A place of refuge

Proverbs 18:10

In the ancient Greek states certain temples afforded protection to criminals, whom it was unlawful to drag from them, although the supply of food might be intercepted. As early as the seventh century the protection of sanctuary was afforded to persons fleeing to a church or certain boundaries surrounding it. In several English churches there was a stone seat beside the altar, where those fleeing to the peace of the church were held to be guarded by its sanctity.

(Chambers’ Encyclopedia.)