QUIZ: What is this thing? – SOLVED!

UPDATE: 16 June

Solution posted, below.

Originally posted 15 June:


Here is quiz.

Does anyone know what this liturgical object is?


Some really interesting guesses are coming in! I’ll wait to post quite a few at once.


There are some great answers piling up. Some of them are pretty funny.


I received this from someone with access to the amazing Jubilee Museum and Catholic Cultural Center in Columbus, OH.

I hope you are well! Just wanted to send pictures of a holder with candles (and still labled for sale actually)

That was interesting!

This is surely for the days when many more people attended daily Mass and, especially, St. Blaise Day!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. benkoca says:

    Total shot in the dark… is it a candle holder for St. Blaise throat blessings?

  2. padredana says:

    My guess is that it is a contraption for blessing throats on the feast of St. Blaise.

  3. monstrance says:

    Serves as Throat Blessing and Mortification simultaneously

  4. bobbird says:

    Sheer guess: this is a double-candle-holder used to bless homes/rooms/assist in an exorcism, etc. The handle should be lower than the frame and the candles adjusted so that the flames are in line with the little propeller thingy. The propeller thingy doesn’t spin but is designed to permit the priest to advance throughout the house without the candles being snuffed out. Properly working, the little fins disperse the molecules in the air to spare the candle flame.

    How close is this guess?

  5. PCali says:

    Candle holder for the blessing of the throats?

  6. sewsnow says:

    It is a holder for St. Blaise candles for throat blessing.

  7. Timmay! says:

    That’s easy. It’s a candle holder for the blessing of throats on the feast of St. Blase. I found one like that a few years ago, with the candles in it, in a storage closet in our Diocesan archives. I can email you a picture if you would like.

    [Please do!]

  8. yatzer says:

    This is a duoholder, used to carry two candles in a monastery procession at night. There is a small fan on the front, which can be whirled around to make a breeze resulting in flickering candlelight for more drama. No need to thank me.

  9. Glennonite says:

    A candle-holder for blessing the throat?

  10. G1j says:

    It’s a finger shortener from the days of the Spanish Inquisition. I remember the cast of Monty Python using it in their skits…or maybe not…Happy Friday:-)

  11. jf3vieira says:

    Just a guess, I would say it is a candle holder for the blessing of the throats on the memorial of St. Blaize

  12. bobbird says:

    To further comment, the threaded stanchion would permit the user to fine-tune the fins up or down so that they line up properly with the candle flames, especially after they begin to shorten.

  13. Hb says:

    I believe this is for the blessing of throats.

    Two candles spread outward which go on each side of the throat and two lit candles upward.

    Per intercessionem Sancti Blasii….

  14. Really hoping it’s not a Communion dispenser.


    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  15. Chuck4247 says:

    Is this by any chance a device used in the blessing of throats to hold the candles?

  16. jaykay says:

    Oh Lord – it looks positively punitive!

    Let’s see… umm… could it be the notorious liturgical tongue-screw? As used by the Holy Office (which certain parties never fail to remind us was The Inquisition – boo, hiss) to enforce (and we KNOW they were ALL about enforcement in the baaad ol’ days pre-65) conformity with “say the black”?

    [That could work!]

  17. Elizium23 says:

    In the spirit of “What Is It?

    It is a Pontificial shoehorn for the buskins. Known to have a slippery sole, the buskin can be securely fastened to the clip (shown) and then placed on His Grace’s foot.

  18. Dimitri_Cavalli says:

    Hmmmm…. Liturgical?

    It seems like something used to automatically feed pies or rotissere chicken to Frances Kissling or Michael Sean Winters.

    Seriously, it looks like something the priest would attach a cross or the Eucharist or a relic–the latter two in some gold(en) case with a glass covering the item and hold up during Mass.

  19. Charivari Rob says:

    Something for an altarboy to hold a Bishop’s miter and crozier without wrinkling the one or getting fingerprints on the other.

