Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Orthodox Church’s Interior

For a Westerner, the Orthodox Church is an Oriental, alien body. The Church building follows a strange architectural format; many consider the Byzantine style Church to be a mosque or a non-Christian building. However, it is one of the most ancient architectural styles within Christianity, which began in the 5th century. The interior of a Byzantine Church withholds a number of symbolisms. We can identify the fact that the Church is a small cosmos, where the heavens and the world come together, where God and man communicate.

There are countless symbolisms within the Ecclesia. Some are to be found in the picture above. The Narthex symbolises the period of the Old Testament. In many Orthodox Churches and monasteries in Greece a number of philosophers are placed here, together with the Prophets, in order to emphasise the fact that even philosophers in the pre-Christ period proclaimed the faith in the One God. The Nave symbolises the New Testament period. The present time, where the living faithful live and praise God. The Sanctuary is the Holy of Holies, the future Kingdom of Heaven. The Templon separates the two, however it also connects them, through the doors and the gates. A prominent characteristic of the Byzantine Church is the Dome, where the Pantocrator blesses the world. It is the symbol of the Heavens. 

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