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How to choose the right chalice?

Are you a seminarian waiting to receive priestly ordination, or have you decided to give a priest a gift for his ordination or an anniversary? The priestly chalice is one of the most suitable choices in these cases. Today it is possible to choose from a large variety of glasses, which is why we want to help you find the one that best suits your needs.

Let’s find out what characteristics to consider when looking for a perfect and tailor-made priestly chalice. Keep reading!

The origins of the chalice for the priest

The priestly chalice is the sacred vessel used during the Eucharist to offer. And consecrate the wine of the Holy Mass. The word Calix was used to indicate the standard glass, and from the beginning, Christians decided to use this term to display the cup used to perform the divine Sacrifice. If you think about it, the chalice represents the vessel used by Jesus Himself during the Last Supper. And represents the symbol of his passion for him.

Later, the barbarian invasions led to the reduction of the production of works of art and wealth. Less noble metals, such as iron and lead, and some common stones, such as animal horn and wood. The shapes of the glasses also changed, becoming more stocky and less refined.

In the following centuries, they rediscovered their elegant shape. Above all, thanks to the Renaissance and Baroque artistic influences. Albeit maintaining a strong interest in the sober forms inherited from the Middle Ages.

Representation of chalice



Catalog of chalices

  • Hinged chalice: large, with handle handles and widespread in the Carolingian age;
  • Goblet for pre-tasting: small, with handles and lid and used to taste the wine before the celebration of the Mass;
  • Chalice with bells: decorated with small bells hanging from the cup, prevalent mainly in countries of Spanish culture;
  • Chalice of the seminarian: made of non-precious material and not yet consecrated, it is used to teach seminarians to celebrate Mass;
  • Chalice of the missionary: small in size and suitable for long journeys;
  • Papal chalice: reserved exclusively for the Pope and equipped with a lid for closing;
  • Purifying chalice: until the seventeenth century, it was used to offer the faithful non-consecrated wine to rinse their mouths after taking Communion;
  • Funerary chalice: small and light, built in a humble and not precious material, such as wood, lead, or tin, and was placed inside the tombs of the priests;
  • Victory chalice: small in size, mostly disassembled to be transported during travels.

The chalice of communion with Christ

As you know, the priestly chalice is the sacred vessel containing the wine that is transformed into the Blood of Christ. During the celebration of the Eucharist. The chalice, therefore, represents the symbol of communion between God and men, of the ancient covenant of the Old Testament, which is renewed and acquires an entirely new meaning thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus. The gesture of offering his blood to atone for all sins has become, on the one hand, the symbol of the filial obedience of Jesus Himself. And on the other, the means for the salvation of all humanity.

This is why the communion chalice becomes vital because of what it is intended to contain. The wine is transformed into Blood. The same goes for all the different accessories used by the priest during the Liturgy. Next to the chalice of communion, for example, we find the pyx, the chalice for hosts, which sometimes has the shape of a bowl. The glass cruets for celebration. Which contain water and wine before they are poured into the appropriate containers. The patent, the saucer used by the priest to store the most prominent host during the consecration.

What are the parts that make it up?

The chalice is mainly composed of three parts: the foot, the stem with the knot, and the cup. The foot can be polygonal round or mixtilinear and must be broad in such a way as to guarantee maximum stability to the glass. This is why its diameter must exceed that of the cup. The item must be tall enough but without exaggeration.

The knot must not be too bulky, and the ornamentation must facilitate using the chalice. It is important to remember that after the consecration while distributing the Body of Christ, the priest of Christ is not accessible in his movements as he has his thumb and forefinger united. This is why the ornament must not hinder the safe grip of the chalice.

Finally, the cup widens towards the lip without being too narrow and deep in such a way as to make it easier to use and handle the glass. Particular attention should be paid to the measures of the glass. The minimum height of the glass must be at least 16 cm, while the maximum size can never exceed 28 cm.

The material of the chalice

Today it is impossible to use any material that is not noble and easy to corrosion. And at risk of uncomplicated fractures making the cup of glass. It is, therefore, not possible to use materials such as clay, bronze, glass, and wood.

The liturgical norms foresee that at least the chalice cup is made of gold or silver. Whatever the material used, the glass must be treated with solid gilding. At least on the inside. This part is the one that comes into contact with the Body of Christ.

The other parts of the glass are the stem and the knot. And the foot, any other metal can be used. In many cases, tin is accepted for economic or poverty reasons. The container has no disadvantages of porosity, fragility, and oxidation. Even if the indispensable requisites of the glasses are stability and harmonic conformation. And easy handling, it is essential to remember to take care of the definition of the ornament. Furthermore, the ornamentation must not have anything profane or undignified.


On the ornament of the chalice, engrave a scriptural scene related to the Eucharist or figures of angels, saints, symbols, virtues, and Christian emblems. Now that you know all about the essential characteristics, you are ready to buy the chalice for yourself or the priest of your parish. Visit the dedicated page on Amazon, and choose the perfect glass!