Tabernacles Part Deux: The Aumbry and Dove

“Eucharistic reservation in the sacristy would undoubtedly have entailed in many churches some recess or cupboard in the wall. The first known document attesting to the use of an aumbry (armarium) for the reserved Sacrament is in 1128. Wall tabernacles were in very general use in Italy throughout the middle ages, which Gothic and Renaissance art enriched with sculpture.”

“The earliest indication of a vessel in the form of a dove is found in Tertullian (c. 200), but there is absolutely nothing to suggest a eucharistic purpose. The first unambiguous reference to a suspended vessel for reservation in the form of a dove is found in a Life of St. Basil in the 8th century, in which it is said that the Saint, while celebrating the Liturgy, divided the eucharistic bread into three parts, with the third part to be enclosed in a golden dove suspended over the altar.”–From Eucharistic Reservation in the Western Church


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