(or Canistrum) is a comparatively recent term for two ecclesiastical vessels:
1. A basket used for holding consecrated bread, or perhaps Eulogice. SEE ARCA. St. Jerome (Ep. ad Rustic. c. 20), speaking of the practice among Christians in his day of carrying home the consecrated elements, both of bread and wine, uses the expression, "Qui corpus Domini in canistro vimineo et sanguinem portat in vitro; " from which it appears that a wicker basket was used for holding the consecrated bread. This passage is remarkably illustrated by a fresco discovered in the crypt of St. Cornelius by Cavaliere de' Rossi. This represents a fish (the well-known representation of the Redeemer).swimming in the water, bearing on its back a basket having on the top several small loaves, and inside a red object, clearly visible through the wicker-work, which seems to be a small glass flask of wine. This is marked in the engraving by a somewhat darker tint. SEE ALTAR-BREAD BOX.
2. The disk or tazza placed under a lamp. This sense is frequent in the Liber Pontificalis. For instance, Pope Adrian (772-795) is said to have given to a church twelve silver canistri, weighing thirty-six pounds. Leo III, his successor, gave a silver canister with its chains, weighing fifteen pounds. Gregory IV gave two canistra of nine lights. In the latter case, the lights were probably distributed round the circumference of the tazza.