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Holy water stoups - Pewter

You don't enter a church the same way as you would enter a shop. The interior of a church is a sacred space. This, by the way, is the etymological meaning of the Latin word, "templum", and the Greek word, "temenos", both of which are derived from a common root meaning "cut" or "separate". The perimeter of the temple clearly defines and separates the holy interior from the profane exterior, hence creating a sacred area reserved to the Divinity. Before entering the holy world of the temple, people must be cleansed through baptism. In a certain way, whenever they enter church, they are invited to ritualise this cleansing by purifying themselves with holy water. Fountains were installed in the vicinities of ancient churches precisely for this purpose. Holy water stoups replaced fountains and, indeed, their shape is directly derived from them. They were first located outside the door, then in the atrium and, lastly, inside the church, near the entrance. The holy water stoup and the baptistery mainly comprise a basin of water. In traditional symbolism, each ritual basin represents the primordial Ocean, the "waters" of Genesis over which the Spirit of God hovered while creating the universe. It is in reference to these waters that the baptistery or holy water stoup has the power to regenerate and recreate man.



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