Initially, the piscina was a reservoir or basin for water, used in ancient Rome in the baths (thermae). In this way, artificial ponds built in the gardens of rich Romans, were also named. During the early Christian period, the piscina was a shallow basin, placed next to the church altar in the presbytery or in the sacristy. It was intended for washing communion vessels. Most often it was made of stone, sometimes it was equipped with a drain. In the Orthodox churches, the piscina is called thalassidion.

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