Illustrated Architecture Dictionary

Chancel
CHAN sul


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


Other examples:


Photos and their arrangement 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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