Almery

Almery

[ah-muh-ree]

Almery, atjmery, aumbrie, or ambry (from the medieval form almariwm, cf. Lat. armarium, "a place for keeping tools"; cf. O. Fr. aumoire and mod. armoire), in architecture, is a recess in the wall of a church, sometimes square-headed, and sometimes arched over, and closed with a door like a cupboard. It is sometimes a cabinet attached to the wall.

In Roman Catholic usage, when commonly called an ambry, it is traditionally located in the sanctuary (as in, the altar area) of a church or in the Baptistery, and is used for the storage of the oils used in sacraments: Oil of catechumens (indicated by the Latin letters O.C.), Oil of the Sick (O.I.), and Sacred Chrism (S.C.). Former regulations required it to be secured and locked, and lined and veiled with either purple cloth (in reference to the Oil of the Sick) or white (for the Sacred Chrism). The door was usually marked "O.S." or Olea Sancta, to indicate the contents. Such regulations are now relaxed so that while many churches continue to use such an ambry, the oils are also stored and in some cases displayed in other ways.

The term can also be used less formally to indicate a cabinet that contains the chalices, basins, cruets, etc., for the use of the priest; many of them have stone shelves. They are sometimes near the piscina, but more often on the opposite side. The word also seems in medieval times to be used commonly for any closed cupboard and even bookcase. (See also aumbry).

References

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