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A Christian term for Jesus, first used in the Gospel of John. It carries out the image of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus as a new Passover: a lamb was killed for the Jewish Passover, and Jesus himself, in the sacrifice of his death and Resurrection, is the lamb for the new Passover.
designation of Jesus Christ in Christian liturgical usage. It is based on the saying of John the Baptist: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). In the Roman Catholic liturgy the Agnus Dei is employed in the following text: "Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us! Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us! Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, grant us peace!" It comes between the Lord's Prayer and the Communion and sounds the themes of sacrifice and of adoration. Thus, it unites the sacrifice of the liturgy to the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross as the Lamb of God and calls to mind the sacrifice of the lamb in the cultus of the Old Testament. Both Anglican and Lutheran liturgies have retained the Agnus Dei in their eucharistic rites. It also appears as part of many of the litanies.