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Western Communion Hosts:

Some Recipes and Some Thoughts

Note: I am putting these recipes up with a great deal of trepidation, mostly due to the very odd ingredients called for in two of the later recipes (they appear to be for people with some kind of wheat-related disease). However, I have received so many requests for a recipe for Western-style hosts that I thought this might be of some help to a few folks. Other than that, I believe it is very helpful for many of us to find out what *may* go into modern communion media in certain religious organizations. Aquinas seems to support some of this, but, as you will see when reading his remarks, some of this might just go too far even for him. Please understand that I do not know for sure if these recipes are ever used; they are the only things I have found so far on the internet. Contributions are always welcome.

The first and second recipes come from
(This link appears to be dead)


For each loaf use:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup water

Combine and knead until well mixed (Keep a mixture of both flours handy to use if more flour is needed). Knead for at least 5-8 minutes, let dough rest for 5-10 minutes, and knead again. (The kneading and rest periods are very important in preparing this unleavened dough).

Roll out dough and cut or form into a loaf 6-7 inches round (size of a 3-lb. coffee can) by 1/2 inch thick.

Score loaves with a scoring mold.

Place loaves on ungreased baking sheet (a very light coating of non-stick spray may be used if they want to stick to the pan). Bake at 375 to 425 degrees for approximately twenty to thirty minutes (depends on each oven, size of loaf and type of baking sheet - a cast iron skillet bakes more evenly and in less time than a cookie sheet).


1. To score loaves, (be sure to spray the mold with non-stick spray and sprinkle with flour to prevent sticking to the dough when pulled back out of loaf (press mold firmly into, but not all the way through the dough. This will help facilitate the breaking during the Eucharistic Liturgy.

2. If possible, bake bread on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning for maximum weekend freshness. Cool loaves and store in plastic bag in the refrigerator (mark date baked on the bag).

3. Each 6 - 7 inch loaf should yield approximately 85 pieces.

4. Use a combination of whole-wheat flour, unbleached white flour and bottled water (refrigerate flour and use the coldest water possible).



'Bread Recipe,' by Dennis Krouse. Reprinted from Liturgy 80, October 1986, page 12. A publication of the Archdiocese of Chicago, OFFICE OF DIVINE WORSHIP. Used With Permission.

The following "Bread Recipe" is unleavened and contains no additives. When baked according to instructions given, it is soft, easy to break and easily consumed.

1.FOR SEVENTY COMMUNICANTS, use 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour to 3 cup unbleached white flour. The mixture of flour should be kept in an airtight container in the freezer and used while cold. (The cold flour helps prevent a separate crust from forming.)

2. Use one cup of the flour mixture to approximately 1/2 cup of spring water (Perrier is good). The water should be refrigerator cold.

3. Quickly mix the flour and water together with a fork until all the flour is moist. Form dough into a smooth ball. Usually more flour needs to be sprinkled on the surface of the dough to prevent stickiness.

4. Gently flatten the ball of dough into a circular loaf about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. If necessary, turn any uneven edges underneath.

5. Place the unscored loaf on a lightly oiled baking sheet (suggest using Pam; wipe off any excess).

6. Place in a preheated oven at 425 degrees.

7. After approximately twelve to fifteen minutes the top crust should have raised slightly. Prick the crust with a toothpick in several places, turn the loaf over and continue to bake about five minutes. (This gives evenness to the top of the loaf.)

8. Turn loaf right side up again and continue to bake until the crust is very lightly browned, about ten to fifteen minutes more for a total of twenty-five to thirty minutes. Baking time when using more than 1 1/2 cups of flour needs to be extended.

9. Place the loaf on a rack for cooling. (It is helpful to slice the bottom crust off to check for any rawness.)

10. Bread is best when made fresh the day of the liturgy. However, after cooling it can be tightly wrapped and frozen for later use.

This recipe and text comes from


From St. George's Abby, Three Rivers, Michigan

7/8 cup lukewarm water (or slightly more)
5 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoons olive or salad oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 packet dry yeast
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour

Measure the water into a mixing bowl and add the yeast, stirring until the yeast dissolves. Stir into this the honey, oil, and salt. Add the unsifted flour with the hands, mix it completely. If the flour does not completely dampen, add a tablespoon or more of water.

Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured board and knead dough thoroughly for five minutes. This kneading is very important. After the kneading, when the dough is nice and elastic, replace the dough in the bowl and cover it with a damp towel and let it rise for an hour or an hour-and-a-half in a warm place. It should double in bulk.

Now turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for a moment. Roll dough out to a quarter inch thickness and cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter or tin can of appropriate size. Press a line across the dough with the blade of a knife (not cutting through) so that the loaf may be divided into quarters. Transfer to a very lightly oiled baking sheet or unoiled stick-free pan, and bake in a preheated 350 oven for 10-12 minutes. The loaves may be sealed in plastic bags and frozen for future use.

This recipe and text comes from

A (thick, wheat flavor)

1.5 cups white flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 cup whole wheat flour
0.5 tsp baking soda
2 tsp molasses
1 cup buttermilk

Combine ingredients and mix well knead w/ white flour to prevent sticking. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake 350 for 10-15 in preheated oven. (Roll out, flour hands, score deeply, add honey)


4 cups whole wheat flour
0.5 cups milk
1.5 cups warm water
1 T whole wheat germ
2 t salt

Dissolve salt, baking powder, and wheat germ in water. Add milk. Stir into the flour saving a little flour for later. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for ten minutes, adding liquid or flour as necessary. Return the dough to the bowl, cover lightly with a cloth and set aside for four hours. The dough is apt to be very heavy and sticky. Grease hands and cookiesheet; shape dough into six rounds. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for 10-15 minutes.


