Pieces of Our Past
October 17, 2014
Artifact: Private Communion Set
Significance: Pastors use small portable private communion sets like this one when visiting parishioners, especially those who are homebound or in the hospital. Private communion sets vary in size depending on what communion pieces are included. Some sets have intricate decoration whereas others are plain. Concordia Historical Institute has many such sets in its collection, in varying styles and sizes.
About the Portable Communion Sets (click on the images for a larger view):
A – This set came to CHI in 2009 from the Rev. Theo. Reiner. He received this set from a former parishioner in his vicarage congregation. The parishioner, Augusta Pietsch, was 92 years old when Reiner was her vicar in 1974–75. The communion set had been passed to her from her grandfather, who had received the set from a relative who was a Methodist pastor. The age of the set is unknown, though CHI staff has determined it was made after 1876. It is possible that it dates from the late 1800s or early 1900s. This set contains a paten, chalice, pyx (sits inside the chalice for storage) and flagon.
B – The pieces of this set, donated by the Rev. H. Leimer in 1960, fit together for storage in a cylindrical case (5 inches high; 3 inches diameter). The three pieces include a chalice, a storage container that opens on one end to hold wafers and the other to hold wine, and a paten that serves as a lid when stored.
C – The private communion set of the Rev. Paul Hansen, donated to CHI in 1976, is unique because when opened, the box serves as a small altar with a cross and two small candleholders. The set (5 x 4 x 5 inches) also consists of a chalice, flagon and paten.
E – The smallest of these communion sets, this set contains a paten, chalice and container for the wine. The small size of this style of private communion ware (5.5 x 2 x 1 inches) is possible because the chalice is stored in three separate pieces and needs to be screwed together for use. The set was donated in 1976, but there is another like it in the CHI collection that was donated in 1966.