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Ajax violates Cassandra's sanctuary at the Palladium: tondo of an Attic cup, ca 440-430 BC

Sanctuary has multiple meanings. A sanctuary is the consecrated area of a church or temple around its tabernacle or altar. An animal sanctuary is a place where animals live and are protected. In modern parlance the term is used to mean a place of safety.


Sanctuary as a sacred place

In Europe, Christian churches were sometimes built on land considered as a particularly 'holy spot', perhaps where a miracle or martyrdom had taken place or where a holy person was buried. Examples are St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and St. Albans Cathedral in England, which commemorate the martyrdom of Saint Peter (the first Pope) and Saint Alban (the first Christian martyr in Britain), respectively. The place, and therefore the church built there, was considered to have been sanctified (made holy) by what happened there. In modern times, the Roman Catholic Church has continued this practice by placing in the altar of each church, when it is consecrated for use, a box (the sepulcrum) containing relics of a saint. The relics box is removed when the church is taken out of use as a church. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the antimension on the altar serves a similar function. It is a cloth icon of Christ's body taken down from the cross, and typically has the relics of a saint sewn into it. In addition, it is signed by the parish's bishop, and represents his authorization and blessing for the Eucharist to be celebrated on that altar.

The altar

The sanctuary at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney.

The area around the altar was also considered holy because of the physical presence of God in the Eucharist, both during the Mass and in the tabernacle on the altar the rest of the time. So that people could tell when Jesus was there (in the tabernacle), the sanctuary lamp would be lit, indicating that anyone approaching the altar should genuflect (bow by bending the knee and inclining the head), to show respect for Him. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Catholic Churches of Byzantine rite and Coptic Orthodox Churches, the sanctuary is separated from the nave (where the people pray) by an iconostasis, literally a wall of icons, with three doors in it. In other Oriental Orthodox traditions, a sanctuary curtain is used. In most Protestant churches, the term sanctuary denotes the entire worship area while the term chancel is used to refer to the area around the altar-table. In many traditions, such as the Anglican Church, the Lutheran Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church, altar rails sometimes mark the edge of the sanctuary or chancel.

The area around the altar came to be called the "sanctuary," and that terminology does not apply to Christian churches alone: King Solomon's temple, built in about 950 BC, had a sanctuary ("Holy of Holies") where the tabernacle ("Ark of the Covenant") was, and the term applies to the corresponding part of any house of worship. In most modern synagogues, the main room for prayer is known as the sanctuary, to contrast it with smaller rooms dedicated to various other services and functions. (There is a raised bimah in the sanctuary, from which services are conducted, which is where the ark holding the Torah may reside; some synagogues, however, have a separate bimah and ark-platform.)

The tabernacle (dwelling place of God) within the temple in the history of Israel corresponds into today as the dwelling place Christians create within their hearts for God. They believe that since Jesus Christ came and died on the cross, ripping the curtain of the temple (Mark 15:37-39, NIV) the dwelling of God no longer dwelt within the tabernacle alone, but rather within man who accepted Christ's sacrifice.

Sanctuary in medieval law

The Church as a Place of Refuge

Sanctuary was also a right to be safe from arrest in the sanctuary of a church or temple, recognized by English law from the fourth to the seventeenth century.

Right of asylum

Remains of one of four medieval stone boundary markers for the sanctuary of Saint John of Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire

Many ancient peoples recognized a religious "right of asylum", protecting criminals (or those accused of crime) from legal action to some extent. This principle was adopted by the early Christian church, and various rules developed for what the person had to do to qualify for protection and just how much protection it was.

In England, King Ethelbert made the first laws regulating sanctuary in about AD 600. By Norman times, there had come to be two kinds of sanctuary: All churches had the lower-level kind, but only the churches the king licensed had the broader version. The medieval system of asylum was finally abolished entirely in England by James I in 1623.

Relating to political asylum

During the Wars of the Roses, when the Yorkists or Lancastrians would suddenly get the upper hand by winning a battle, some adherents of the losing side might find themselves surrounded by adherents of the other side and not able to get back to their own side, so they would rush to sanctuary at the nearest church until it was safe to come out. A prime example is Queen Elizabeth Woodville, consort of Edward IV of England.

