What Is an Altar Used for in a Church?

Murat Taner/Photographer’s Choice/Getty Images

In a church, the altar is used for performing baptisms and other church ceremonies. An altar is a raised platform that is often located at the center or close to the front pews of the church. The altar is a symbol of piety.

The altar was not always a part of the church; in about A.D. 250, altars began to appear in churches. The earliest altars were mere wooden tables that could be moved about the church. Later, immovable structures with square raised platforms were built.

Wine and bread are often placed on the altar during religious ceremonies. A priest often delivers the sermon from the pulpit and then descends from the altar to meet with fellow Christians.