Eucharistic Adoration

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Sacramental suspension in the monstrance
The holy of holies exposed in the ciborium in the exposure niche on the tabernacle of the branch church of Our Lady in Oberrammingen in Upper Swabia

The Eucharistic adoration or exposure of the Holy of Holies ( Latin Expositio sanctissimae Eucharistiae or Expositio sanctissimi Sacramenti ) is a form of prayer in the Roman Catholic Church , in the center of which the so-called Most Holy ( Latin: Sanctissimum ) is worshiped. The culmination and conclusion of the exposure of the Most Holy Place is the sacramental blessing .

to form

Consecrated hosts are usually kept in the tabernacle . When the holy of holies is exposed , a priest , deacon or acolyte places a consecrated host in a special container so that the holy of holies is venerated by the faithful through prayers, hymns or in silent adoration . Any consecrated host can be used, but usually especially large or decorated with an embossed image are used. A monstrance (from Latin monstrare , "to show") is usually used as a container .

The opposite of suspension is reposition (from the Latin reponere , 'to put back', verb to reposition ), in which the Holy of Holies is brought back into the tabernacle . Usually there is a short prayer and, if necessary, a Eucharistic blessing.

In the Roman Catholic Church there are special forms of devotion such as the forty-hour prayer , in which the Holy of Holies is suspended for this period of time and the believers take turns praying. The eternal prayer practiced by certain religious communities and prayer groups; the holy of holies is constantly exposed and is alternately venerated by the members.

The Mount of Olives worship on Holy Thursday is a form of Eucharistic devotion, to set the liturgical books that will take place the adoration after midnight "without any ceremony". Nor does it end with the sacramental blessing.

During the vigil on the occasion of the XX. World Youth Day in Cologne took place in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI. Eucharistic adoration took place with around a million believers. Pope John Paul II. Had the year 2005 as the Year of the Eucharist proclaimed. As a result, the Eucharistic adoration emerged as part of the “ Nightfever ” event , which is now regularly practiced in numerous places.


Baroque altars usually had an exposure niche (Expositorium) on the tabernacle , in which the altar cross stood and which received the monstrance or ciborium when the sanctuary was exposed . The exposure niche was often flanked by two angels . In some corridor crosses there are also exposure niches as shell-shaped hollows in the stone, in which the holy of holies was placed in eucharistic corridor processions when the sacramental blessing was given there.

Some churches have their own sacrament chapels , in which the Holy of Holies is exposed for most of the day or even continuously.

Theological background

The exposure is closely related to Holy Mass and the doctrine of the real presence ; the exposure represents an extension of the elevation , the elevation of the body of Christ during the change in the celebration of mass. The elevation has its origin in the high medieval piety of the Eucharist determined by the desire to see, which was to a certain extent increased by the exposure.

The baroque piety increased the number of occasions for the often festive Eucharistic exposure. In contrast, the Second Vatican Council again emphasized the celebration of Mass as the source and summit of the piety of the Eucharist. In the document De sacra communione et cultu mysterii eucharistici extra missam , the Congregation for Rites emphasizes that in such exposures it is important to make clear the veneration of the Holy Sacrament in its relation to Mass. “In the outward form of suspension, therefore, carefully avoid anything that could somehow obscure the fact that Christ's primary desire at the institution of the Holy Eucharist was to offer it to us as food, remedy and strengthening.” During the suspension of the Most Holy Therefore, no holy mass may be celebrated in the same room of the church or chapel.

It is also forbidden to expose the Most Holy Place for the sole purpose of blessing . The Eucharistic blessing is rather the conclusion of such a time of worship, which is to be preceded by a reasonable time of the reading, singing and of silent prayer.

Web links


  1. ^ Andreas Heinz, Art. Exposed in: Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche III , first volume, Freiburg 1993, 1271–1272
  2. Can. 941 CIC § 2; Holy See website
  3. ↑ Giving communion and worshiping the Eucharist outside of mass , no.83
  4. ↑ Giving communion and worshiping the Eucharist outside of mass , No. 89