The meanings, origins and ancient traditions surrounding Christian symbols date back to early times when the majority of ordinary people were not able to read or write and printing was unknown. Many were 'borrowed' or drawn from early pre-Christian traditions.
The Definition and Meaning of the Chalice as a Catholic Christian Symbol
Catholic Christian symbolism in art provides a clear graphic illustration which represents people or items of religious significance. What is the definition and the meaning of the Chalice? The chalice is a a bowl-shaped drinking vessel, cup or bowl, especially the Eucharistic cup. The word chalice comes from the Latin word 'calix' meaning cup. The name of the cup used in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. The chalice is a symbol of Holy Communion and the forgiveness of sin won by Christ's blood shed on the cross. The Lordís Supper is symbolized by a chalice of wine with the bread rising above it. The chalice used for the celebration of the Eucharist contains Wine mixed with a little water over which the priest repeats the words of consecration, "This is my body" and holds up the chalice for the congregation to see. The faithful believe that the wine becomes Christ's blood (as the bread became Christ's body). The ritual is extremely important and the chalice is one of the most richly decorated objects in the church treasury. A chalice is usually made of gold or silver and encrusted with semi precious stones and with scenes relating to the Eucharist.
Reference to the Chalice Christian Symbol in the Bible
The following reference to the Chalice found in the in the Bible:
Matt. 26:27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the(n) covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom." (NIV)