In 1470, when the Lancastrians briefly restored Henry VI to the throne, Edward's queen was living in London with several young daughters. She moved with them into Westminster for sanctuary, living there in royal comfort until Edward was restored to the throne in 1471 and giving birth to their first son Edward during that time. When King Edward died in 1483, Elizabeth (who was highly unpopular with even the Yorkists and probably did need protection) took her five daughters and youngest son (Richard, Duke of York; Prince Edward had his own household by then) and again moved into sanctuary at Westminster. She had all the comforts of home; she brought so much furniture and so many chests that the workmen had to knock holes in some of the walls to get everything in fast enough to suit her.[citation needed]

Sanctuary movement in modern times

Sanctuary of refugees from Central American civil wars was a movement in the 1980s. Part of a broader anti-war movement positioned against U.S. foreign policy in Central America, by 1987 440 sites in the United States had been declared "sanctuary cities" open to migrants from this civil wars in the Central America region.

Sanctuary of immigrants: These sites included university campuses and cities. From the 1980s continuing into the 2000s, there also have been instances of churches providing "sanctuary" for short periods to migrants facing deportation in Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, the United States, and Canada, among other nations. In 2007, Iranian refugee Shahla Valadi was granted asylum in Norway after spending seven years in church sanctuary after the initial denial of asylum. Norwegian authorities will not, as a rule, enter churches to deport illegal immigrants.[1] From 1983 to 2003 Canada experienced 36 sanctuary incidents.[2] The "New Sanctuary Movement" organization estimates that at least 600,000 people in the United States have at least one family member in danger of deportation.[3]

Animal Sanctuary movement

The role of animal sanctuaries is to provide a permanent home where the animals are not 'exploited', used in ways contrary to their nature, taken out of their environment for shows, bred for life in captivity nor used for photo or pay to play schemes. In 2008 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service followed the Captive Wildlife Safety Act and defined sanctuaries as:[4]

The CWSA specifically states that an accredited sanctuary must be tax-exempt, it must not commercially trade in the prohibited wildlife species, and it must not breed the prohibited wildlife species. Our definition of "propagate" clearly addresses that restriction. Our monitoring of these sanctuaries is accomplished through the requirement that accredited wildlife sanctuaries must maintain complete and accurate records of any possession, transportation, acquisition, disposition, importation, or exportation of the prohibited wildlife species and that these records must be accessible to Service officials for inspection upon request, at reasonable hours. We considered options for developing some type of formal accreditation mechanism for wildlife sanctuaries, but concluded for a number of reasons that such a step was not practical.
The CWSA itself sets specific criteria that must be met for a sanctuary to qualify as "accredited." We have decided that if a sanctuary meets these four criteria, it will qualify as accredited and be exempt from CWSA prohibitions. Other sanctuaries that do not meet these criteria will continue to be able to possess big cats but will not be able to import, export or transport them in interstate or foreign commerce. In the proposed rule (71 FR 5041), January 31, 2006, we stated that placing male and female big cats in the same cage for any period of time may result in breeding and is considered propagation; however, we recognize that sterilization will prevent propagation and that proof of that sterilization should assist a sanctuary in qualifying as "accredited." We will only consider a wildlife sanctuary to be exempt from the prohibitions of the CWSA if it meets the four criteria for accredited wildlife sanctuaries provided in the CWSA.
Accredited wildlife sanctuary means a facility that cares for live specimens of one or more of the prohibited wildlife species and:

  1. Is approved by the United States Internal Revenue Service as a corporation that is exempt from taxation under § 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, which is described in §§ 501(c)(3) and 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) of that code;
  2. Does not commercially trade in prohibited wildlife species, including offspring, parts, and products;
  3. Does not propagate any of the prohibited wildlife species; and
  4. Does not allow any direct contact between the public and the prohibited wildlife species.

We are requiring accredited wildlife sanctuaries to maintain complete and accurate records of any possession, transportation, sale, acquisition, purchase, barter, disposition, importation, or exportation of the prohibited wildlife species.