3 cups white flour
1 cup +2 T chilled shortening
2 t rounded baking soda
3 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 t salt
3 T sugar
2 cups buttermilk

Mix all ingredients, kneading them together until well blended. Pat out into two rectangles on a lightly greased cookie sheet; the loaves should be about .5 inches thick. Brush the top with milk. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for 15 mins. Each loaf will make about 84 pieces if scored prior to baking.


4 cups whole wheat
2 T baking powder
2.5 cups of warm water
2 cups all purpose flour
1 t salt
2-4 T honey
2T oil

Mix together liquid ingredients. Sift dry ingredients together. Add liquid to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Knead briefly. Roll dough on floured board to .25-.5 in thickness. Score loaf at .5 in intervals, deep enough so bread will break apart easily after baking. Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet at 350 for 30 min. Remove loaves to a wire rack and cool bread for another 30 mins.

E (dark/sweet)

1 cup whole wheat
2 T wheat germ
2 T dark brown sugar
2 T molasses
0.5 cup white flour
1 t baking soda
2.5 T oil or shortening
0.5 cup water

Sift dry ingredients together, then add liquid ingredients. More flour as necessary. Knead together briefly, then bake in a preheated oven at 360 for 10-12 mins.

F (wheat - light colored, moist)

1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 t baking soda
.25 cups oil/shortening
.5 cup white flour
.5 t salt
.75 cup water
.25 cup honey

Sift dry ingredients together, cut in shortening, then add the other liquid ingredients. Knead the dough well Roll the dough flat, about .5 in. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 10-12 mins.


3 cups white flour
2 T wheat germ
1 cup buttermilk
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
4 t honey

Mix dry ingredients. Mix together the milk and honey and add to the dry ingredients. Knead well . Add more flour if mixture is too soggy. Roll out to a thickness of .5 inches and cut into rounds. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 15 minutes.


1 cup Bisquick
4 T honey
1 cup cracked wheat flour
.5 cup warm water
.25 cup milk

Mix all ingredients together. Divide into 4 sections, shaping each into a round loaf. Score and bake on a greased cookie sheet at 375 for 10-14 minutes, until bottom is lightly browned.

Date: Sat, 18 Jan 1997 10:36:36 -0500
Subject: Re: Altar Bread Recipes

These are from Dignity/Washington. E and F are our favorites in DC. Each makes two loaves about 40 pieces per loaf.


Originally appeared in DIGNITY Digest - 17 Jan 1997 to 18 Jan 1997
Reproduced with permission.

E. Y. writes (Fri, 28 Mar 1997 21:31:37 -0600):
"The limits for valid matter are quite clearly stated in Pope St Pius V's Bull "De Defectibus" of 1572, and it states that any material other than wheat, water, salt (and yeast for the Eastern Rites) will invalidate the material."

Reflections on Eucharist Bread and Wine:

"In a 1929 instruction, the Sacred Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments taught that bread made of any substance other than wheat is invalid matter, as is bread to which has been added such a great quantity [emphasis added] of another substance that it can no longer be considered wheat bread in the common estimation. ...The General Instruction of the Roman Missal #283 stipulates that the bread for the Eucharist should have the appearance of real food and be made in such a way that the priest is able to break it into parts and distribute them to at least some of the faithful. Subsequent instructions from the Apostolic See have attempted to clarify the meaning of this law by indicating that the "appearance" of bread applies to its color, taste, and thickness rather than to its shape. From The Code of Canon Law: A Text and Commentary (Commissioned by the Canon Law Society of America, page 657)."

Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani 2000:

320. Panis ad Eucharistiam celebrandam debet esse mere triticeus, recenter confectus, et secundum antiquam Ecclesiae latinae traditionem, azymus. (Caput VI: De Iis quae Ad Missae Celebrationem Requiruntur, I. De Pane Et Vino Ad Eucharistiam Celebrandam).

"Altar Breads" in The Catholic Encyclopedia (1907-12).

Laboratorio Pane di Vita, Pisa. Altar Bread Production and Distribution (in Italian with drawings).

"In some parishes it takes more faith to believe that the Holy Communion wafer offered to the faithful is really bread than that it is truly the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ" (Catholic saying).

This recipe comes from

From: larson sharon (zzlarson@ACC.WUACC.EDU)

Subject: COMMUNION HOSTS After explaining my great experience with receiving communion, I offered the recipe to anyone who wanted it. I have received SO MANY REQUESTS that I have chosen to send one message back to the whole list for all who are interested. To answer some questions--(1) the reason for unleavened bread dates back to the Passover. They had to be ready to flee so they couldn't take time for the rising of bread--thus the unleavened bread that contains no yeast and this has been a tradition continued. Interesting, huh? (2) Regarding the transubstantiation requiring wheat--my priest's response was like mine--it was probably believed long ago by someone and some have taken longer to make changes that need to be made in the thinking of it all. He does not agree it needs to be wheat. He also said that the National Conference of Liturgy Directors (I think this is correct) had made a proposal to Rome for a change and also a recipe that would be GF. Isn't it great that they understand our needs? (3) My priest said the main procedure for making the communion work is "getting the host in the dish of communion hosts and the priest knowing where you are sitting or you going to the priest for distribution." I put my bread in a small paper "pill-like" container to keep it away from the hosts. The ArchBishop was very pleased about our way of working this out. Sorry this is so long--I just want to make it clear. And now for the recipe--remember, it is not "gourmet." You may be able to remake it to be even better. I have tried different ones and this has dissolved better in my mouth. It is a version of one used at our Catholic University Center several years ago. I only changed the flour.

