it is an ancient Tradition that we keep strictly and reverently in the Orthodox Church. The altar bread represents Jesus Who is the Bread of Life. It is baked by someone in the congregation and brought to the priest for each celebration of the Divine Liturgy.
Bread is used not only to represent Jesus Who is the Bread of Life, of which if any man eat he shall never hunger, but also to express the offering of our life to God. The Greek word for Altar bread is Prosforo, which means "an offering to God." Bread represents life because it is a staff of life. Once consumed it becomes part of us, i.e., our flesh and bones. Thus, in bringing the loaf of bread to God, we are offering our life to Him as a gift of our love.
The priest accepts the gift and places it on the holy altar. This act represents God accepting our gift. It now passes into His possession. God is so pleased with the gift of our life that He transforms it through the Holy Spirit and gives it back to us as His precious Body for Holy Communion. We give ourselves to God and He, in turn gives Himself to us. We come to the liturgy not just to receive Christ but also to give ourselves to Christ.