  20. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Places for two candles and an adjustable clip that could hold a book open to a prayer or blessing, lit by the candles. The gadget lets one hand do the work of three and leaves the priest’s other hand free to make the sign of the cross. Therefore I propose the name unumprotres.

  21. exNOAAman says:

    Candle holder for the blessing of throats. (That can’t be right, can it?)

  22. edm says:

    It is a gadget for holding blessed candles for the blessing of throats.

  23. Susanna says:

    Dry cruets and lavabo, place upside down in first photos, after washing.

  24. Catie H says:

    The thing used to hold candles for the blessing of the throats at the Feast of St. Blaise!

  25. robert hightower says:

    I think I may recognize that. I’ve noticed that in some Latin Masses, this holds a handle which is lit and set on the altar just before consecration, accompanies the priest while giving out communion, and is removed just after Our Lord is back into the Tabernacle. Couldn’t tell you the name of it

  26. comedyeye says:

    Why that is a James Martin, SJ electromagnetic Truth inhibitor.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  27. arga says:

    You’ll be amused to know that a Google image search turned up almost nothing but semi-automatic rifles.


  28. KateriK says:

    This reminds me of the blessed candle holder used for the Blessing of the Throat on the Feast of Saint Blaise. The last time i saw something similar was when I was five years old at the Cheyenne Cathedral and Bishop Newell blessed our throats.

  29. Glennonite says:

    It’s an olde timey book holder that held two candles for light.

  30. Archlaic says:

    Although I am not privy to its precise usage, I would wager that it is used during the Solemn Removal of the Spine of a Bishop according to the Pontifical of Paul VI!

  31. bobbortolin says:

    Candle wick straightener?

  32. CaliCatholicGuy says:

    Oh yes – the Saint Lawrence Brand charcoal holder. The two “clip” ends next to the handle attach to the sides of the grill and then the coal is placed beneath the teeth and gently screwed down to allow for easy lighting. Great for your thurible or backyard BBQ – order your patented Saint Lawrence “Larry Lighter” today!

  33. HvonBlumenthal says:

    It is used by an Altar Boy at SSPX Masses when preceding father at the altar rail to nip the fingers of any of the faithful who attempt to receive Holy Communion in manu.

  34. Absit invidia says:

    I know exactly what that is. That there is a gospel stand for chanting the altar at high mass where there aren’t any servers to hold the candlesticks on either side.

  35. Prayerful says:

    A means of persuasion for those disrespecting Maximum Leader Jorge?

  36. Semper Gumby says:

    1. A drone from the First Crusade

    2. The Holy Weed Whacker of Antioch

    3. Something, by its very looks, Bugnini and the Fishwrap would disapprove of. Therefore, every seminarian should have two. [LOL!]

    4. A fan to disperse the Smoke of Satan from Holy Church.

    5. A FSSP hair trimmer.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  37. Admiraldr says:

    Candle Holder for St. Blasius Blessing.

  38. APX says:

    I don’t even know if this is a thing, but it sort of looks like a contraption to attach a small monstrance or some sort of something holding the Blessed Sacrament and two candles and carry it be it through the streets to sick calls, etc. But really, no idea whatsoever.

  39. Kate says:

    Google tells me it is an antique tool!

  40. Charivari Rob says:

    Interesting to hear what it actually is.

    I had considered and dismissed candle-holder options, on the grounds that you don’t see many things (with any permanence) that don’t have some provision for catching melting wax and preventing it from dripping all over the floor.

  41. Blackfriar says:

    An almost identical gadget is still in use on St Blaise’s Day at St Patrick’s Basilica in Ottawa.

  42. LarryW2LJ says:

    Thanks for the solution. Fr. I hadn’t been checking the comments. Way back in the deep, dark recesses of my memory, I knew I had seen one of these before! And that was way back in the days when I was knee high to a grasshopper. St. Blaise Day, of course before they started using fancy ribbons to tie the two candles together.

    Although for a moment I thought this might be a cousin to the the rettysnitch or the Wouff-Hong!

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