Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

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From the Catholic Encyclopedia on Columbine Custodia:

Catholic Encyclopaedia:
The reservation of the Holy Eucharist for the use of the sick was, certainly since early medieval times, effected in many parts of Europe by means of a vessel in the form of a dove, suspended by chains to the baldachino and thus hung above the altar… The idea of the Eucharistic vessel was probably taken from the dove-like receptacle used at an early period in the baptisteries and often suspended above the fonts. These vessels were usually made of gold or silver. This was no doubt always the case if the vessel was designed to be the immediate holder of the Blessed Sacrament, since the principle that no base material ought to be used for this purpose is early and general. But when, as seems generally to have been the case in later times, the dove was only the outer vessel enshrining the pyx which itself contained the Blessed Sacrament, it came about that any material might be used which was itself suitable and dignified. Mabillon tells us that he saw one at the monastery of Bobbio made of gilded leather, and one is shown to this day in the church of San Nazario at Milan which is enameled on the outside and silver gilt within. The exact time at which such vessels first came into use is disputed, but it was certainly at some early date… In the life of St. Basil, attributed to St. Amphilochius, is perhaps the earliest clear mention of the Eucharistic dove. Cum panem divisisset in tres partes… tertiam positam super columbam auream, desuper sacrum altare suspendit. St. Chrysostom’s expression concerning the Holy Eucharist, convestitum Spiritu Sancto, is generally taken to allude to this practice of reserving the Holy Eucharist in a dove, the emblem of the Holy Spirit. The same idea is expressed by Sedulius in the verses, Sanctusque columbae Spiritus in specie Christum vestivit honore.

The general, and certainly the earliest custom, both East and West, was to suspend the dove from the ciborium or baldachino. At a later period in some parts of the West, especially in Rome, a custom grew up of placing a tower of precious material upon the altar, and enclosing the dove with the Blessed Sacrament within this tower. Thus, in the Liber Pontificalis which contains ample records of the principal gifts made to the great basilicas in the fourth and succeeding centuries, we never find that the dove was presented without the tower as its complement. Thus in the life of Pope Hilary it is said that he presented to the baptistery at the Lateran turrem argenteam… et columbam auream. In the life of St. Sylvester, Constantine is said to have given to the Vatican Basilica pateram… cum turre et columba. Innocent I gave to another church turrem argenteam cum columba.

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