An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


Covering for the front of an altar, often made of silk or brocade cloth and matching the liturgical color of the season of the church year. Altar hangings were once on all sides of the altar. As altars were placed against back walls of churches in the later middle ages, only the front of the altar was visible to the congregation. Its covering was known as the frontal or antependium. Frontals may also be panels of precious metal or decorated wood. They may be hung, suspended, or attached to the altar. An additional covering, known as a frontlet or superfrontal, may hang down from the top front edge of the altar. It is usually long horizontally and narrow vertically and may be used with or without the frontal.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.