Melbourne Coptic schoolchildren bake Holy Bread

20-08-2018 12:28 AM

Ashraf Helmy

Under supervision of Bishop Suriel of Melbourne, St Mary’s College in Melbourne has arranged a practical lesson for students in its Fourth Primary year to prepare holy bread, known as “qurban”, and used in the Coptic Orthodox Church as the Lamb in the Eucharist.

Qurban loaves are also sold to members of them congregation who must be fasting when they come to church if they are to have communion. Many may have travelled far to be in church and, predictably, would need to break their fast after Mass. That’s when the qurban comes in handy. It is a favourite with both children and grownups.

St Mary’s students thoroughly enjoyed kneading the dough, cutting and patting it into loaves, stamping each with the special stamp, then baking them in the oven. The students were given full details about the recipe, the stamp, and the psalms that are traditionally recited during the qurban making process.

Qurban is literal for ‘offering’. It is circular in shape and thus symbolises Christ the Lamb, because a circle has no beginning and no end just as Jesus who is everlasting.

The stamp engraves a big cross in the centre, representing Jesus Christ, and 12 crosses around it, representing the 12 disciples.

Five holes are pitted in the dough; they stand for the wounds of Jesus Christ; three for the nails in the hands and feet of Jesus, one for the crown of thorns, and one for the spear in His side.

All around is an engraving of the Greek words: “Agios Otheos, Agios Echeros, Agios Athanatos” mean “Holy God, Holy almighty, Holy Immortal”.

Watani International

19 August 2018

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