A ciborium is a vessel, usually made of metal, that is used to hold the consecrated bread or sacred wafers for the Eucharist in Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and related churches. The word "ciborium" comes from the ancient Greek word "kibōrion," which referred to a cup-shaped seed vessel of the Egyptian water-lily nelumbium speciosum and later came to describe a drinking cup made from that seed casing or in a similar shape. In medieval Latin and in English, "ciborium" more commonly refers to a covered container used to store the consecrated hosts of the sacrament of Holy Communion. The ciborium is usually shaped like a rounded goblet, or chalice, having a dome-shaped cover. Its form originally developed from that of the pyx, the vessel containing the consecrated bread used in the service of the Holy Communion. The ciborium is not a consecrated vessel and needs only a blessing before it is first used. The vessel can be made of either silver or gold, but the interior of the cup must be lined with gold.

A ciborium is a vessel, usually made of metal, that is used to hold the consecrated bread or sacred wafers for the Eucharist in Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and related churches. The word "ciborium" comes from the ancient Greek word "kibōrion," which referred to a cup-shaped seed vessel of the Egyptian water-lily nelumbium speciosum and later came to describe a drinking cup made from that seed casing or in a similar shape. In medieval Latin and in English, "ciborium" more commonly refers to a covered container used to store the consecrated hosts of the sacrament of Holy Communion. The ciborium is usually shaped like a rounded goblet, or chalice, having a dome-shaped cover. Its form originally developed from that of the pyx, the vessel containing the consecrated bread used in the service of the Holy Communion. The ciborium is not a consecrated vessel and needs only a blessing before it is first used. The vessel can be made of either silver or gold, but the interior of the cup must be lined with gold.


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A ciborium is a container used in churches for religious ceremonies. It is a sacred vessel commonly found in cloisters. Made of precious metals such as gold or silver, an open ciborium serves as a container for consecrated hosts in churches. The open ciborium is often made of brass and is used as a drinking cup. The consecrated hosts are believed to represent the body of Christ. The term "ciborium" originates from the Latin word "ciborius," meaning "cup-shaped canopy." This vessel holds great significance within the context of worship in churches and symbolizes the reverence and sanctity associated with the Eucharist. The ciborium is often found in cloisters and is used as a container for the Eucharistic bread. It is sometimes placed under a baldachin in churches.

Open ciboria, also known as open ciboriums, have been used in churches and cloisters throughout history. They are essential to Christian liturgy, often adorned with curtains for added symbolism. These meticulously crafted ornate vessels, such as the 24kt gold plate chalice and an open ciborium, are usually found in churches and abbeys. They feature intricate designs and embellishments that reflect their spiritual importance. Ciboria is vital in facilitating communion and fostering a connection between believers and their faith by containing the consecrated hosts in churches and monasteries. The ciboria are often covered with curtains and placed on a bowl, ensuring the sacredness of the hosts.

Cultural Importance of Ciborium in Religious Ceremonies

The ciborium and churches hold immense cultural significance within Catholic and Orthodox Christian traditions. It is often adorned with a 24kt gold plate chalice and can be found under the baldachin, surrounded by curtains. The 24kt gold plate chalice serves as a powerful symbol of Christ's presence during Holy Communion in churches. It is often placed under the baldachin, emphasizing its significance. This 24kt gold plate chalice has been an integral part of religious ceremonies in churches for centuries, with its use dating back to early Christianity. During these sacred rituals, it is often placed on the altar under a baldachin.

Role in Catholic and Orthodox Christian Traditions

In Catholic and Orthodox Christian traditions, the churches use the ciborium to hold the 24kt gold plate chalice on the altar during the sacrament of the Eucharist. This artful piece is an essential part of the ceremony. During this ceremony, a 24kt gold plate chalice is used to consecrate bread and wine as examples of art, representing the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The goblet measures an inch in size. The ciborium, a 24kt gold plate chalice, is used on the altar to hold the consecrated hosts, then distributed to worshippers on a paten.

