Glossary of Terms

19Baldachino

Baldacchino or baldachin

Ambulatory – The walkway surrounding the apse or choir section.

Ambry – The repository for consecrated oils. Also called an olearium. In the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, the ambry is located near the baptismal font in the east transept.

Apse – The section of the cathedral that usually contains the altar. It is often shaped like a semicircle and traditionally faces east. (The apse of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis faces north.)

Baldacchino or baldachin – There are numerous spelling for this word, but they all mean the same thing – a canopy covering the altar.

Capital – The top of a column.

 

20Chair

Cathedra

Cathedra – Literally a chair and the source of word “cathedral.” This chair is located in the sanctuary and is used exclusively by the Archbishop.

Fascia – A flat surface that covers the ends of beams or other supporting structures.

Lunette – Half-moon shaped sections frequently seen at the base of vaulted roofs.

Narthex – The vestibule or lobby.

Nave – The main section of a cathedral or church, facing the altar.

Ombrellino – An umbrella-like device embroidered with mottos and crests. Its presence along with the tintinnabulum, in signifies the basilica status of the Cathedral Basilica.

21Angelcrownlong

Pendentive

Pendentive – A triangular structure that support a dome. In the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, the pendentives of the Central Dome feature huge spread-winged angels.

Portal – Main door. The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis is typical of most in that is has three main front portals, symbolizing the
Holy Trinity.

Soffit – The underside of an arch or balcony.

Tessera – A thin slab of glass or tile which is shaped into pieces that make up a mosaic. Most often used in its plural, which is tesserae.

Tintinnabulum – Ceremonial bell which is symbolic of a basilica. See ombrellino.

22Tiffany chapel

Triptych

 

Triptych – A piece of art consisting of three panels, usually a larger central panel with two smaller side panels. Often seen in altarpieces, the triptychs of the Cathedral Basilica grace the walls of the All Saints Chapel and Our Lady’s Chapel.

Transept – If the nave and apse constitute the long beam of a cross, the transepts make up the cross bar. These are large “bays” that extend from either side of the nave. In the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, they feature large mosaic-covered half domes.

Becoming Catholic

Becoming Catholic

Interested in Becoming Catholic? We invite you to contact us to meet with a member of the clergy to learn more about the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and the process of becoming a member of the Catholic Church.

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Safe Environment

Safe Environment

The Cathedral Basilica follows the Archdiocese of St. Louis’ Safe Environment Program. The program is designed to help protect the youth, elderly, and vulnerable adults of our parish

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Gift Shop

Gift Shop

During your visit, you'll find hundreds of items in our Gift Shop, including spiritual keepsakes and unique souvenirs. You can find the gift shop off the west side of the vestibule on the main level of the Cathedral.

Go to Gift Shop Page