Catholic Dictionary




Two tablets of metal, ivory, or wood hinged together. The inner surface was sometimes covered with wax for writing with a stylus. In the early Church one side contained the names of living persons, the other side the deceased, to be commemorated in the liturgy. Among the living were the names of the Pope, bishop, and prominent lay and ecclesiastical personages. From the diptychs of the dead originated later necrologies. Diptychs are still used in some Eastern liturgies, e.g., among the Catholic Syrians. (Etym. Greek diptycha, a pair of tablets.)