Agnus Dei Wax Disk from the Pontificate of Benedict XIII, Dated 1725
Agnus Dei, Lamb of God Piece from 1725: Benedict XIIIAgnus Dei, Lamb of God Piece from 1725: Benedict XIII

The Collection has several Agnus Dei, Lamb of God pieces. This one is from the pontificate of Benedict XIII.

It is interesting to view them together to see how differently they were created from one papacy to the next. You can do that by going to the Artifacts pages and narrowing your search to browse by the category, Agnus Dei.

The Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) wax disks were cylinders or small disks of wax that were made by melting the previous year’s Easter candles of Rome’s churches. This took place at the beginning of Lent each year. The wax was melted in a large cauldron to which chrism oil was then added.

From that wax, small disks were created with a picture of the Lamb of God on them.

Sometimes a saint was put on the other side of the disk. The pope’s name and sometimes his coat of arms were included as well as the year.

The pope blessed the wax disks and they were given as sacramentals to pilgrims to Rome. Pilgrims experienced a connection to the paschal candle, to the chrism oil and to the pope himself.