A sacristy is a room for keeping vestments (such as the alb and chasuble) and other church furnishings, sacred vessels, and parish records. In Anglicanism, it is usually known as the vestry.
The sacristy is usually located inside the church, but in some cases it is an annex or separate building (as in some monasteries). In most older churches, a sacristy is near a side altar, or more usually behind or on a side of the main altar.[ citation needed ]
In newer churches the sacristy is often in another location, such as near the entrances to the church. Some churches have more than one sacristy, each of which will have a specific function. Often additional sacristies are used for maintaining the church and its items, such as candles and other materials.[ citation needed ]
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The sacristy is also where the priest and attendants vest and prepare before the service. They will return there at the end of the service to remove their vestments and put away any of the vessels used during the service. The hangings and altar linens are stored there as well. The Parish registers may be kept in the sacristy and are administered by the parish clerk.[ citation needed ]
Sacristies usually contain a special wash basin, called a piscina, the drain of which is properly called a "sacrarium" in which the drain flows directly into the ground to prevent sacred items such as used baptismal water from being washed into the sewers or septic tanks. The piscina is used to wash linens used during the celebration of the Mass and purificators used during Holy Communion. The cruets, chalice, ciborium, paten, altar linens and sometimes the Holy Oils are kept inside the sacristy. Sacristies are usually off limits to the general public. The word "sacristy" derives from the Latin sacristia, sometimes spelled sacrastia, which is in turn derived from sacrista ("sexton, sacristan"), from sacra ("holy").[ citation needed ]
A person in charge of the sacristy and its contents is called a sacrist or a sacristan. The latter name was formerly given to the sexton of a parish church, where he would have cared for these things, the fabric of the building and the grounds.
In Eastern Christianity, the functions of the sacristy are fulfilled by the Diaconicon and the Prothesis, two rooms or areas adjacent to the Holy Table (Altar).
Work on finding the so-called "lost medieval sacristy of Henry III" at Westminster Abbey during an episode of the archaeological television programme Time Team revealed that the abbey originally had two separate sacristies. As well as a conventional sacristy for storage of ceremonial vessels such as the chalice and paten, the second, described in a 15th-century document as the "galilee of the sacristy" was determined to have been used for the robing and formation of the procession.
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In the context of the Tridentine Mass of the Catholic Church, a Pontifical High Mass, also called Solemn Pontifical Mass, is a Solemn or High Mass celebrated by a bishop using certain prescribed ceremonies. The term is also used among Anglo-Catholic Anglicans. Although in modern English the word "pontifical" is almost exclusively associated with the Pope, any bishop may be properly called a pontiff. Thus, the celebrant of a Pontifical High Mass may be any bishop, and not just a pope.
An altar server is a lay assistant to a member of the clergy during a Christian liturgy. An altar server attends to supporting tasks at the altar such as fetching and carrying, ringing the altar bell, helps bring up the gifts, brings up the book, among other things. If young, the server is commonly called an altar boy or altar girl. In some Christian denominations, altar servers are known as acolytes.
Chrism, also called myrrh, myron, holy anointing oil, and consecrated oil, is a consecrated oil used in the Anglican, Assyrian, Catholic, Old Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Latter Day Saint, and Nordic Lutheran churches in the administration of certain sacraments and ecclesiastical functions.
A Papal Mass is the Solemn Pontifical High Mass celebrated by the Pope. It is celebrated on such occasions as a papal coronation, an ex cathedra pronouncement, the canonization of a saint, on Easter or Christmas or other major feast days.
A sacristan is an officer charged with care of the sacristy, the church, and their contents.
A ciborium is a vessel, normally in metal. It was originally a particular shape of drinking cup in Ancient Greece and Rome, but the word later came to refer to a large covered cup designed to hold hosts for, and after, the Eucharist, thus the counterpart of the chalice.
A paten, or diskos, is a small plate, usually made of silver or gold, used to hold Eucharistic bread which is to be consecrated during the Mass. It is generally used during the liturgy itself, while the reserved sacrament are stored in the tabernacle in a ciborium.