Symbolism of Christ's Presence

The ciborium, an artful container with a capacity of an inch, is placed on the altar to house the consecrated hosts that Catholics believe become the actual body of Christ. As such, the altar symbolizes the real presence of Jesus during Mass or other religious services. You can see the 24kt gold inch with a quick view that adds to its significance. The careful handling and reverence shown towards this 24kt gold altar reflect a deep respect for Christ's presence among believers. With a quick view, one can appreciate the inch dimensions of this vessel.

Historical Significance

The use of ciboria on the altar dates back to early Christianity when they were made from simple materials like wood or clay. Ciboria provides a quick view of the host during Mass, allowing worshipers to see the sacred symbol up close. These vessels have been an integral part of religious ceremonies for centuries, symbolizing the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Today, ciboria are often made from precious materials like gold or silver, adding a touch of beauty and reverence to the sacred act of communion. Over time, their design evolved, incorporating more elaborate elements such as 24kt gold, gemstones, and a scale. The altar weighed several oz. Today, when looking at ciboria for your altar, you can quickly view various options in different materials, such as gold or silver. These ciboria showcase exquisite craftsmanship with intricate designs, allowing you to appreciate the fine details on a smaller scale.

Adornments and Designs

Ciboria, also known as altar vessels, often feature intricate patterns, engravings, or filigree work on their exteriors. When used during religious ceremonies, they are placed on the paten and carefully weighed on a scale. One can observe the ciboria's exterior for a quick view of their ornate designs. These decorative elements, such as the altar and paten, serve not only aesthetic purposes but also convey a sense of reverence for their sacred contents. The 24kt gold accents on the altar and the precision scale used with the paten add to their significance. Some ciboria may be embellished with precious gemstones or symbols representing essential aspects of faith. These exquisite ciboria are crafted with 24kt gold and can be viewed quickly with a convenient quick view feature. Additionally, they may come with a paten for use on the altar.

Cultural Heritage Passed Down Through Generations

The use of ciboria, with its 24kt gold paten, has been passed down through generations, preserving the rich cultural heritage associated with the Eucharist. Quick view of the scale of this tradition. These vessels, made with 24kt gold, are often cherished heirlooms within religious communities, carrying a sense of history and tradition. They can be viewed quickly using the quick view feature and have a high host capacity. Their continued use of 24kt gold patens in modern-day ceremonies serves as an immediate view into the past and a testament to the enduring nature of faith. The host capacity remains an important aspect.

Types of Ciborium: Design and Function

Ciboria comes in various designs, each with its unique shape and purpose. With a quick view, you can easily admire the intricate paten design. Some ciboria even feature stunning 24kt gold accents. Additionally, ciboria is available in different sizes to accommodate varying host capacities. Let's explore the different types of ciboria available:

Chalice-shaped Ciborium

One typical design is the chalice-shaped ciborium. With its traditional design, this type of wine chalice is often used during religious ceremonies. It features a patent for holding the sacramental bread and a quick view option for easy access. The chalice is made with 24kt gold, giving it a luxurious appearance. Additionally, it has a generous host capacity to accommodate larger gatherings. The quick view of the paten showcases its broad base that narrows towards the top, creating a cup-like structure to hold the consecrated hosts. With its capacity and 24kt gold design, it is a stunning piece. The chalice shape, with its pattern for quick view, symbolizes the Last Supper and represents the importance of communion in the Christian faith. It is made with 24kt gold and has a host capacity.

Dome-shaped Ciborium

Another popular design is the dome-shaped ciborium. This type has a rounded or domed top, resembling an ornate building or temple. With a quick view, you can appreciate the intricate details of the 24kt gold accents. Additionally, this type has a host capacity that allows for a more significant number of visitors. The dome shape, made with 24kt gold, signifies heaven and divinity, emphasizing the sacredness of the hosts within. Quick view of the capacity of divine presence within. Dome-shaped ciboria often have intricate engravings or decorative elements on their exteriors, adding to their aesthetic appeal. With a quick view, one can appreciate the 24kt gold accents and the host capacity of these ciboria.

Tower-like Ciborium

In addition to chalice and dome shapes, tower-like ciboria are available for quick viewing. These ciboria have a host capacity and are made with 24kt gold. These structures are tall and slender, resembling miniature towers or spires. With a quick view, you can appreciate their host capacity and the exquisite touch of 24kt gold. Tower-like ciboria with multiple tiers or levels offer a quick view of the 24kt gold consecrated hosts for larger religious gatherings or special occasions.

