Last edited 07 Jul 2021



The shaded area in this floorplan is the narthex.

Gardner’s Art Through the Ages (eighth edition) was published in 1986. It was published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich and written by Horst de la Croix and Richard G. Tansey.

It defines a narthex as: A porch or vestibule of a church, generally colonnaded or arcaded and preceding the nave.

A narthex is similar to a vestibule, but a vestibule is generally a passageway between the outside and inside of the building, while a narthex is a passageway that specifically leads towards the nave, particularly in early Christian and Byzantine basilicas and churches.

Its purpose was to provide a waiting area for those deemed unworthy (such as penitents) of entry to - or participation in - the service. Baptismal fonts were often placed in the narthex, so those who were not yet baptised could enter the nave after the sacrament was performed.

In modern churches, a narthex is an antechamber or large porch.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

Designing Buildings Anywhere

Get the Firefox add-on to access 20,000 definitions direct from any website

Find out more Accept cookies and
don't show me this again