A ciborium is a vessel that was originally a drinking cup but later used to refer to a receptacle for the Blessed Sacrament. It is used at Mass to contain the hosts that are consecrated and then distributed to the faithful during Holy Communion.
The base of the ciborium is trimmed in an ornamental gemstone known as sodalite, often used because of its rich royal blue color. Many specimens are fluorescent in ultraviolet light. Sodalite is a fragile mineral which gets its name from its sodium content. Wonderful crystals, such as the ones visible in this ciborium, are found in these ornamental trims.
This particular ciborium contains, on the bottom of the vessel, an inscription that denotes it was a gift from Pope Paul VI, now Blessed Paul VI. At its center is his coat of arms.
Any item containing a pope’s coat of arms or designation as a gift is of utmost value to this Collection, particularly those of our pontiffs who have become canonized or beatified, as has Blessed Paul VI.