The service of Proskomedia (“preparation”) takes place on the prothesis (the Table of Oblation), which is an image of the cave in Bethlehem, where Christ was born. The icon of the Nativity is often found right above it. Bethlehem was where God appeared in the flesh, and it is here that the bread (prosphora) is prepared for the bloodless sacrifice in the Holy Eucharist.


“The Athonite Elder Paisios (+12.7.1994) of blessed memory once related: ‘Something happened to me when it was my duty to assist the celebrating priest. At the words the Lamb of God is sacrificed, I saw the Lamb on the Paten writhing like a lamb being slaughtered. How could I even dare approach there again! That is why the priests should not cut up the prosphora before hand. When they say those words, that is when they should take the holy lance and cut the prosphora.’

That experience so shook the Elder that he was never willing to receive the grace of priesthood himself.”

– Hieromonk Gregorios, The Divine Liturgy, p. 77

The Lamb of God is sacrificed...