Illustrated Architecture Dictionary
The space around the principal altar of a church for the clergy and choir, often separated by a screen or railing from the body of the church
The area in a church which traditionally contains the altar.
Etymology: from Latin: "cancellus" = a screen
The words chancel and sanctuary are often synonyms. Protestant churches tend to use "chancel," whereas Catholic churches tend to use "sanctuary."
Chancel aisle - The side aisle of a chancel in a large church; it usually passes around the apse, forming a deambulatory
Chancel arch - An arch which, in many churches, marks the separation of the chancel or sanctuary from the nave or body of the church
Chancel rail - The railing or barrier in place of a chancel screen by which the chancel is separated from the nave.
Chancel screen - Screen dividing the chancel from the nave
Iconostasis - A screen in Byzantine churches separating the sanctuary from the nave and pierced by three doors, originally a lattice of columns joined by a decorated parapet and coping. Since the 14th-15th c. it has become a wooden or stone wall covered with icons, hence the name.
See also: Church Vocabulary
Examples from Buffalo architecture
- Illustration above: St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral Choir stalls
- Central Presbyterian Church - no screen or railing
- St. John's Grace Episcopal Church no screen or railing
- Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation - Iconostasis (screen)
- Corpus Christi RC Church - railing
- Episcopal Church of the Ascension
- St. Andrew's Episcopal Church
- St. Gerard's RC Church
- Parkside Lutheran Church
- Calvary Episcopal Church, WILLIAMSVILLE, NY
- Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, EAST AURORA
- Trinity Church in New York City