Glossary / A / Altar

An altar is a table or flat-topped block used as the central focus point for a religious ritual, especially for making sacrifices or offerings to a deity.

The altar within the Catholic Church serves as the central point for the celebration of the Mass, where the Sacrifice of Mass is performed.

Altars are found in many religions and spiritual practices around the world, serving as sacred spaces for worship, prayer, or ceremonial rites.

Altars are found in places of worship such as churches, temples, or shrines, but they may also be found in personal spaces for private worship.

They vary in design, ranging from simple earth mounds or wooden tables to elaborately decorated stone and wooden structures.

Where does the term Altar come from?

The term “altar” comes from the Latin word “altārium,” signifying “elevated,” and is related to the Latin verb “adolere,” meaning “to perform a ritual burning or sacrifice.”