The Prosforo Seal or Sfragitha (Σφραγίδα)
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The Seal or Sfragitha, is a special design on the Prosforo.
The Prosforo represents Jesus being the Bread of Life and is also an offering from us to God. The Bread that is used at the Altar during the Divine Liturgy is called the Prosforo, which means ‘an offering to God.’ Due to the importance of the Prosforo in the Divine Liturgy, it is important that before making the Prosforo, one prepares themselves both spiritually and physically. This is done through fasting and prayer.
When starting, make the sign of the Cross, offer the Trisagion prayer for yourself and family and for those whom you are making it for. Women should be clean when making the Prosforo. It is traditional to have an icon and lighted candle in the area where the Prosforo is being prepared. Also, continually repeating the Jesus Prayer ‘Lord Jesus Christ Have Mercy On Me’ during the entire cooking process is helpful.
The title IC XC NIKA are abbreviations in both Greek and Slavonic for the name of Jesus Christ; IC XC Isous Hristos. NIKA means to conquer or ‘is victorious’.
NB. To maintain the Seal in good working order, soak it in Sunflower Oil for 2 days. After 2 days, remove it and dry it out for one week. This is advice from the monks of Mt Athos!