Votive Tablets

Votive Tablets were memorial or commemorative tablets dedicated to meritorious personages or to the Deity, in commemoration of events of an unusually favorable nature. Their use passed over into the Christian Church, under the alleged sanction of Ex 17:14; Ps 111:4, etc. These tablets were designed to be memorials of thanksgiving, and they were placed in churches, chapels, and other sacred localities. They are mentioned by Theodoret of Cyrus in ῾Ελληνικῶν θερα πευτικὴ παθημάτων Disputat. XII (ad Cod. MSS. Rec. Th. Gaisford, Oxon. 1839), 1, 8. The growing worship of saints and relics extended the use of such tablets, and the chapels and churches to which pilgrimages were made were specially chosen to receive them. The use of them still exists in the Church of Rome. They bear the words ex voto, and usually represent a picture in which one or more persons appear in the posture of prayer, and sometimes the occasion is shown when help was obtained or prayer was answered. In the Protestant churches of Europe memorial tablets, usually in honor of deceased ministers who served the particular congregation which thus seeks to perpetuate their memory, are sometimes fount. They are of stone or metal, and bear upon their surface a description of the life and services, usually in Latin, of him to whom the tablet is dedicated. Sometimes, too, they are in the form of a statue of the person so commemorated. See Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.

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