Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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The liturgical fan (flabellum in the West; ῥιπίδιον in the East) is a liturgical ornament in use since at least the 4th century CE consisting of a disk of wood or metal attached to a handle, usually long enough to be held with two hands with the disk above the heads of the clergy. The disk is usually decorated with an image of a seraph (Angel) and has scalloped or feather like decoration around its rim. They are generally placed behind the altar when not being carried by deacons in liturgical use.

Current scholarship on the liturgical fan is lim…

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Yates, Benedict, “Fan”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 02 December 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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