Upon entering an Orthodox church, you will notice a beautiful, welcoming interior. Orthodox church interiors are typically decorated with images of saints, angels, and Christ, reminding the faithful of the presence of heaven. This is important, as these images should help the faithful lay aside earthly concerns and focus on the king of all creation. After all, if he is the king of all, then he must be present in the church interior.
The Altar in an Orthodox church is a central feature of the interior. The altar itself is square and moderate in size. It is never wall-mounted, and must be free-standing to provide room for clergy and servers. This altar reflects the traditional design of an altar used in the Temple and Tabernacle. Historically, the altar was square and placed outside of the Holy of Holies, but was accessible to lay people during daily sacrifices.
The altar is adorned with a variety of objects. A seven-branched candelabra is placed at the far end of the altar. The seven-branched candlesticks are a clear imitation of those used in the Temple in Jerusalem and the Tabernacle of Moses. Single candles are also placed at the rear of the altar. The Altar is decorated with statues, icons, and crucifixes.
The nave of an Orthodox church varies in size, shape and layout. The most common layout is an open square/rectangular space, which is surrounded by side-aisles. The cruciform layout is the most common, and is usually square or circular in shape. Its name comes from the cruciform position of the cross in the middle of heaven. This arrangement is suited best for the Divine Liturgy, which is the center of worship in Orthodox churches.
The Nave of an Orthodox church interior includes a bishop’s throne and the Holy Altar. The altar is located in the center of the nave and faces the east. It represents Christ, the light of the world, and is elevated by steps. In Orthodox churches, the altar is raised higher than the floor, and the ceiling represents heaven and earth. When the bishop is not serving, he occupies the throne during Liturgy.
The narthex in an Orthodox Church is the equivalent of the old testament Temple Courts. In this space, believers can receive temporary correction. In the Old Testament, a temple had a courtyard, a nave, and the holy of holies. Today, a church may have a narthex or porch, but the original design is still evident. Despite the name, there are many differences between the two styles.
In Eastern Christianity, the narthex represents the entry room to the church, where sinners and non-congregational members may enter and hear the service. In early Christianity, the narthex was often decorated with a baptismal font, reminding believers of the waters of baptism. It was also traditionally used as a place for penitence. Penitential services are held in the narthex, while the Russian Orthodox Church holds funeral services in the narthex.
The iconostasis in an Orthodox church is a series of rows of icons that separate the nave from the Sanctuary. This structure consists of several rows of icons arranged on wooden transoms. In addition, there may be half-columns in between the rows. The result is an iconostasis with many separate frames. Each icon represents a particular aspect of Orthodox theology.
The construction of iconostases is not a simple task. It requires considerable planning, skill, and patience. A wooden iconostasis, for example, must be carved by hand using an adz, a tool that was traditionally used to strip the bark of tree trunks. After the bark was removed, the wood was dried indoors. The wood was then sawn up, sprinkled with olive oil, and planed smooth with flaxseed oil.
The decorative borders used in Orthodox churches have a variety of purposes. They can be used to break up the expanse of the worship space, add a sense of elegance to the interior, or soften the transitions between different surfaces. The resulting effect creates a sense of spiritual authority and a sense of peace. The borders on Orthodox churches are used to convey both of these effects. Here are some of their most common uses.
The interior of an Orthodox church has three main parts: the nave, sanctuary, and narthex. All Orthodox churches are expected to have an iconostasis that depicts Christ as the All-Ruling One. As an Orthodox church is a house of worship, it is not allowed to be used for secular purposes after it has been consecrated. In order to avoid confusion, the interior of an Orthodox church is organized like a cross.
The Altar is located beyond the Iconostasis, or the screen. It houses the Holy Table (also known as the throne of Christ) and other sacred objects. These include the Reserved Sacrament of Holy Communion, the Book of the Gospels, the blessing cross, candlesticks, and other holy gifts. The Holy Table is often placed on the center of the church interior. In the Orthodox Church, the Holy Table is the center piece of the interior of the Church.
The table itself is a beautiful symbol. The Orthodox Church interior design of the Holy Table includes the Antimension, a cloth folded inside another. The Antimension sits on the Holy Table of every Orthodox church. It symbolizes Christ’s sacrifice and his suffering. A person who sacrificed his life for the Gospel is called a martyr. The table is a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice and the life of the martyrs.