Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Asterisk

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(From the Greek aster, a star).

This is a utensil for the Liturgy according to the Greek Rite, which is not used in Roman Rite at all. It consists of two curved bands, or slips, made of silver or gold which cross each other at right angles and thus form a double arch. It is used to place over the amnos or particles of blessed bread, when spread out upon the paten during the proskomide and earlier part of the Greek Liturgy, so as to prevent the veil from coming in contact with or disturbing these blessed but unconsecrated particles of bread in carrying the paten from the prothesis to the altar, or while it is standing at either place. It is laid aside after the Creed and is not ordinarily used again during the Liturgy. The asterisk is usually surmounted by a cross, and often has a tiny star suspended from the central junction, and in the Greek Orthodox is somewhat larger in size than in the Greek Catholic Church. When the priest in the proskomide service is those of blessed bread Iying upon the paten, he takes up the asterisk and incensing it says, "And the came forth and stood over where the child was." Then he puts it over the particles of bread upon the paten, and proceeds to cover it with the various veils and at conclusion of the proskomide, begins the celebration of the Liturgy.

ANDREW J. SHIPMAN