The ultimate goal of sanctuaries is to end the need for their existence by advocating for more compassionate attitudes toward animals and for more protective laws that would end the root causes of so much abuse, exploitation and abandonment of wild animals as props, pets and parts.

See also

External links


  1. ^ Iranian given asylum in Norway: World: News: News24
  2. ^ See Randy K. Lippert (2005). Sanctuary, Sovereignty, Sacrifice: Canadian Sanctuary Incidents, Power and Law. ISBN 0-7748-1249-4
  3. ^ "Elvira Arellano Arrested Outside Downtown Church: Chicago Immigration Activist Taken Into Custody Sunday Afternoon"
  4. ^ Big Cat Rescue

Further reading

  • J. Charles Cox (1911). The Sanctuaries and Sanctuary Seekers of Medieval England.
  • John Bellamy (1973). Crime and Public Order in England in the Later Middle Ages.
  • Richard Kaeuper (1982). "Right of asylum". Dictionary of the Middle Ages. v.1 pp.632-633. ISBN 0-684-16760-3

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010
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The Sanctuary
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The Sanctuary may refer to:

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SANCTUARY (from the late Lat. sanctuarium, a sacred place), a sacred or consecrated place, particularly one affording refuge, protection or right of asylum; also applied to the privilege itself, the right of safe refuge. In Egyptian, Greek or Roman temples it was applied to the cella in which stood the statue of the god, and the Latin word for altar, ara, was used for protection as well. In Roman Catholic usage sanctuary is sometimes applied to the whole church, as a consecrated building, but is generally limited to the choir. The idea that such places afforded refuge to criminals or refugees is founded upon the primitive and universal belief in the contagion of holiness. Hence it was sacrilege to remove the man who had gained the holy precincts; he was henceforth invested with a part of the sacredness of the place, and was inviolable so long as he remained there. Some temples had peculiar privileges in this regard. That of Diana at Ephesus extended its inviolability for a perimeter of two stadia, until its right of sanctuary was refused by the Romans. Not all Greek and Roman temples, however, had the right in an equal degree. But where it existed, the action of the Roman civil law was suspended, and in imperial times the statues and pictures of the emperors were a protection against pursuit. Tacitus says that the ancient Germans held woods, even lakes and fountains, sacred; and the Anglo-Saxons seem to have regarded several woods as holy and to have made sanctuaries of them, one of these being at Leek in Staffordshire.

The use of Christian churches as sanctuaries was not based upon the Hebrew cities of refuge, as is sometimes stated. It is part of the general religious fact of the inviolability attaching to things sacred. The Roman law did not recognize the use of xxiv. 5 Christian sanctuaries until toward the end of the 4th century, but the growing recognition of the office of bishop as intercessor helped much to develop it. By 392 it had been abused to such an extent that Theodosius the Great was obliged to limit its application, refusing it to the publici debitores. Further evidence of its progress is given by the provision in 397 forbidding the reception of refugee Jews pretending conversion in order to escape the payment of debts or just punishment. In 398, according to contemporary historians, the right of sanctuary was completely abolished, though the law as we have it is not so sweeping. But next year the right was finally and definitely recognized, and in 419 the privilege was extended in the western empire to fifty paces from the church door. In 431, by an edict of Theodosius and Valentinian it was extended to include the church court-yard and whatever stood therein, in order to provide some other place than the church for the fugitives to eat and sleep. They were to leave all arms outside, and if they refused to give them up they could be seized in the church. Capital punishment was to be meted out to all who violated the right of sanctuary. Justinian's code repeats the regulation of sanctuary by Leo I. in 466, but Justinian himself in a Novel of the year 535 limited the privilege to those not guilty of the grosser crimes. In the new Germanic kingdoms, while violent molestation of the right of sanctuary was forbidden, the fugitive was given up after an oath had been taken not to put him to death (Lex. Rom. Burgund. tit. 2, § 5; Lex. Visigoth vi. tit. 5, c. 16). This legislation was copied by the church at the council of Orleans in 511; the penalty of penance was added, and the whole decree backed by the threat of excommunication. Thus it passed into Gratian's Decretum. It also formed the basis of legislation by the Frankish king Clotaire (511-588), who, however, assigned no penalty for its violation. Historians like Gregory of Tours have many tales to tell showing how frequently it was violated. The Carolingians denied the right of sanctuary to criminals already condemned to death.

