AskDefine | Define sedilia

User Contributed Dictionary



, plural of sedile.


  1. A series of seats, often recessed into the wall, on the south side of the chancel or choir for the use of officiating clergy.

Extensive Definition

The sedilia (the plural of Lat. sedile, seat), in ecclesiastical architecture, the term given to the seats (often) on the south side of the chancel near the altar for the use of the officiating priests. These rebated seats are found in the chancel of churches and monasteries and were for the use of the celebrant and their assistants. The seat is often set back into the main wall of the church itself.
Typically the seat would be for the use of:
The custom of recessing them in the thickness of the wall began about the end of the 12th century; some early examples consist only of stone benches, and there is one instance of a single seat or arm-chair in stone at Lenham in Kent, thought by some to be a confessional.
The niches or recesses in which they are sunk are often richly decorated with canopies and subdivided with moulded shafts, pinnacles and tabernacle work; the seats are sometimes at different levels, the eastern being always the highest, and sometimes an additional niche is provided in which the piscina is placed.


sedilia in Czech: Sedile
sedilia in German: Sedile
sedilia in Norwegian: Sedilia
sedilia in Polish: Sedilia
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