1/2 T. sugar
1/4 C. soy flour
1/4 C. potato starch
1/4 C. brown rice flour
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking powder

Mix the above very well together-----
Cut in:
1 T white Crisco
1/2 T. butter flavored Crisco
1 1/2 T GF honey

Add in small amounts:
1/4 C. water (or a speck less)

Mix well and spread in pan (I usually use a 9-inch pie pan and spread it thin--about 1/4 inch thick)
Bake @ 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

After it cools, I cut in pieces about 1 to 1 1/4 inches by 1/2 inch. This can be by works better for your container, etc. I cut my container down a little with the help of scotch tape (smiles!) and make it smaller so it leans up and makes it easier for the priest.

For any other questions, e-mail me privately. I received some requests that made me feel very happy that I shared this. I can see that some of you will feel much better by having a way of once again receiving communion. I pray that your minister/priest will be as happy at assisting you as mine.

This recipe comes from

From: Wayne Jenkins (nstn1974@FOX.NSTN.NS.CA)
Subject: Communion Wafers

2 tbsps potato starch flour                                       1 tsp baking soda
1 cup minus 2 tbsps cornstarch                               1 tsp salt
2 cups brown or white rice flour
2 tbsps xanthan gum                                                 3 tbsps plus 1-1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine                                    1 cup buttermilk

Sift the dry ingredients together. Cut in butter, add buttermilk, and mix with fingers until dough is workable. Roll with rolling pin on rice flour coated surface as thin as possible. Cut into small circles. Place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F for 6 minutes. (NOTE: They do not brown)"

 Here's a little something from Thomas Aquinas on the Roman Catholic beliefs during the Middle Ages:
(Benziger Bros. edition, 1947) Translated by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province


   We have now to consider the matter of this sacrament: and first of all as to its species; secondly, the change of the bread and wine into the body of Christ; thirdly, the manner in which Christ's body exists in this sacrament; fourthly, the accidents of bread and wine which continue in this sacrament.

   Under the first heading there are eight points for inquiry:

    (1) Whether bread and wine are the matter of this sacrament?

    (2) Whether a determinate quantity of the same is required for the matter of this sacrament?

    (3) Whether the matter of this sacrament is wheaten bread?

    (4) Whether it is unleavened or fermented bread?

    (5) Whether the matter of this sacrament is wine from the grape?

    (6) Whether water should be mixed with it?

    (7) Whether water is of necessity for this sacrament?

    (8) Of the quantity of the water added.

Whether the matter of this sacrament is bread and wine?

  Objection 1: It seems that the matter of this sacrament is not bread and wine. Because this sacrament ought to represent Christ's Passion more fully than did the sacraments of the Old Law. But the flesh of animals, which was the matter of the sacraments under the Old Law, shows forth Christ's Passion more fully than bread and wine. Therefore the matter of this sacrament ought rather to be the flesh of animals than bread and wine.

  Objection 2: Further, this sacrament is to be celebrated in every place. But in many lands bread is not to be found, and in many places wine is not to be found. Therefore bread and wine are not a suitable matter for this sacrament.

  Objection 3: Further, this sacrament is for both hale and weak. But to some weak persons wine is hurtful. Therefore it seems that wine ought not to be the matter of this sacrament.

  On the contrary, Pope Alexander I says (Ep. ad omnes orth. i): "In oblations of the sacraments only bread and wine mixed with water are to be offered."

  I answer that, Some have fallen into various errors about the matter of this sacrament. Some, known as the Artotyrytae, as Augustine says (De Haeres. xxviii), "offer bread and cheese in this sacrament, contending that oblations were celebrated by men in the first ages, from fruits of the earth and sheep." Others, called Cataphrygae and Pepuziani, "are reputed to have made their Eucharistic bread with infants' blood drawn from tiny punctures over the entire body, and mixed with flour." Others, styled Aquarii, under guise of sobriety, offer nothing but water in this sacrament.

   Now all these and similar errors are excluded by the fact that Christ instituted this sacrament under the species of bread and wine, as is evident from Mt. 26. Consequently, bread and wine are the proper matter of this sacrament. And the reasonableness of this is seen first, in the use of this sacrament, which is eating: for, as water is used in the sacrament of Baptism for the purpose of spiritual cleansing, since bodily cleansing is commonly done with water; so bread and wine, wherewith men are commonly fed, are employed in this sacrament for the use of spiritual eating.

   Secondly, in relation to Christ's Passion, in which the blood was separated from the body. And therefore in this sacrament, which is the memorial of our Lord's Passion, the bread is received apart as the sacrament of the body, and the wine as the sacrament of the blood.

