Plan of a large Latin cross church with chancel highlighted
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Strict definition
Wikimedia Commons
Broader definition
Wikimedia Commons

The presbytery, also known as the sanctuary,[1] is the part of the chancelPart of a church containing the altar, used by the officiating clergy. in a Christian church housing the altar, for the exclusive use of the officiating clergy, and is often raised above floor level.[2]

The term is also applied to the residence of, in particular, Roman Catholic priests.[3]



Cross, F. L., and E. A. Livingstone. “Presbytery.” Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Online, Oxford University Press, 2014,
Curl, James Stevens, and Susan Wilson. “Presbytery.” Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Online, Oxford University Press, 2015,
Jones, Tom Devonshire, et al., editors. “Presbytery.” Oxford Dictionary of Christian Art and Architecture, Online, Oxford University Press, 2015,