Meaning of Church Vessels contd.
The Chalice and Paten - The Chalice which holds the
Eucharistic wine is the most important of all sacramental vessels. The Patent
holds the Eucharistic bread. The Paten and Chalice recall the mystery of the
Last Supper, the bread standing for the Body of Christ and the Wine for His
Shushafo (Veil) - This white veil is used to cover the Paten
and Chalice. It represents the fact that the Divine Mysteries are hidden from
the understanding of men and that the divinity and humanity united in Christ,
the Divine Word, is beyond human comprehension just the same way as the
transformation of bread and wine to flesh and blood of Christ is beyond our
The Censer - It has a lower half and upper half, four chains
and 12 bells. The lower cup of the censer represents the earth and the upper
cup the heaven. The coal in it represents the sinners. The chains represent the
Holy Trinity. The first chain stands for God the Father. The second and third
chains represent the human and Godly nature of the son. The fourth chain
represents the Holy Spirit. The 12 bells represent the 12 Apostles of Christ.
The four chains have a total of 72 links to represent the 72 evangelists of the
Old Testament who prepared men to be worthy of the new covenant with God. The
fire signifies the Holy Spirit by whose contact the black coal shines and
glows. The incense shows the grace of the Holy Trinity. As the smoke goes up to
the high so also our prayers should go high (Psalm 141:2)
Marvahtho (Fan) - A Fan shaped silver object mounted on a
long pole. In the center of the fans, the seraphic face and wings are
represented. The fans symbolize the presence of angels around the altar. The
sounds represent the seraphim's and the flutter of their wings around the
mysteries. It is carried in processions and shaken at the most solemn parts of
The Lectern (Gospel stand or Evengelion table) - This is the
pulpit which symbolizes the heights of Mount Sinai
from where God spoke to Moses and handed him the stone tablets (Exodus 34:2).
Mathew 5:1 tells us that Christ went up a mountain to preach the gospel to the
multitude. Therefore the Book of gospel, which points to Christ Himself, is
placed on the gospel stand.
Vineeth John Abraham