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Agnus Dei

Agnus Dei (ăgˈnəs dēˈĪ, änˈyŏs dāˈē) [key] [Lat.], the Lamb of God, i.e., Jesus. The lamb of the Passover sacrifice is said to prefigure the crucifixion. Isaiah calls the expected Messiah the Lamb of God, and Jesus is met by John the Baptist with the words, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world." In the Mass the Agnus Dei, or Lamb of God, is said or sung while the communion bread is being broken for distribution. It is usually the final movement of choral masses. In Anglican worship it is sung during communion. In iconography a lamb with halo and cross is called an Agnus Dei.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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