A prie-dieu (French: literally, "pray [to] God") is a type of prayer desk primarily intended for private devotional use, but also often found in churches of the European continent. It is a small ornamental wooden desk furnished with a sloping shelf for books, and a cushioned pad (kneeler) on which to kneel. Sometimes, instead of the sloping shelf, a padded arm rest will be provided. This type is useful for devotions, such as the Rosary which do not require a book, or for private, non-liturgical prayer.

The prie-dieu appears not to have received its present name until the early part of the 17th century. At that period in France a small room or oratory was sometimes known by the same name. A similar form of chair, in domestic furniture is called "prie-dieu" by analogy. Sometimes, a prie-dieu will consist only of the sloped shelf for books without the kneeler.

Prie-dieus may be provided in church weddings for the bride and groom to kneel on during the service, or may be used by a cleric when he leads the faithful in a litany.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church a prie-dieu is provided for the bishop when he kneels in the Holy Doors during the consecration of a church. One may also be used by the priest when he reads the Kneeling Prayers at Pentecost.



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  • prie-Dieu — [ pridjø ] n. m. inv. • 1603; de prier et Dieu ♦ Siège bas, au dossier terminé en accoudoir, sur lequel on s agenouille pour prier. « Il s échappait se prosterner sur les prie Dieu de paille » (Aragon). ● prie Dieu nom masculin invariable Meuble… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • prie-dieu — [prē′dyo͞o΄] n. [Fr < prier, to pray + Dieu, God] a narrow, upright frame with a lower ledge for kneeling on at prayer and an upper ledge, as for a book …   English World dictionary

  • prie-dieu — (pri dieu) s. m. 1°   Sorte de pupitre qui a pour base un marchepied, où l on s agenouille pour prier Dieu. •   Cet humble et triste asile de la pénitence, qui ne contient qu un crucifix, une tête de mort, un prie Dieu, une chaise de bois et un… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • prié-dieu — I. Prié Dieu. s. m. Sorte de pupitre sur lequel on s appuye en priant Dieu, & qui est accompagné d un marche pied où l on s agenoüille. On avoit mis un prié Dieu au milieu de l Eglise. le prié Dieu estoit couvert de velours. On appelle, Croix de… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • prie-dieu — /pree dyoo /; Fr. /prddee dyue /, n., pl. prie dieus, prie dieux / dyooz /, Fr. prie dieu. a piece of furniture for kneeling on during prayer, having a rest above, as for a book. [1750 60; < F: lit., pray God] * * * ▪ furniture       praying desk …   Universalium

  • PRIE-DIEU — s. m. Sorte de pupitre au bas duquel est un marchepied, où l on s agenouille pour prier Dieu. On avait mis un prie Dieu au milieu de l église. Le prie Dieu était couvert d un tapis de velours. On avait préparé trois prie Dieu …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)

  • prie-Dieu —    Se mettre à genoux sur un prie Dieu : dites, prié Dieu , s. m …   Dictionnaire grammatical du mauvais langage

  • prie-dieu — noun /pɹiːˈdjəː/ A piece of furniture on which someone can pray, consisting of a cushioned area to kneel on, with a built in ledge for books. Leaning her childish face and full chin on the shelf of the prie Dieu, her eyes fixed, she laughed, out… …   Wiktionary

  • prie-dieu — /ˈpri djɜ/ (say pree dyer) noun (plural prie dieux or prie dieus) a piece of furniture for kneeling on during prayer, having a rest above, as for a book. {French: pray God} …   Australian English dictionary

  • prie-dieu — noun (plural prie dieux) Etymology: French, literally, pray God Date: 1760 1. a kneeling bench designed for use by a person at prayer and fitted with a raised shelf on which the elbows or a book may be rested 2. a low armless upholstered chair… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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