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narthex

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 atrium, 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 Sophia, 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.

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"narthex." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"narthex." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/narthex

"narthex." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved December 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/narthex

narthex

narthex.
1. Church vestibule, in Byzantine churches of two kinds: an esonarthex or inner narthex, between the outer porch and the body of the church proper separated from the nave and aisles by a wall, arcade, colonnade, or screen; or an exonarthex or outer narthex outside the main wall, sometimes also serving as the portico or part of the cloistered atrium or quadriporticus.

2. Medieval ante-church often with nave and aisles, sometimes referred to as a Galilee porch, as at Durham Cathedral.

Bibliography

Mango (1986);
J. Parker (1850);
D. Watkin (1986)

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"narthex." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"narthex." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/narthex

"narthex." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. . Retrieved December 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/narthex

narthex

narthex an antechamber, porch, or distinct area at the western entrance of some early Christian churches, separated off by a railing and used by catechumens, penitents, and others; an antechamber or large porch in a modern church. Recorded from the late 17th century, the word comes via Latin from Greek narthēx.

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"narthex." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"narthex." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/narthex

"narthex." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved December 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/narthex

narthex

nar·thex / ˈnär[unvoicedth]eks/ • n. an antechamber, porch, or distinct area at the western entrance of some early Christian churches, separated off by a railing and used by catechumens, penitents, etc. ∎  an antechamber or large porch in a modern church.

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"narthex." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"narthex." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/narthex-0

"narthex." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved December 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/narthex-0

narthex

narthex (archit.) vestibule extending across the west end of a church. XVII. — L. narthēx — Gr. nárthēx giant fennel, stick, casket, narthex.

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"narthex." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"narthex." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/narthex-1

"narthex." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved December 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/narthex-1