Architecture: Sanctuary



The Sanctuary (above) is the scared space in the church for the high altar. Only the Presiding Priest, Deacon and/or Eucharistic Minister may enter this space during mass. Within the Sanctuary area is the High Altar. At the top of the High Altar is a mosaic of "The Last Supper." Within the High Altar on the altar table is the Tabernacle. Below the table are three mosaics. Go to top of page

The High Altar

The High Altar is the main altar in a church, and also because it is raised on an elevated plane in the sanctuary, where it may be seen simultaneously by all the faithful in the body of the church. Go to top of page


The Tabernacle

The Tabernacle (TABERNACULUM) is the receptacle or case that is position on top of the table of the High Altar. A vessel called a Ciborium, which holds the consecrated host or body of Christ, is placed inside of the tabernacle. Go to top of page



The Last Supper

A richly colored mosaic of "the Last Supper," after the painting by Leonardo di Vinci, was inserted after World War I above the tabernacle and was created in Europe. During the last Supper, Jesus consecrates the Bread and Wine into His Body and Blood to be shared to all who comes to the table.

The original painting specifically portrays the reaction given by each apostle when Jesus said one of them would betray him. All twelve apostles have different reactions to the news, with various degrees of anger and shock. Go to top of page


The Pelican

At the base of the altar are three brightly colored mosaics symbols. The first one is of a "Pelican" feeding her young. The pelican is a symbol of the atonement and the Redeemer. It was supposed to wound itself in order to feed its young with its blood and to bring to life those who were dead. Go to top of page

The Lamb

Christ is represented in the form of the Paschal Lamb or the Lamb of God, who redeems the world by the shedding of his blood, and particularly the Eucharistic banquet, or new Passover, has always remained the constant belief of Christian tradition. Go to top of page

The Wheat and Grapes

There are two Eucharistic elements, bread and wine, which constitute the remote matter of the Sacrament of the Altar. The wheat represents bread and the consecrated bread becomes the Body of Christ. The grapes represent wine and the consecrated wine becomes the Blood of Christ. Go to top of page