   Thirdly, as to the effect, considered in each of the partakers. For, as Ambrose (Mag. Sent. iv, D, xi) says on 1 Cor. 11:20, this sacrament "avails for the defense of soul and body"; and therefore "Christ's body is offered" under the species of bread "for the health of the body, and the blood" under the species of wine "for the health of the soul," according to Lev. 17:14: "The life of the animal [Vulg.: 'of all flesh'] is in the blood."

   Fourthly, as to the effect with regard to the whole Church, which is made up of many believers, just "as bread is composed of many grains, and wine flows from many grapes," as the gloss observes on 1 Cor. 10:17: "We being many are . . . one body," etc.

  Reply to Objection 1: Although the flesh of slaughtered animals represents the Passion more forcibly, nevertheless it is less suitable for the common use of this sacrament, and for denoting the unity of the Church.

  Reply to Objection 2: Although wheat and wine are not produced in every country, yet they can easily be conveyed to every land, that is, as much as is needful for the use of this sacrament: at the same time one is not to be consecrated when the other is lacking, because it would not be a complete sacrament.

  Reply to Objection 3: Wine taken in small quantity cannot do the sick much harm: yet if there be fear of harm, it is not necessary for all who take Christ's body to partake also of His blood, as will be stated later (Question [80], Article [12]).

Whether a determinate quantity of bread and wine is required for the matter of this sacrament?

  Objection 1: It seems that a determinate quantity of bread and wine is required for the matter of this sacrament. Because the effects of grace are no less set in order than those of nature. But, "there is a limit set by nature upon all existing things, and a reckoning of size and development" (De Anima ii). Consequently, in this sacrament, which is called "Eucharist," that is, "a good grace," a determinate quantity of the bread and wine is required.

  Objection 2: Further, Christ gave no power to the ministers of the Church regarding matters which involve derision of the faith and of His sacraments, according to 2 Cor. 10:8: "Of our power which the Lord hath given us unto edification, and not for your destruction." But it would lead to mockery of this sacrament if the priest were to wish to consecrate all the bread which is sold in the market and all the wine in the cellar. Therefore he cannot do this.

  Objection 3: Further, if anyone be baptized in the sea, the entire sea-water is not sanctified by the form of baptism, but only the water wherewith the body of the baptized is cleansed. Therefore, neither in this sacrament can a superfluous quantity of bread be consecrated.

  On the contrary, Much is opposed to little, and great to small. But there is no quantity, however small, of the bread and wine which cannot be consecrated. Therefore, neither is there any quantity, however great, which cannot be consecrated.

  I answer that, Some have maintained that the priest could not consecrate an immense quantity of bread and wine, for instance, all the bread in the market or all the wine in a cask. But this does not appear to be true, because in all things containing matter, the reason for the determination of the matter is drawn from its disposition to an end, just as the matter of a saw is iron, so as to adapt it for cutting. But the end of this sacrament is the use of the faithful. Consequently, the quantity of the matter of this sacrament must be determined by comparison with the use of the faithful. But this cannot be determined by comparison with the use of the faithful who are actually present; otherwise the parish priest having few parishioners could not consecrate many hosts. It remains, then, for the matter of this sacrament to be determined in reference to the number of the faithful absolutely. But the number of the faithful is not a determinate one. Hence it cannot be said that the quantity of the matter of this sacrament is restricted.

  Reply to Objection 1: The matter of every natural object has its determinate quantity by comparison with its determinate form. But the number of the faithful, for whose use this sacrament is ordained, is not a determinate one. Consequently there is no comparison.

  Reply to Objection 2: The power of the Church's ministers is ordained for two purposes: first for the proper effect, and secondly for the end of the effect. But the second does not take away the first. Hence, if the priest intends to consecrate the body of Christ for an evil purpose, for instance, to make mockery of it, or to administer poison through it, he commits sin by his evil intention, nevertheless, on account of the power committed to him, he accomplishes the sacrament.

  Reply to Objection 3: The sacrament of Baptism is perfected in the use of the matter: and therefore no more of the water is hallowed than what is used. But this sacrament is wrought in the consecration of the matter. Consequently there is no parallel.

Whether wheaten bread is required for the matter of this sacrament?

  Objection 1: It seems that wheaten bread is not requisite for the matter of this sacrament, because this sacrament is a reminder of our Lord's Passion. But barley bread seems to be more in keeping with the Passion than wheaten bread, as being more bitter, and because Christ used it to feed the multitudes upon the mountain, as narrated in Jn. 6. Therefore wheaten bread is not the proper matter of this sacrament.

  Objection 2: Further, in natural things the shape is a sign of species. But some cereals resemble wheat, such as spelt and maize, from which in some localities bread is made for the use of this sacrament. Therefore wheaten bread is not the proper matter of this sacrament.

  Objection 3: Further, mixing dissolves species. But wheaten flour is hardly to be found unmixed with some other species of grain, except in the instance of specially selected grain. Therefore it does not seem that wheaten bread is the proper matter for this sacrament.

  Objection 4: Further, what is corrupted appears to be of another species. But some make the sacrament from bread which is corrupted, and which no longer seems to be wheaten bread. Therefore, it seems that such bread is not the proper matter of this sacrament.

  On the contrary, Christ is contained in this sacrament, and He compares Himself to a grain of wheat, saying (Jn. 12:24): "Unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone." Therefore bread from corn, i.e. wheaten bread, is the matter of this sacrament.

