Our Faith: Church Architecture and the Movement of the Faithful
Opening Scripture: Psalm 29:1-2; Exodus 24:9-18; John 12: 3-8
Summary of Scripture: The Glory, Power, and Love of God.
Today’s Lesson: Beauty will Save the World
Questions for consideration:
- What purpose do architecture, icons, vestments, and music serve? What is it about beauty that is salvific? Why did Dostoevsky say that it would “Save the world”? The emissaries from Kyiv’s reaction to worship in Constantinople’s St. Sophia?
Basic Orthodox Architecture
- The Temple is Sacred Space. Think of Moses and the burning bush. The Arc of the Covenant. The Holy of Holies of the Temple in Jerusalem. It is set aside. [We are also temples, but this is meant to elevate us… NOT to degrade the physical temple!]. So nice to have an Orthodox Temple that was designed as such!
- Basic Orthodox Architecture (the Arc of Salvation)
- Narthex: vestibule. Transition space from the world to heaven on earth.
- Nave: the central portion where the faithful worship. Contains pews, tetrapod, place for confession, kliros, candle boxes.
- Altar/Sanctuary: Eastern-most section. Holy of Holies. Altar Table with Tabernacle and Gospel Book are central. Also includes the Table of Oblation.
- Iconostasis: Divides and unifies the altar/sanctuary and nave. Symbolizes unity of the faithful through Christ. Holy Doors in middle represent “Gates of Paradise”. Note that Christ comes out to us (not the other way around). Deacon doors on side are most commonly used doors. Specific icons in various places.
- Domes vs. Steeples.
- Icons, Frescos, and Stained Glass
- Our icons/frescoes include: Iconostas: Christ the Savior, Christ with the Theotokos; St. John the Baptist, St. Raphael of Brooklyn; Archangel Michael, Archangel Gabriel; Icon of the Entrance (changes); Festal icons; icons of patrons
- Our stained glass include: feasts, mysteries.
- Vestments for Servers and Holy Things
- Common day things/people become icons of something better.
- Colors have theological significance.
- The Movement of the Faithful
- How does our behavior change when we walk in (i.e. what do/don’t we do here that we don’t/do there)
- The Music of Orthodoxy
- How is our music different from our music out there? How is the talking different?
Discussion: The role of beauty in our lives. Do we really need all this stuff?
Next time (11/23 and 11/30): Nativity (Incarnation) Prophecies