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A ciborium is a container, used in Roman Catholic, Anglican, and related Churches' rituals to store Holy Communion. Its shape resembles that of a chalice but is more round than conical, and comes with a cover ornamented by a cross or other sacred designs. In Early Christian churches, a ciborium was a canopy or covering in a basilica, supported by columns.

In the early Christian Church, Holy Communion was not kept in churches for fear of sacrilege or desecration. Later, the first ciboriums were kept at homes to be handy for the Last Rites where needed. A ciborium is usually kept in a tabernacle.

In some other churches, a paten or a pyx is used for distribution of holy communion. A pyx, in the Catholic sense, is a smaller container, usually used for bringing communion to the sick.


It is also the name of an architectural feature in a Catholic or Eastern Orthodox church that covers the altar; these were more common in Early Medieval churches. SeeCategory:Ciborium (architecture)

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