  I answer that, As stated above (Article [1]), for the use of the sacraments such matter is adopted as is commonly made use of among men. Now among other breads wheaten bread is more commonly used by men; since other breads seem to be employed when this fails. And consequently Christ is believed to have instituted this sacrament under this species of bread. Moreover this bread strengthens man, and so it denotes more suitably the effect of this sacrament. Consequently, the proper matter for this sacrament is wheaten bread.

  Reply to Objection 1: Barley bread serves to denote the hardness of the Old Law; both on account of the hardness of the bread, and because, as Augustine says (Question [83]): "The flour within the barley, wrapped up as it is within a most tenacious fibre, denotes either the Law itself, which was given in such manner as to be vested in bodily sacraments; or else it denotes the people themselves, who were not yet despoiled of carnal desires, which clung to their hearts like fibre." But this sacrament belongs to Christ's "sweet yoke," and to the truth already manifested, and to a spiritual people. Consequently barley bread would not be a suitable matter for this sacrament.

  Reply to Objection 2: A begetter begets a thing like to itself in species. yet there is some unlikeness as to the accidents, owing either to the matter, or to weakness within the generative power. And therefore, if there be any cereals which can be grown from the seed of the wheat (as wild wheat from wheat seed grown in bad ground), the bread made from such grain can be the matter of this sacrament: and this does not obtain either in barley, or in spelt, or even in maize, which is of all grains the one most resembling the wheat grain. But the resemblance as to shape in such seems to denote closeness of species rather than identity; just as the resemblance in shape between the dog and the wolf goes to show that they are allied but not of the same species. Hence from such grains, which cannot in any way be generated from wheat grain, bread cannot be made such as to be the proper matter of this sacrament.

  Reply to Objection 3: A moderate mixing does not alter the species, because that little is as it were absorbed by the greater. Consequently, then, if a small quantity of another grain be mixed with a much greater quantity of wheat, bread may be made therefrom so as to be the proper matter of this sacrament; but if the mixing be notable, for instance, half and half; or nearly so, then such mixing alters the species; consequently, bread made therefrom will not be the proper matter of this sacrament.

  Reply to Objection 4: Sometimes there is such corruption of the bread that the species of bread is lost, as when the continuity of its parts is destroyed, and the taste, color, and other accidents are changed; hence the body of Christ may not be made from such matter. But sometimes there is not such corruption as to alter the species, but merely disposition towards corruption, which a slight change in the savor betrays, and from such bread the body of Christ may be made: but he who does so, sins from irreverence towards the sacrament. And because starch comes of corrupted wheat, it does not seem as if the body of Christ could be made of the bread made therefrom, although some hold the contrary.

Whether this sacrament ought to be made of unleavened bread?

  Objection 1: It seems that this sacrament ought not to be made of unleavened bread. because in this sacrament we ought to imitate Christ's institution. But Christ appears to have instituted this sacrament in fermented bread, because, as we have read in Ex. 12, the Jews, according to the Law, began to use unleavened bread on the day of the Passover which is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the moon; and Christ instituted this sacrament at the supper which He celebrated "before the festival day of the Pasch" (Jn. 13:1,4). Therefore we ought likewise to celebrate this sacrament with fermented bread.

  Objection 2: Further, legal observances ought not to be continued in the time of grace. But the use of unleavened bread was a ceremony of the Law, as is clear from Ex. 12. Therefore we ought not to use unfermented bread in this sacrament of grace.

  Objection 3: Further, as stated above (Question [65], Article [1]; Question [73], Article [3]), the Eucharist is the sacrament of charity just as Baptism is the sacrament of faith. But the fervor of charity is signified by fermented bread, as is declared by the gloss on Mt. 13:33: "The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven," etc. Therefore this sacrament ought to be made of leavened bread.

  Objection 4: Further, leavened or unleavened are mere accidents of bread, which do not vary the species. But in the matter for the sacrament of Baptism no difference is observed regarding the variation of the accidents, as to whether it be salt or fresh, warm or cold water. Therefore neither ought any distinction to be observed, as to whether the bread be unleavened or leavened.

  On the contrary, According to the Decretals (Extra, De Celebr. Miss.), a priest is punished "for presuming to celebrate, using fermented bread and a wooden cup."

  I answer that, Two things may be considered touching the matter of this sacrament namely, what is necessary, and what is suitable. It is necessary that the bread be wheaten, without which the sacrament is not valid, as stated above (Article [3]). It is not, however, necessary for the sacrament that the bread be unleavened or leavened, since it can be celebrated in either.

   But it is suitable that every priest observe the rite of his Church in the celebration of the sacrament. Now in this matter there are various customs of the Churches: for, Gregory says: "The Roman Church offers unleavened bread, because our Lord took flesh without union of sexes: but the Greek Churches offer leavened bread, because the Word of the Father was clothed with flesh; as leaven is mixed with the flour." Hence, as a priest sins by celebrating with fermented bread in the Latin Church, so a Greek priest celebrating with unfermented bread in a church of the Greeks would also sin, as perverting the rite of his Church. Nevertheless the custom of celebrating with unleavened bread is more reasonable. First, on account of Christ's institution: for He instituted this sacrament "on the first day of the Azymes" (Mt. 26:17; Mk. 14:12; Lk. 22:7), on which day there ought to be nothing fermented in the houses of the Jews, as is stated in Ex. 12:15,19. Secondly, because bread is properly the sacrament of Christ's body, which was conceived without corruption, rather than of His Godhead, as will be seen later (Question [76], Article [1], ad 1). Thirdly, because this is more in keeping with the sincerity of the faithful, which is required in the use of this sacrament, according to 1 Cor. 5:7: "Christ our Pasch is sacrificed: therefore let us feast . . . with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."

