Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

(Greek artos = bread, klao = to break; the breaking of bread).

A peculiar service in the Greek Church performed as the concluding part of Vespers. Five loaves of ordinary bread, a measure of wine, and a measure of oil are set upon the analogion before the iconostasis in front of the altar. These are first incensed, and then the priest taking one of the loaves into his hands blesses them as follows:

O Lord Jesus Christ our God, Who didst bless the five loaves in the desert and satisfy therewith five thousand men, do Thyself bless these loaves also the wheat, the wine and the oil, multiply them in this holy abode unto all the world; and sanctify the faithful servants of Thine who may partake of them. For Thou art He who blesseth and halloweth and nourisheth all good things, O Christ our God and to Thee we send up glory with Thine unoriginate Father and Thine all-holy and good and life-giving Spirit, now and forever, world without end.

Afterwards Psalm 33 is said, ending with the chanting of the eleventh verse: "The rich have become poor and have suffered hunger, but they that seek the Lord shall not be deprived of any good things", and then the people are blessed. This office was introduced in monasteries where the monks kept an all-night vigil and the food was necessary for them, but gradually it became a Church office for the whole Eastern Rite. Originally there was a breaking of the bread and a distribution of the bread and wine, but that has been discontinued, although the Greek rubric still says, "Note that the blessed bread is a preventive of all manner of evils if it is received with faith ". The ceremony of artoklasia is now seldom used in the Byzantine Catholic Church, since, in imitation of the Roman Rite, the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament according to a Greek form has taken its place.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Gospel, John 11:19-27
19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 29th, 2014 Image

St. Martha
July 29: "Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus." This unique ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter