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Article

Alexander Nagel

An image-bearing structure set on the rear part of the altar (see Altar, §II), abutting the back of the altarblock, or set behind the altar in such a way as to be visually joined with the altar when viewed from a distance. It is also sometimes called a ...

Article

John N. Lupia

Type of ewer, usually of metal, used for the washing of hands in a liturgical or domestic context. It is often zoomorphic in form and usually has two openings, one for filling with water and the other for pouring. In their original usage aquamanilia expressed the symbolic significance of the lavabo, the ritual washing of the hands by the priest before vesting, before the consecration of the Eucharist and after mass. The earliest production of ...

Article

Annabel Jane Wharton

Building used for the rite of baptism into the Christian Church. In late antiquity the term baptisterium or baptisterion (Lat. baptizare: ‘to dip under water’), which designated a swimming bath (e.g. Pliny the younger: Letters II.xvii.11), was applied to the baptismal piscina or font and then to the whole structure in which baptism took place. With the Eucharist, baptism was a central sacrament in the Early Christian Church. The ritual was prescribed by Christ (John 3:5; Matthew 28:19) and modelled after his own baptism by St John the Baptist. The meaning of baptism was established by St Paul: by participating in Christ’s death and resurrection through baptism, the believer was cleansed of his sins and admitted to the body of the Church (1 Corinthians 6:11, 12:13; Romans 6:4). By the ...

Article

Panel, sometimes decorated, placed at either end of a Pew.

Article

Lucy Freeman Sandler

Group of twelve manuscripts, primarily Psalter and Book of Hours, nearly all illustrated by in-house artists for members of the Bohun family in the second half of the 14th century. The owner–patrons were the successive earls of Essex, Hereford and Northampton: Humphrey de Bohun VI (...

Article

Christopher de Hamel

Late medieval prayerbook containing, as its principal text, psalms, and devotions (primarily invoking the Virgin Mary) for the eight canonical hours of the day: Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline. They were intended for private reading and meditation by the laity, forming a shorter version of the cycle of daily prayers and psalms recited from the ...

Article

Nigel J. Morgan

Liturgical book containing the psalms, readings from the scriptures, the Church Fathers or the lives of the saints, antiphons, and prayers that constitute the Divine Office for each day of the Christian Church year (see Service book). The Divine Office comprises the daily devotions observed at the eight canonical hours of the day (Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline), arranged around the psalms, so that all 150 psalms are read each week. Its text covers two distinct sections: the Temporal (or Proper of Time), containing the offices for Sundays and festivals commemorating the life of Christ and the weekdays of the year; and the Sanctoral (or Proper of Saints), with offices for the feast days of saints. Supplementary offices for certain occasions, for instance the Office of the Dead and Little Office of the Virgin, were sometimes added to the daily office, and a full version of the Breviary usually includes the whole ...

Article

Robert G. Calkins

As applied to medieval manuscripts, a list of the principal feast days of the Church and the commemorative feasts of the saints throughout the liturgical year. It was an essential part of books used to celebrate Mass (the Missal, Pontifical, and Benedictional) and the Divine Office (the ...

Article

Italian church belfry, often freestanding.

Article

Alison Manges Nogueira

Monumental, marble paschal Candlestick of the late 12th to early 13th century with reliefs signed by Nicolaus de Angelo and Vassallettus now in S Paolo fuori le Mura, Rome. The imposing column (h. 5.6 m), adorned with six registers of reliefs and surmounted by a fluted candle holder, rests upon a base of sculpted lions, sphinxes, rams and female figures. The upper and lower reliefs bear vegetal and ornamental patterns while the three central registers portray ...

Article

Don Denny

Numerical list of concordant passages in the Gospels, devised in the early 4th century by the historian Eusebios of Caesarea. Such tables indicate passages to be found in all four Gospels, those found in two or three of the Gospels and those unique to a particular Gospel. In medieval manuscripts they appear as a series of pages, varying from seven to as many as nineteen, placed at the front of Gospel books and often included, preceding the Gospels, in full ...

Article

John Osborne

Underground burial complex employed principally between c. 200 ce and the 6th century, notably in Rome. They were used by Christian, Jewish, and various pagan communities, all of whom practiced inhumation.

The term catacomb is derived from the Greek name for the area near the church of S. Sebastiano on the Via Appia south of Rome (...

Article

Robert G. Calkins

As applied to the Christian liturgy, a book containing the words and music for the chants sung during the celebration of Mass or the Divine Office. Several types of choir-book evolved during the Middle Ages. A Gradual contains all the chants sung by the choir during the celebration of the Mass. These normally include the antiphons for the Introit (opening phrase), Offertory, and Communion chants, as well as the gradual (an antiphon or response sung between the reading of the Epistle and Gospel), after which the book was named. The Gradual was usually written in large format so that it could be placed on a lectern in front of the choir and be read by all the members. Lines of musical notation usually alternate with those of the text and with dense passages of instructions, written in smaller script. The organization of the Gradual is similar to that of the ...

Article

Charles Tracy

Places in the choir of a church set aside for the daily use of the clergy. They are usually made of wood and are found only in churches of the Western tradition. Choir-stalls were essentially places for standing, the clergy being required to do so during most of the services. Each stall consists of a folding seat, turning on hinges or pivots, with a ...

Article

Covered, chalice-shaped liturgical vessel, used in churches of the Catholic (and some Orthodox) traditions to contain reserved, consecrated hosts.

The word ciborium is supposedly derived from kiborion, the seed-pod of the Egyptian water lily, which indicates its protective function; a derivation from the Latin cibus...

Article

G. van Hemeldonck

Monumental structure of wood, stone, or metal consisting of four or more columns supporting an ornamented roof; this is sometimes a cupola, as in the Byzantine tradition, or it may be pyramidal or a crossover pitched roof. The term is often used synonymously with baldacchino, although, strictly speaking, a ciborium is fixed, frequently on a raised base, while a baldacchino is movable (the most famous example—the ...

Article

Pippin Michelli

Decorated comb, usually of ivory, used ceremonially by the celebrant before Mass in both Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches. The ritual combing of priests’ hair may have begun when Christianity became the Roman state religion early in the 4th century ad, but evidence is lacking. Most combs survive with insufficient context to prove their liturgical use, but all those likely to have been so used have a similar form: they are made of a single rectangular piece with teeth along both long edges, and the quadrangle or lunette at the centre is often carved with Christian motifs (...

Article

Iris Kockelbergh

Closet-like piece of furniture used in the Roman Catholic Church and some other liturgically ‘high’ denominations for auricular confession. Confessionals are always made out of wood, since it was thought inappropriate to use more costly materials for non-liturgical church furnishings. Several types of confessional were in existence during the Middle Ages. In the 12th century the priest was seated while the penitent knelt in front of him. From the 14th century in ...

Article

Crosier  

Pippin Michelli

Crook or pastoral staff of a bishop, abbot, or abbess. It was originally a wooden staff used by itinerant monks, priests and bishops (and also teachers), possibly as an aid to walking and also as a badge of office. The use of such staves is first recorded during the 4th century ...

Article

Cross  

Catherine Oakes, John N. Lupia, Roger Stalley, Donna L. Sadler, Nicola Coldstream, Hilary Richardson and Regine Marth

Symbol of Christianity, widely represented in art in a great variety of types, contexts and materials. This article is concerned with the cross as a three-dimensional object, both of the monumental and portable type. Although in its narrow sense the term denotes a cross without the ...