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Holy Leaven, also known as Malka (Classical Syriac: ܡܲܠܟܵܐ‎, pronounced [' mal ka:]),[1][note 1] is a powder added to the sacramental bread used in the Eucharist. Historically, Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
was used by the Church of the East
Church of the East
and today by the Assyrian Church of the East. The Assyrian Church is the only one that considers the Holy Leaven one of its seven sacraments. There are two rituals associated with the Holy Leaven: its addition to sacramental bread before it is baked, and the annual renewal of the Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
itself by adding common ingredients. No Eucharist
Eucharist
can be performed in the Church of the East without bread that has been consecrated with Holy Leaven. The origin of the Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
supposedly goes back to the Last Supper. According to tradition, John the Apostle
John the Apostle
kept a piece of bread given to him by Jesus
Jesus
and later mixed it with Jesus' blood
Jesus' blood
after his death. This substance was divided between the apostles to be used in preparing sacramental bread ever since and successfully brought to the Christians of the East. The earliest historical mention of the Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
is from c. 900, and tradition that connects it with the Last Supper
Last Supper
is fairly new, dating from the 13th and 14th centuries. It is likely that the Holy Leaven was a symbol instituted by the Patriarchate of Seleucia-Ctesiphon during vast missionary expansion of the Church of the East
Church of the East
to unify congregations. The Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
serves as a connection between the Last Supper
Last Supper
and each Eucharist. This has special importance in the Liturgy of Addai and Mari used by the Assyrian Church, which does not recount the Words of Institution that echo the words spoken by Jesus
Jesus
at the Last Supper. As such, the Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
serves as material link in lieu of words.

Contents

1 Preparation and use 2 History 3 Significance 4 See also 5 Notes 6 References

6.1 Works cited

7 Further reading 8 External links

Preparation and use[edit] The Assyrian Church of the East
Church of the East
uses leavened bread for Eucharist, like most churches of Eastern Christianity, but it is the only Church to include the additional ingredient of Holy Leaven. Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
is a powder added to sacramental bread before it is baked.[4] Despite the name, Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
does not actually contain a leavening agent.[4] Instead, khmira, fermented dough from previously used sacramental bread, is added and acts as leaven.[6] What the Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
does contain is remainder from the original Holy Leaven, renewed annually by mixing it with common ingredients.[4] The original Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
is said to contain residue from the original bread used at the Last Supper, mixed with the blood of Jesus.[7] There are two rites associated with the Holy Leaven: its addition to sacramental bread being baked for the day's Eucharist, and the annual renewal of the Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
itself. When sacramental bread is baked for Eucharist, in the morning of a Holy Communion,[8] the priest takes some of the Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
and says: "This dough is signed and hallowed with the old and holy leaven of our Lord Jesus
Jesus
Christ, which was given and handed down to us by our holy fathers Mar Addai [Thaddeus of Edessa] and Mar Mari [Saint Mari] and Mar Thoma [Thomas the Apostle] the Apostles, who made disciples of this eastern region: in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost ... This broken portion is signed and hallowed with this Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost."[9] Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
is added to the dough before it is baked.[8] The Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
is renewed annually on Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday
by a bishop by mixing some of the old Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
with a new mix.[10] The mix consists of fine wheaten flour, salt, olive oil, and water.[4] There are many prayers associated with the renewal of the Holy Leaven.[11] The newly renewed Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
is then distributed to each parish of his diocese to be used for sacramental bread baked by priests for the year to come.[10] History[edit]

Extent of Church of the East
Church of the East
in the Middle Ages. Vast missionary activities of the church called for symbols of unity, and Holy Leaven might have emerged as one.

Nestorius
Nestorius
portrayed as a heretic. According to one legend, Nestorius took all the Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
with him and that is the real reason for his condemnation by Western Christianity.

