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Dear Akhan Paul (Younan),

I remember when I first started doing my research on the Assyrian COE back in the late 1980's, that I read that The Assyrian Church of the East used a kind dough in each loaf of bread baked for Eucharist (my Anglican word....sorry) that contained a little of the last loaf of bread that was used for the previous Eucharist.

One author commented that since the Jews used *unleavened bread* that the COE could NOT be continuing a custom begun in Apostolic times by Yeshua's followers.

I know that you are a Deacon now Paul, and I was wondering if you could eleborate on this custom for me, and especially explain about the KIND of bread used.

Could it possibly be a continuation of bread used in the First Century, by the Apostles?
I know that this is kinda of a 'long shot', but is it possible maybe?

Would I be right to compare it to a kind of "Sour Dough" bread that one use's as 'a starter' from a previous loaf of bread, to make the NEW loaf with?

I don't mean to make light of a Holy custom comparing it to 'Sour Dough', I just don't know any other way to ask the question.

Thanks for answering............Shlama, your Brother, Albion
Hi Akhi,

Albion Wrote:One author commented that since the Jews used *unleavened bread* that the COE could NOT be continuing a custom begun in Apostolic times by Yeshua's followers.

I believe you are referring to the "Malka". During the preparation of the "Qurbana" ("Offering" or "Eucharist" in Greek), the priest is commanded by Canon Law to prepare the mixture of bread with what is known in Aramaic as the "Malka" (lit., "The King").

First, a little bit of backgound: The history of the "Malka" is narrated to us by Yohanan Bar Zo???bee, in his "Book of the Bee", where we read:

Quote:And when the disciples went forth to convert the nations, they divided
this Malka amongst themselves, and they took oil of unction and mixed it with
the water, which was kept in the vessel, and they divided this also amongst
themselves to be a leaven for Baptism. The loaf which John had, and which was
mixed with the blood which flowed from His side, they bruised into powder,
then mixed it with flour and salt, and divided it among them, each portion being
put into a separate vessel to serve as leaven for the Body and Blood of CHRIST
in the Church. This is the account, which I have read, which bore the sign of
Peter, and I have written it as I found it for the benefit of such as may read this
our Epistle. The presbyter Rabban Shimon, who first related the narrative to me,
and then afterwards showed me the written account, can witness to the truth.


To answer your question of how this can be reconciled with the unleavened bread used during the Last Supper:

This "Malka" is often referred to in English literature as the "Holy Leaven". The name is a bit misleading. The actual contents of the "Malka" are: wheat flour, salt, olive oil, and a few drops of water and then it is dried. There is no actual leavening agent in the "Holy Leaven."

The real act of leavening the Eucharistic bread is accomplished by the addition of baker???s yeast, traditionally taken from a previous preparation and reserved for the next baking.

Canon Law 15 (according to the compilation of Kelaita), stipulates:

Quote:A priest is obligated to prepare the Eucharistic bread for the Holy Qurbana and to mix the Malka ("Holy Leaven") with it, in addition to the simple leaven.

There are two "leavens" mixed in with the Eucharistic bread: the "Holy" one is not leaven at all.

Once a year, during Holy Thursday, a bishop renews this "Malka" and distributes it to the parishes within his jurisdiction. It is used by the priests throughout the rest of the year during the preparation every week.

From the liturgical book "The Order of the Renewal of Holy Leaven, Which Is Malka" we read:
Quote:First, on the day of Passover Thursday they bring pure fine flour, that is, of the
finest wheat???two thirds, and another third of pure pounded and sifted salt???
and they sprinkle on it a little pure reserved olive oil and three drops of water.
And they mix them together well upon the stone for the preparation of the Host.
Then the Sacristan and another Priest, or more, and the Deacons with them,
place the Cross and Gospel with the Censer and lights in the place of the
preparation of the Host.

Then, we say a prayer right before Psalm 84 is chanted (I'll explain the significance of Psalm 84 later)

Quote:Glory to you, O Most High, who descended and put on the body of our
humanity, and fulfilled your dispensation for the sake of our salvation. On holy
Passover you broke bread and gave to us, then delivered yourself up to
redemptive suffering, undergoing the Cross of shame; and through the blood
and water which flowed from your side you purged, washed away, and
purified our defilements through your grace and mercies, O Lord of all . . . .

Psalm 84 - the Hebrews celebrated three pilgrimage feasts in Jerusalem annually. The psalm expresses the sentiments of the pilgrims eager to enjoy the divine presence. The recital of this particular Psalm during the preparation of the Malka is purposeful and intends to make the allusion to the Thursday Passover meal ("Last Supper") unmistakable. It is also a clear connection to the Hebraic heritage of the Church.

Finally, the following blessing is given over the new "Malka", which is mixed with a previous batch (ensuring the continuation of the original line):

Quote:This flour is signed, hallowed, mingled, renewed, and made one with this holy
and ancient Leaven of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was handed down to us
from our spiritual fathers, Mar Mari, Mar Addai, and St. Thomas, the blessed
Apostles who discipled this eastern region, that it may be taken from place to
place, and from one land to another, for the completion and mingling of the
living Host of the life-giving Mysteries, as often as a reason of necessity calls, in
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

And whenever a new church is founded, whether it was as far as China, India or Japan in ancient times, or Detroit and Phoenix today, "Malka" is taken from an existing batch and delivered to continue in this tradition that links us spiritually to the table of our Lord.

And since it's not actually a leavening agent, there's no conflict with the unleavened bread of the Passover meal.

Hope that answers your question!
Shlama Akhi Paul,

Yes, that answers my question completely, and in great detail. THANK YOU!

You know Paul, I have seen and read so much about the Assyrian Church of the East that I honestly feel that it's "The Mother" of ALL real Christiandom.

As I pointed out to you in our conversation, if we were nearer to a Church of the East I would join if they (the COE) would have me.

I believe that the COE actually PRE-DATES ALL OTHER 'branches' of Christianity; even other branches of Orthodox Christianity.

I Believe that your Church holds Truth in safe keeping that perhaps NO OTHER Church has.

Sometimes when I'm reading about the Assyrian COE I feel like Mar Thoma, when he confessed "My Lord and My God!".

When one is confronted so strongly by the Truth sometimes there's not any other Confession left to make.

Is there any way that I might study by Post, or on the internet, and somehow become more a part of the Church of the East?

Thanks again for your time and energy.

Shlama in Yeshua, Albion