Q: I know how much you love these random Church trivia questions, so here’s one for you: my home parish has a baldachin suspended over the altar. What is the symbolism or purpose of this? I don’t see it much in modern churches, however, I did see it at a cathedral once.
A: It’s hard to say exactly—as with so many symbols. Many of them just evolve. But I’d nominate a few biblical passages for inspiration. One is the way Genesis 1:7-8 refers to the sky as a canopy or dome under which the rest of creation happens. There’s also a veil over the tent of meeting in Leviticus 24:3. There was a canopy in front of Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 7:6).