Lidded Ciborium

Some ciboria come with a 24kt gold lid or cover that serves both functional and symbolic purposes. With a quick view, you can see the host capacity. The 24kt gold top helps protect the consecrated hosts from dust and other contaminants while not in use. Use the quick view feature to closely examine the exquisite design. Symbolically, 24kt gold represents safeguarding and reverence for the Eucharist—the belief that these hosts are transformed into the body of Christ during Mass—quick view.

Handles for Easy Handling

To facilitate easy handling during religious rituals, many ciboria are designed with handles for a quick view of the gold and to accommodate the host’s capacity. These gold handles allow priests or ministers to securely carry the sacred hosts without risk of dropping or mishandling. The quick view of the handles ensures easy and efficient handling of the holy hosts. The handles are typically located on the sides of the ciborium, providing a firm grip for quick view and ensuring safe transport during processions or distribution of communion. The host capacity is also taken into consideration when designing the handles.

Interior Lining for Purity

To enhance the visual appeal and provide a quick view, the interior of a ciborium is often lined with precious metals such as gold or silver. This also helps to maintain purity and accommodates the host capacity. These metals add a touch of luxury and provide a quick view to prevent impurities from contaminating the consecrated hosts. Using gold or silver linings reflects the significance and reverence attached to the Eucharist host in religious traditions. In a quick view, these linings symbolize the importance of this sacred ritual.

Symbolism of Ciborium in the Catholic Faith

The ciborium, also known as the host, holds significant symbolism within the Catholic faith, representing various aspects of belief and worship. In a quick view, it is a sacred vessel used to celebrate the Eucharist. Let's explore the profound meaning behind this sacred vessel.

Last Supper and Communion

One of the primary symbols associated with the ciborium is its connection to the Last Supper, where Jesus served bread and wine to his disciples. The ciborium holds the consecrated host, representing Christ’s body. It is often used during Mass for quick view and easy distribution to the faithful. During this final meal shared by Jesus and his disciples, he broke bread and shared it among them, saying, "This is my body." The ciborium serves as a vessel to hold the consecrated hosts, which are believed to become the body of Christ during Mass. In a quick view, the ciborium contains the consecrated hosts. This fast-view connection to the Last Supper highlights the importance of Communion in Catholic theology. As the host, Communion plays a significant role in Catholic beliefs.

Unity Among Believers

Using a common vessel like the ciborium emphasizes unity among believers as they partake in Communion, with the host being shared among them. Just as Jesus shared bread with his disciples, Catholics partake in this sacrament as a community, with the host being the centerpiece. The act of receiving Communion from the same host ciborium signifies a bond between individuals who share their faith and participate in worship together.

Representation of God's Divine Presence

The shape of the ciborium, which is used to host the Eucharist, adds another layer of symbolism to its significance. Resembling a canopy or a miniature temple structure, the host represents God's divine presence above us. This design element reminds Catholics that they are entering into a sacred space when approaching the Eucharist, which the church hosts. It serves as a visual reminder that they are encountering something holy and should approach the host with reverence and awe.

Reverence for the Eucharist

Above all else, using a ciborium underscores reverence for the Eucharist itself and the host's role as the sacrament's central element. The Eucharist is considered one of the significant sacraments in Catholic worship because it is believed to be genuinely and substantially Christ's body and blood, which is hosted during the ceremony. By employing such an ornate vessel specifically designed for holding these consecrated hosts, the Church underscores the sacredness and importance of this sacrament. It encourages believers to approach the Eucharist with deep respect and devotion, honoring the host.

Ciborium vs. Tabernacle: Understanding the Differences

In the Catholic faith, the ciborium and tabernacle are hosts during the Eucharistic celebration. While they both hold consecrated hosts, there are distinct differences between these sacred vessels.

Permanent Storage vs. Distribution

The primary difference lies in their purpose and usage. A tabernacle is a permanent storage place for the consecrated hosts when they are not used during Mass. It is a secure and respectful space where the Eucharist host is reserved for distribution to the sick or adoration by the faithful outside Mass.

