GLOSSARY
abbey A monastery; a community of men or women living under religious vows; the buildings, especially the church, used by the community.
addorsed Two figures placed symmetrically back to back.
Adoptionism The heretical belief that Christ was born a man and subsequently adopted by God as His Son.
aedicule A shrine or niche framed by columns or pilasters and surmounted by a gable or entablature and pediment.
affronted Two figures placed symmetrically facing each other.
Agnus Dei Lamb of God; a name given to Jesus by St. John the Baptist (John 1:29); a symbol of Christ; a prayer in the Mass.
aisle Corridor or passageway; in a church the aisles flank and run parallel to the nave.
alb A long, white, sleeved linen tunic worn by the celebrants of the Mass under the other vestments. See also vestments.
alfiz A rectangular panel framing an arched opening, especially in Islamic architecture.
alpha and omega First and last letters of the Greek alphabet, thus the beginning and the end; in Christian art, associated with the representation of Christ as judge to indicate eternity and infinity. altar frontal A carved, painted, embroidered or otherwise decorated panel covering the front of an altar.
ambo A raised platform for a reader in a church, later replaced by the pulpit. Often two ambos were used, one on the north from which the Gospel was read and one on the south for the reading of the Epistle. (The phrases "Gospel side" and "Epistle side" make clear the location in churches without an east-west orientation.)
ambulatory A walkway; the passage around the apse in a basilican church.
amice A square of white linen worn by a priest on his neck and shoulders. See also vestments.
anastasis Greek: resurrection. A church dedicated to the Resurrection of Christ; the rotunda built over the tomb of Christ in Jerusalem.
Andachtsbild A devotional image. See also Vesperbild.
angels Intelligences not united to bodies, serving as messengers between God and the world. Angels are ordered into three "hierarchies" of three "choirs": seraphim, cherubim, and thrones; dominions, virtues, and powers; principalities, archangels, and angels.
annular Ring-shaped, as in annular vault or annular crypt (a crypt in which a circular aisle surrounds the chamber housing the relics). See also crypt, relics.
antependium See altar frontal.
antiphons Sentences from scripture sung alternately by two choirs.
Apocalypse The Book of Revelation; the last book of the New Testament, attributed to St. John the Evangelist.
Apocrypha Early Christian writings rejected by the editors of the New Testament; thus of questionable authenticity.
apostles The disciples of Christ: Sts. Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Jude (Thaddeus), Simon Zelotes, and Judas Iscariot. After the betrayal and suicide of Judas, Mattheas was chosen as his replacement. In art, St. Paul and the Evangelists St. Mark and St. Luke are sometimes substituted for Sts. Jude, Simon Zelotes, and Mattheas, but the number of figures remains at twelve.
Apostoleion Church dedicated to the twelve apostles.
apse A vaulted semicircular or polygonal structure; in a church it faces the nave and houses the altar. A large church may have additional apses in the transepts.
aquamanile A water pitcher, often in the shape of an animal, for handwashing at meals or at the altar.
arcade A series of arches, often supporting a wall, as in the nave arcade of a church. See also blind arcade.
archangel The eighth order of angels. The archangels are Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel. See also angels.

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