Definitions for: Sanctuary


[n] area around the altar of a church for the clergy and choir; often enclosed by a lattice or railing
[n] a shelter from danger or hardship
[n] a consecrated place where sacred objects are kept



Webster (1913) Definition: Sanc"tu*a*ry, n.; pl. Sanctuaries. [OE.
seintuarie, OF. saintuaire, F. sanctuaire, fr. L.
sanctuarium, from sanctus sacred, holy. See Saint.]
A sacred place; a consecrated spot; a holy and inviolable
site. Hence, specifically:
(a) The most retired part of the temple at Jerusalem, called
the Holy of Holies, in which was kept the ark of the
covenant, and into which no person was permitted to enter
except the high priest, and he only once a year, to
intercede for the people; also, the most sacred part of
the tabernacle; also, the temple at Jerusalem.
(b) (Arch.) The most sacred part of any religious building,
esp. that part of a Christian church in which the altar
is placed.
(c) A house consecrated to the worship of God; a place where
divine service is performed; a church, temple, or other
place of worship.
(d) A sacred and inviolable asylum; a place of refuge and
protection; shelter; refuge; protection.

These laws, whoever made them, bestowed on temples
the privilege of sanctuary. --Milton.

The admirable works of painting were made fuel for
the fire; but some relics of it took sanctuary
under ground, and escaped the common destiny.
--Dryden.

Synonyms: asylum, bema, chancel, refuge

See Also: area, choir, church, church building, holy of holies, place, property, safe house, safehold, sanctum sanctorum, shelter, Tabernacle

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