Prosphora Stamp Central

 

Welcome everyone! This is my small service to the Church: to provide prosphora and artos stamps to America. This is not really a profit-generating enterprise. I've spent a lot more time than I care to imagine trying to make these for all of you, and whatever I seem to make over my material costs ends up getting investing in producing the next generation of stamps. The fact is that I enjoy making these seals, and your purchases simply make it possible for me to do what I could otherwise not afford to do. Thank you!

Please Be Advised I may have to temporarily discontinue providing bread stamps due to circumstances here. I will try to let you know if there are shipping delays or a haitus in sales. My apologies.

 

Book: Death by Envy

My book, Death by Envy: The Evil Eye and Envy in the Christian Tradition (ISBN 0-595-30770-1) has been out for quite a while now. You can click the link above to take you to the page which explains a bit more about the book. It is less about the superstitions surrounding the Evil Eye (though I did include quite a bit) as it is about the sin of envy and its role according to the Scriptures and teachings of the Church.  If you have any questions, please contact me through this website.  Thank you!

   

Yes, this book has nothing to do with bread baking, but it is nonetheless interesting.  Envy is one of the least understood of sins, yet it was a major theme of both the Old and New Testaments, along with the writings of the early Church Fathers.

 

Important Notice

International Orders: we cannot take responsibility if the Customs Service of your nation decides to levy an import tax or duty on your order.  Be prepared, since this has happened in a few cases.  While the charges are usually small, you should be aware that some countries will do this.

Bookstores: we do offer a discount for orders over $200.  Please contact us if you would like to discuss terms.

If you don't see something you are looking for on this page, email us and maybe we can help you find it.

Payment

I accept payment through PayPal!, the #1 online payment service!

As you can see, I am only using Paypal to smooth transactions. 

 

Shipping Time - generally four to six weeks depending on stock.  If you are in a rush, sorry but I won't be able to help in most cases.

Foreign Countries We Have Shipped To: Canada, Texas :), England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, Korea, Greece, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand

 

 

Technical Aspects

All my stamps are based on historical models. I rely heavily on George Galavaris' Bread and the Liturgy as my primary source for patterns and information. It appears to be the most reliable book on the topic of bread stamps. Any corrections or comments are welcome: I am always in search of better information!
Anyway, back to our main topic. I shape all the patterns in clay, which is then cast in a special silicone compound especially for casting. This process is not cheap, but in makes a durable rubber mold which can retain the details of the original. After the mold hardens, I mix and pour urethane resin into the molds. The resin hardens rapidly (~10 minutes), generating a lot of heat in the process (this eventually breaks down the rubber mold). When the resin sets and cools, I sand off the casting 'fins' and glue a wooden knob on the back of the stamp to help pull it out of the dough (note: the knob is NOT a weight-baring part of the seal, so don't us it to force the stamp into the loaf. You will only succeed in breaking the knob off).

There are lots of advantages to a seal made out of this non-toxic urethane resin...
SANITARY: can be washed with soap and water.
NON-ABSORBENT: doesn't absorb moisture from bread or spills on the work surface.
STRONG: won't break if dropped (roof-testing not suggested, we're talking table height here).
STABLE: never cracks or warps due to atmospheric shifts or age, the details will not chip or wear out.
CLEAR: the details in this seal are deep and quite recognizable.

You may ask if it is 'traditional' to use plastic.  Well, plastic hasn't been around all that long.  Before wood seals came along, folks used clay.  I don't see anyone these days making or using the more ancient tradition of clay seals, so I think we can be pragmatic.  Besides, your chalice and diskos were probably made with a sheet metal stamping machine and plated with chemicals in a process dating from early in the last century.  If that's too much to handle, the Amish have openings.  The rest of us can use plastic and God won't hate us (or even mind).

Care for your stamp

There are a few things you must keep in mind when using your new stamp:

Do not put it in the oven!  The stamp should be used only by pressing into the bread prior to baking.
Do not soak in water, since the wood knob will swell and break off or crack.  Hand wash the stamp with soap and water only.  No abrasives, as you may damage the surface.
When pressing the larger stamp into the loaf, do not push down on the knob.  Distribute your weight evenly across the whole stamp using both hands for an even impression.  Too much weight directly on the knob may crack the stamp or give an uneven impression.

