CHURCH, a word which signifies either a place of Christian worship or a collective body of Christian people. It is, in all probability, derived from the Greek adjective kyriakos (from kyrios, lord), the place of worship having been called the Lord's house, and the worshipers the Lord's people. The Scottish kirk, the German kircU, etc., are merely different forms of it.
Under the terms apse and basilica (q.v.), we have already explained that the ear liest ecclesiastical structures of the Christians were copied or adapted not from the heathen or Jewish temple, as might have been anticipated, but from that peculiar coin bination of a hall of justice and a market-place to which the name basilica was given by the ancients. The reason of this selection is probably to be found, not so much in the spirit of opposition which no doubt existed between Christians and heathens, as in the essentially different conceptions which they formed of the character and objects of public worship. The rites of heathendom were performed exclusively by the priest, the people remaining without the temple; and the temple itself. which was lighted only from the door, or by the few lamps which burned around the image of the god, was regarded not as a receptacle for worshipers, but as the abode of the deity. The dark, mysterious character which thus belonged to it, rendered it equally unsuitable for the performance of liturgical services in which the people were to participate, and for the delivery of those public addresses which from the beginning were employed as a means of Christian teaching and exhortation. To such purposes, the prwtor's court-room, with its surroundings, were readily adapted, by the few simple alterations which we have described in the articles referred to. But the basilica. as thus altered, was a mere utilitarian structure. It served the purposes of Christian worship, but there was noth ing in its form which responded to the feelings of Christian worshipers, or tended to awaken Christian sentiments. Now,. the cross (q.v.) had-been used by Christians from a very early period to indicate their allegiance to the author of their salvation and the object of their faith; and gradually it had become the distinctive emblem of Christian ity. Nothing, then, could be more natural than that when it became desirable to give distinctively Christian characteristics to what hitherto had been a heathen structure, this should he effected by such a modification of its form as should convert it into a representation of this sacred emblem. Nor did this alteration lead to any very extensive change on the form of the C., as it had hitherto existed. The basilica, as we have already explained, not unfrequently bad side entrances, either in place of, or in addi tion to, that front the end. All that was requisite, then, to convert the simple parallelo gram of which it consisted into a cross, was, that at each side of the building these entrances, in place of direct communications with the exterior, should be converted into passages, or arms running out at right angles, and more or Jess prolonged, according as the object was to attain the form of a Greek or of a Latin cross (see Choss). If the C. was to be in the form of a Greek cross. the arms were made of the same length with the other two portions into which they divided the building; whereas if the cross was to be a Latin one, the portion of the which ran towards the w. was made consider ably longer than either of the others. In either case, the arms running at right angles to the C., and directly opposite to each other, cut it across, and thus obtained the name of transept.q.
The external form of the C. being thus indicated, we now proceed to explain its internal arrangements, and to enumerate the various adjuncts which in cathedrals and others of the larger churches frequently sprang up around it.
Over the point at which the arms or transepts intersect the body of the cross, a cen tral tower or spire is very frequently erected. From this central tower, or, if the tower or towers are situated elsewhere, from this central point, the portion of the building which runs westward, to where the Galilee or entrance chapel, or, in other instances, the great entrance-door is situated, is called the nave (from navis, a ship), whilst the portion which runs eastward to where the altar, or high-altar, if there be several, is placed, is called the choir. In the larger and more complete churches, the nave, and frequently also the choir, are divided longitudinally by two rows of pillars into three portions, the portion at each side being generally somewhat narrower and less lofty than that in the center. These side portions are called the aisles of the nave, or of the choir, as the case may be. In some churches, the aisles are continued along the transepts, thus running round the whole C. ; in others, there are double aisles to the nave, or to both nave and choir, or even to nave, choir, and transept. Behind, or to the e. of the choir, is situ ated the Ladye's chapel, or chapel of the Virgin, with sometimes a number of altars; and it is not unusual for side chapels to be placed at different places along the aisles. These usually contain the tombs of the founder, and of other benefactors to, or dignitaries connected with, the church. The extent to which these adjuncts exist depends on the size and importance of the C., and they are scarcely ever alike in two churches, either in number, form, or position. Vestries for the use of the priests and choristers generally exist in connection with the choir. Along the sides of the choir are ranged richly orna mented seats or stalls, usually of carved oak, surmounted with tracery, arches, and pin nacles; and amongst these seats, in the case of a bishop's church, the highest and most conspicuous is the so-called cathedra, or seat for the bishop, from which the cathedral takes its name. The larger English cathedral and abbey-churches have usually a chap ter-house attached to them, which is of various forms, most commonly octagonal, and is often one of the richest and most beautiful portions of the whole edifice. On the conti nent, chapter-houses are not so common, the chapter (q.v.) being usually held in the cathedral itself, or in one of the chapels attached to it. Cloisters (q. v.) are also frequent, and not unusually the sides of those which are furthest removed from the C. or chapter house, are inclosed by other buildings connected with the establishment, such as a library, and places of residence for some of the officials of the cathedral. It is here that, in Roman Catholic churches, the hall, dormitories, and kitchens for the monks are com monly placed. Beneath the C. there is frequently a crypt (q.v.). In some cathedral churches, the crypt is in reality a second underground C. of great size and beauty. The baptistery (q.v.) is another adjunct to the C., though frequently forming a building alto gether detached. Most of the parts of the C. which we have mentioned may be traced; but it must not be supposed that their position is always that which is there represented. The position of the nave, choir, or chancel, aisles, and transepts are nearly invariable, but the other portions vary, and are scarcely alike in two churches.