The area immediately inside the front door is the Narthex. This area stretches across the West end of the church. The Narthex is a gathering area.
In early Christianity when the church met in people’s homes this “gathering area” was the atrium where friends and visitors were entertained. For Christians the atrium is where people received instruction while preparing for holy Baptism. Early bishops and priests would gather with inquirers in the atrium and teach.
Today, we begin all our services here, with a procession of choir, clergy and assisting lay ministers moving down the aisle up to the High Altar, moving from west to east which represents our life’s journey into the Kingdom of God.
Immediately above the front door is a Rose Window. This can be seen either from the outside or once you step into the Nave and look up into the balcony.
In the center of this beautiful Rose window is an image of Jesus Christ. His right hand is extended in blessing. Various symbols of His divinity are over His left shoulder. Surrounding Him are His words to the Apostles, “My Peace I give unto you.” (John 20:19-22). In the wider circle are winged angels and 16 symbols of the apostolic ministry of the Church.
The Rose window is at the entrance of the church to emphasize how the doors of the church are symbolic of gates opening towards Heaven. The blessing of Christ extended through the historic ministry of the Church bring Heaven to earth.