The LECTERN, on which the Bible rests for reading during services, is placed near the division between the chancel and the NAVE. It is usually in the shape of the EAGLE, with the Bible resting on its outspread wings, although there are also instances of lecterns in the shape of a PELICAN, the eagle was thought to be able to look unflinchingly into the heart of the sun; in the same way, the words from the Bible are an unflinching revelation of God. The pelican was said in medieval bestiaries to peck at its breast in order to feed its young with its own blood; its selflessness is seen as a direct analogy with Jesus’ sacrifice.

PULPITS, from which sermons are delivered to the congregation, were introduced into Western churches in around the fourteenth century. Since they are the focus for teaching, images of THE FOUR EVANGELISTS or the four Latin Doctors are sometimes found carved into them.


Taylor, R. (2007). How to read a church. Singpore: Tien Wah Press.

Photo taken by the blog’s author