sedilia

[sedilia]
Latin: seats

Seats on the south side of the sanctuary for the officiating clergy during the liturgy. The earliest examples are found in the catacombs where one stone seat was placed at the side of the altar. The number of seats has since increased to four and five although the usual number is three, the center one for the celebrant, that on the right for the deacon and on the left for the subdeacon. They were formerly covered with canopies and pinnacles and in England were often recessed into the thickness of the wall of the church.