Whether you are visiting Greece, or you live there, you will probably have to ask yourself, “What do Greek Orthodox churches look like?” There are many churches in Greece, and they all vary in their style. Here are some common layouts and iconography.
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Traditionally, Orthodox churches have three main parts: the nave, sanctuary, and narthex. The nave is the central body of the church, where worshipers stand during services. It is also the area of the church that connects the church to the outside world.
Orthodox churches are usually rectangular in shape, although there are some exceptions. These include the cross-shaped churches, which are based on a Greek cross. These churches feature barrel vaulted ceilings and four equidistant arms. They were common in the Byzantine world when finances were tight.
Another common type of Orthodox church is the basilica. Basilicas feature a long central hall and side aisles, separated by pillars. In some cases, chapels are added to the outside of the main church. These chapels may be double or triple-altar chapels.
Among the most important architectural features of Orthodox churches is the iconostasis. An iconostasis is a type of screen with rows of icons that is used to separate the main body of the church from the sanctuary. The term eikonostasis is derived from the Greek word eikon, which means “image”.
The iconostasis is a screen, usually made of solid wood, that holds rows of icons. This screen is placed in the sanctuary of the church, where it separates the congregation from the altar. It also represents the separation between the heavenly and terrestrial realms.
An iconostasis typically has three doors. The north door is usually interpreted as the entrance to heaven. This door is decorated with an icon of the archangel, while the south door is usually decorated with an icon of St. Gabriel.
Symbolic meaning is a big part of the iconography of Greek Orthodox churches. Its purpose is to convey spiritual truths and teach about the Saints’ record of faith. Icons are created with intercessory prayers of the saints.
In the first temple of Solomon, God commanded that the Israelites make graven images of the cherubim. These images represent God’s presence. In icons, white is symbolic of purity and the divine life, while blue represents heaven and red reveals the life of the human being. The colour of gold represents the glory of God.
Byzantine icons are not portraits, but rather graphic presentations of spiritual truths. They are meant to invoke wisdom, understanding and worship. They are not meant to evoke emotional responses. Instead, they are a window to heaven.
Throughout the centuries, the liturgies in Greek Orthodox churches have remained conservative. They are based on the belief that worship is the church’s most authentic expression. The Church also recognizes the changeability of liturgical forms. They are based on the fundamental core of the liturgy which dates back to the time of Christ and the apostles. They have been richly embellished with cycles of hymns from a variety of sources.
The main outline of the Divine Liturgy is similar for most Orthodox churches. However, differences may arise depending on the type of typicon used. Historically, the Divine Liturgy has been restricted to baptized members of the Church in good standing.
The main action in the first part of the Liturgy is the Little Entrance. This involves a procession of the Book of Gospels, directing attention to the presence of Christ in the Gospels. This is followed by a sermon, which is normally dismissed for study.
Religious treasures of Eastern Christianity
During the Byzantine Empire, the culture of Eastern Christianity reached its apex. This golden age continued in Russia and Ukraine after the fall of Constantinople. This period was also a time of great religious persecution. Many of the communities of Eastern Christianity were formed through diaspora, and today they are present in many parts of the world.
The Orthodox Church claims that it is the only true church of Christ. It also maintains that the Bible is the Word of God. This is an important part of its faith. However, the Bible cannot be interpreted on its own. Rather, it must be studied in the context of the church.
Other important parts of the Orthodox faith include veneration of saints and relics. These are tangible objects which help to connect an ordinary believer with God. Moreover, they are a means of demonstrating that God is the supreme source of holiness. In fact, early Church writers like Saint Augustine and Saint Paul attest to the holiness of relics.