Doors of the Church
Doors Of The Church.
To insure secrecy in worship, the ancient Christians constructed the doors of their churches with peculiar care. The early fathers, from this usage, derived abundant metaphors, relating to admission to the church, to heaven, etc. There were generally three principal entrances, in imitation of the Jewish Temple. Sometimes the terms πύλη, porta, and θύρα, janua, were interchanged; but, for the most part, the principal entrance, at the west, over against the altar, was called, by way of eminence, πύλη, and πύλη ὡραία, or βασιλικὴ. Men and women entered by different doors. The doors were constructed of the most durable wood, or of brass richly ornamented. The date of the building or dedication of the church was usually inscribed on the doors. Sometimes the doors bore inscriptions of various kinds, of which the following may be taken as a specimen. On the outside,
On the inside,
"Pax tibi sit, quicunque Dei penetralia Christi Pectore pacifico candidus ingrederis."
"Quisquis ab aede Dei, perfectis ordine votis, Egrederis, remea coore, corde mane."
It was customary, in early times, to place on the doors the names of all excommunicated persons; at a later period, the names of persons intending marriage were posted up in like manner. This was also the place for affixing all proclamations and decisions of the Church, as well as all public notices. — Riddle, Christian Antiquities, book 6, chapter 5, § 6; Coleman, Christian Antiquities, chapter 9, § 10.