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Related to chancel: Chancel arch
chancel,primarily that part of the church close to the altar and used by the officiating clergy. In the early churches it was separated from the nave by a low parapet or open railing (cancellus), its name being thus derived. San Clemente at Rome has one of the few preserved examples. With the development of the choir, additional space was taken, between the sanctuarysanctuary,
sacred place, especially the most sacred part of a sacred place. In ancient times and in the Middle Ages, a sanctuary served as asylum, a place of refuge for persons fleeing from violence or from the penalties of the law.
..... Click the link for more information. and the nave, for the accommodation of the canons and singers. The chancel rail was moved forward, and the entire space became known as the choir, although it is also termed the chancel; there is no strict differentiation in the usage. In the Middle Ages the chancel rail was replaced by lofty choir screens (see roodrood
, crucifix mounted above the entrance to the chancel and flanked by large figures of the Virgin and St. John, an almost invariable feature in the 14th- and 15th-century European church.
..... Click the link for more information. ), especially in English cathedrals and in monastic churches.
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The part of a large church that is located beyond the transept, containing the altar and choir.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The sanctuary of a church, including the choir; reserved for the clergy.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
the part of a church containing the altar, sanctuary, and choir, usually separated from the nave and transepts by a screen
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005