On the other hand, ciboria are explicitly used during the Eucharistic celebration to distribute hosts to the faithful. They are often seen on the altar during Mass and are used to hold multiple hosts that will be distributed to communicants.

Size and Portability

Another notable distinction between ciboria and tabernacles is their size and portability. The ciboria is used to hold the consecrated host, while the tabernacle is a secure place to store the host when not in use. Ciboria are typically smaller in size compared to tabernacles. They are designed to be easily held by priests or ministers as they distribute Communion, ensuring efficiency and practicality during Mass.

In contrast, tabernacles tend to be larger because they function as a storage place for multiple consecrated hosts. They may have intricate designs or be made from precious materials, symbolizing their significance within the church.

Placement within the Church

The placement of these sacred vessels also differs significantly. Tabernacles are often positioned on or near the altar, serving as a focal point during Mass. They may be adorned with candles or other decorations to highlight their importance.

Ciboria, however, does not have a fixed location within the church since they are brought out only during specific parts of the liturgy. Once they have fulfilled their purpose in distributing Communion, they are returned to a secure location until needed again.

Rituals and Customs Surrounding the Use of Ciborium

Purification with Holy Water and Wiping Clean

Before the use of a ciborium, it undergoes a purification process. This involves sprinkling holy water over it and wiping it clean by a priest or deacon. The purpose of this ritual is to cleanse the ciborium and prepare it for holding the consecrated hosts during Communion.

Elevated During Consecration

During Mass, a critical moment occurs when the bread and wine are consecrated, transforming them into the body and blood of Christ. At this sacred moment, the ciborium plays a significant role. The priest or deacon elevates it as a symbol of reverence and respect for the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Exclusive Handling by Ordained Ministers

The handling of the ciborium is restricted to ordained ministers such as priests or deacons. This practice ensures proper respect for the sacred vessels used to celebrate Mass. Only those who have received Holy Orders are entrusted with this responsibility, emphasizing their role as mediators between God and His people.

Careful Return to Tabernacle

After Communion, any remaining consecrated hosts within the ciborium are handled with great care. These hosts are considered truly present as Jesus Christ Himself in his body, blood, soul, and divinity. Therefore, they must be treated with utmost reverence. The remaining consecrated hosts are carefully returned to the tabernacle—a unique cabinet where they are stored until they can be distributed during future Masses or brought to those who cannot attend due to illness or other reasons.

Reflecting on the Legacy and Reverence of Ciborium

As explored in this blog post, the ciborium holds immense cultural importance in religious ceremonies. Its design and function vary, but its symbolism within the Catholic faith remains consistent. The ciborium stands as a testament to the reverence and devotion of believers, serving as a vessel for the Eucharist and representing the presence of Christ.

Understanding the differences between a ciborium and a tabernacle is crucial for those seeking to deepen their knowledge of Catholic rituals. While both hold sacred elements, they serve distinct purposes. The ciborium is used during Mass to distribute communion to the faithful, while the tabernacle serves as a repository for consecrated hosts outside Mass.

In conclusion, exploring the legacy and significance of ciborium enriches our understanding of religious practices. It deepens our appreciation for the intricate rituals and customs surrounding its use. Whether you are an avid believer or simply curious about religious traditions, delving into this subject fosters a greater understanding of faith and its expression through sacred objects.


What materials are commonly used to make a ciborium?

Ciboria are typically made from precious metals such as gold or silver due to their association with divine worship. However, some may also be crafted from other materials like brass or pewter.

Can anyone handle a ciborium during Mass?

Handling a ciborium during Mass is usually reserved for ordained ministers such as priests or deacons who have received proper training in liturgical practices.

Are there any specific rules regarding how a ciborium should be handled?

Some guidelines dictate how a ciborium should be treated with utmost respect. For example, it should be held with clean hands and never placed on an unclean surface.

How often is a ciborium used in a typical Catholic Mass?

The ciborium is used during the Holy Communion distribution, which usually occurs towards the end of the Mass. Its frequency of use depends on factors such as the size of the congregation and the number of hosts consecrated.

Can a ciborium be personalized or decorated?

While there are no strict rules regarding personalization or decoration, it is common for ciboria to feature intricate designs, engravings, or religious symbols that enhance their aesthetic appeal and highlight their sacred purpose.