Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A vaulted canopy permanently placed over an altar.
  • n. A covered receptacle for holding the consecrated wafers of the Eucharist.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A fixed vaulted canopy over a Christian altar, supported on four columns.
  • n. A covered receptacle for holding the consecrated wafers of the Eucharist.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A canopy usually standing free and supported on four columns, covering the high altar, or, very rarely, a secondary altar.
  • n. The coffer or case in which the host is kept; the pyx.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A permanent canopy erected over a high altar; a baldachin.
  • n. Any vessel designed to contain the consecrated bread or sacred wafers for the eucharist.
  • n. A larger receptacle, often of marble, supported on a high stand raised over the altar or elsewhere, containing the pyx or the wafers themselves.
  • n. A sort of ambry or cupboard in the wall used for the same purpose.
  • n. In conchology, the glossy impression on the inside of the valves of shells where the adductor muscles of the mollusk have been attached; the muscular impression or cicatrix.

Etymologies

Medieval Latin cibōrium, from Latin, a drinking cup, from Greek kibōrion, probably of Egyptian origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Medieval Latin cibōrium ("drinking-cup"), from Ancient Greek κιβώριον (kibōrion, "the Egyptian water-lily’s cupulate seed pod”, or “a drinking-cup fashioned therefrom"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • As has been noted numerous times before, in an age of free-standing altars, the ciborium is one particularly suitable way to lend presence and verticality to our altars -- something the high altar should have, and something which has often been lost in newer or renovated church buildings.

    Potentialities of the Rood Screen Today

  • While it would be additionally wonderful were the Mass to be celebrated ad orientem (it will be celebrated versus populum) the use of the original high altar with its ciborium is a spectacular bit of news.

    Installation of Vincent Nichols to Westminster to be Celebrated at Original High Altar

  • Atop the ciborium is written "Beati qui ad coenam nuptiarum Agni vocati sunt" taken from the Book of Revelation, chapter 19, verse 9: "Blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb"

    Adrian Fortescue and St. Hugh of Lincoln

  • For this reason, in the minds of the early Christians, the altar could never be without the halo of its sacred nature -- that is, the ciborium or baldacchino in marble or in silver.

    An Irish Ciborium and the Ciborium Generally

  • In ecclesiastical architecture, a ciborium is a canopy or covering supported by columns, freestanding in the sanctuary, that covers the altar in a basilica or other church.

    Ciborium

  • During the mass, Fr. W skipped the confession (after preaching about sin) and Fr. M almost blessed the bread with the words of consecration for the wine ... that's easy to do when one is using a ciborium, which is a bread box that's shaped like a chalice.

    trinityboy Diary Entry

  • The ciborium is the bowl that contains the consecrated eucharistic Host prepared for Holy Communion.

    A Handbook of Symbols in Christian Art

  • The altar is covered, at least in basilicas and also in large churches, by a canopy supported by columns, called the ciborium

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 1: Aachen-Assize

  • This canopy was known as the ciborium or tegurium.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 1: Aachen-Assize

  • On the front of the ciborium was a scene which about this time became a favourite subject with Christian artists: Christ enthroned in the midst of the

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 1: Aachen-Assize

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