An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Breaking of the Bread, The (The Fraction)

The breaking of the consecrated bread for distribution by the celebrant at the eucharist. The fraction also recalls Christ's body as broken for us and our salvation. The breaking of the bread follows the eucharistic prayer and the Lord's Prayer and is accompanied by a period of silence. A fraction anthem, or confractorium, may also be sung or said after the breaking of the bread. The fraction is followed by the celebrant's invitation to communion and the administration of communion. The 1662 English Prayer Book directed the celebrant to break the bread at the words “he brake it” in the institution narrative of the eucharistic prayer. The direction of this rubric was continued by American Prayer Books through the 1928 BCP. The breaking of the bread was restored to its traditional place in the 1979 BCP, after the eucharistic prayer and immediately before the communion of the people.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.