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(Greek azymos, without leaven; Hebrew maççoth).

Unfermented cakes used by the Jews in their various sacrifices and religious rites (Exodus 29:2,23; Numbers 6:15, 17, 19; Leviticus 2:4; 6:16-17; 7:12, 8:2, 26), as commanded by the Law (Exodus 23:18; 34:25; Leviticus 2:11). Their use was also prescribed for the Feast of the Passover (Exodus 12:8, 15; 13:3, 6, 7; Numbers 9:11; Deuteronomy 16:3, 4, 8). On account of the facility with which they could be prepared, they were also made in ordinary life for unexpected guests (Genesis 18:6; Judges 6:19-21, etc.) and in times of necessity, e.g., at the time of the Exodus (Exodus 12:34, 39), whence the name, "bread of affliction" (Deuteronomy 16:3). In 1 Corinthians 5:8, unleavened bread is the type of sincerity and truth. Unleavened cakes were especially used for the Feast of Azymes, also called the "solemn feast" (Numbers 28:17). This festival was instituted to commemorate Israel's deliverance from Egyptian bondage (Exodus 12:17; 13:3-10). Its observance began on the fifteenth of Abib, or Nisan "the month of newcorn", and continued seven days, the first and last of which were specially solemn (Exodus 12:15-18; 13:7; Leviticus 23:6-8, etc.). No other but unleavened bread was allowed during the whole feast. Although originally distinct, the Feast of Azymes and the Feast of the Passover are often treated as one and the same (Deuteronomy 16:16; Matthew 24:17; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:1, 7).


EDERSHEIM, The Temple and its Services (London, 1874); GREEN, The Hebrew Feasts (New York, 1885); SCHULTZ, Old Testament Theology, tr. (Edinburgh, 1892), I.

About this page

APA citation. Albert, F.X.E. (1907). Azymes. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Albert, Francis X.E. "Azymes." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Rev. Richard Giroux.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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