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Terme Définition
Polyptych

A painting or relief made of three or more panels hinged to each other.

 
Porch

A building on the façade of a church that decorates, covers and underlines the portal. On one side it rests on the façade and it is supported on the other side by columns or pilasters, often resting on perched lions. Typical of Romanesque architecture.

 
Portal

A monumental entrance door to a civil or religious building with a significant architectonic value. In general it is positioned on the western side in order to allow the faithful to enter the church facing eastwards (from this comes the “oriented” feature of Romanesque churches).

 
Portico eng.

Part of a building, generally on the ground floor, with one side open with arcades or architraves, resting on columns or pilasters, with a decorative or shelter function.

 
Ppresbytery

The space around the alter reserved for the clergy for the religious functions: generally separated from the rest of the church by transennae or balustrades

 
Prothesis eng.

The cordoned off area of the Byzantine church, on the left of the “Sancta sanctorum” in which the sacred offerings are prepared for the Eucharist, that is, the bread and wine. See Diaconicum.

 
Pulpit eng.

A wooden, marble or stone structure generally polygonal in shape, destined for the preacher in churches. It may be independent or positioned on top of a column, outside of the presbytery.

 
Rib

An architectural element used in Romanesque and Gothic architecture that, by dividing up the surface of a cross vault or a dome, offloads the weight of the same onto the capitals of the underlying pillars. The set of ribs or ribbing is called ribwork.

 
Right and left

To definitively find our way around the complexity of the sacred area, taking a loan of the descriptive option of the rivers or waterways with which the right hand bank is drawn, starting from the flow of the source, let’s consider the right side to be everything we see from the heart of the basilica or cathedral, that is, the main altar / choir, or better, the central apse, the original position of the bishop’s pulpit.

 
Rose window

A large circular window similar to a flower, characterised by ornamental motifs (small arches, banisters) arranged in rays, open at the centre of the façade of the Romanesque and Gothic church. Early-Christian basilicas did not require such a solution, as they were built to acquire the largest quantity of light possible from the large windows in the load-bearing walls. See the imperial basilica of Trier.

 
Sacristy

A place annexed to the church, mostly situated beside the main altar, in which the ceremonies are prepared and the vestments, altar cloths and holy vessels are kept. Occasionally referred to as the diconicum.

 
Sancta sanctorum eng.

The most sacred and precious interior section of the shrine is referred to with this Latin expression, it is situated in the centre of the temple or tent. Here the Ark of the Covenant is kept. The regulations did not allow anyone to enter it, outside of the High priest, once a year, during the solemn celebrations of the Kippur, or expiation of sins.

 
Sarcophagus

A wooden, terracotta, calcareous, stone or metal urn worked in different ways, in which the remains of the deceased were placed. It is decorated by bas or high reliefs.

 
Scandal eng.

A Greek term indicating the acute pain caused to the foot after having tripped on a sudden obstacle. In the New Testament the scandal is the same Messianic mystery of Jesus the Messiah/Christ, who came to be among his own in simplicity and mercy.

 
Shrine

A container in which relics made of marble, ivory, glass or other materials are generally contained.

 
Socle

The base of a building, of a pilaster or of a statue. It is referred to as a plinth when it supports a column.steps
Elements for overcoming architectonical barriers or artificially designed to give a greater sense of prestige to a section of the area.

 
Spire

A pyramidal or conical shaped decorative architectonical element, positioned at the top of vertical structures such as bell towers and towers with buttresses and deriving from late-antiquity and medieval laces planned out for use as defence systems. Used in late-Romanesque, Norman and especially Gothic architecture.

 
Stairs

The only access to the roof, often with hundreds of steps. Many cathedrals were destroyed by fires because it was impossible to bring water to the upper sections fast enough.

 
Tabernacle

On a biblical level, the Latin term indicates “tent”, or in Greek, “skene” and it indicates God JHVH’s dwelling with his nomadic people who lived in tents. With settlement in Palestine, Silo and then Jerusalem and with the building of a stone “tent”, the term “tabernacle” evolved and came to mean the internal part of the temple, which is still decorated with rugs and with the great veil which distinguishes the area of the holy of holies from the area of the Saint.  During the western medieval era, the word “tabernacle” referred to a precious structure, in the form of a small temple, positioned on the altar, and in which the sacred Eucharist was housed.

 
Temple, tent

A sacred Jewish area, also called “the place” par excellence. The “shrine” is erected in the innermost section, it consists of two rooms, the Holy and the Holy of Holies. With the people settled in the Promised Land or Canaan, the Temple is built, first in Silo and then in Jerusalem – in stone or wood. During the era of nomadism in the Desert, reference should be made to the sacred area of the tent. In nomadic customs, the tent of JHVH accompanies the people in their frequent movements.

 


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