A chapel is a church other than a parish church, often attached to a larger institution such as a college, a hospital, a palace, or a prison. One of the best known is that at King's College, Cambridge, which has a renowned choir. Another famous chapel is Sistine Chapel, famous for Michelangelo's paintings on its ceilings.
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The earliest Christians are often referred to as chapels, as they were not a dedicated building but rather a dedicated chamber within a building, such as an individual's house. However, the earliest Chapels that were identified separate from a church or a presbytery were the memorials constructed for the Martyr's.
In English history, chapel was formerly the required designation of the churches of nonconformist faiths, which is to say, any Protestant churches outside of the established Church of England. It was a word particularly associated with religious practice in Wales.
This distinction had an impact in the Irish language in the Middle Ages, as Welsh people came with the Norman and Old English invaders to the island of Ireland. While the traditional Irish word for church was éaglais, a new word, ceipéal (from chapel) came into usage.
Types of Chapel
- Side Chapels
- Lady Chapels – these are really a form of side chapel, but have been included separately as they are extremely prevalent in the Catholic church. They are dedicated to the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
- Ambassador's Chapels – allow the worship of ambassadors from Roman Catholic countries whilst on duty in Protestant countries.
- Bishop's Chapels – Bishops are permitted the right to have a chapel in their own home, even when travelling.
- Chapels of Ease – constructed in large parishes to allow parishoners easy access to a church or chapel.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, chapels are local church buildings. The name of the church is on the outside of the building, and there is usually a steeple without a cross. In the main room of the chapel used for the Sacrament meeting there are no paintings, flags, statues, carvings, or symbols. Although some chapels have pictures on stained glass. There are pictures or paintings in the hallways and in the classrooms and offices. There is an office for the Bishop or Branch President of the local "Ward" or "Branch" of the church. There are several classrooms used for Sunday School, Seminary classes, and youth groups on Sunday and throughout the week.
Stake Centers are also used for weekly services.