- Latin: pulpitum, stage or scaffold
An elevated stand for preaching. Its immediate precursor was the ambo. In the early Christian era the bishop preached from the cathedral. Later the ambo was the place for reading the Gospel and delivering sermons. In the building plan of Saint Gall in 820 the pulpit is found in the central part of the nave. It was later a part of the rood-loft; movable pulpits of wood were also used. The sculptured pulpits of Pisano at Siena and Pisa are examples of the finest work of the 13th century in Italy. At Prato there is an example of an outside pulpit. In the Renaissance they are of either bronze or marble and are projected from a pillar or wall. The Belgian pulpits of the Baroque period are remarkable for their size and luxurious carvings. The style of the pulpit should be subordinated to that of the high altar and it should be placed so as not to obstruct the view of the sanctuary.