Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

Get access

(1,576 words)


Current scholarship on the liturgical fan is limited, largely due to lack of evidence. It is known that the first explicit reference is to be found in the late 4th-century CE document Apostolic Constitutions, which states,

let two of the deacons, on each side of the altar, each hold a fan, of thin membranes, or of peacock feathers, or of fine cloth, and let them silently drive away the flying insects that they may not come near to the cups. (Const. ap. 8.12.3)

A similar reference of concern about insects contaminating the elements is to be found in the m…

Cite this page
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 20 April 2019 <>
First published online: 2018
First print edition: 20180827

▲   Back to top   ▲