Vintage FRENCH Craft - Hand Made Agnus Dei Religious Sacramental or Devotional - Sacred Heart
ITEM: Straight from France and to my customers, here's an absolutely pristine Agnus Dei - a religious icon or devotional made in France and distributed (or sold) to a good Catholic. The piece is made of felted wool and features a handstitched Sacred Heart with a Cross at the center. At the back is a small paper tag (covering the enclosed wax [see below]) which reads "Que votre reigne arrive!" (Thy Kingdom Come!). No hole - no jump ring - all that's needed is a bit more stitching so that this piece can be hung on a wall or worn on a necklace!
CONDITION: Excellent, extremely pristine front and back,
SIZE: 2-1/2" x 1-9/16" approx.
FINAL COMMENTS: Although its origin is shrouded in the mist of antiquity, the sacramental Agnus Dei is first mentioned in historical Church accounts as early as the sixth century, and referred to frequently by the early to middle ninth century. Thus, for over ten centuries the Agnus Dei has been a popular and treasured sacramental to Catholics, especially to those living in Europe where it was most easily obtained. Yet, regrettably, few Catholics living today have ever even heard of the Agnus Dei.
The name "Agnus Dei" was given to special discs of wax impressed with the figure of a lamb, the "Lamb of God" which were blessed by the reigning Pope in a ceremony so solemn that the Pope was said to consecrate the sacramentals. Popes traditionally consecrated Agnus Deis only during the first year of their pontificate and again every seven years.
In earlier times, on Holy Saturday, the Pope, with the assistance of the Archdeacon of Rome, prepared the wax from the previous year's paschal candles, adding both chrism and balsam to the wax. The Agnus Deis were subsequently consecrated on the Wednesday of Easter week and distributed on Saturday of the same week. In more recent times, the wax was prepared by monks and then consecrated by the Pope and distributed. When visiting Cardinals would visit the Holy Father, an Agnus Dei wax disc (or several of the discs) would be placed into his miter. The Cardinals then distributed the Agnus Deis as they saw fit.
In order to make the wax "go further" the discs were shaved into the thinnest pieces possible. Thus, when holding an Agnus Dei, it does not feel as if anything is truly "on the inside."
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