   However, this custom of the Greeks is not unreasonable both on account of its signification, to which Gregory refers, and in detestation of the heresy of the Nazarenes, who mixed up legal observances with the Gospel.

  Reply to Objection 1: As we read in Ex. 12, the paschal solemnity began on the evening of the fourteenth day of the moon. So, then, after immolating the Paschal Lamb, Christ instituted this sacrament: hence this day is said by John to precede the day of the Pasch, while the other three Evangelists call it "the first day of the Azymes," when fermented bread was not found in the houses of the Jews, as stated above. Fuller mention was made of this in the treatise on our Lord's Passion (Question [46], Article [9], ad 1).

  Reply to Objection 2: Those who celebrate the sacrament with unleavened bread do not intend to follow the ceremonial of the Law, but to conform to Christ's institution; so they are not Judaizing; otherwise those celebrating in fermented bread would be Judaizing, because the Jews offered up fermented bread for the first-fruits.

  Reply to Objection 3: Leaven denotes charity on account of one single effect, because it makes the bread more savory and larger; but it also signifies corruption from its very nature.

  Reply to Objection 4: Since whatever is fermented partakes of corruption, this sacrament may not be made from corrupt bread, as stated above (Article [3], ad 4); consequently, there is a wider difference between unleavened and leavened bread than between warm and cold baptismal water: because there might be such corruption of fermented bread that it could not be validly used for the sacrament.

Whether wine of the grape is the proper matter of this sacrament?

  Objection 1: It seems that wine of the grape is not the proper matter of this sacrament. Because, as water is the matter of Baptism, so is wine the matter of this sacrament. But Baptism can be conferred with any kind of water. Therefore this sacrament can be celebrated in any kind of wine, such as of pomegranates, or of mulberries; since vines do not grow in some countries.

  Objection 2: Further, vinegar is a kind of wine drawn from the grape, as Isidore says (Etym. xx). But this sacrament cannot be celebrated with vinegar. Therefore, it seems that wine from the grape is not the proper matter of this sacrament.

  Objection 3: Further, just as the clarified wine is drawn from grapes, so also are the juice of unripe grapes and must. But it does not appear that this sacrament may be made from such, according to what we read in the Sixth Council (Trull., Can. 28): "We have learned that in some churches the priests add grapes to the sacrifice of the oblation; and so they dispense both together to the people. Consequently we give order that no priest shall do this in future." And Pope Julius I rebukes some priests "who offer wine pressed from the grape in the sacrament of the Lord's chalice." Consequently, it seems that wine from the grape is not the proper matter of this sacrament.

  On the contrary, As our Lord compared Himself to the grain of wheat, so also He compared Himself to the vine, saying (Jn. 15:1): "I am the true vine." But only bread from wheat is the matter of this sacrament, as stated above (Article [3]). Therefore, only wine from the grape is the proper matter of this sacrament.

  I answer that, This sacrament can only be performed with wine from the grape. First of all on account of Christ's institution, since He instituted this sacrament in wine from the grape, as is evident from His own words, in instituting this sacrament (Mt. 26:29): "I will not drink from henceforth of this fruit of the vine." Secondly, because, as stated above (Article [3]), that is adopted as the matter of the sacraments which is properly and universally considered as such. Now that is properly called wine, which is drawn from the grape, whereas other liquors are called wine from resemblance to the wine of the grape. Thirdly, because the wine from the grape is more in keeping with the effect of this sacrament, which is spiritual; because it is written (Ps. 103:15): "That wine may cheer the heart of man."

  Reply to Objection 1: Such liquors are called wine, not properly but only from their resemblance thereto. But genuine wine can be conveyed to such countries wherein the grape-vine does not flourish, in a quantity sufficient for this sacrament.

  Reply to Objection 2: Wine becomes vinegar by corruption; hence there is no returning from vinegar to wine, as is said in Metaph. viii. And consequently, just as this sacrament may not be made from bread which is utterly corrupt, so neither can it be made from vinegar. It can, however, be made from wine which is turning sour, just as from bread turning corrupt, although he who does so sins, as stated above (Article [3]).

  Reply to Objection 3: The juice of unripe grapes is at the stage of incomplete generation, and therefore it has not yet the species of wine: on which account it may not be used for this sacrament. Must, however, has already the species of wine, for its sweetness [*"Aut dulcis musti Vulcano decoquit humorem"; Virgil, Georg. i, 295] indicates fermentation which is "the result of its natural heat" (Meteor. iv); consequently this sacrament can be made from must. Nevertheless entire grapes ought not to be mixed with this sacrament, because then there would be something else besides wine. It is furthermore forbidden to offer must in the chalice, as soon as it has been squeezed from the grape, since this is unbecoming owing to the impurity of the must. But in case of necessity it may be done: for it is said by the same Pope Julius, in the passage quoted in the argument: "If necessary, let the grape be pressed into the chalice."

Whether water should be mixed with the wine?

  Objection 1: It seems that water ought not to be mixed with the wine, since Christ's sacrifice was foreshadowed by that of Melchisedech, who (Gn. 14:18) is related to have offered up bread and wine only. Consequently it seems that water should not be added in this sacrament.

