agnus dei defined in 1939 yearagnus dei - Agnus Dei (Lat. Lamb of God);
agnus dei - Symbolic title given to Christ by S. John Baptist (John 1) in allusion to His atoning sacrifice. The representation of Christ under the form of a lamb bearing a banner or a staff headed with a Greek cross is of great antiquity in church art. The term is applied to the wax or silver medallions bearing the figure of a lamb, which are blessed and distributed by the pope on certain occasions, and is the name of a prayer in the Roman Catholic Canon of the Mass, placed after the Consecration and before the Communion. In the Holy Communion service of the Church of England the same prayer is often sung in English after the Consecration, and though not in the Prayer Book its legality was established in the case of Read v. Bp. of Lincoln, 1890.
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