Fraction a technical name for the act of breaking the bread in the celebration of the holy eucharist. There are three kinds of fraction in use at present; though only the first of them is essential to the sacrament, and can be traced with certainty to the infancy of the Church:

(1) a fraction illustrative of the words of institution, and therefore a direct imitation of our Lord's action;

(2) purely symbolical fractions after the consecration has been completed;

(3) the necessary fraction for the distribution of the bread among the communicants. For the illustration of each of these in the various rituals, see Smith, Dict. of Christ. Antiq. s.v.

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