(Latin: legere, to read)
A book-stand or reading-desk to support the sacred books used in liturgical ceremonies.
One permanent stand was first used for this purpose; later, two were erected on opposite sides of the choir.
In some churches the sermon was preached at a third lectern.
Marble and wood were used in their construction, and they were sometimes elaborately decorated and set, with precious stones.
That found in Thessalonica in the court of the church of Saint Pantalremon is considered the oldest.
For movable stands, wood, bronze, and brass were employed.
In England, lecterns in the form of eagles with open wings became popular in the 13th and 14th centurIes, and are still conspicuous in Anglican churches.
The missal-stands used during Mass and in other ceremonies are perhaps the most common form now in use.
New Catholic Dictionary