' Prescurarita' and her Holy Bread

(pentru varianta in limba romana, vedeti mai jos..)



Bread is by far the most common Orthodox repast in worship and is always leavened. Bread is viewed theologically as the quintissential food, the symbol of sustenance and life.

The most common non-Eucharistic bread is the artos.

Romanian language has its peculiarities and called these rituals in her own style, most often using an archaic style.
Words such as prescura, anafura or cuminecătura can not be literally translated. But,  there are some similarities with the most common words used in English: bread, Holy Bread and the Communion.
So:

Prescura.. is a round or cross shaped small bread, made of yeast dough, from which is preparing the Communion and the Holy bread is cuted to church.
Cuminecatura ... the Communion (syn: Communion) is a Christian ritual; faithful taste the sanctified bread and wine, symbolizing the body and blood of Jesus Christ. 
Anafura...the Holy bread- as small pieces of  bread which is divided at the end of Mass to the faithful.

In the Romanian liturgical practice, as a laic and centuries old tradition, preparing the prescura  plays an essential role in the symbolism of the festival to whom this holy bread is dedicated .
A same  important role has the person who makes this bread. Prescurarita or Capitareasa(woman who makes this bread) must meet certain and absolutely essential conditions. Besides necessary skills, she must be clean, biologically speaking(to be old), to lead an existence which tends to asceticism (we are talking about food and sexual  asceticism), to have a positive social behavior (honest and good-hearted) and to respect a strict hygiene of the body and clothes when she cooks bread.
In Transylvania and Banat (west and south-western Romania)  capitareasa ia prescurarita, in Caras-Severin she is called  "facatoarea"(the maker). She also has responsibilities in making that special coil for the priest at the funeral (memorial service) but the  'oblation ' also (a kind of dough-ring that is also offered to the priest for baptism, weddings or funerals). This practice is commonly found in Hunedoara and Salaj. 
As a sign of recognition of the significance of this bread, it's applied a kind of seal (stamp) on the surface of the dough, before to be baked.  That seal is called "pristolnic" (pistornic) being a piece of wood, stone, bone or marble used for printing on bread the sign of the cross and the initials of ritual. If, in the south of Romania, all women can have a pristolnic, in Transylvania only capitareasa or prescurarita is entitled to hold it. 
Beyond the obvious aspect of the process of preparing the bread ,  prescurarita or capitareasa with her recognized status by the community and confirmed by religion, leads this special bread from that profane and laic world,belonging to ordinary man into that religious one, belonging to the sacred and mythical area and worshiped to divine spirituality.



Romanian version:
Piinea este de departe cea mai comuna forma de ospat ortodox si este intotdeauna dospita. Este de asemenea privita si dpdv teologic, ca un aliment esential, simbol de subzistenta şi de viata.
Cea mai frecventa piine non-euharistica este Arthos .

Prescura este o piine mica, rotundă, sau in forma de cruce, facuta din aluat dospit, din care se pregateste cuminecătura si se taie anafura la biserica.
Cuminecătura (sin: împărtășani
e) este un ritual crestin care constain   gustarea de catre credinciosi a piinii si a vinului sfintite de preot, simbolizind trupul si singele lui Isus Cristos.
Anafura este sub formă de bucati mici de prescură sfintită care se impart credinciosilor la sfirsitul liturghiei.

The way of cut the bread
In practica liturgica romaneasca, precum si-n traditia laica veche de veacuri, pregatirea prescurei joaca un rol esential in simbolistica sarbatorii careia ii este inchinata aceasta piine sfinta. 
Un rol la fel de important il are si persoana care face piinea. Capitareasa sau prescurarita, femeia care face prescura trebuie sa indeplineasca anumite conditii, stricte si absolut esentiale. In afara de abilitatile necesare, trebuie sa fie curata, biologic vorbind(sa fie batrina), sa duca o existenta ce tinde spre asceza(vorbim despre asceza alimentara si sexuala), sa aiba un comportament social pozitiv (cinstita si buna la suflet) si sa respecte o igiena stricta a corpului si-a hainelor in momentul prepararii piinii.
In Transilvania si Banat (partile de vest si sud-vest ale Romaniei) capitareasa este prescurarita,in Caras-Severin ea este "facatoare". Mai are si atributii in facerea colacului special pentru preot, la inmormintari (parastasul) dar si a 'prinosului' (colac ce se ofera de asemenea preotului la botez, nunta sau inmormintari).Aceasta practica este intilnita in Hunedoara si Salaj. Ca un insemn de recunoastere a insemnatatii acestei piini, i se aplica un fel de sigiliu(stampila) inainte de coacere. Sigiliul respectiv se numeste pristolnic(pistornic) si este o bucata de lemn, piatra, os  sau marmura, fiind folosit la imprimarea pe prescuri a semnului crucii si a iniţialelor rituale. Daca in partile de sud ale Romaniei, toate femeile pot avea un pristolnic, in Transilvania doar prescurarita sau capitareasa are dreptul sa-l detina.
Dincolo de aspectul evident al procesului in sine de pregatire a piinii, capitareasa sau prescurarita, cu statutul recunoscut de comunitate si confirmat de aspectul religios, duce aceasta piine speciala din lumea profana si laica, a omului de rind in cea religioasa, a sacralitatii si miticului, inchinata spiritualitatii divine.





Enjoy!

           

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