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plan of the 4th-century ad
St. Peter's Basilica
Rome, Italy
A. apse
B. transept
C. nave
D. aisles
E. narthex
F. atrium


1. A portico or lobby of an early Christian or Byzantine church or basilica, originally separated from the nave by a railing or screen.
2. An entrance hall leading to the nave of a church.

[Late Greek narthēx, from Greek, giant fennel (plant of the genus Ferula, whose hollow stem could be used to store items), case for storing unguents (perhaps used in Late Greek to describe narthexes in churches because these are sometimes narrow passages or because catechumens were anointed there before baptism); perhaps akin to Sanskrit naḍaḥ, reed.]


1. (Architecture) a portico at the west end of a basilica or church, esp one that is at right angles to the nave
2. (Architecture) a rectangular entrance hall between the porch and nave of a church
[C17: via Latin from Medieval Greek: enclosed porch, enclosure (earlier: box), from Greek narthēx giant fennel, the stems of which were used to make boxes]


(ˈnɑr θɛks)

an enclosed passage between the main entrance and the nave of a church.
[1665–75; < Late Greek nárthēx]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.narthex - portico at the west end of an early Christian basilica or churchnarthex - portico at the west end of an early Christian basilica or church
basilica - an early Christian church designed like a Roman basilica; or a Roman Catholic church or cathedral accorded certain privileges; "the church was raised to the rank of basilica"
portico - a porch or entrance to a building consisting of a covered and often columned area
2.narthex - a vestibule leading to the nave of a churchnarthex - a vestibule leading to the nave of a church
antechamber, anteroom, entrance hall, foyer, lobby, vestibule, hall - a large entrance or reception room or area
church building, church - a place for public (especially Christian) worship; "the church was empty"
References in periodicals archive ?
One such beneficiary was the Narthex Centre in Sparkhill which received enough food for 70 meals.
From an architectural point of view, the Enei Church belongs to the category of churches with a bottony plan, with small lateral apse, slightly over enlarged narthex, a tower on the nave and a bell tower on the narthex, a type borrowed and developed during the following century.
The new building is a modern and light complex which comprises the sanctuary, the nave, the Blessed Sacrament chapel, the sacristy, the church hall, the narthex (the entrance porch) and the campanile.
Bebis explained all the parts of the church, from the narthex to the sanctuary.
He rebuilt and enlarged the old church, adding a new narthex (5) and choir (finished in 1144), and thus made it into an important religious and political symbol.
com)-- First United Methodist Church of Colleyville will celebrate the completion of a $275,000 major sanctuary and narthex renovation on September 8, 2013 with special services and a church-wide barbeque.
Gently used or new clothing for boys and girls, sizes infant 3 months through youth XL (14-16), will be collected in bins in the church narthex and fellowship hall.
In 1999 all the vanners, some of whom still attend, were honoured with a bronze plaque in the narthex of Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa.
Local voluntary agencies are seeing an increase in demand for their services - for example, foodbanks such as the Narthex at St John's Church Sparkhill.
In addition to its 96-bell tribute, two floral displays, one in the FUMC sanctuary and one in its narthex this coming Sunday, are given to the Glory of God and in Thanksgiving for the life of Nancy Lee Muse Bass by Anne and Robert Bass and family.
Other notable features of the church include: oak floor that was produced in Arkansas, a sky-lit tower with a red glass cross that is backlit at sunrise each day and a descending ceiling in the narthex (an element of architecture found in early Christian churches).