SEDILIA

sedile

[se-dahy-lee]
noun, plural sedilia [se-dil-ee-uh] . Ecclesiastical.
one of the seats (usually three) on the south side of the chancel, often recessed, for the use of the officiating clergy.

Origin:
1785–95; < Latin sedīle sitting-place, equivalent to sed(ēre) to sit1 + -īle neuter noun suffix

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sedilia (sɛˈdaɪlɪə)
 
n
(functioning as singular) the group of three seats, each called a sedile (), often recessed, on the south side of a sanctuary where the celebrant and ministers sit at certain points during High Mass
 
[C18: from Latin, from sedīle a chair, from sedēre to sit]

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Encyclopedia Britannica
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sedilia

in architecture, group of seats for the clergy in a Christian church of Gothic style. Usually consisting of three separate stone seats-for the priest, the deacon, and the subdeacon-the sedilia is located on the south side of the chancel, or choir, in a cruciform church (one that is built in the shape of a cross). The earliest sedilia were freestanding stone benches, but late in the 12th century church architects began to recess the sedilia into the chancel wall. Often these recessed seats are on three different levels, descending like steps from east to west. The niches they occupy are frequently decorated with rich canopies, elegantly carved arches, and pinnacles.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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