Ama (or Amula)

Ama (Or Amula)

the vessel in which wine for the celebration of the eucharist was offered by the worshippers. The word is used by Columella and other classical authors, but the earliest instance of its use as a liturgical vessel which has been noticed is in the Charta Cornutiana of A.D. 471. Silver "amae" are mentioned (Ordo Romanus, 1, 5) among the vessels which were to be brought from the Church of the Saviour, now known as St. John Lateran, for the pontifical mass on Easterday; and in the directions for the pontifical mass itself (ibid.), we find that after the pope had entered the senatorium, or presbytery, the archdeacon following him received the amulae, and poured the wine into the larger chalice, which was held by the subdeacon; and again, after the altar was decked, the archdeacon took the pope's amula from the oblationary subdeacon, and poured the wine through the strainer into the chalice (q.v.); then those of the deacons, of the primicerius, and the others. The amulae, which may not have been identical with the atnse, seem to have been church-vessels provided for the purpose of the offertory. Among the presents which pope Adrian (772-795) made to the Church of St. Adrian at Rome were an "ama" and also an "amula" of silver, which weighed sixty-seven pounds (Liber Pontificalis, p. 346). They were, however, often of much smaller size, and the small silver vessels preserved in the Museo Cristiano in the Vatican are deemed to be amulse. They measure only about seven inches in height, and may probably date from the 5th or 6th century. On a similar vessel of larger size, probably of the 4th century, the miracle of Cana is represented in a tolerably good style. The material of these. vessels was usually of silver, but sometimes gold, and they were often adorned with gems. Gregory the Great mentions (Epist. 1, 62, 539) "amulae," probably of onyx, or glass imitating onyx.

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