host

A host is a portion of bread used for Holy Communion in many Christian churches. In Western Christianity the host is often a thin, round unleavened wafer. Most of the Eastern Christian churches use a host cut from a leaven loaf of bread (see Lamb).

The word host is derived from the Latin, hostia, which means “victim” or “sacrificial animal.” The term can be used to describe the bread both before and after consecration, though it is more correct to use it after consecration – “altar bread” being preferred before consecration.The Roman Church teaches that at the Words of Institution the bread is changed into the Body of Christ through transubstantiation.

In the Roman Catholic Church, hosts are often made by nun as a means of supporting their religious communities. In the Latin Rite, unleavened bread is used. It is required that the hosts be made from wheat flour and water only (Code of Canon Law, Canon 924). The Eastern Catholic Churches and the Eastern Orthodox Church use…