Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

APSE

Semicircular polygonal termination to the choir or nave of a church, in which the altar is placed. The term was applied variously to the arched roof of a room; canopy over an altar; or any semicircular recess with a roof. the apse is solid below, generally with windows above; the roof is vaulted. The term was first used in the Roman basilicas where the apse was an important feature, later retained when the basilica was transformed into a Christian church. The chevet is an apse enclosed by an open screen of columns leading into an aisle, then into several apsidal chapels. The apse as described was retained in Byzantine churches, also in Germany and Italy. In France they are polygonal in shape with chevets; in England the square apse is preferred. (Etym. Latin apsis, a bow, turn; Greek apsis, curve, bow, arch.)

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Denial of Service Attack: Success! 17 hours ago
Federal debt as a social-justice concern 19 hours ago
Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle December 18
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed December 18
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? December 18

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17