Accensorii

Accensorii.

In the early Church there was a class of officers called acolyths, corresponding to the Roman apparitor or pedellus, bedellus, beadle. In their ordination, the bishop, after informing them as to the duties of their office, placed in the hands of each a candlestick with a lighted taper in it, intimating that it was their duty to light the candles of the church; hence they were sometimes called accensorii, taper-lighters. Jerome says it was a custom in the Oriental churches to set up lighted tapers when the Gospel was read, as a demonstration of joy; but it does not appear that there was a peculiar order of acolyths for this purpose. The duty in question seems to have been nothing more than lighting the candles at night, when the church was to meet at evening prayer The Romanists contend that their cero- ferarii, taper-bearers, whose office is only to walk before the deacons, etc., with lighted tapers, are derived from the practice of the acolyths. The two offices are widely different, and the assumption that the Romish practice is derived from apostolical institution is absurd. — Bingham, Orig. Eccl. bk. 3, ch. 3. SEE ACOLYTHS.

 
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