from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A toothed chisel used by sculptors
- n. Any member like a step, such as the raised back of an altar; a gradin.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A toothed chised by sculptors.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Another possibility, however, where it is felt a gradine is absolutely necessary for some reason (and I should note I am not against gradines generally; my thinking here is simply as it pertains to temporary gradines upon the mensa) is to instead build one from the ground up which will sit behind the altar on the ground.
Now that said, I know there will be some debate about the question of the two structural elements applied to the altar (the facing and the temporary gradine) and, accordingly I wished to share a couple of thoughts as to how we might perfect these sorts of things, and in a way which lessens the debate that can surround them and which might be quite consonant with our liturgical principles and tradition.
The cathedral architect, Michael Drury, will be investigating the possibility of moving the wall behind the altar that serves as the gradine farther back to allow easier access to the space behind the altar.
Of course, sometimes these gradine boxes are employed to allow for greater height to the candles and cross, or as a place to lean the altar cards.
Just looking at the pictures of the broken altar and missing gradine and tabernacle convince me that the altar isn't just being taken somewhere for cleaning, and definitely not for repairs!
Certainly I myself could have wished no variation from it in the young officer of 'bersaglieri', who had come down from antiquity to the topmost gradine of the arena over against me, and stood there defined against the clear evening sky, one hand on his hip, and the other at his side, while his thin cockerel plumes streamed in the light wind.