Fraction (religion)


Fraction (religion)

The Fraction is the ceremonial act of breaking the consecrated bread during the Eucharistic rite in some Christian denominations.

Western Christian

Roman Catholic

In the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, it is accompanied by the singing or recitation of the Agnus Dei.

The "General Instruction of the Roman Missal", 83 states:

"The priest breaks the Eucharistic Bread, assisted, if the case calls for it, by the deacon or a concelebrant. Christ's gesture of breaking bread at the Last Supper, which gave the entire Eucharistic Action its name in apostolic times, signifies that the many faithful are made one body (bibleverse|1|Cor|10:17) by receiving Communion from the one Bread of Life which is Christ, who died and rose for the salvation of the world. The fraction or breaking of bread is begun after the sign of peace and is carried out with proper reverence, though it should not be unnecessarily prolonged, nor should it be accorded undue importance. This rite is reserved to the priest and the deacon. The priest breaks the Bread and puts a piece of the host into the chalice to signify the unity of the Body and Blood of the Lord in the work of salvation, namely, of the living and glorious Body of Jesus Christ."

In speaking of the bread to be used at Mass, "the General Instruction", 321 recommends that

"the eucharistic bread ... be made in such a way that the priest at Mass with a congregation is able in practice to break it into parts for distribution to at least some of the faithful. Small hosts are, however, in no way ruled out when the number of those receiving Holy Communion or other pastoral needs require it. The action of the fraction or breaking of bread, which gave its name to the Eucharist in apostolic times, will bring out more clearly the force and importance of the sign of unity of all in the one bread, and of the sign of charity by the fact that the one bread is distributed among the brothers and sisters."

Anglican

In the churches of the Anglican Communion, the rite is similar to that practiced in the Roman Catholic Church, and consists of the priest breaking the Host in half and making an exclamation, such as, "Christ our passover is sacrificed for us", and the faithful making a response, such as, "Therefore, let us keep the feast. Alleluia." The response may change during certain liturgical seasons, or according to the rite being celebrated. A Fraction Anthem may be sung or spoken during the rite.

Eastern Christian

In the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches of the Byzantine rite, leavened bread is used for the Eucharist. The round loaves, or prosphora, are stamped so that a Greek cross is in the center, with the letters "IC XC NI-KA" (Greek for "Jesus Christ conquers") occupying the quarters formed by the cross' arms. The square portion occupied by this stamp, the "Lamb", is cut out before the Divine Liturgy during the preparatory rite and is the only part consecrated during the Epiclesis. As part of the Liturgy of Preparation, the priest cuts the Lamb part way through crosswise into four sections from the bottom, leaving the bread united by the stamped crust on top.

At the Fraction, which follows the Lord's Prayer and the Elevation, the celebrant breaks the Lamb into four portions along the cuts already made with the words, "Broken and divided is the Lamb of God, which is broken and not disunited, which is ever eaten and never consumed, but sanctifieth those that partake thereof." He then arranges the four pieces crosswise on the edge of the diskos (paten). On the invitation of the deacon, "Fill, Master, the holy chalice," the celebrant takes the piece with the letters "IC" and places it into the chalice saying, "The fulness of the cup, of the faith, of the Holy Spirit."

The portion with the letters "XC" is used for the communion of the clergy. The two portions "NI" and "KA" are divided into small pieces and used for the communion of the people. The portion "IC" is not used for communion, but is consumed by the deacon along with any other consecrated elements left over at the end of the Liturgy (see Ablution in Christianity).


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fraction — In common usage a fraction is any part of a unit.Fraction may also mean: *Fraction (mathematics), a quotient of numbers, e.g. ¾ ; or, more generally, an element of a quotient field *Fraction (chemistry), a quantity of a substance collected by the …   Wikipedia

  • RELIGION (GUERRES DE) — En France, on appelle d’ordinaire «guerres de religion» les conflits armés qui opposèrent, dans le royaume, catholiques et calvinistes entre 1562 et 1598. La perspective historique impliquée par cette géographie et par cette chronologie est à… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Religion in the Soviet Union — The Soviet Union was an atheist state, in which religion was largely discouraged and heavily persecuted. According to various Soviet and Western sources, however, over one third of the country s people professed religious belief. Christianity and …   Wikipedia

  • Religion in the Republic of Ireland — Life in Ireland Culture Christianity Cuisine Culture Customs Holidays Music Reli …   Wikipedia

  • Religion in Ukraine — Traditionally Ukraine was inhabited by pagan tribes, but by the turn of the first millennium AD Byzantine rite Christianity was introduced. It is thought that Apostle Andrew came up to the site where the city of Kiev was built in his… …   Wikipedia

  • Relation entre science et religion — Dans la pensée médiévale, la science, la géométrie et l astronomie étaient directement liées au divin. Le compas dans ce manuscrit du XIIIe siècle symbolise la création. La relation entre science et religion est un sujet abordé depuis l… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • DEMOCRATIC FRACTION — DEMOCRATIC FRACTION, radical opposition faction in the Zionist movement between the years 1901 and 1904 that demanded the democratization of Zionist institutions, the organization of cultural activities by the Zionist Organization, and immediate… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • State religion — Religions by country North America Canada · United States · Mexico …   Wikipedia

  • Theories of religion — can be divided into substantive theories (focusing on what religion is) and functional or reductionist theories (focusing on what it does). Influential substantive theories have been proposed by Tylor and Frazer (focusing on the explanatory value …   Wikipedia

  • Historical Vedic religion — This article discusses the historical religious practices in the Vedic time period; see Hinduism and Indian religions for details of continued religious practices. See Śrauta for the continuing practice of performance of rituals by an oral… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.