An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Pyx (or Pix)

A small round container or box for consecrated bread that is taken to those who cannot be present for the Eucharist at church. During the first centuries of the church, Christians carried home portions of the consecrated bread from the Sunday Eucharist to communicate themselves. The carried the bread in small boxes of wood, ivory or metal. These boxes were known as arcae or arculae. They were carried by a cord suspended around the neck. Modern pyxes are relatively flat and still carried in this way. Somewhat larger pyxes may be carried in a pocket or purse. Pyxes may be made of gold or silver and may be decorated with a cross or other Christian religious symbols. The term has also been applied to a vessel for reservation of the sacrament that was suspended over the high altar. It was known as a “hanging pyx.” The first monstrances were pyxes with openings on the sides which were mounted upon a stem and foot.

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.