On Saturday of the Bright Week at the conclusion of Liturgy and during veneration of the cross, small packets of the artos bread were distributed among the faithful.
Artos is a large proshora with the image of the Cross or Christ’s Resurrection stamped on it. On Pascha, it is placed on Solea in front of the church’s Royal Gates and stays there till the end of the Bright Week. During the Bright Week’s processions of the cross, the artos bread is typically carried at its front whereas at the monasteries it is transferred to the refectory with the singing of the Paschal troparion. Here, after the meal, the ceremony of the Lifting of the Artos takes place and later it is carried back to the church accompanied by singing of the 9th Ode from the Paschal Canon.
Historically, artos was used in imitation of the apostles who were used to share their meals with the Lord. After His Ascension to heaven, they would set aside a piece of bread in His remembrance thus keeping memory of Him in their midst. At the same time, the artos reminds us that, in His death on the cross and His Resurrection, Christ the Savior has become the Bread of life everlasting for us.
In the Apostles’ footsteps, the first elders of the Church established that during the feast of the Lord’s Resurrection the bread is placed inside the church as a visual reminder of the Savior Who endured sufferings for us and has truly become the Bread of life in eternity.