Significance of Red Doors in a Church

I didn’t know of the significance of red doors on churches  until I read, Finally A Red Door, on another  Project 365 blog.  Although this door is of a Catholic church in Connecticut the symbolism of a red door in churches spans many denominations. It is definitely a more popular tradition in older churches.

Catholic Church in Connecticut

According to Dr. Richard C Hoefler, dean of Christ Chapel at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, “Christians have entered into worship, into the presence of God, through the blood of Christ.” It is also said that a red door in the Lutheran Church harkens back to the time of Martin Luther, who posted his 95 Theses on the red doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany—the crimson color symbolizes the church as part of the Reformation. (Pastor Kuhlman, can you confirm?)

On the website St. David’s Episcopal Church  in Laurinburg, NC it explains: “Red Front Doors. The red doors symbolize the blood of Christ, which is our entry into salvation. They also remind us of the blood of the martyrs, the seeds of the church.”

Historically a church has been a place of sanctuary, a place where a soldier could not pursue an enemy, much like when one takes refuge in  Christ the enemy, the devil and evil,  cannot pursue and destroy you. Thank you Bonnie for bringing this little known history to my attention.

By the way, this door is at St. Francis Assisi in South Windsor Connecticut.

I am now on a quest for other Red Doors around the country, here is one in Nebraska City at an Episcopal Church

Symbolism in Churches

If you are interested in learning more about symbolism in churches and the meaning of certain design elements in architecture of a various churches the books below are full of interesting information of Christian symbolism.

The Secret Language of Churches & Cathedrals: Decoding the Sacred Symbolism of Christianity’s Holy BuildingsHow to Read a Church: A Guide to Symbols and Images in Churches and CathedralsSymbols of the Church


16 thoughts on “Significance of Red Doors in a Church

  1. Thank you Dawn!
    I did not know this either. The older I get the more I realise what powerful messages are conveyed thru symbols & traditions, not just in religion, but in everyday living, particularly with family traditions….and all this is facinating to me… guess that means I am getting older…but hopefully wiser too? LOL…
    Love your posts & your photos…. thanks again!!
    Dee.

  2. First of all, thank you for the shout out Dawn! I am now fascinated with finding churches with red doors. So far I have found only 2, and the second one was right beside the one I posted…but not nearly as pretty. Second, I really like the rustic hinges and the wreath on this door. Very welcoming!

  3. Lots of Protestant Churches in rural Ohio have red doors. Most of the ones I have encountered are Methodist Churches, but Methodist churches are numerous in Ohio. I have also found Episcopal and Lutheran Churches with red doors. I have not seen Catholic Churches with red doors, but I recently (08/24/2012) photographed a Catholic Church in West Union, Ohio that was striking because it was made of very red brick and had strikingly white doors. I photographed two other churches in West Union, and both of them had white doors. However, today (08/25/2012), I photographed several churches between Marysville, Ohio, and Mt. Victory, Ohio, that were white churches with red doors. The “red and white” theme seems to be important.

  4. I had heard this, but also that it is a sign that a church is open 24/7, so one could go in and pray at any time, day or night. Sadly, too many open-door churches were robbed and/or vandalized, so it seems to have lost that meaning. 🙁

    1. Very true, I don’t know of any churches that are open 24/7 anymore, although there might be a few in bigger cities with more staffing. The chapel is only open until 5 pm, but you can walk around the grounds. It is really a beautiful place.

  5. Thank you, I didn’t know this. I live in England and haven’t really noticed the colour of the doors of our churches, but from now on I will be keeping a keen eye out for red door churches.

  6. I am from Ohio as well as the gentleman who posted above. There are three churches here in Canton, Ohio within two blocks of each other downtown, a Presbyterian church (where McKinley worshipped), A Lutheran church, and a Methodist church. I would have to say not many churches I have seen in Southwestern Ohio, where I was raised, and Northeast Ohio, do not have red doors.

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