An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Host (Eucharistic)

The consecrated bread of the eucharist. The term is from the Latin hostia, “victim.” Use of the term reflects an understanding of the eucharist in sacrificial terms relative to Christ's death on the cross. The term is also extended to mean the bread or wafers to be consecrated at the eucharist. The individual wafers of the eucharist may be referred to as “hosts.” Many parishes use a large host that is broken by the celebrant at the fraction. This “Priest's Host” may be decorated with Christian symbols that are pressed into the large wafer. It is typically placed on the paten prior to the service when the chalice is vested. The smaller “hosts” that will be distributed to the people are placed in a ciborium and placed on the paten with the “Priest's Host” when the altar is prepared before the Great Thanksgiving at the eucharist.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.