Friday, March 21, 2008

What is a Pyx?

As the Eucharist Ministers to the sick approach the altar they each have their Pyx to carry the Eucharist to the sick or homebound of the parish. But what is a pyx and why does it have such a funny name.

The word Pyx is rooted in Greek and means a container. The full word it originates from is Pyxis. Additionally the pyx is carried in a fabric pouch which is called a burse. This is the proper way to transport the Pxy. The Eastern Catholic church view the pyx as a "portable" tabernacle that is used to hold a host. In the Roman Catholic church the pyx is also known as a lunette.

The pyx is also used often by missionaries, this is in addition to those who use one to carry Eucharist to people who cannot attend mass within a particular community. The Missionary may use a pyx to carry the Eucharist into a mission type area. The pyx is filled with Eucharist, or consecrated host. They used a the Eucharist and a and a breviary, or set of prayers to hold large communion services which Eucharist is offered to large groups of people.

Through the centuries the pyx has been made of different materials and are constantly being redesigned to better serve the user. In the modern era, most are shaped like a pocket watch with an ornate image of something to do with Jesus

Antique Pyxides, the plural of the word pyx, were also made of glass or carved from wood. Some were very ornate and Large, almost more like a modern day tabernacle, these can hold many hosts making it easier for larger distributions. Oppositely some are very small and palm-sized which service only one or two communicants.

Whether the 15th century or the 21st century, the pyx is a is used in the exact same manner though out the world and throughout time.



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