Altar Tour, Continued: The Proskomedia (from the Greek for “offering”) or Prothesis (from the Greek for “setting forth”) table is where the office of oblation is celebrated prior to the Divine Liturgy. The service itself, the Proskomedia, is also simply called the preparation. The little triangular table is always situated to the left (Northeast) of the Holy Table within the Altar, and has a few features that you will see on all of them, regardless of which temple you’re visiting. The table itself represents the cave in which Our Lord was born, so there’s always an icon of the Nativity hung above it. When the elements are being prepared until after they’ve been consecrated and consumed, there is a little candle lit there to indicate the presence of God. The pieces for the Holy Communion (as well as the antidoron) are cut from one or more loaves with a spear representing the spear that pierced the side of Christ, and allusions to this are made in the actual wording of the Proskomedia itself.
The service itself is beautiful and filled with symbolism and meaning - Fr. Iggy usually starts it around 8:15 or so, so if you’re at the parish early and have never seen it, please ask to come in and observe!