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Last Sunday a woman approached my daughter and I at Liturgy. I knew her by sight, we’d had a conversation at Pascha. I had noticed her the first week I attended. She was there with her children and her husband. She looked to be a little younger than I; wearing her hair cropped short, funky glasses and quirky fashion. “She could be a good friend for me” I thought.

I’ve attended this church now for over 9 months and had approached only a few people and then, haltingly. Abandonment issues, rejection issues, these are the thing that fuel my social anxiety. I fear too often I have nothing to offer potential friends and so I find that in conversations I make myself an expert in one way or another. I’m the kid on the playground who brings all her toys in the hope that it is enough to make the other children want to include her.

At 2am on Pascha I had nothing to offer. She sat down across from me that night (that morning?) and introduced herself. She complimented my dress. She complimented my parenting of 4 tired, cranky and hungry little people. It was good to be stripped down to nothing, to have nothing to offer.

On Sunday she approached my daughter and I with an offering. She handed us both a piece of Antidoron bread.  I’ve never been given the Antidoron.

Antidoron means, “instead of the gifts.” It is the bread that has been blessed, made for the sacrifice, for the Divine Mystery of communion. It is what is left after the sacrifice is made. Even though it is not made into the offering given at communion it is still blessed. It is more than bread, less than the body and blood. It stands somewhere in between, like me, the catechumen, the stranger at the door, the girl in the corner wanting to be a part of it all and unsure how to get there.

In the nearly two years of attending Divine Liturgy no one had offered it to me before this. She was smiling as she came forward, as she found us nestled in the corner, the catechumen, in the corner wanting to be a part of it all and unsure how to get there. It was our first time back in a couple of weeks. She put her hand on my arm, “I’m glad to see you! You’ve been traveling? You were missed.”

I thanked her. I took the bread offered. It was more than bread.

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©2021 by Angela Doll Carlson