What Is a Columbarium?

A Columbarium is a permanent resting place for cremated remains. “Columbarium” is derived from the Latin word devocate, or “a nesting place for doves.” The Early Christians in Rome used the term to describe the catacombs, where they not only interred the dead, but also sought refuge and worshiped during times of persecution. The dove of peace, symbol for the Holy Spirit, has always been associated with the Resurrection.

Where Is Trinity’s Columbarium Located?

Trinity’s Columbarium is a separate, protected, sacred space for prayer and meditation. It occupies approximately 230 square feet in the southeast corner of the nave, the corner nearest Chapel and Temple streets. The image of the Risen Christ on the Road to Emmaus, as depicted in Louis Comfort’s Tiffany stained glass window, overlooks the Columbarium.

Design of the Columbarium

The Columbarium’s design blends with the early Gothic Revival context of Trinity’s historic nave. The Columbarium resembles a small chapel with a central altar, surrounded by low walls containing hundreds of discrete compartments.

The compartments contain beautifully crafted boxes. Each box holds one person’s remains, with the name of that person engraved on the box and the outside panel of the compartment. The base of the Columbarium altar provides a space for those who prefer the alternative of combined ashes. In a memorial book, Trinity records the names of all whose remains have been combined.

The Columbarium also has benches for rest, contemplation and prayer.

See this video for a moving glimpse of this wonderful place of repose, healing, and beauty.