(plur. sedilia), the Latin name for a seat, a term which in modern times has come to be pretty generally applied by way of distinction to the seats on the south side of the choir near the altar in churches, used in the Roman Catholic service by the priest and his attendants, the deacon and subdeacon, during certain parts of the mass; or in the Episcopal Church for the priests and deacons during the eucharistic service. Sedilia were sometimes movable, but more usually in England were formed of masonry and recessed in the wall like niches. Sedilia are comparatively rare on the Continent, but very numerous examples remain in Great Britain, a few of which are of as early date as the latter part of the 12th century; but the majority are later, extending to the end of the Perpendicular style. The earliest form in the catacombs, and repeated at St. David's, was a bishop's throne flanked by collateral seats. In general they contain three separate. seats, but occasionally two, or only one, and in a few rare instances four, as at Rothwell Church, Northamptonshire, and Furness Abbey; or five, as at Southwell Minster; sometimes a single seat under one arch, or formed on the back of a window, is found, long enough for two or three persons. They are very commonly placed at different levels, the eastern seat being a step the highest and the western the lowest; but sometimes, when three are used, the two western seats are on the same level, a step below the other, and sometimes the two eastern are level and the western a step below them. The decorations used about them are various, and in enriched buildings they are occasionally highly ornamented, and sometimes sur mounted with tabernacle work, pinnacles, etc. Some ancient sedilia consist of plain benches formed of masses of masonry projecting from the wall, and it is not improbable that such may have once existed in some of the churches in which no traces of these seats are now to be found. At Lenham Church, Kent, is a single seat projecting considerably from the wall (though the back is slightly recessed), with stone elbows resemblingῥ an armchair: this is popularly called the confessional. At Beckley Church, Oxfordshire, is also a single stone seat with one elbow.

Bible concordance for SELED.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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