The historical origins of the Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
are unknown, as is the time the rituals were first performed.[12] Nonetheless, different versions of tradition about its origins exist.[13] In any case, the traditions are fairly young,[14] dating to 13th and 14th centuries.[7] One account is from the 13th century by Shlemon of Basra. According to it, John the Apostle
John the Apostle
had hidden a part of the portion of bread he had received from Jesus
Jesus
during the Last Supper. Then, after Jesus' resurrection during the Gospel account of Doubting Thomas, when Thomas the Apostle put his finger into one of the wounds of Jesus
Jesus
inflicted by the spear, blood dripped out. John then dipped the bread in the blood, and that mix became the Holy Leaven.[7] According to this version, the Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
was taken to the Christians of the East by Thaddeus of Edessa
Thaddeus of Edessa
and Saint Mari, but the other Seventy disciples
Seventy disciples
of Jesus
Jesus
refused it, saying: "We will consecrate for ourselves whenever we wish."[15] Another account is from the 14th century and is written by Johannan Bar Zobi, based on an account supposedly originating from Peter the Apostle. According to it, John the Baptist
John the Baptist
collected some of the water that was dripping from Jesus
Jesus
after his baptism. Before John died, he passed the water on to John the Apostle.[7] Then, during the Last Supper Jesus
Jesus
gave John two pieces of bread, asking him to eat one and keep the other. After Jesus
Jesus
had died and was taken down from the cross and pierced with the spear, John witnessed both blood and water running from the wound unmixed. John then mixed the blood with the piece of bread he had kept and the water with the baptismal water he had preserved. After resurrection, Jesus
Jesus
told his disciples to use these two substances as "leaven": the water to be used in baptisms and the mix of blood and bread to be used in preparing Eucharistic bread, the Holy Leaven. The Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
was crushed into powder, mixed with flour and salt and divided among the apostles.[16] According to 14th century writer Abdisho bar Berika,[2] the Holy Leaven was brought to the East by Apostles
Apostles
Thomas and Bartholomew as well as Thaddeus of Edessa
Thaddeus of Edessa
and Saint Mari
Saint Mari
of the Seventy disciples. Abdisho bar Berika also posits a challenge to Western Christians who do not observe the sacrament of the Holy Leaven: it is necessarily either the case that the apostles disagreed in their view of the Eucharist, or that either the Assyrian Church of the East
Church of the East
or the Western Christians have abandoned the practice promoted by all of the apostles. The Church's position is that they have followed the example of the apostles and have changed nothing even in the face of persecution. As proof of the fact that Western Christians have altered tradition the Church presents that some Western Churches celebrate Eucharist
Eucharist
with leavened bread while some use unleavened bread (azymites).[17] According to the Assyrian Church of the East, the Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
was taken to the Christians of the East by Thaddeus of Edessa.[18] Apart from tradition that suggests continuity from the time of the ministry of Jesus, the earliest contemporary textual references to Holy Leaven are in two patriarchal canons of Yohanan bar Abgareh (died 905), one of which states: "A priest is obligated to prepare the Eucharistic bread for the Holy Qurbana
Holy Qurbana
[ Eucharist
Eucharist
in Syriac Christianity] and to mix the Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
with it, in addition to the simple leaven."[4] The missionary activities of the Church of the East, that reached as far as India, China, and Mongolia, provide a possible background. Such far and wide activities would have called for symbols that reminded them of the unity with the Church of the East. Thus it is possible that the Patriarchate of Seleucia-Ctesiphon
Patriarchate of Seleucia-Ctesiphon
instituted the rite of the Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
to serve as one.[13] According to a legend, Western Christianity
Western Christianity
antagonizes Nestorius because he took all the Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
with him upon leaving Constantinople, leaving them with none.[19] Significance[edit] The Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
is a sacrament in the Assyrian Church of the East
Church of the East
and no other Church recognizes it as a sacrament.[18] With the Holy Leaven and the sacrament of the Sign of the cross, also unique to the Assyrian Church, its number of sacraments total seven.[2] Canon law
Canon law
of the Church says that Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
must be added to sacramental bread for it to be consecrated.[20] A Eucharist
Eucharist
without the Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
is invalid.[21] The anaphora (Eucharistic prayer) of the Assyrian Church of the East – included in its Liturgy of Addai and Mari
Liturgy of Addai and Mari
– does not contain the Words of Institution
Words of Institution
that recount Jesus' words at the Last Supper.[13] The Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
thus serves as a physical link with the Last Supper
Last Supper
in lieu of a verbal one.[21] Historically, Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
could have functioned much the same way as the Catholic fermentum – particles of Eucharistic bread carried from one diocese to another in Roman Rite
Roman Rite
to unite Eucharistic services with the one presided over by the Pope. In other words, the addition of the Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
materially connects each Eucharist
Eucharist
celebrated in the Assyrian Church of the East
Church of the East
to the original Last Supper.[13] Likewise, the Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
is similar to Holy anointing oil, which is renewed from the oil of the horn, that the Church believes is inherited from John the Baptist.[20] In 2001, the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
decided that Chaldean Catholics
Chaldean Catholics
(in full communion with Rome) and Assyrian Church of the East
Church of the East
Christians (independent of Rome) may, if necessary, celebrate the Eucharist together at either church.[22] In arguing for the validity of the Eucharist
Eucharist
in the Liturgy of Addai and Mari, the Catholic Church viewed the sacrament of Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
as a sign of continuity of tradition going back to the Last Supper.[23] See also[edit]

Assyrians portal Syriac Christianity portal

East Syrian Rite
East Syrian Rite
– liturgy of the Church of the East Eucharistic theology Malik Origin of the Eucharist Parable of the Leaven
Parable of the Leaven
– Jesus' allegory of the Kingdom of Heaven

Notes[edit]

