Asterisk (Gr., aster, a star).—This is a utensil for the Mass according to the Greek Rite, which is not used in the Roman Rite at all. It consists of two curved bands, or slips, made of silver or gold which cross each other at right angles and thus form a double arch. It is used to place over the amnos, or particles of blessed bread, when spread out upon the paten during the proskomide and earlier part of the Greek Mass, so as to prevent the veil from coming in contact with or disturbing these blessed but unconsecrated particles of bread in carrying the paten from the prothesis to the altar, or while it is standing at either place. It is laid aside after the Creed and is not ordinarily used again during the Mass. The asterisk is usually surmounted by a cross, and often has a tiny star suspended from the central junction, and in the Greek Orthodox is somewhat larger in size than in the Greek Catholic Church. When the priest in the proskomide service is through incensing the blessed bread lying upon the paten, he takes up the asterisk and incensing it says, “And the star came forth and stood over where the child was”. Then he puts it over the particles of bread upon the paten, and proceeds to cover it with the various veils and at conclusion of the proskomide, begins the celebration of the Mass.
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