Fr. John‘s topic for today is the subject of today’s blog post in the blogging exercise.  As always we are free to run with it and take it wherever we want.  The phrase refers to the dwelling place of the lord – the Tabernacle carried around in the desert by the Israelites and the place in the Temple which held God’s presence.  We don’t really call the altar area by this term in the Orthodox universe but certainly the concept of the Tabernacle in the desert and the tabernacle on top of the altar is the same.  If the traveling Tabernacle held God’s presence then we can certainly equate this with the castle-like container that contains the reserve sacrament which is the body and blood of Christ.  The tabernacle contains a small, covered vessel with the dried sacrament.  This is what I put in my little carrying case for visits where I distribute communion.  The reserve sacrament is normally replenished each year on Holy Thursday morning during liturgy.  An extra “lamb” – the term for the cube of bread cut from the sealed prosphoro during the preparation or “proskomide” – is consecrated in the service.  The lamb is dipped in the wine and then put in a container to dry out.  Once dry the eucharist is crumbled and put in the container.  This is not always done every year but it is considered good practice to do it.  If any reserve is left over from the past year that is put into the chalice and consumed after the service.

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