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Tabernacles / Key Boxes
A tabernacle box is a cupboard or box-shaped receptacle for the exclusive reservation of the blessed Sacrament. The blessed Sacrament is the bread and wine used during communion that is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. During the times of the early Christians, tabernacles containing sacred species were kept in private homes of Christians where the faithful had to meet for fear of persecution.
The tabernacle box may be found in many shapes, sizes and designs. Designs range from small, portable boxes with decorated doors to large, intricate creations that are intended to remain in a fixed location. The tabernacle box is usually made of metal, with bronze being a popular choice.
Often, the box is locked like a safe to prevent the contents from being removed by unauthorized persons. The priest or other church official has a tabernacle key, which is used to access the box and remove the contents as needed. The tabernacle key is kept in a small key box that can be quite embellished with carvings and other forms of decoration.
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