Through the portal, one enters the narthex (Latin for “porch”) of Duke Chapel. It is a visitor’s first glimpse of the Gothic style of the Chapel’s interior, with its delicate ribbed vaulting and beautiful carved bosses. Most importantly, the narthex is a place for visitors to pause and reflect on the meaning of worship before crossing into the splendor of the sanctuary itself.
Above the entrance to the nave, organ pipes stand silent. These antiphonal pipes are remnants from the Chapel’s older Aeolian organ, whose casing now helps protect the Flentrop organ. Illuminating the other narthex walls are six stained-glass windows commemorating women of the Old Testament. Steps lead up to three pairs of oak doors, decorated with pane glass and gold plating, which open to the nave.