Ciborium (vessel)

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Ciborium (PSF) .jpg

A ciborium ( lat. Ciborium "beaker" plurality ciboria ), also feed cup or chalice called, is a vessel in the Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches for storing the consecrated wafers is used.


The ciborium is a chalice with a removable lid. The hosts consecrated at the holy mass are kept in the tabernacle for the communion of the sick or the giving of communion outside the mass. A number of consecrated hosts are also kept ready in the ciborium in case the number of communicants is greater than expected at a holy mass. The ciborium can be covered with a ciborium velum to indicate the presence of the holy of holies in it. Sometimes the sacramental blessing is also given with the ciborium ; where this is the case, the celebrant only puts on the shoulder velum , not a choir cloak .

In the early church, the Holy of Holies was not yet kept in the churches for fear of desecration . Later, the Christians kept the hosts in their homes, which were intended to be consumed on the way when the sacraments were administered. In the early Middle Ages, the Eucharist was usually kept in a pyxis , a box made of fine wood, ivory or metal with a cross on the lid.

Since the 13th century, a shape type adapted to the measuring chalice has increasingly been chosen for the host container , so that both only differ in terms of the lid and the seam closure. The ciborium also usually has a larger capacity than the consecration chalice. The change in religious practices after the Council of Trent created a need for more voluminous cibories and, especially during the Counter-Reformation , led to the splendidly decorated goldsmiths of the Baroque period.

The term ciborium , derived from the architectural canopy-like vaulted altar ciborium , was transferred to the cup in the 17th century .


  • Joseph Braun : The Christian altarpiece in its being and in its development. Munich 1932.

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