The earliest extant mention of the right of sanctuary in England is contained in the code of laws issued by the AngloSaxon king iEthelberht in A.D. 600. By these he who infringed the church's privilege was to pay twice the fine attaching to an ordinary breach of the peace. At Beverley and Hexham i m. in every direction was sacred territory. The boundaries of the church frith were marked in most cases by stone crosses erected on the highroads leading into the town. Four crosses, each 1 m. from the church, marked the mile limits in every direction of Hexham Sanctuary. Crosses, too, inscribed with the word "Sanctuarium," were common on the highways, serving probably as sign-posts to guide fugitives to neighbouring sanctuaries. One is still to be seen at Armathwaite, Cumberland; and another at St Buryan's, Cornwall, at the corner of a road leading down to some ruins known locally as "the Sanctuary." That such wayside crosses were themselves sanctuaries is in most cases improbable, but there still exist in Scotland the remains of a true sanctuary cross. This is known as MacDuff's Cross, near Lindores, Fifeshire. The legend is that, after the defeat of the usurper,Macbeth, in 1057, and the succession of Malcolm Canmore as Malcolm III. to the Scottish throne, MacDuff, as a reward for his assistance, was granted special sanctuary privileges for his kinsmen. Clansmen within the ninth degree of relationship to the chief of the clan, guilty of unpremeditated homicide, could, on reaching the cross, claim remission of the capital sentence. Probably the privilege has been exaggerated, the fugitive kinsmen were exempt from outside jurisdiction and liable only to the court of the earl of Fife.

The canon law allowed the protection of sanctuary to those guilty of crimes of violence for a limited time only, in order that some compensation (wergild) should be made, or to check bloodvengeance. In several English churches there was a stone seat beside the altar which was known as the frith-stool (peace-stool), upon which the seeker of sanctuary sat. Examples of such sanctuary-seats still exist at Hexham and Beverley, and of the sanctuary knockers which hung on the church-doors one is still in position at Durham Cathedral. The procedure, upon seeking sanctuary, was regulated in the minutest detail. The fugitive had to make confession of his crime to one of the clergy, to surrender his arms, swear to observe the rules and regulations of the religious houses, pay an admission fee, give, under oath, fullest details of his crime (the instrument used, the name of the victim, &c.), and at Durham he had to toll a special bell as a formal signal that he prayed sanctuary, and put on a gown of black cloth on the left shoulder of which was embroidered a St Cuthbert's cross.

The protection afforded by a sanctuary at common law was this: a person accused of felony might fly for safeguard of his life to sanctuary, and there, within 40 days, go, clothed in sackcloth, before the coroner, confess the felony and take an oath of abjuration of the realm, whereby he undertook to quit the kingdom, and not return without the king's leave. Upon confession he was, ipso facto, convict of the felony, suffered attainder of blood and forfeited all his goods, but had time allowed him to fulfil his oath. The abjurer started forth on his journey, armed only with a wooden cross, bareheaded and clothed in a long white robe, which made him conspicuous among medieval wayfarers. He had to keep to the king's highway, was not allowed to remain more than two nights in any one place, and must make his way to the coast quickly. The time allowed for his journey was not long. In Edward III.'s reign only nine days were given an abjurer to travel on foot from Yorkshire to Dover.

