« Balan, Pietro Baldachin Balde, Jakob »

Baldachin

BALDACHIN: A canopy-like ornament in stone or bronze over the altar in some Roman Catholic churches, designed originally to protect the Eucharist from objects that might fall on it from above. The name is derived from Baldacco, an old Italian form of Bagdad, and owes its use in this connection to the fact that Bagdad was a rich source of the precious cloths which were frequently employed in decorating the protecting ornament over altars. In spite of legislation of the Congregation of Rites requiring a baldachin over every altar, the contrary practise is common everywhere at the present day, even in Rome. Formerly the baldachin was called a ciborium because the ciborium or vessel containing the Eucharist was suspended from it. A splendid example of the baldachin is seen in the bronze masterpiece of Bernini over the main altar of St. Peter’s in Rome. A portable baldachin is held over the sacrament of the altar when it is borne in procession or, in some places, when it is carried to the sick. A baldachin should be erected also over a bishop’s throne.

John T. Creagh.

« Balan, Pietro Baldachin Balde, Jakob »
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