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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Lance (2)

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(λόγχη, cultellus), a liturgical instrument of the Greek Church, in the shape of a small knife formed like a spear, is used in the common Greek rite in the preparatory office of prothesis, to divide the host from the holy loaf previous to consecration. This earlier fraction, the primitive antiquity of which is doubtful, is distinctly symbolical, and has no reference to the subsequent distribution, for which another fraction has always been made. The typical allusion to the circumstances of our Lord's Passion receives greater force and vividness in the Greek Church, from the use of the "holy spear" for the division of the loaf, as commemorative of the piercing of our Lord's body by the Roman soldier. The priest makes four cuts to separate the host from the oblation, and also stabs it more than once, accompanying every cut or stab with appropriate texts of Scripture, e.g. "He was led as a lamb to the slaughter," "One of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side," etc.

The use of the holy spear is not found in the purely Oriental liturgies, e.g. those of the Syrians and Egyptians, a fact which leads Renaudot to question whether the rite is of primitive antiquity, since these churches borrowed their discipline from the Greek Church in the earliest ages. It is entirely unknown in the Western Church,

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Lance (2)'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/l/lance-2.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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