Font

A small basin at the entrance of a church, containing holy water so that the faithful may sprinkle themselves with it when entering the church, while making the sign of the cross, as a symbol of outward and inward cleansing.

Holy water

Water that has been consecrated during the Easter vigil and which is used for baptisms and ritual blessings.

Censer

A liturgical object consisting of a bowl suspended from three chains. On the bowl is a lid that is also hanging on a chain. In the bowl, grains of incense are placed on glowing coals, so that they begin to smell. By swinging the censer, the fire is stirred up and the incense fragrance can […]

Triumphal Cross

Large crucifix hanging in the first arch of the choir or chancel. In churches with a rood screen, the triumphal cross usually stands on this.

Station

One of the fourteen stages of the Way of the Cross: Jesus is sentenced to death. Jesus takes up the cross. Jesus falls the first time. Jesus meets His mother. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross. Veronica wipes Jesus’s face. Jesus falls the second time. Jesus comforts the mourning women. Jesus falls the […]

Altarpiece

Painted and/or carved back wall of an altar placed against a wall or pillar. Below the retable there is sometimes a predella.

Shrine

A decorated casket in which a relic is preserved.

Reliquary

Container for relics. Often this is a philatory: a decorated glass holder on a pedestal, in which a relic can be placed for veneration. It is important to know that relics cannot be worshipped, only venerated.

Relic

A remnant of the body of a saint or a (part of) an object that has been in contact with a saint, Jesus, or Mary. The very first sanctuaries were built on graves of saints. Remnants of these saints were distributed to other churches and chapels. The first altars were usually the sarcophagi of the […]

Pyx

Gilded box with lid in which hosts are carried outside the church to give communion to the sick.