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One of the most important moments in the Isiac and Mithraic mysteries is certainly that which involves the ritual presentation to the initiates of a symbol which served to explain the essence of the divinity. For the Isiac cult, we have the benefit of the famous Herculanum fresco where a priest is shown presenting, in a very ritual context, a sacred urn, doubtless containing Nile water, the very symbol of Isis. As for the Mithraic cult, we have a by no means less famous source: the text of St. Justin the Martyr which indicates that holy water and bread were shown. Our paper will analyse these two vital source documents and seek to establish, in so far as is possible, the theological content of these acts, as much by reference to the highest degree of initiation into the Mysteries of Eleusis as by consideration of the offering of bread and wine in the Christian eucharist.

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