  Objection 2: Further, the various sacraments have their respective matters. But water is the matter of Baptism. Therefore it should not be employed as the matter of this sacrament.

  Objection 3: Further, bread and wine are the matter of this sacrament. But nothing is added to the bread. Therefore neither should anything be added to the wine.

  On the contrary, Pope Alexander I writes (Ep. 1 ad omnes orth.): "In the sacramental oblations which in mass are offered to the Lord, only bread and wine mixed with water are to be offered in sacrifice."

  I answer that, Water ought to be mingled with the wine which is offered in this sacrament. First of all on account of its institution: for it is believed with probability that our Lord instituted this sacrament in wine tempered with water according to the custom of that country: hence it is written (Prov. 9:5): "Drink the wine which I have mixed for you." Secondly, because it harmonizes with the representation of our Lord's Passion: hence Pope Alexander I says (Ep. 1 ad omnes orth.): "In the Lord's chalice neither wine only nor water only ought to be offered, but both mixed because we read that both flowed from His side in the Passion." Thirdly, because this is adapted for signifying the effect of this sacrament, since as Pope Julius says (Concil. Bracarens iii, Can. 1): "We see that the people are signified by the water, but Christ's blood by the wine. Therefore when water is mixed with the wine in the chalice, the people is made one with Christ." Fourthly, because this is appropriate to the fourth effect of this sacrament, which is the entering into everlasting life: hence Ambrose says (De Sacram. v): "The water flows into the chalice, and springs forth unto everlasting life."

  Reply to Objection 1: As Ambrose says (De Sacram. v), just as Christ's sacrifice is denoted by the offering of Melchisedech, so likewise it is signified by the water which flowed from the rock in the desert, according to 1 Cor. 10:4: "But they drank of the spiritual rock which came after them."

  Reply to Objection 2: In Baptism water is used for the purpose of ablution: but in this sacrament it is used by way of refreshment, according to Ps. 22:3: "He hath brought me up on the water of refreshment."

  Reply to Objection 3: Bread is made of water and flour; and therefore, since water is mixed with the wine, neither is without water.

Whether the mixing with water is essential to this sacrament?

  Objection 1: It seems that the mixing with water is essential to this sacrament. Because Cyprian says to Cecilius (Ep. lxiii): "Thus the Lord's chalice is not water only and wine only, but both must be mixed together: in the same way as neither the Lord's body be of flour only, except both," i.e. the flour and the water "be united as one." But the admixture of water with the flour is necessary for this sacrament. Consequently, for the like reason, so is the mixing of water with the wine.

  Objection 2: Further, at our Lord's Passion, of which this is the memorial, water as well as blood flowed from His side. But wine, which is the sacrament of the blood, is necessary for this sacrament. For the same reason, therefore, so is water.

  Objection 3: Further, if water were not essential to this sacrament, it would not matter in the least what kind of water was used; and so water distilled from roses, or any other kind might be employed; which is contrary to the usage of the Church. Consequently water is essential to this sacrament.

  On the contrary, Cyprian says (Ep. lxiii): "If any of our predecessors, out of ignorance or simplicity, has not kept this usage," i.e. of mixing water with the wine, "one may pardon his simplicity"; which would not be the case if water were essential to the sacrament, as the wine or the bread. Therefore the mingling of water with the wine is not essential to the sacrament.

  I answer that, Judgment concerning a sign is to be drawn from the thing signified. Now the adding of water to the wine is for the purpose of signifying the sharing of this sacrament by the faithful, in this respect that by the mixing of the water with the wine is signified the union of the people with Christ, as stated (Article [6]). Moreover, the flowing of water from the side of Christ hanging on the cross refers to the same, because by the water is denoted the cleansing from sins, which was the effect of Christ's Passion. Now it was observed above (Question [73], Article [1], ad 3), that this sacrament is completed in the consecration of the matter: while the usage of the faithful is not essential to the sacrament, but only a consequence thereof. Consequently, then, the adding of water is not essential to the sacrament.

  Reply to Objection 1: Cyprian's expression is to be taken in the same sense in which we say that a thing cannot be, which cannot be suitably. And so the comparison refers to what ought to be done, not to what is essential to be done; since water is of the essence of bread, but not of the essence of wine.

  Reply to Objection 2: The shedding of the blood belonged directly to Christ's Passion: for it is natural for blood to flow from a wounded human body. But the flowing of the water was not necessary for the Passion; but merely to show its effect, which is to wash away sins, and to refresh us from the heat of concupiscence. And therefore the water is not offered apart from the wine in this sacrament, as the wine is offered apart from the bread; but the water is offered mixed with the wine to show that the wine belongs of itself to this sacrament, as of its very essence; but the water as something added to the wine.

  Reply to Objection 3: Since the mixing of water with the wine is not necessary for the sacrament, it does not matter, as to the essence of the sacrament, what kind of water is added to the wine, whether natural water, or artificial, as rose-water, although, as to the propriety of the sacrament, he would sin who mixes any other than natural and true water, because true water flowed from the side of Christ hanging on the cross, and not phlegm, as some have said, in order to show that Christ's body was truly composed of the four elements; as by the flowing blood, it was shown to be composed of the four humors, as Pope Innocent III says in a certain Decree. But because the mixing of water with flour is essential to this sacrament, as making the composition of bread, if rose-water, or any other liquor besides true water, be mixed with the flour, the sacrament would not be valid, because it would not be true bread.

