Blessing of bread, wheat, wine, and oil

This takes place if the litya is served. Sometimes the prayers of the litya are offered without the blessing of the bread, wheat, wine, and oil.

Each of the four types of food is utilized extensively in the Church’s worship and theology, beginning with the Scriptures. The prayer alludes to the miracle of the Feeding of the Five Thousand (Mark 6:30-39). In addition, the bread and wine point to the holy Eucharist; the wheat, to Christ, who was the “grain of wheat” (John 12:24) that fell into the ground and died, yet rose again as a living Tree of Life for the faithful. The oil (i.e. olive oil) refers to the oil of healing, and the oil of gladness before baptism; cf. Psalm 103, “. . .oil to make make his face shine,” and Psalm 133:1-2: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down the border of his garments”; and the oil of mercy (the Greek word for “olive” and “mercy”—elaion and eleos, respectively—are very similar; given this and oil’s richness, it has long been a symbol of God’s mercy).

Taken together, these four foods symbolize God’s generous gifts which nourish and sustain his highest creature, the human being.