Columba (2)


(a dove) is a vessel shaped like a dove. Anciently the sacrament was reserved within a vessel of precious metal made in the form of a dove, which was suspended before the high-altar by a chain from the roof of the church. To this chain was hung a corona-like dish, basin, or disk, enclosed by other chains, on which the dove itself was placed. This vessel opened li the back; while in the body of it was formed a receptacle for the host. The custom of reserving the sacrament in such a vessel was originally common to East and West. Perpetuus, bishop of Tours, A.D. 474, left in his will a silver dove to Amalarius, a priest. It is record ed of Basil the Great that he reserved the Lord's body in a dove made of gold. The smaller example, illustrated by the engravings here given, is from the celebrated French collection of M. le Comte de Bastard. The "peristerium," however, occurs in several old English inventories of Church oranamenta. SEE DOVES. Figures of doves, as appropriate ecclesiastical symbols, were likewise suspended over English baptisteries, and are sometimes found carved on the canopies of fonts. As symbolic representations of the Holy Spirit, they are likewise carved over altars; and sometimes, as on the brass corona at Thame Church, Oxfordshire, they symbolize the light and glory of God. Examples of this custom are found in illuminated MSS., and such vessels exist in several foreign sacristies, though their use has lately given place to the ordinary tabernacle. SEE TABERNACLE.

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