or CREDENCE, a table beside the altar, on which the cup, etc., are placed in the celebration of the mass. Du Cange says that the word credentiarius means prcegustator, one that tastes beforehand, and the reference seems to be to an ancient courtpractice, performed by cup-bearers and carvers, who were required to taste the wines and meats which they presented (securitatis gratia), to insure the safety of the monarch. The Italian word credenziera has the same meaning. Hence also the credentz-teller, credence-plate, on which cup-bearers credenced the wine, and which means generally a plate on which a person offers anything to another; credenz-tische, credence-table, a sideboard, a cupboard with a table for the purpose of arranging in order and keeping the drinking apparatus therein. Credences were common in ancient churches. In the Liturgies under the names of Chrysostom and St. James we meet with the words πρόθεσις and παρατράπεζον. In the Ordo Romanus the names oblationarium and prothesis occur, and one is made the explanation of the other. We meet also with the word paratorium, because when the offerings were received, preparation was made out of them for the Lord's Supper. In many instances the place of the credence-table was supplied by a shelf across the piscina: this shelf was either of wood or stone, and is to be found in many old churches. The use of credence-tables is one of the restorations of obsolete usages which have marked the so-called Puseyite movement in England. — Farrar, Eccles. Dict. s.v.; Coleman, Ancient Christianity.

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