Narthex


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narthex

(när`thĕks), entrance feature peculiar to early Christian and Byzantine churches, although also found in some Romanesque churches, especially in France and Italy. Usually extending across the entire west front of the building, it was a vestibule for the penitents and catechumens who were not admitted to the church proper. The narthex was either enclosed within the building (often separated from the nave by a mere screen of columns) or consisted of an exterior colonnaded or arcaded portico. In the latter case it was sometimes merely a continuation of the atriumatrium
, term for an interior court in Roman domestic architecture and also for a type of entrance court in early Christian churches. The Roman atrium was an unroofed or partially roofed area with rooms opening from it. In early times its center held a cooking hearth.
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, as in a number of Italian basilical churches, including the original basilica (4th cent.) of St. Peter's Church, Rome. The inner narthex was particularly characteristic of the monastic churches, where admission was restricted. In churches having both types of narthex, as in Hagia SophiaHagia Sophia
[Gr.,=Holy Wisdom] or Santa Sophia,
Turkish Aya Sofia, originally a Christian church at Constantinople (now İstanbul), later a mosque, and now converted into a museum.
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, Constantinople (originally a Christian church), the outer one is termed exonarthex. With the growth of unrestricted entry into the churches, the narthex served no further ritual purpose after the 13th cent. The deeply recessed portals of Gothic cathedrals are derivatives of the narthex.

Narthex

An arcaded porch or entrance hall to an early Christian basilican church.

Narthex

 

a vestibule, an entrance that is often attached to the western side of Christian churches. Some churches have both an outer narthex (exonarthex) and an inner narthex (esonarthex). The narthex was designed for persons who did not have the right to enter the main room reserved for the worshipers.


Narthex

 

a structure built onto the west (or, frequently, the north or south) side of a church. The narthex was used widely in the architecture of Smolensk, Polotsk, and Pskov and in the wooden architecture of the Russian North. A single church commonly had two or three narthexes.

narthex

An enclosed porch or vestibule at the entrance to some early Christian churches.
References in periodicals archive ?
After the March 4, 1977 earthquake, a corner of the narthex and the Northern side of the veranda crumbled and the entire structure of the church cracked.
Its breathtaking sanctuary has a narthex nearly the length of a football field.
The water stoup, a large hollowed out boulder of Portsoy marble in the porch, and a 16th-century Flemish wooden Madonna and Child in the narthex, are similarly re-used from upstairs.
Regular church-goers, who are most familiar with such spaces, may smile the most as the rodents scurry from the narthex to the chancel, belfry and sacristy, steadfastly avoiding the mouse-adverse ladies of the alter guild.
The narthex featured large urns filled with a variety of mixed white flowers including hydrangeas, French tulips, lilacs, and roses.
After more than a decade of lurking in the narthex, a couple of years ago I tiptoed into the sanctuary of a small Episcopal parish in suburban Chicago and found safe harbor.
In the west narthex of the Cathedral is a large abstract window given by the Dickinson family that depicts the herbs used in healing.
The glass walls in the narthex aim to show the intersection between daily life and the life of prayer.
I'm sitting alone in the darkened "cry room" in the back, with only a little light coming through the open door to the narthex. Waiting.
Narthex, St John's church, Sparkhill, received pounds 2,000 towards medical supplies for its work supporting low-income families and other disadvantaged groups.
Food hampers, toys, toiletries and other festive presents have gone to Age Concern, Action for Children, Narthex Spark hill and Acorns, from BHSF, the nationwide healthcare insurer.
Sophia Kalopissi-Verti takes up the little-considered subject of proskynetaria icons in the middle and late Byzantine periods: in the nave, flanking the eastern templon; within the narthex, surrounding the door into the nave; and--rarely seen--on the church's facade, which she relates to three graduated areas of holiness.