- in early Christian churches, a porch or portico at the west end for penitents and others not admitted to the church itself
- any church vestibule leading to the nave
Origin of narthexEcclesiastical Late Latin ; from Ecclesiastical Late Greek narth?x ; from Gr, giant fennel: from a fancied resemblance of the porch to the hollow stem
- A portico or lobby of an early Christian or Byzantine church or basilica, originally separated from the nave by a railing or screen.
- An entrance hall leading to the nave of a church.
Origin of narthexLate Greek narth&emacron;x, 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 na&dlowdot;a&hlowdot;, reed.
plan of the 4th-century ad
St. Peter's Basilica
(plural narthexes or narthices)
From Ancient Greek Î½Î¬ÏÎ¸Î·Î¾ (narthÄ“ks, “giant fennel"), later "˜casket' (modern Greek Î½Î¬ÏÎ¸Î·ÎºÎ±Ï‚ (nÃ¡rthikas)).