Theotokos Athos

Orthodox Christianity
for Absolute Beginners

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St. Aidan's Orthodox Church, Manchester, UK

Christ the Saviour

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The House of God

St. Aidan's Orthodox Church, Manchester UK (your webmaster's church!)

Key Facts and Ideas   lb

It might surprise you to learn that the proper word for an Orthodox Church building is called a "temple."  This is partly because the eucharistic worship of the Orthodox Church is modelled after the Temple in Jerusalem but with Christ crucified and risen, of course, replacing the animal sacrifices that were offered there.  It is also a happy name for it avoids the confusion of referring to both the people and the building with one English word, "Church."  Some Orthodox don't like the word, but to my mind, in English at least, it saves a lot of confusion for people who think that the Church is a building.

In Orthodox countries the temple architecture is more usually traditionally in respect of having a domed or cupola roof and a rectangular or octagonal worship space.  In the west where Orthodoxy has often taken over secular or other Christian church buildings a plain rectangular space has been preferred.  Nonetheless, even here you will still find the same traditional arrangement of an Orthodox Church inside.

Some time ago your webmaster prepared some web pages on another site for schools explaining in some detail the interior of the temple, its symbolism and use.  For the rest of your exploration in this session please follow the link on the thumbnail image below.  The site will open on a new page and you may return here when you're ready.

Inside an Orthodox Church

Key Principle  cool

The temple should reflect the love, beauty and glory of God.  It should add a homely reverence to the peoples' worship.

Key Question  ask

Can places, objects and spaces be holy?

Resources!    br

1.  The Church Building (OCA - Fr. Thomas Hopko)

2.  On the Respect Due to the Church of God and to the Sacred Mysteries by St. John Chrysostom

Your Own Questions Answered Here  help