Galilee (Architecture) - Encyclopedia

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GALILEE, an architectural term sometimes given to a porch or chapel which formed the entrance to a church. This is the case at Durham and Ely cathedrals, and in Lincoln cathedral the name is sometimes given to the south-west porch. The name is said to be derived from the scriptural expression "Galilee of the Gentiles" (Matt. iv. 15). Galilees are supposed to have been used sometimes as courts of law, but they probably served chiefly for penitents not yet admitted to the body of the church. The Galilee would also appear to have been the vestibule of an abbey church where women were allowed to see the monks to whom they were related, or from which they could hear divine service. The foundation of what is considered to have been a Galilee exists at the west end of Fountains Abbey. Sometimes also corpses were placed there before interment.

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