 

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Prosphora Stamps

These stamps are used for bread intended for consecration and communion within the various ancient Christian traditions.  The models you see here are based on historical patterns, which have been reviewed and approved by clergy from the churches which employ these styles. 

Please consult the other pages of www.prosphora.org for recipes and proper use of these stamps. 

 

 

Byzantine Prosphora Stamp

This stamp is an improved version of the one I've had on this page from the beginning.  It follows the traditional Byzantine format, but with an added twist: an enlarged central 'Lamb' seal.  The Lamb (the central square) measures about 3", and the overall seal is just over 6".  Made from durable urethane resin, it is both light and strong.  This is ideal for a parish with a large number of communicants, since it produces a large Lamb for the priest to distribute.

The cost is $ 25 .  

 

 

 

 

 

These are a couple of snapshots I took of loaves I made with the seal, using my recipe on this site.  The newer seal has deeper engraving and straighter lines.

 While the crust may appear a little on the dark side, it is actually soft to the touch because of the steam method.  It also photographs better when the bread is darker.  As you can see, all the details of the stamp come out clearly on the bread.  Using the two-layer method also gives the priest a much thicker Lamb than you can get with a single-layer loaf.  In the Greek practice, I have seen this done with two identically sized layers.  Here, the top layer is a little thinner and narrower, but the effect is much the same.  The loaves were cut with a large coffee can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russian Prosphora Stamps

These stamps measure 1 3/4" and 2 3/4" respectively, cast in urethane (the handles are wood cabinet knobs).  The bottom one makes a nice size priest's loaf that renders a 2" Lamb.  The top stamp makes an average size commemorative loaf. 

 

The cost is $20 .    They will only be sold as a set.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a couple of loaves made with these stamps.  As you can see, the details of the stamps show up clearly on the finished loaves.

 

 

 

Athonite-Style Prosphora Stamps

These stamps measure 1 3/4", cast in urethane (the handles are wood cabinet knobs).  The stamp on the left is the same as the Russian Commemorative stamp above.  Together with the other, these are the basic set used on Mount Athos for liturgies where there are only a few communicants (see the page on the bread of Mount Athos on this site).  These are ideal for chapels or missions, and can be used in Russian parishes for the five loaves.  The left stamp is to be used for the Lamb, while the Commemorations can be taken from the right stamp.  This pattern is not available in the US (except here), and I was unable to find any shops on the Holy Mountain that sold these.  So, I used the loaves I brought back to check the pattern.

 

The cost is $20     They will only be sold as a set.

 

 

Here is a small loaf baked with one of the stamps above (you can see the pattern).  Despite the loaf's overall diameter of 3", you can clearly see the detail of the imprint.

 

 

 

 

Georgian Stamp Set

These stamps are exactly like the Russian Stamp Set, but with Old Georgian letters '?? ?? ?? ??' in place of 'IC XC NIKA.'

 

The cost is $20

 

 

 

 

 

 

Syriac Prosphora Stamps

These stamps measure 2 7/8" and 2 1/2" respectively, cast in urethane (the handles are wood cabinet knobs).  The top stamp is for year-round use, while the bottom is solely used for the Holy Thursday Liturgy. 

 

The cost is $ 25     They will only be sold as a set.

 

 

 

 

These are very ancient designs, dating back to the very earliest prosphora stamp patterns archeology has uncovered.  The lower stamp is the pattern which eventually became the Byzantine stamps, with the lettering replacing the four crosses.  The upper pattern developed from the original quadripanis of the imperial Roman bakeries, which the ancient Church used for Eucharistic celebrations.  The twelve crosses represent the 12 Apostles.

 

 

 

 

Coptic Stamp

The overall diameter of this stamp is 3 7/8" with a 1 1/2" central portion (despota).  The outside inscription is the Trisagion (Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal) in Coptic lettering.  The center of the stamp has a gently curving recess, so the center of the bread will be slightly raised after stamping.  This stamp has better relief than you will find in any modern-made stamp.

