Altar Rail
Altar Rail
The railing which guards the sanctuary and separates the latter from the body of the church. Also called the communion-rail

Catholic Encyclopedia. . 2006.

Altar Rail
    Altar Rail
     Catholic_Encyclopedia Altar Rail
    The railing which guards the sanctuary and separates the latter from the body of the church. It is also called the communion-rail as the faithful kneel at it when receiving Holy Communion.
    It is made of carved wood, metal, marble, or other precious material; it should be about two feet six inches high, and on the upper part from six to nine inches wide. The "Rituale Romanum" (tit. iv, cap. ii, n. I) prescribes that a clean white cloth be extended before those who receive Holy Communion. This cloth is to be of fine linen, as it is solely intended as a sort of corporal to receive the particles which may by chance fall from the hands of the priest. It is usually fastened on the sanctuary side and when in use is drawn over the top of the rail. It should extend the full length of the rail, and be about two feet wide, so that the communicant, taking it in both hands, may hold it under his chin. Its very purpose suggests that it is not to be made of lace or netting, although there is nothing to forbid its having a border of fine lace or embroidery. Instead of this cloth a gilt paten, larger than the paten used at the altar, to which a handle may be attached, or a small gilt or silver salver, or a pall, larger than the chalice pall, may be used. These latter are usually passed from one communicant to the other, and when the last at the end of the rail at the Gospel side has received Holy Communion the altar boy carries the paten to the first communicants at the Epistle side. A consecrated paten may never be placed for this purpose in the hands of lay persons.
    A.J. SCHULTE
    Transcribed by Michael C. Tinkler

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.


Catholic encyclopedia.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • altar rail — n. in some churches, a railing separating the altar area from the rest of the chancel …   English World dictionary

  • Altar Rail —    The railing enclosing the Sanctuary in which the Altar stands, and at which the communicants kneel in receiving the Holy Communion, is called, in the Institution Office the Altar Rail. Supposed to have been first introduced by Archbishop Laud… …   American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • altar rail — al′tar rail n. archit. the rail in front of an altar, separating the sanctuary from the rest of the church • Etymology: 1855–60 …   From formal English to slang

  • altar rail — the rail in front of an altar, separating the sanctuary from those parts of the church that are in front of it. [1855 60] * * * …   Universalium

  • altar rail — noun Date: 1860 a railing in front of an altar separating the chancel from the body of the church …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • altar rail — noun : a railing in front of an altar separating the chancel from the body of the church …   Useful english dictionary

  • altar rail —  Алтарная ограда …   Вестминстерский словарь теологических терминов

  • Nora at the Altar-Rail — is a one act opera by Jay Anthony Gach, to a libretto by Royce Vavrek. The libretto is based on the Book of Genesis and inspired by Thomas Hardy s poem At the Altar Rail which is prominently featured in the piece. Written while Vavrek and Gach… …   Wikipedia

  • Altar — Al tar, n. [OE. alter, auter, autier, fr. L. altare, pl. altaria, altar, prob. fr. altus high: cf. OF. alter, autier, F. autel. Cf. {Altitude}.] 1. A raised structure (as a square or oblong erection of stone or wood) on which sacrifices are… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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