Under the Norman kings there appear to have been two kinds of sanctuary; one general, which belonged to every church, and another peculiar, which had its force in a grant by charter from the king. This latter type could not be claimed by prescription, and had to be supported by usage within legal memory. General sanctuaries protected only those guilty of felonies, while those by special grant gave immunity even to those accused of high or petty treason, not for a time only but apparently for life. Of chartered sanctuaries there were at least 22: Abingdon, Armathwaite, Beaulieu, Battle Abbey, Beverley, Colchester, Derby, Durham, Dover, Hexham Lancaster, St Mary le Bow (London), St Martin's le Grand (London), Merton Priory, Northampton, Norwich, Ripon, Ramsey, Wells, Westminster, Winchester, York (Soc. of Antiq. of London, Archaeologia, viii. 1-44, London, 1787. Sketch of the History of the Asylum or Sanctuary, by Samuel Pegge). Sanctuary being the privilege of the church, it is not surprising to find that it did not extend to the crime of sacrilege; nor does it appear that it was allowed to those who had escaped from the sheriff after they had been delivered to him for execution.

Chartered sanctuaries had existed before the Norman invasion. About thirty churches, from a real or pretended antiquity of the privilege, acquired special reputation as sanctuaries, e.g. Westminster Abbey (by grant of Edward the Confessor); Ripon (by grant of Whitlase, king of the Mercians); St Buryans, Cornwall (by grant of Æthelstan); St Martin's le Grand, London, and Beverley Minster. "The precincts of the Abbey," says Dean Stanley, "were a vast cave of Adullam for all the distressed and discontented in the metropolis, who desired, according to the phrase of the time, to ` take Westminster.'" Elizabeth Woodville, queen of Edward IV., took refuge in the Abbey with her younger children from the hostility of Richard III. In the next reign the most celebrated sanctuary-seeker was Perkin Warbeck, who thus twice saved his neck, at Beaulieu and Sheen. John Skelton, tutor and afterwards court poet to Henry VIII., fearing the consequences of his caustic wit as displayed in an attack on Wolsey, took sanctuary at Westminster and died there in 1529.

The law of abjuration and sanctuary was regulated by numerous and intricate statutes (see Coke, Institutes, iii. I 15); but grave abuses arose, especially in the peculiar sanctuaries. The attack on these seems to have begun towards the close of the 14th century, in the reign of Richard II. During the 15th century violations of sanctuary were not uncommon; the Lollards were forced from churches; and Edward IV. after the battle of Tewkesbury had the duke of Somerset and twenty Lancastrian leaders dragged from sanctuary and beheaded.

At the Reformation general and peculiar sanctuaries both suffered drastic curtailment of their privileges, but the great chartered ones suffered most. By the reforming act of 1540 Henry VIII. established seven cities as peculiar sanctuaries. These were Wells, Westminster, Northampton, Manchester, York, Derby and Launceston. Manchester petitioned against being made a sanctuary town, and Chester was substituted. By an act of James I. (1623), sanctuary, as far as crime was. concerned, was abolished throughout the kingdom. The privilege lingered on for civil processes in certain districts which had been the site of former religious buildings and which became the haunts of criminals who there resisted arrest - a notable example being that known as Whitefriars between Fleet Street and the Thames, E. of the temple. This locality was nicknamed Alsatia (the name first occurs in Shadwell's plays in Charles II.'s reign), and there criminals were able to a large extent to defy the law (see Sir Walter Scott's Fortunes of Nigel and Peveril of the Peak), arrests only being possible under writs of the Lord Chief Justice. So flagrant became the abuses here and in the other quasisanctuaries that in 1697 an act of William III., known as "The Escape from Prison Act," finally abolished all such alleged privileges. A further amending act of 1723 (George I.) completed the work of destruction. The privileged places named in the two acts were the Minories, Salisbury Court, Whitefriars, Fulwood's Rents, Mitre Court, Baldwin's Gardens, The Savoy, The Clink, Deadman's Place, Montague Close, The Mint and Stepney. (See Stephen, History of Crim. Law, i. 113.) In Scotland excommunication was incurred by any who attempted to arrest thieves within sanctuary. The most famous sanctuaries were those attaching to the Church of Wedale, now Stow, near Galashiels, and that of Lesmahagow, Lanark. All religious sanctuaries were abolished in the Northern Kingdom at the Reformation. But the debtor found sanctuary from "diligence" in Holyrood House and its precincts until late in the 17th century. This sanctuary did not protect criminals, or even all debtors, e.g. not crown debtors or fraudulent bankrupts; and it was possible to execute a meditatio fugae warrant within the sanctuary. After twenty-four hours' residence the debtor had to enter his name in the record of the Abbey Court in order to entitle him to further protection. Under the Act 1696 c. 5, insolvency concurring with retreat to the sanctuary constituted notour bankruptcy (see Bell, Commentaries, ii. 461). The abolition of imprisonment for debt in 1881 practically abolished this privilege of sanctuary.