 

The cost is $20

 

 

Here's a rather bad picture of the impression from the Coptic stamp.  The photo doesn't do it justice (neither did my oven, I'm afraid).  It leaves a very detailed impression, which my camera doesn't seem to do well with when the crust is this light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russian Old Rite Stamp

The overall diameter of this stamp is 4 1/2" with a  3" central portion.  The outside inscription is Slavonic for "This is the Lamb of God That Taketh Away the Sins of the Whole World."  The center of the stamp bears a schema-cross, commonly used amongst the Old Rite Russians.  This stamp is has been painstakingly researched by our Old Rite friend, Nikita Simmons, and is assuredly accurate.  We will soon post an explanation of the stamp, along with some introductory information on the use of this stamp in the Old Rite.  From what we can tell, this is the only Old Rite stamp on the market at this time.

 

The cost is $22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is an Old Rite-style prosphora.  Notice that all the details show up nicely, though the picture really does not do it justice.  I think this is one of the most beautiful stamps I have ever made, and I am grateful for all the help I received in refining the pattern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6th-7th century Byzantine Stamp

This stamp measures just over 3" (this is a photo of the clay model).  It is based on the Achmim-Panopolis stamp, now at the Musee d'Arte et d'Histoire in Geneva, Switzerland, and documented on pp. 73-74 in Galavaris' Bread and the Liturgy.  The inscription is IC XC YC QY, which stands for "Jesus Christ, the Son of God" [Ihsou Cristou uiou qeou - Mark 1:1].

 

The cost is $20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a quick loaf made with this stamp.

 

 

 

 

 

Church of the East Stamp

The overall diameter of this stamp is almost 3" or 7cm. Many thanks to Bishop Mar Awa Royel of the Church of the East for providing the model from his personal collection.

 

The cost is $18

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artos Stamps

These stamps are used for bread not consecrated for communion.  Called eulogia bread in Greek, these breads were offered for services in which they were blessed and distributed (i.e. the Artoklasia of Great Vespers, memorials, feastdays, etc.).  For example, the Monastery of St. Katherine in Sinai still has the practice of distributing bread amongst the poor sahidi that live around the monastery during the celebration of the monastery's feastday.  Ancient typika often make reference to the distribution of blessed bread, which sustained the monks during long services.  Monasteries and churches would often have their own stamps, usually with the image of a patron saint.  Today, most of these are in museums.

You can use standard bread recipes with these stamps.  I have always used my prosphora dough in making eulogia bread, and they come out very well.  When I get the opportunity, I will include photos of the loaves.

I am open to suggestions regarding future designs, and will consider special orders if it is financially feasible.

As you will notice, these stamps are not designed to be photographs of the subject.  They are simplified images with exaggerated features so that the image will come out clearly during the baking process. 

 

 

 

 

St. John (Maximovich) of Shanghai and San Francisco

Thank you to Fr. Jacob Myers of St. John Maximovich Orthodox Church for volunteering his own stamp to be duplicated by us. The original was carved from wood, but now you can have one in urethane for $ 25

 

 

 

 

Sts. Peter and Paul Set

This is a photo of the models for our latest stamps, 4 1/2" diameter each.  This stamp set is perfect for the Feast of the Apostles.   Like the other stamps, they are cast in urethane and available to you for the very reasonable price of  $30 . Notice the bold details, which will easily show up in your loaf. 

 

 

 

 

St. Gabriel

This is a photo of our latest stamp, 4 1/2" diameter.  This stamp is perfect for the feastday of Archangel Gabriel, the Annunciation and the Bodiless Powers.   Like the other stamps, this is cast in urethane and available to you for the very reasonable price of  $20 .  

 

 

 

 

St. Michael

This is a photo of our latest stamp, 4 1/2" diameter.  This stamp is perfect for the feastday of Archangel Michael and also for the Coptic tradition of St. Michael's Bread.   Like the other stamps, this is cast in urethane and available to you for the very reasonable price of $20Notice the bold details, which will easily show up in your loaf. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a loaf baked with this stamp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eulogia

This is a photo of the eulogia stamp, 3 3/4" diameter.  It is based on the 7th-8th century historical models documented in Galavaris (pp. 122-125), many of examples of which can be found in museums throughout Greece and the Middle East.  This was used for blessed bread, such as the Litia and Artoklasia of Vespers and can be used for Artos or Antidoron loaves.  The Greek text reads "The Blessing of the Lord Upon Us. Amen." In the center is a Byzantine cross, along with the Alpha and Omega.  Like the other stamps, this is cast in urethane (the picture here is of the clay model) and available to you for the very reasonable price of  $20 . Notice the bold details, which will easily show up in your loaf. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a photo of a set of loaves I baked for our our parish for the Artosklasia.  They came out rather well.  I used the Artos recipe on this website.

