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Ambry \Am"bry\, n.; pl. Ambries. [OE. aumbry, almery, OF. almarie, armarie, aumaire, F. armoire, LL. armarium chest, cupboard, orig. a repository for arms, fr. L. arama arms. The word has been confused with almonry. See Armory.]

  1. In churches, a kind of closet, niche, cupboard, or locker for utensils, vestments, etc.

  2. A store closet, as a pantry, cupboard, etc.

  3. Almonry. [Improperly so used]


n. (label en now historical rare) A bookcase; a library or archive. (from 13thc.)


An ambry (or almery, aumbry; from the medieval form almarium, cf. Lat. armarium, "a place for keeping tools"; cf. O. Fr. aumoire and mod. armoire) is a recessed cabinet in the wall of a Christian church for storing sacred vessels and vestments. They are sometimes near the piscina, but more often on the opposite side. The word also seems in medieval times to be used commonly for any closed cupboard and even bookcase.

Items kept in an ambry include chalices and other vessels, as well as items for the reserved sacrament, the consecrated elements from the Eucharist. This latter use was infrequent in pre-Reformation churches, although it was known in Scotland, Sweden, Germany and Italy. More usually the sacrament was reserved in a pyx, usually hanging in front of and above the altar or later in a "sacrament house".

After the Reformation and the Tridentine reforms, in the Roman Catholic Church the sacrament was no longer reserved in ambries; some ambries were used to house the oil for the Anointing of the Sick. Today in the Roman Catholic Church, the consecrated elements may only be reserved in a tabernacle or hanging pyx; reservation in an ambry is now forbidden.

The Reformed churches abandoned reservation of the elements, so that ambries, unless used for housing vessels, became redundant. But, in the Scottish Episcopal church since the eighteenth century and other Anglican churches since the nineteenth century (following the Tractarian revival), reservation has again become common. In the Church of England the sacrament is reserved in all forty-four cathedrals, as well as many parish churches, although it is very uncommon amongst churches of an evangelical tradition. Reservation of the sacrament is quite common in the Episcopal Church of the United States, the Anglican Church of Australia, the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, as well as in the Anglican Church of Canada (though with varying degrees of veneration, depending on the parish). Even traditionally Low Church parishes, such as St. Anne's, Toronto, reserve the sacrament.

Usage examples of "ambry".

When she felt that she was about to come into sight of Ambry the pipes grew still.

Alice, just as she and Ambry had decided during those long evenings in their cottage on the rocky shore in Virtu.

Although Lydia tried hard to believe that Ambry would find her again, her ability to hope was worn very thin.

Lydia banished her catalogue and, when Ambry offered his arm, found herself suddenly shy.

Lydia still had not looked at Ambry except for that first startled moment of recognition.

Lydia thought about how little Ambry had changed since she had first met him.

It played the same tune as Ambry had on his pipes, adding verses that answered their questions without words and thus were incomprehensible.

In any case, Ambry, the more I think about it, the more I think that Alice should get to know you.

She felt the truth at the fringes of her mind and gave Ambry a warm smile.

If Ambry starts acting peculiarly I can try to get him to snap out of the spell or, if that fails, call a doctor.

Alice pulled herself up in mock indignation, a move that managed to put her close enough that Ambry could easily be included in the hug.

Alice and Ambry, as it gave them opportunity to prepare for her party.

Once enfolded in the foggy embrace, Ambry drooped limply, his face lax and expressionless.

Alice finished her narration, Lydia took over, explaining what she and Ambry had learned during their visit to the Donnerjack Institute.

Nothing Ambry was doing was against their programming and perhaps the younger man would provide the leverage they had been seeking to get the Piper to cooperate.