That part of a church immediately surrounding the high altar, or, where there is
no chancel or a small one, all that part [traditionally] within the altar-rails.
ii. A shrine.
iii. A refuge,
usually the precincts of a church, to which persons might have recourse when
threatened with public justice or private vengeance; they were then held by law
to be untouchable, permanently or for a time and in circumstances varying
according to the local privilege..." (Catholic Dictionary)
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