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It is now only exceptionally that the cantharus is found doing service as a holy water font, mainly at Mount Athos, where the phiala of the monastery of Laura stands near the catholicon in front of the entrance and is covered by
The holy water font was originally the fountain for ablutions, cantharus, or phiala, placed in the centre of the atrium of the basilica and still found in the East, especially at Mount Athos, at
D. 590, mentions the presence of a phiala from which "water gushes noisily into the air, issuing from a bronze pipe with a force that banishes all evils, when in the month of golden tunies [January], during the night of the Divine initiation, the people draw in vessels an incorruptible water, as no pollution reaches it, even when, having been several years removed from its source, it is enclosed in the hollow of a pitcher and kept in their houses."
88 PtEVRITIDIS cjua in phiala vitrea co&is in vafe alio aquam fcruentcmhabente.
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