Vessels, Sacred, of the Altar

Vessels, Sacred, Of The Altar is a general name for the vessels used in the sacramental and other rites of the Church. These are more numerous in the ritualistic churches than in others, and anciently were held very sacred. By the Council of Laodicea, subdeacons were forbidden to handle the plate or to enter the sacristy; by the second Council of Rome, a reader or ostiarius received a like restriction; and by the Council of Agde, all not in orders were so prohibited. The principal vessels and appertaining articles are the following ampulla, or vessel for holding consecrated oil, or the large flagon used for a cruet in the holy sacrament; censer, or vessel for holding burning incense; chalice, the vessel for the sacramental wine; ciborium, either a canopy over the altar or a box or vessel to contain the bread in the celebration of the eucharist, corporal, a square piece of cloth for holding the body of Christ at communion; columba, a dove-shaped vessel to contain the eucharist suspended over the altar by a chain from the roof; cruets, two small flagons for containing the wine and water at holy communion; holy-water pot, a vat or pot to hold the holy water; monstrance, a transparent vessel for showing the eucharist in the form of bread to the people; paten, the plate on which the bread is placed at holy communion; pall, a covering for the chalice in certain portions of the mass; purififcator, a piece of lawn or fine linen for cleansing the chalice and paten; pyx, a box or vessel in which to preserve the eucharist, in the form of bread, for the sick and other communicants who cannot be present in the church; pyx-cloth, a cloth or veil for covering the pyx; thurible, a vessel in which incense is burned. See each word in its place. SEE ORNAMENTS, ECCLESIASTICAL.

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