Whether water should be added in great quantity?

  Objection 1: It seems that water ought to be added in great quantity, because as blood flowed sensibly from Christ's side, so did water: hence it is written (Jn. 19:35): "He that saw it, hath given testimony." But water could not be sensibly present in this sacrament except it were used in great quantity. Consequently it seems that water ought to be added in great quantity.

  Objection 2: Further, a little water mixed with much wine is corrupted. But what is corrupted no longer exists. Therefore, it is the same thing to add a little water in this sacrament as to add none. But it is not lawful to add none. Therefore, neither is it lawful to add a little.

  Objection 3: Further, if it sufficed to add a little, then as a consequence it would suffice to throw one drop of water into an entire cask. But this seems ridiculous. Therefore it does not suffice for a small quantity to be added.

  On the contrary, It is said in the Decretals (Extra, De Celeb. Miss.): "The pernicious abuse has prevailed in your country of adding water in greater quantity than the wine, in the sacrifice, where according to the reasonable custom of the entire Church more wine than water ought to be employed."

  I answer that, There is a threefold opinion regarding the water added to the wine, as Pope Innocent III says in a certain Decretal. For some say that the water remains by itself when the wine is changed into blood: but such an opinion cannot stand, because in the sacrament of the altar after the consecration there is nothing else save the body and the blood of Christ. Because, as Ambrose says in De Officiis (De Mysteriis ix): "Before the blessing it is another species that is named, after the blessing the Body is signified; otherwise it would not be adored with adoration of latria." And therefore others have said that as the wine is changed into blood, so the water is changed into the water which flowed from Christ's side. But this cannot be maintained reasonably, because according to this the water would be consecrated apart from the wine, as the wine is from the bread.

   And therefore as he (Innocent III, Decretals, Extra, De Celeb. Miss.) says, the more probable opinion is that which holds that the water is changed into wine, and the wine into blood. Now, this could not be done unless so little water was used that it would be changed into wine. Consequently, it is always safer to add little water, especially if the wine be weak, because the sacrament could not be celebrated if there were such addition of water as to destroy the species of the wine. Hence Pope Julius I reprehends some who "keep throughout the year a linen cloth steeped in must, and at the time of sacrifice wash a part of it with water, and so make the offering."

  Reply to Objection 1: For the signification of this sacrament it suffices for the water to be appreciable by sense when it is mixed with the wine: but it is not necessary for it to be sensible after the mingling.

  Reply to Objection 2: If no water were added, the signification would be utterly excluded: but when the water is changed into wine, it is signified that the people is incorporated with Christ.

  Reply to Objection 3: If water were added to a cask, it would not suffice for the signification of this sacrament, but the water must be added to the wine at the actual celebration of the sacrament.

Here are some additional links for your reading pleasure....

Catholic Encyclopedia: Altar Breads

Bread for New Life (Eucharistic Congress 2000)

Adoro Te Devote

This recipe and text comes from, a Protestant group. You have to read the last paragraph to really get the difference between Orthodoxy and what passes for religion these days. If this doesn't convince you of how far things have gone, I really don't know what will!

Celebrating the Commonplace

"The bread that we break is a communion (koinonia) with the body of Christ.  The fact that there is only one loaf means that, though there are many of us, we form a single body, because we all have a share in this one loaf." 1 Corinthians 10:16-17

Altar Bread Recipe

4 cups whole wheat flour
4 tsp. double-acting, or 8 tsp. single-acting baking powder
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup pure oil  (we used extra virgin olive oil)
Honeyed water - 1/2 cup each honey, milk, water

Sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl.  Then pour in the honeyed water.  You may have to warm the honey to get it into liquid form.   Be sure to mix the oil with the honeyed water before pouring it into the bowl.   Do not pour all the honeyed water into the mixture, only as much as is needed to make a smooth, soft dough, not too sticky to handle.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed it gently.  Then roll out the dough to the desired thickness.  We find that about 3/16 of an inch works well for us.  Then cut the dough into the desired size and shape.  Use a metal soup bowl which measures about six inches across.  This size is enough for 25 to 60 communicants.  We also make other sizes for different services.  This bread leaves little in the way of crumbs and is quite adaptable to the number of communicants.

Before putting into the oven, we cut a cross into the surface of the dough.  This facilitates the breaking of the bread into four quarters, and thus others can help the celebrant to break the required number of pieces.  The cross is best cut by a knife having a serrated edge.  Use the knife also to smooth out the outer edge, by patting it with the side of the knife.  Place the breads (this batch easily makes 9 pieces) onto slightly greased baking pans or baker's stone, and put into the oven at about 400 degrees.  It should take from 10 to 15 minutes to bake.   Let the bread cool for about 1 hour.

Then wrap individual pieces into cellophane, and refrigerate.   Take it out about 1 hour before using.  They can be put into freezer bags and stored in the freezer, taking out the amount which will be used the night beforehand.

We suggest that the one who does the above be in a pleasant, happy mood.   Take your time.  Don't rush.  Smile and do it with love.  After all, the Lord is there watching you prepare the very bread He is going to change into His body.   Speak to God, at least in your heart.  Thank the Lord that your creative work is going to be consecrated into the Body of Christ.  And then at communion, you can let a little holy pride come over you as you see what happens to your labor of love.