Basins at the entrance of a church used to contain holy water; of various forms, either built into the wall or standing on a pedestal, or a bucket hanging from a fixture. Often richly decorated; typically used by worshippers to cross themselves upon entering and exiting the church.

Quick Facts

Go Historic ID
356

More Definitions

Basins or bowls containing holy water at the entrance of a church. The font may be of various forms, either built into the wall, standing on a pedestal, or as a bucket hanging from a fixture. Often richly decorated, they are typically used by worshippers to cross themselves upon entering and exiting the church. The holy water font evolved from the fountain for ablutions that was placed in the center of the atrium of the early Christian basilica, and is still placed there in Eastern rites. Before entering the church, worshippers washed their hands and feet in accordance with a rite derived from Judaism. When the atrium of the Christian basilica was reduced to the proportions of a narrow court or a simple porch, the fountain gave way to a smaller structure.

Table of Contents

  1. 1.   Overview of Holy Water Stoups  ← you are here
  2. 2.   Sources for Holy Water Stoups (1)

Page Info

Title
Holy Water Stoups
Date Published
December 12, 2012
Last Updated
April 22, 2021