^ Also spelled Malkā,[2] Malca,[3] or Melka, literally "king".[4] The name probably originates from the fact that most members of the Church of the East have not lived under the rule of a Christian monarch, thus elevating the sacramental bread as their "king".[5]

References[edit]

^ "[Holy Leaven]". Sureth Dictionary. Association Assyrophile de France. Retrieved 30 July 2016.  ^ a b c Royel 2013, p. 363. ^ Bowker, John (2003). "Malka or Malca". The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191727221. Retrieved 30 July 2016 – via Oxford Reference.  ^ a b c d e f Spinks 2011, p. 63. ^ Royel 2013, p. 368. ^ Jenner, Henry (1912). "East Syrian Rite". In Herbermann, Charles. The Catholic Encyclopedia. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company. OCLC 36291432. Retrieved 21 July 2016 – via New Advent.  ^ a b c d Spinks 2011, p. 64. ^ a b Royel 2013, p. 378. ^ Spinks 2011, p. 70. ^ a b Gros, Jeffrey; Best, Thomas F.; Fuchs, Lorelei F., eds. (2008). Growth in Agreement III: International Dialogue Texts and Agreed Statements, 1998-2005. Grand Rapids. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-8028-6229-7.  ^ Spinks 2011, pp. 67–69. ^ Unnik 1970, p. 247. ^ a b c d Spinks 2011, p. 66. ^ Unnik 1970, p. 222. ^ Woolley, Reginald Maxwell (1913). The Bread of the Eucharist. Milwaukee: Young Churchman Co. p. 61. OCLC 3137423 – via HathiTrust.  ^ Spinks 2011, p. 65. ^ Royel 2013, p. 364. ^ a b Melton 2010, p. 153. ^ Attwater, Donald, ed. (1997). "Leaven, Holy". A Catholic Dictionary. New York: TAN Books. ISBN 978-1-5051-0745-6.  ^ a b Spinks 2007, p. 235. ^ a b Spinks 2011, p. 67. ^ Russo 2011, p. 25. ^ Russo 2011, p. 24.

Works cited[edit]

Melton, J. Gordon (2010). "Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East". In Melton, J. Gordon; Baumann, Martin. Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, [6 volumes]: (2nd ed.). Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. pp. 151–153. ISBN 978-1-59884-204-3.  Royel, Mar Awa (2013). "The Sacrament
Sacrament
of the Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
(Malkā) in the Assyrian Church of the East". In Giraudo, Cesare. The Anaphoral Genesis of the Institution Narrative in Light of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari. Rome: Edizioni Orientalia Christiana. ISBN 978-88-97789-34-5.  Russo, Nicholas V. (2011). "The Validity of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari: Critique of the Critiques". In Johnson, Maxwell E. Issues in Eucharistic Praying in East and West: Essays in Liturgical and Theological Analysis. Collegeville: Liturgical Press. ISBN 978-0-8146-6248-9.  Spinks, Bryan D. (2007). "Liturgical Theology and Criticism – Things of Heaven and Things of the Earth: Some Reflections on Worship, World Christianity, and Culture". In Farhadian, Charles E. Christian Worship Worldwide: Expanding Horizons, Deepening Practices. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 230–252. ISBN 978-0-8028-2853-8.  — (2011). "The Mystery of the Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
(Malka) in the East Syrian Tradition". In Johnson, Maxwell E. Issues in Eucharistic Praying in East and West: Essays in Liturgical and Theological Analysis. Collegeville: Liturgical Press. ISBN 978-0-8146-6248-9.  Unnik, Willem Cornelis (1970). Nestorian Questions on the Administration of the Eucharist, by Isho'Yabh IV: A Contribution to the History of the Eucharist
Eucharist
in the Eastern Church. John Benjamins Publishing. ISBN 90-6032-122-7. 

Further reading[edit]

Aprem, Mar (1978). Sacraments of the Church of the East. Trichur: Mar Narsai Press. OCLC 9792130.  "Guidelines for admission to the Eucharist
Eucharist
between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East". vatican.va. Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. 2001.  Hofrichter, Peter; Wilflinger, Gerhard, eds. (2003). Syriac Dialogue: Fifth Non-Official Consultation on Dialogue within the Syriac Tradition. Vienna: Mar Narsai Press. ISBN 390118824X.  Isaac, Jacques (1988). "Le baptême et le levain sacré par Joḥannan bar Zo'bi". Bayn al-Nahrayn (in French). 16 (61–62). ISSN 0378-2840. 

External links[edit]

Holy Leaven
Holy Leaven
at the Assyrian Church of the East
Church of the East
Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon

v t e

Sacraments of the Assyrian Church of the East

Sacraments

Priesthood Baptism Chrismation Absolution Oblation Holy Leaven Sign of the cross

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