For the next few weeks (provided I remember to do so) I’d like to give y’all a sort of virtual tour of the Altar, to include the items on the Holy Table itself. For starters, the entire area behind the iconostasis (icon screen) is known as the Altar; the Altar Table (Holy Table) itself is situated within the space along with items like the Prothesis/ Proskomedia table, the bishop’s throne, servers’ seats, and the censer stand. One of the things you’ll notice on the Holy Table is a sort of big box looking thing right in front of the 7-branch candle - this is the artophorion (literally, “bread bearer” and is where the Reserved Sacrament goes, in addition to into the travel Communion set for taking Holy Communion to the sick and homebound.
The Reserved Sacrament itself is an extra Lamb consecrated during the Divine Liturgy which is then utilized either for sick calls or the Presanctified Liturgy. The process is pretty similar to the preparation of the regular Lamb - it is cut cruciformly, i.e., in the form of a cross, and then intinctured - the priest takes the Holy Spoon and pours a bit of the Holy Blood on the Lamb before it’s placed in the artophorion. This allows it to dry a little bit and preserve until the next presanctified service. In the artophorion at St. Andrews there are currently two preconsecrated Lambs - one that was consecrated last Sunday, and one that has been in there for over two years and has not spoiled or molded - God does not allow His Gifts to go bad. To prepare to receive the Reserved Sacrament, you should generally fast and confess as you would before receiving Holy Communion at the Divine Liturgy.
While not our altar, this is a tour of another church’s altar in 360 degree view - click the link and select “Altar” at the bottom: http://orthodox360.com/tours/ocatrentonnj/