An apse is a semicircular or polygonal end to a secular or religious building's choir, chancel, or aisle. The apse was first employed in pre-Christian Roman architecture as an expanded niche to accommodate a deity's statue in a temple. It is also found in Christian churches where it is used for a similar purpose.
In Christianity, the term apse refers to the area of a church where the altar would be located if the church had one. This is usually covered by a roof called an "apse" which contains a space for prayer. From this opening, stairs lead down to the nave (the main body of the church where the congregation sits) and another set of stairs leads up to the sanctuary (where the priest lives and works). In ancient churches that have been preserved for us today, we can still see the location of the apse since it has been enclosed by walls on all sides except for one small door at the back for entry and exit.
The word "apse" comes from the Greek oapa meaning hole, because the shape of the apse resembles a half shell or cupola. It was originally designed to hold a lamp or candle during worship services when electricity was not available but now serves as a symbol of heaven.
There are several types of apse structures used in churches including round, basilican, transeptal, and pentagonal.
1. Apse apse architecture. A semicircular or polygonal, frequently vaulted recess, especially at the end of a church's sanctuary. The word is derived from Greek, meaning "egg shaped." In Christian churches, this term is also applied to a similar structure at the end of a nave.
2. Assembling or gathering together; a collection or bunching up of people: as, a crowd has assembled in front of the house. Also, an assembly of priests or bishops. (Allied to BISE.)
3. A break taken by the clergy during their services when water is given or prayer offered; also, an interval between two parts of a service when no one is expected to speak. Now used only in reference to the Church Assembly.
4. An official meeting of bishops in some countries of Africa, Asia, and Oceania to discuss issues before them. They make decisions by vote on proposed resolutions.
5. A period of time during which schools are not in session but instead undergo renovation or restructuring projects. Often associated with building expansions or renovations to existing buildings. Called "recesses" because students are absent from school while this activity takes place.
An apse is a vaulted or domed recess or projection on a structure, often at the east end of a church, that houses the altar. The word comes from a Latin term meaning "a shelter," and an apse can be found in almost all major Christian churches throughout the world.
Cathedrals usually have more than one apse. They are often called "cathedral" because they contain a shrine to the Virgin Mary called the "cathedral" or "mother of God." The word "museum" comes from the same root word as "cathedral."
In addition to the main west front, which faces the street, most cathedrals have two other fronts: one toward the nave (the body of the church without the chancel or sanctuary) and one toward the choir (the portion of the church where sacred music was sung). These additional fronts often include large numbers of windows and often serve as the main entrance into the building.
The cathedral in Rouen, France, is a good example of this type of architecture. It has three apses with beautiful stained-glass windows and several other interesting features.
Cathedrals were originally built with only one apse.
In ancient Rome, an oblong structure with a semicircular apse was used for a court of justice and a place of public assembly. 2: an early Christian church building consisting of a nave and aisles, a clerestory, and a great high transept into which an apse extends. 3: a large church built in a Roman basilica style.
Basilica is a large, open hall with columns around its edge; it may be used as a church or a temple. The word "basilica" comes from the Greek basileus (βασιλεύς), meaning "king." In Latin churches, the term refers to a large cathedral-like building with a central nave and two aisles; often there are smaller side aisles attached to each end of the main body. In North America, the term "cathedral" usually implies a large church built in the Romanesque or Gothic styles, while a basilica can be either small or very large.
In English law, a basilica is a large room where legal cases are heard by judges. These cases may concern any matter before the courts, including criminal matters, civil cases, and administrative proceedings. Judges are given jurisdiction over certain types of cases by statute or rule made by the courts that govern them. For example, British judges have jurisdiction over family law matters, while American judges handle more general categories of cases such as personal injury lawsuits.
The main altar was essentially at the position of the apse in ancient Roman basilicas, though it was moved forward in certain designs. The apse is frequently surrounded by an aisle that runs behind the altar. This aisle, known as the ambulatory, led to additional tiny chapels known as radiating chapels or chevets. These were located along both sides of the ambulatory and served as resting places for priests during their services.
The word "basilica" comes from the Greek balsamon, which means royal incense. In ancient times, churches built with basiliones could also be called basilicas because they were often made with walls lined with branches of laurel trees, which give off a smell similar to incense. Today, we know these churches as having a ceremonial role because they are designated for worship, but that wasn't always the case. Before churches were used for worship, they were used for other purposes such as courts or councils.
In conclusion, the main altar is found in the center of the basilica plan church behind the screen. This area is where the priest conducts most of his activities including baptisms, marriages, and funerals. The main altar is usually made of wood, but some basilica plan churches have stone altars instead. Gold is commonly used as a material for the tabernacle which houses the altar. That's why many basilica plan churches have gold-colored altars.
Today, Anglicans and Lutherans refer to it as the altar, while churches in the Reform tradition refer to it as the communion table. If the wall behind the altar (the east wall) is curved, it creates a semicircular space known as an apse. The word "apse" comes from the Greek ousia, meaning "thing," or "entity." Thus, an apse is a part of a church's structure that houses something sacred—in this case, the burial site of Jesus and other saints.
In the early days of Christianity, when money was tight and building materials were scarce, walls had to be constructed out of stone. The first such wall built around a church body was on the eastern side of the city of Jerusalem. It protected Christians from violence by non-Christian people who didn't want them near their homes or places of business.
The wall served another purpose too. It symbolized the division between God's people and the world. This idea comes straight from Jesus himself, who said, "Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it."
Since its construction, this wall has been revered by Christians as the place where Christ died for them. During prayer meetings and worship services, clergy and members alike often walk along the wall with bowed heads in silent reflection.