Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The top, or a portion of the top, of a Christian altar; the altar proper, or mensa. It is the consecrated and therefore the essential part, and is always in Western churches a single stone. In some Eastern churches the slab has a drain for water; a few such instances are found in western Europe, and all are probably traditional of an ancient custom of washing the altar on set occasions.
“Sunrise glowed red as I climbed along the gorge, when I reached the grove, I saw the altar-slab all scattered with brightness, like the harper's robe.”
“Here also are the remains of St. Juliet's chapel, with its altar-slab and stone benches.”
“The late Norman chancel, the plain circular font of the same period, and the massive altar-slab in the chapel, enclosed by wooden screens on the north side, are the most notable features.”
“In the consecration of an altar, also, crosses are to be marked in chrism upon the altar-slab with almost the same form of words as that used for the walls.”
“The marble of the box was taken from the altar-slab in the chapel of the Bastile, and in the middle, in gold relief, was a picture of King Louis.”
“Prosper watched her spread a white cloth upon the altar-slab, and set a Mass-book upon a stand; he saw her go and return with two lighted tapers for the sockets, he saw a silver crucifix shine between them.”
“He would have turned an altar-slab into a hall-table, or made a cupboard of”
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