Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
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The part of a church containing the altar. If there are several altars, the sanctuary is for the high altar. In the Byzantine tradition it is enclosed by the iconostasis. I is th center of liturgical ceremony, clearly distinct from the main body of the church. (Etym. Latin sanctuarium, holy place, shrine.)