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Terme Définition
Narthex or atrium

A porticoed atrium in front of the entrance to a church were the catechumens and penitents would stay in ancient Christian liturgy. It may be divided into the endo-narthex, the space inside the church or the exo-narthex, the space of the so-called portico in front of the entrance door. The Cathedral of Monreale shows an example of the second case.

 
Nave

In basilicas it is the central or lateral longitudinal space between the rows of columns or pilasters and the perimeter wall.  The central nave, which is generally larger, is also called the “nave” and the side naves “little naves”. The use of several side naves, as is the case in the church of St. John in Lateran or St. Peter’s in the Vatican City allowed for a higher number of the faithful to be called to a special place of worship for God’s People.

 
Niche

A more or less deep cavity open in the middle of a wall which most commonly contains a statue: it may be semi-circular, rectangular or polygonal in shape, generally with a basin ending. They were originally painted in very bright colours.

 


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