What is an Ambo & the history of it's use and development


Before we get into the history of the Ambo, let's look at some key bullet points:

  • Ambo is derived from the Greek word “Step” or “Elevation”.
  • A large pulpit or reading desk.
  • An oblong pulpit with steps at each end.
  • A raised stand from which the Gospel or Epistle (readings from St. Paul’s letters) were read in early Basilicas and churches.

    Originally introduced as a portable lectern, by the 4th Century, it had evolved into a raised platform used during mass to chant or read the Epistle and Gospel.  In the 6th Century, it became a stationary fixture in the church and became an essential part of the church plan.  Between the 6th and 11th Century the Russian Orthodox church Ambos took the form of the step leading to a platform.  In contrast, the Greek Orthodox church retained its earlier movable form of the Ambo.

     During this time the double Ambo appeared and were placed on the North and South side of the choir.  The North Ambo was used to read the Epistle and the South for the Gospel.

    By the 9th Century, the Ambo was in universal use, but the 12th Century saw a decline in the use of the Ambo and was superseded by the pulpit.

    Today the words Ambo and Pulpits are used interchangeably.  In history these two terms were used to identify two different things, each having its own specific purpose in the liturgy. 

    In today’s churches, there are specific instructions on the use of an Ambo. It must be stationary and keeping with the design of each church, in such a way that the ordained minister may be distinctly heard when addressing the congregation.

    Only the Readings, Responsorial Psalm, Easter Proclamation, Homily and announcing the intentions of Universal Prayer can be performed from the Ambo.

    Although some churches today have one Ambo or Pulpit that suffices for the entire Liturgy.

    PodiumsDirect.com has many Pulpits or Ambos available on our website, below are just a few examples.

    1. Church Wood Pulpit Custom No 7. A Beautiful Walk-In Wood Pulpit.

    Church Wood Pulpit Custom No 7

    1. Church Wood Pulpit Wing NO 8501.


    1. Church Wood Pulpit Custom No 4.

    Church Wood Pulpit Custom No 4

    1. Church Wood Pulpit Wing No 8500.


    1. Church Wood Pulpit Custom No 1.

    Church Wood Pulpit Custom No 1

    1. Wood with Acrylic Pulpit Custom No. 5.  Traditional pulpit with a modern twist.

    Wood with Acrylic Pulpit Custom No. 5

    1. Prestige Glass Pulpit NC8WC/NC8CG. A Pulpit with presence to fill a larger area.

    Glass Pulpit NC8WC/NC8CG Prestige Winged PRESTIGE

    1. Acrylic Lectern Kings. This Column church pulpit design features a lectern surface large enough to hold your Bible, notes, or announcements. 

    Acrylic Lectern Kings

    1. Contemporary Acrylic and Aluminum Podium, 3080CL. This podium is an example of contemporary elegance.

    Contemporary Acrylic and Aluminum Podium Large Alumacrylic

    1. Metal Truss Lectern JP1PTC Custom Dual Post.

    Metal Truss Lectern JP1PTC Custom Dual Post

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