Throne, Episcopal

Throne, Episcopal,

the official seat placed in the cathedral, or chief seat of a diocese, and occupied by the bishop on public occasions. This was the common honor and privilege of all bishops from very early times. Thus Eusebius calls the bishop of Jerusalem's seat θρόνος ἀποστολικός, the apostolical throne, because James, bishop of Jerusalem, first sat in it. It was also called βῆμα, rostrum; and θρόνος ὑψηλός, the high throne, because it was exalted somewhat higher than the seats of the presbyters, which were on each side of it, and were called the second thrones. It generally stood at the east end of the choir or sanctuary; that is, in churches which were built in the form of basilicas, and were apsidal. This is still the case at Milan and Augsburg. In mediaeval times the bishop's seat was frequently the best and most exclusive stall on the south side, and almost invariably occupied by him during the solemn recital of divine office. During mass, and on occasions when services took place at the altar, his throne was placed against the north wall within the sanctuary. Most of the English thrones are of wood, richly carved, while abroad they are frequently of stone. At St. Mark's, Venice, the Cathedral of Malta, and at the Cathedral of Verona the episcopal thrones are of marble. At Ravenna, Spalatro, and Torcello they are: of alabaster; at St. Peter's, Rome, the throne is of bronze; and at Ravenna, St. Maximian's throne is of ivory. In Portugal and Spain the episcopal throne is, commonly that one which in England is occupied by the dean, the first on the decani side. See Binglham, Christ. Antiq. bk. 2, ch. 9:§ 7; Lee, Gloss. of Liturg. Terms, s.v.; Walcott, Sacred Archceol. s.v.

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