The bronze tabernacle in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels was designed and fabricated by sculptor Max DeMoss. The tabernacle reserves the blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist, which is taken to the sick and elderly by Eucharistic Ministers during the week.

Since the design of the Cathedral building is angular and linear, DeMoss wanted "to create a tabernacle that contrasts and compliments the architecture in form and style." The word tabernacle comes from the Hebrew and means "tent." One of the structural design elements DeMoss incorporated into the tabernacle is the arc. Both in its physical geometry and conceptually, the arcs of the tabernacle refer to the Old Testament's Ark of the Covenant, the chest that held the Ten Commandments and signified the relationship between God and God's people.

At ten feet tall, the tabernacle consists of three towers and weighs a total of 1400 pounds. Along with the arc, many of the elements of the tabernacle were designed to conspire with the architecture to bring the viewer a sense of ascension, of being closer to God. The tabernacle's vertical composition draws the eye to the heavens. The patina, or color coating, has the same effect, by gradually making the transition from dark to light as it travels up the tabernacle with the eye.

The symbols DeMoss employs on the exterior of the doors of the tabernacle suggest the Eucharist inside. A subtle wheat and grape motif adorns the doors. Chaffs of wheat, representing the Body of Christ, or the bread, rise from the base. In the mid-section, grape leaves with clusters of grapes, representing the Blood of Christ, or the wine, surround an oval-shaped section of polished bronze where the central cross rests. The cross is made of orangewood, cast in bronze, and serves as the handle for opening the tabernacle.

The doors open to reveal a 42-inch wide triptych and polished bronze ciborium. On either side of the main tower, sentinel angels protectively keep watch over the womb-like ciborium where the Eucharist is reserved. The reflective surfaces -- the ciborium, tips of the angels' wings, and other places inlayed with silver -- play with the light in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. When opened, the structure in its totality resembles a flame, symbolizing Christ as the Light.

Tabernacle Lamp

The bronze and silver tabernacle lamp, designed and fabricated by Max DeMoss, holds a seven-day candle, the purpose of which is to signify the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in the nearby tabernacle.

DeMoss' design echoes key elements of the tabernacle. The vertical arc forming the body of lamp is the arc of the central tower of tabernacle in reverse. The circle in the center of the lamp represents the continuum of life and death, the alpha and the omega, the mystery of the Eucharist.

Learn more about the ARTIST.

back to top