altar canopy

[altar canopy]
Greek: konops, gnat: originally used as a protection against insects

An ornamental covering of cloth, stone, wood, or metal, used to crown an altar, throne, pulpit, statue, etc. In liturgical use: the structure covering an altar, called also baldachinum; the covering suspended over the throne occupied by dignitaries of the Church or princes; the covering, always white, under which the Blessed Sacrament is sometimes borne in processions. For transporting the Blessed Sacrament from one altar to the other, or for taking the Holy Viaticum to the sick, it is customary in some places to use a small canopy with a single staff. Relics excepting rarely those of the True Cross or some instrument of the Passion are not carried under a canopy in processions. A processional canopy is used for a bishop at his solemn reception into his cathedral city and when he makes his first pastoral visit to any town or parish within his jurisdiction.