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Adytum

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(From adyton ; sc. a privative + dyo =enter).

A secret chamber or place of retirement in the ancient temples, and esteemed the most sacred spot; the innermost sanctuary or shrine. None but the officiating priests were permitted to enter. From this place the oracles were given. The Holy of Holies, or Sanctum Sanctorum , of the temple of Solomon was of the nature of the pagan adytum; none but the high priest being admitted into it, and he but once a year. Among the Egyptians the secos was the same thing, and is described by Strabo. A well-preserved adytum that has come to our knowledge is in the little temple in Pompeii; it is raised some steps above the level of the temple itself, and is without light. In Christian architecture it sometimes signifies the chancel, or altar end of a church.

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