Archives lends ecclesiastical silver to museum exhibit

CHARLESTON — The Diocese of Charleston is taking part in “Sterling Faith,” a historical exhibit at the Charleston Museum. The Archives Office has loaned more than 40 pieces to the exhibit, which includes 300 years of Charleston’s sacred silver.

Among the items to be displayed are chalices from South Carolina’s early parish system, personal menorahs used in private ceremonies, the christening cup of President George Washington, and rare silver Communion tokens.

The Diocese of Charleston contributed items as varied as portraits of Bishops John England and Patrick Lynch and an episcopal chair from the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

Documents on Bishop Lynch’s commission by Jefferson Davis as envoy to the Vatican will be on display. Davis hoped to gain recognition for the Confederate States of America.

According to oral tradition, Pope Pius IX gave Bishop Lynch a miter, which is part of a larger collection of vestments. The miter will be part of the “Sterling Faith” exhibit.

Other items include chalices, pectoral crosses, a monstrance, an aspergillum, a thurible, a rosary and crosiers. There is also a cruet set that is one of the few pieces from the Cathedral that survived the great fire of 1861. The cruet set is from the Ladies of the Congregation of St. Finbar.

The exhibit will run June 1 – Oct. 31, and will be one of the first displays of local ecclesiastical silver. It will also provide an interpretation of southern religious traditions and how they developed in the Lowcountry.