|Who can prepare prosphora?|
Father Chris, is the prosphora supposed to be prepared by a widow of the congregation?
This is a tradition based upon Old Testament cleanliness laws. This same thought process also said that women who were menstruating could not receive the Holy Eucharist, because they were unclean. Thus, if a woman was to prepare the prosphora, she was to be a widow, as she would no longer have to worry about this. On the other hand, a man could make the prosphora without problem at any time. This tradition is based on folklore understanding of the Old Testament and has been spoken against by St. John Chrysostom, St. Cyril of Alexandria, and many other Church fathers.
A woman is not sinful because she is menstruating. Sin has nothing to do with involuntarily bodily functions. It is the intention of the heart which makes a person unclean. Even Christ did not consider Himself to be unclean when the woman who had the flow of blood for 19 years touched Him—although the Law stated that this was so.
Also, in the early Church, it was common for everyone to bring bread, wine and oil to Church as an offering for the week. The choicest loaves and wine were used for the Holy Eucharist—and everything else was distributed amongst the poor. There was no restriction on who could bring the “prosphora”.