Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/391

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349

ALTAR 349 ALTAR crated or not, of their dioceses, provided this privi- lege had not been previously granted to any other ahar in such cliurcli under tlie same conditions. Sthii'I'I.ni; of Altau. — On Holy Thursday the celebrant, having removed the ciborium from the high altar, goes to the sacristy. He there lays aside the white vestments and puts on a violet stole, and, accompanied by the deacon, also vested in violet stole, and the subdcacon, returns to the high altar. Whilst the antiplion "Diviserunt sibi" and the Csalm "Deus, Ueus meus" are being recited, the celo- rant and his assistants ascend to the predella and strip the altar of the altar-cloths, vasca of flowers, antipiMuliuni, and other ornament-^, so that nothing remains but the cross and the candlesticks with the candles extinguished. In the same maimer all the other altars in the church are denuded. If there be manv altars in the church, another priest, vested in surplice and violet stole, may strip them whilst the celebrant is stripping the high altar. The Chris- tian altar represents Christ, and the stripping of the altar reminds us how lie was stripped of Ilis gar- ments when He fell into the hands of the Jews and was exposed naked to their insults. It is for this reason that the psalm "Deus, Deus meus" is recited, wherein the Messias s|)caks of the Koman soldiers dividing His garments among them. This ceremony signifies the suspension of the Holy Sacrifice (Gu^'r- anger, The Liturgical Year: Holy Week). It was formerly the custom in some churches on this day to wash the altars with a bunch of hyssop dipped in wine and water, to render them in some manner worthy of the Lamb without stain who is innnolatcd on them, and to recall to the minds of the faithful with how great purity they should assist at the Holy Sacrifice ana receive Holy Communion (Lero- Bey, llistoire et .symbolisme de la liturgie). St. Isi- dore of .Seville (De Ecdes. OIT., I, xxviii) and St. Kli- gius of Noyon (Homil. VIII, De Coemi Domini) say that this ceremony was intended as an homage of- fered to Our Lord, in return for the humility where- with He deigned to wash the feet of His disciples. Altab-Hki.l. — A small bell placed on the credence or in some other convenient place on the epistle side of the altar. According to the rubrics it is rung only at the Sanctus and at the elevation of both Species (Miss. Kom., Uitus celebr., tit. 'ii, n. 8, and tit. viii, n. 6) to invite the faithful to the act of ado- ration at the Consecration. This must be done even in private chapels (Cong. Sac. Rit., 18 July, 1885). It may also be rung at the "Domine non sura dig- nus", and again before the distribution of Holy Communion to the laity, and at other times accord- ing to the custom of the place. When the HIesscd Sacrament is publicly exposed, (1) it may or may not be rung at high Mass, and at a low Mass which takes the place of the high Mass, celebrated at the Altar of Exposition, according to the custom of the place. (2) It is not rung at low .Masses at any altar of such church, but in such cases a low signal may be given with the bell at the sacristy door when the priest is about to yes

Mass (Gardellini, Instr. 

Clem., § 16, 4, 5). (3) It is not ning at high Mass celebrated at an altar other than that on which the Blessed Sacrament is publicly exposed (Cong. Sac. Rit., 31 August, 1867). It shoidd not be rung at low Masses whilst a public celebration is taking place, and at any Mass during the pviblic recitation of office in choir, if said Mass be celebrated at an altar near the choir (Cong. Sac. Rit.. 21 Novemlier, 1893). It is not rung from the end of the "Ciloria in excelsis" on Maundy Thursday to the beginning of the "Gloria in excelsis" on Holy Saturday. Dur- ing this interval the Memoriale Rituum (Tit. iv, } 4. n. 7) prcMcrilx>s that the clapper (crolahi.i) l)e iLse<l to give the signal for the Angelus. but it is nowhere prescribed in the liturgical functions. The custom of using the clapper on these occasions ap- iwars quite proper. The Cong. Sac. Rit. (10 Sep- tember, IS'JS) when asked if a gong may be used in.stead of the small bell answered, "Negative; seu non con venire". Ai.T.ii-HnK.D HoxES. — These are made of wood, tin, britannia, silver, or other metal. In order that the breads may not become bent or curved, a round Hat weight, covered if necessary with silk or linen, and having a knob on top, so as to be easily taken hold of, is placed on the breads. The cover must fit tightly, so that the breads become neither damp nor soiled. The box for the large hosts is of suit- able dimensions. A larger box is employed for the particles u.sed at the communion of the laity. Alt.h-Bke.M)S. — Bread is one of the two elements alxsolutely necessary for the sacrifice of the Euchar- ist. It cannot be determined from the sacred text whether Christ lused the ordinarj' table bread or some other bread specially prepared for the occa- sion. In the Western Church the altar-breads were probably round in form. Archa-ological researches demonstrate this from pictures found in the cata- combs (.rmellini, Lezioni di Crist iana Archeologia, Pars. II, v); and Pope St. Zephyrinus (a. d. 201- 219) calls the altar-bread "coronam sive oblatam spherica; figura;". In the Eastern churches they are round or square. I'ormerly the laity presented the flour from which the breads were formed. In the Eastern Church the breads were made by con- secrated virgins; in the Western Church, by priesta and clerics (Benedict XIV, De Sacrif. Mis.sic, I, § .36). This custom is still in vogue in the Ar- menian Church. The earliest documentary evidence that the altar-breads were made in thin wafers is the answer which Cardinal Humbert, legate of St. Leo IX, made at the middle of the eleventh century to Michael Cerularius, Patriarch of Constantinople (Eleury, Hist. Ecdes., LX, n. G). These wafers were sometimes very large, as from them small pieces were broken for the Communion of the laity, hence the word "particle " for the small host; but smaller ones were used when only the celebrant communi- cated. For valid consecration the hosts must be (1) made of wheaten flour, (2) mixed with pure natural water, (3) baked in an oven, or between two heated iron moulds, and they must not be corrupted (Miss.Rom., De Defectibus, III, 1). If the host is not made of wheaten flour, or is mixed with flour of another kind in such qiantity that it cannot be called wheat bread, it may not be used (ibid.). If not natural, but distilled water is used, the consecration becomes of doubtful validity (ibid., 2). If the host Ijegins to be corrupt, it would be a grievous offence to use it, but it is considered valid matter (ibid., 3.) For licit consecration, (1) the bread must Ix!, at present unleavmcd in the Western Church, but leavened bread in the Eastern Church, except among the Maronites, the Armenians, and in the Churches of Jerusalem and Alexandria, where it is vmlcavened. It is probable that Christ u.-^ed unleavened bread at the mstitution of the Blessed Eucharist, because the Jews were not allowed to have leavened bread in their houses on the daj-s of the Azymes. Some authors are of the opinion that down to the tenth century both the Eastern and Western Churches used leavened bread; others maintain that un- leavened bread was used from the beginning in the Western Church; still others hold that unleavened or leavened bread was used iiulilTercntly. St. Thomas (IV. Dist. xi. qu. 3) holds that, in the beginning, both in the East and West unleavened bread was used; that when the sect of the Ebionites arose, who wished that the Mosaic Law should be obligatory on all converts, leavened bread was used, and when this heresy ceased the Latins used again unleavened