Responsive image
Nederlands/Vlaams Deutsch Francais English language Spanish language Portuguese language Catalan Chinese Czech Malayalam Finnish Igbo
Japanese Korean Romanian Malay language Norwegian Swedish Polish Swahili Chichewa Tagalog Urdu
The Rhipidion

The Rhipidion

The rhipidion, the sacred fan, was originally just an ordinary "fan", such as was used by servants to drive away flies from food that stood on a table. In the Greek-Byzantine rite, the deacon, who stood next to the celebrating bishop or priest at the altar, would "fan" the sacred gifts standing on the altar, originally no doubt to keep away flies.

Since the male deacon had the specific function of serving at the altar, he was handed the rhipidion during his ordination ceremony to make him exercise his new task. The rhipidion is no longer used during the eucharistic service in this way.

The rhipidion functions at present as an ornament at the corners of the altar. At times the rhipidion is carried as an ornament in processions.

At the right you can see a typical ornamental rhipidion as found in Byzantine churches.

It is made of gold and heavily decorated with gems.

This particular example comes from the Cloisters Museum in New York, USA.
Photograph by courtesy of Barbara Paskins.

John Wijngaards

Please, credit this document
as published by www.womenpriests.org!

Wijngaards Institute for Catholic ResearchThis website is maintained by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church. These have included scholars' declarations on the need of collegiality in the exercise of church authority, on the ethics of using contraceptives in marriage and the urgency of re-instating the sacramental diaconate of women.

Visit also our websites:Women Deacons, The Body is Sacred and Mystery and Beyond.

You are welcome to use our material. However: maintaining this site costs money. We are a Charity and work mainly with volunteers, but we find it difficult to pay our overheads.

Visitors to our website since January 2014.
Pop-up names are online now.

The number is indicative, but incomplete. For full details click on cross icon at bottom right.

Join our Women Priests' Mailing List
for occasional newsletters:
An email will be immediately sent to you
requesting your confirmation.