Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The only stone ambo in Greece

The only stone ambo in Greece is located in the Church of the Dormition, in Kalambaka, central Greece. Despite the fact that most, if not all the visitors of Kalambaka are amazed by the holy rocks of Meteora, with the unique monastic community living on top of them, we find that this small church also has an exclusive feature, i.e. the stone ambo.



The big and high ambo is standing in the middle of the central nave. Its shape is similar to that of the early Christian ambos, which usually have a circular or six corned central part, supported by pillars and stairs on both the eastern and the western side. The ambo as it is now does not, however, date from early Christian times, but has been rebuilt mostly from the old material. 



Normally, today, in an Orthodox Church, we would find the ambo located on one side of the central nave, leaning on a column. It has moved from the central part, as was the ancient tradition, to its current position, because the liturgical meaning and usefulness of it has altered. Today, only the deacon goes up it, in order to read the Gospel Reading, and also the priest who wishes to give his sermon from a high point within the church.
Currently, there are several other stone ambos in the middle of the church located in other countries within the Balkan region. However, present liturgical practice does not find its use to be practical.  

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