Liturgical washing. It is a natural gesture rendered necessary or becoming out of reverence, or, often, an obviously symbolic rite of interior purification; as was already observed by Tertullian (De Baptismo), it is easily met with in all religious ceremonies.

In the Catholic Liturgy it has its most important expression in Baptism; it occurs frequently for persons or things. In the Mass, besides the washing of hands (lavabo), there are the ablutions of the chalice and the fingers, this being the ceremony with which, after the Communion, the priest washes with wine and with water the chalice and the tips of the thumbs and index fingers with which he has touched the sacred Host.

In the Greek Church, public washing of recently-baptized persons

MLA Citation

  • Cardinal Giacomo Lercaro. “ablution”. A Small Liturgical Dictionary, 1950. CatholicSaints.Info. 1 July 2012. Web. 14 June 2021. <http://catholicsaints.info/ablution/>