A presumptive right of sanctuary attached to the royal palaces, and arrests could not be made there. In Anglo-Saxon times the king's peace extended to the palace and 3000 paces around it: it extended to the king himself beyond the precincts. At the present day Members of Parliament cannot be served with writs or arrested within the precincts of the Houses of Parliament, which extend to the railings of Palace Yard. During the Irish agitation of the 'eighties Parnell and others of the Irish members avoided arrest for some little while by living in the House and never passing outside the gates of the yard.

The houses of ambassadors were in the past quasi-sanctuaries. This was a natural corollary of their diplomatic immunities (see Diplomacy). The privilege was never strictly defined. At one time it was insisted that the immunity accorded an ambassador included his house and those who fled to it. At an earlier date sanctuary had actually been claimed for the quarter of the town in which the house stood. At Rome this privilege was formally abolished by Innocent XI. (Pope 1676-1689), and in 1682 the Spanish ambassador at the Papal Court renounced all right to claim immunity even for his house. His example was followed by the British ambassador in 1686. Portugal, Sweden, Denmark and Venice abolished by express ordinance in 1748 the asylum-rights of ambassadorial residences. In 1726 the Spanish government had forcibly taken the duke of Ripperda out of the hotel of the English ambassador at Madrid, although the Court of St James had sanctioned his reception there. At Venice, too, some Venetians who had betrayed state secrets to the French ambassador and had taken refuge at his house were dragged out by troops sent by the senate.

In Europe, generally, the right of sanctuary survived under restrictions down to the end of the 18th century. In Germany the more serious crimes of violence were always excepted. Highwaymen, robbers, traitors and habitual criminals could not claim church protection. In 1418 sanctuary was further regulated by a bull of Martin V. and in 1504 by another of Julius II. In a modified form the German Asylrecht lasted to modern times, not being finally abolished till about 1780. In France le droit d'asile existed throughout the middle ages, but was much limited by an edict of Francis I. in 1539, Ordonnance sur le faut de la justice. At the Revolution the right of sanctuary was entirely abolished.

Bibliography. - T. J. de Mazzinghi, Sanctuaries (Stafford, 1887); J. F. Stephen, Hist. of Criminal Law of England (3 vols., London, 1833); Luke Owen Pike, History of Crime (2 vols., 18 751876); Aug. von Bulmerincq, Das Asylrecht (Dorpat, 1853); Henri Wallon, Droit d'asile (Paris, 1837); Samuel Pegge,"Sketch of History of Asylum or Sanctuary," Soc. of Antiq. of London, Archaeologia viii. 1 -44 (London, 1787); A. P. Stanley, Memorials of Westminster Abbey (London, 1882); Bissel, The Law of Asylum in Israel (1884); Graszhoff, "Die Gesetze der rOmischen Kaiser fiber das Asylrecht der Kirche," in the Archiv f. kath. Kirchenrecht, Bd. 37; E. Lining, Geschichte des Kirchenrechts, i. 37; ii. 355.

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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Sanctuary may mean:

(1) the Holy Land (Ex 15:17; comp. Ps 1142);

(2) the temple (1Chr 22:19; 2Chr 29:21);

(3) the tabernacle (Ex 25:8; Lev 12:4; Lev 21:12);

(4) the holy place, the place of the Presence (Gr. hieron, the temple-house; not the naos, which is the temple area, with its courts and porches), Lev 4:6; Eph 2:21, R.V., marg.;

(5) God's holy habitation in heaven (Ps 10219). In the final state there is properly "no sanctuary" (Rev 21:22), for God and the Lamb "are the sanctuary" (R.V., "temple"). All is there hallowed by the Divine Presence; all is sancturary.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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