• Latin: ostendere, to show, or monstrare, to show


A metal vessel, usually gold or silver-plated, with a transparent section in which the ostensorium is carried in procession or exposed for adoration. It came into use when processions and expositions of the Blessed Sacrament became common usage. Originally shaped ]ike a tower, the form now uscd is a band of metal about two inches deep encircling crystals in front and back, between which is placed the lunette holding the Sacred Host. This metal circlet, surrounded by metallic rays and surmounted by a cross, rests on a stem rising from a round and heavy base. The ostensorium was also called “tabernacle,” and under this name there is a special blessing for it in the Roman Pontifical. Ostensoria of remarkable beauty and value were wrought by the goldsmiths of the Middle Ages, and numerous fine examples have been made in our time. The ostensorium in the Cathedral of Toledo was more than one hundred years making; it is over twelve feet high, and adorned with 200 statuettes, one of the largest of which is said to be of gold brought by Columbus from America.

Associated in Art with

MLA Citation

  • “monstrance”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 13 December 2012. Web. 23 October 2021. <>