An altar cloth is used in the Christian liturgy to cover the altar. It is both a sign of awe as well as decoration and protection of the altar and the sacred vessels. In the orthodox churches is covered by the antimension, which also contains the relics of saints.
A piscina is a shallow basin placed near the altar of a church, or else in the vestry or sacristy, used for washing the communion vessels. The sacrarium is the drain itself. Anglicans usually refer to the basin, calling it a piscina. For Roman Catholics sacrarium is “special sink used for the reverent disposal of sacred substances. This sink has a cover, a basin, and a special pipe and drain that empty directly into the earth, rather than into the sewer system” . Precious or sacred items are disposed of, when possible, by returning them to the ground. They are in some cases used to dispose of materials used in the sacraments and water from liturgical ablutions. They are found in Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches, and a similar vessel is used in Eastern Orthodox churches.
The diaconicon is, in Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, the name given to a chamber on the south side of the central apse of the church, where the vestments, books, etc., that are used in the Divine Services of the church are kept. Diaconicon and prothesis are collectively known as pastophoria.
Solemn Mass is the full ceremonial form of the Tridentine Mass, celebrated by a priest with a deacon and a subdeacon, requiring most of the parts of the Mass to be sung, and the use of incense. It is also called High Mass or Solemn High Mass. However, in the United States the term "High Mass" is also used to describe the less elaborate Missa Cantata, which lacks deacon and subdeacon and some of the ceremonies connected with them.
During the Mass of the Faithful, the second part of the Mass, the elements of bread and wine are considered to have been changed into the veritable Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The manner in which this occurs is referred to by the term transubstantiation, a theory of St. Thomas Aquinas, in the Roman Catholic Church. Members of the Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran communions also believe that Jesus Christ is really and truly present in the bread and wine, but they believe that the way in which this occurs must forever remain a sacred mystery. In many Christian churches some portion of the consecrated elements is set aside and reserved after the reception of Communion and referred to as the reserved sacrament. The reserved sacrament is usually stored in a tabernacle, a locked cabinet made of precious materials and usually located on, above, or near the high altar. In Western Christianity usually only the Host, from Latin: hostia, meaning "victim", is reserved, except where wine might be kept for the sick who cannot consume a host.
An ambry is a recessed cabinet in the wall of a Christian church for storing sacred vessels and vestments. They are sometimes near the piscina, but more often on the opposite side. The word also seems in medieval times to be used commonly for any closed cupboard and even bookcase.
The Aër is the largest and outermost of the veils covering the Chalice and Diskos (paten) in the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite. It is rectangular in shape and corresponds to the veil used to cover the chalice and paten in the Latin Rite, but is larger. It is often made of the same material and color as the vestments of the officiating priest, and often has a fringe going all the way around its edge. Tassels may also be sewn at each of the corners.
The Spoon in Eastern Christianity is a liturgical implement used to distribute Holy Communion to the laity during the Divine Liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite.
The corporal is a square white linen cloth, now usually somewhat smaller than the breadth of the altar, upon which the chalice and paten, and also the ciborium containing the smaller hosts for the Communion of the laity, are placed during the celebration of the Catholic Eucharist (Mass).
A credence table is a small side table in the sanctuary of a Christian church which is used in the celebration of the Eucharist..
An altar society or altar guild is a group of laypersons in a parish church who maintain the ceremonial objects used in worship. Traditionally, membership was limited to women and their most common functions are making floral arrangements for the sanctuary, caring for linens, and holding fundraisers to purchase items for the sanctuary, including vestments and altar vessels.
The Stripping of the Altar or the Stripping of the Chancel is a ceremony carried out in many Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist churches on Maundy Thursday.
A communion-plate is a metal plate held under the chin of a communicant while receiving Holy Communion in the Catholic Church. Its use was common in the last part of the nineteenth century and during most of the twentieth.