Definition of ciborium in English:



  • 1A receptacle shaped like a shrine or a cup with an arched cover, used in the Christian Church to hold the Eucharist.

    • ‘One of these formal tracings is color-coded according to the materials employed, and it details the contours and regulating lines for a silver-gilt ciborium.’
    • ‘For generations, parishioners have donated many items such as our beautiful stained glass windows, silver chalices, ciboria, monstrance, statues and crucifix.’
    • ‘Sometimes there are two dishes, a knight on a bier, a head in a dish, a stone, or a ciborium.’
    • ‘In one of the more memorable scenes Huguette's religious advisers held a ciborium over Leonarde's head, and she was required to lower herself continually so that her head never rose above the Eucharist within it.’
    holy place, temple, church, chapel, tabernacle, altar, sanctuary, sanctum
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  • 2A canopy over an altar in a church, standing on four pillars.

    • ‘This polygonal stage overhangs the altar and thus serves as a monumental ciborium for liturgical activity below.’
    • ‘The four-sided capital, proposed here as part of a tomb niche, was more likely part of a freestanding ciborium or architectural support.’
    • ‘It was unified with the altar, its frame echoed the architecture of the building and in some cases, like the high altar in St Peter's, Rome, was given a ciborium.’


Mid 16th century: via medieval Latin from Greek kibōrion seed vessel of the water lily or a cup made from it. ciborium is probably influenced by Latin cibus food.