 

 

 

 

 

St. Demetrios

This is a photo of the St. Demetrios stamp, 6" diameter.  Like the other stamps, this is cast in urethane and available to you for the very reasonable price of  $ 25 .  Notice the bold details, which will easily show up in your loaf.  Perfect for memorials and the feast of the St. Demetrios (October 26).

 

 

 

Here's a eulogia loaf with the St. George stamp (see below).  With all the saint stamps on this page, you can get the same clear image if you bake it properly.

 

 

 

 

 

St. Basil

This is a photo of the new St. Basil stamp, 6" diameter.  Like the other stamps, this is also cast in urethane and available to you for the very reasonable price of  $ 25 .  Notice the bold details, which will easily show up in your loaf.  Perfect for memorials, Vasilopita and the feast of the St. Basil (January 1).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. George

This St. George stamp also has a 6" diameter and is also cast in urethane, available to you for the very reasonable price of  $ 25 .  Notice the bold details, which will easily show up in your loaf.  Perfect for memorials and the feast of the St. George.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theotokos

Here is a photo of the model for our new Theotokos stamp, with a 4.5" diameter and improved craftsmanship over the previous model (my skills are getting better with time).  Like the other stamps, this is also cast in urethane and available to you for the very reasonable price of  $22 .  Notice the bold details, which will easily show up in your loaf.  Perfect for memorials and feasts of the Theotokos.

 

It isn't the best picture, but this should give you some idea what your bread can look like with this seal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Nicholas

This is an artos stamp of St. Nicholas (6" diameter), patterned on an Athonite original now in a museum and documented in Galavaris (the photo is of the model).  Like the other stamps, this is also cast in urethane and available to you for the very reasonable price of  $ 25.

 

 

 

This one is a little overbaked just so it shows up better in the photograph.

 

 

 

St. Nicholas (old pattern)

This is the first artos stamp I made.  It is now discontinued.  

 

 

 

The text 'St. Nicholas' appears in English, Greek, Slavonic/Russian, Arabic and Spanish/Italian.  The symbols on the left and right are: the three bags of gold, a traditional symbol from his hagiography, in which he secretly gave a poor man three bags of gold to provide for his daughters' dowries and thus keeping them out of prostitution; and the anchor, symbolizing his rescue of sailors from drowning, one of his many miraculous ministries.  Baking commemorative artos is nice traditional way of celebrating the feast, as well as teaching others about this important figure in the life of our Church.

Creative Use for a Bread Stamp:


Carol Myers of www.stnicholascenter.org sent us this picture of a plate made with an impression from the St. Nicholas stamp above. The plate was crafted by Canterbury Pottery on the Buttermarket, Canterbury, England.
Carol is looking for ethnographic information on the celebration of St. Nicholas' feastday. Contact her through the site if you have any information you'd like to share.

 

 

 

 

A historical example:


This artos stamp, made of marble, probably dates from the 22th-19th century.   The saint depicted is St. Panteleimon, given the overall pattern.  It measures 3 3/4" in diameter, and should give you some idea of the beauty of traditional saints' stamps. 

 

 

Maamoul Mold

Maamoul are Middle Eastern festal cookies, usually associated with Pascha.  There are the flat-topped date maamoul (left), the oval pistachio maamoul (middle) and the domed walnut maamoul (right).  Each of these has a distinct Christian design, something you won't find on the modern wooden ones, which are often carved by moslems who prefer simple geometric patterns.  Unlike the wooden ones, this mold will not crack or absorb oils from the dough.  The names of each pattern is engraved on the side, so you need not worry about confusing them.

You can find recipes here.   Shortbread and springerle dough also works with these molds.

The outer molds are 2 1/2" in diameter, and the pistachio is almost 3" in length.  The overall mold is 9".

Like the other stamps, this is also cast in urethane and available to you for the very reasonable price of  $ 25

 

 

More to come, so check back...

 

Last updated 17.6. 2509