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Greek-style prosphora (Orthodox leavened Eucharist bread)

Borrowed from German Prozymit, from Medieval Latin prozymīta, from Byzantine Greek προζυμίτης (prozumítēs), from Ancient Greek προζύμιον (prozúmion, leaven) + -ῑ́της (-ī́tēs, suffix forming masculine nouns meaning being connected to or a member of something, or coming from a particular place). προζύμιον is derived from προ- (pro-, suffix meaning ‘before, in front’) + ζύμη (zúmē, leaven, yeast) + -ιον (-ion, suffix forming nouns).[1] The English word is analysable as pro- +‎ zymo- +‎ -ite.



prozymite (plural prozymites)

  1. (Roman Catholicism, historical, derogatory) One who administers the Eucharist with leavened bread, in particular a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church. [from mid 19th c.]
    Synonym: fermentarian
    Antonym: azymite
    • 1867, [Alexis-François] Artaud de Montor, “153. St. Leo IX.—a.d. 1049.”, in [William Hayes] Neligan, editor, The Lives and Times of the Roman Pontiffs, from St. Peter to Pius IX. [...] Translated from the French, New York, N.Y.: Published by D[enis] & J[ames] Sadlier & Co., [], →OCLC, pages 284–285:
      Whosever shall obstinately blame the faith of the Holy See of Rome and its sacrifices, let him be anathema, and let him not be deemed Catholic, but a prozymite heretic, that is to say, Defender of the Leaven.
    • 1989, Colin Morris, “Greeks and Saracens”, in The Papal Monarchy: The Western Church from 1050 to 1250 (Oxford History of the Christian Church), Oxford: Clarendon Press, published 2001, →ISBN, part I (The Papal Reform Movement and the Conflict with the Empire (c. 1046–1122), page 139:
      The inclusion not only of [Michael I] Cerularius, but of all his followers, and the denunciation of the Greeks as prozymite heretics, does look like a condemnation of the whole Byzantine church until it should change its practices.
    • 2014, Hara Procopiou, “Barley Meal Processing in the Aegean World: A Look at Diversity”, in Annelou van Gijn, John C. Whittaker, Patricia C. Anderson, editors, Exploring and Explaining Diversity in Agricultural Technology (Early Agricultural Remnants and Technical Heritage (EARTH); 2), Oxford, Havertown, Pa.: Oxbow Books, →ISBN, section 2 (The Agricultural Process: Tools and Techniques in Cultural Context):
      For example, Greeks using leavened bread for the consecration, were in opposition with the unleavened bread of the Latin Church, and stigmatised as fermentarians or prozymites.

Usage notes[edit]

The word was used pejoratively by some members of the Latin Church or Roman Catholic Church to refer to members of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Alternative forms[edit]



  1. ^ Prozymite, n. (and adj.)”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2007; “Prozymite”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading[edit]