Getting to Know the Altar in a Greek Orthodox Church
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Entering a Greek Orthodox Church can be a unique experience for those who aren’t familiar with it. There are distinct elements to the church and those of us who grew up in the church find its many elements to be comforting. No matter what your background is, it can be fascinating to learn about some of the nuances of the church. The altar is one of the distinct sections of a church. Here’s more information about the altar:
Location of the Altar
When you arrive at the church and take your seats, you will find yourself facing the front of the church. The main area in the front of the church is known as the altar, and this is where the priest does a lot of his work during the church service. Keep in mind that there are other parts to the front of the church, such as the area where the baptismal font is located and also the area directly in front of the altar.
The altar is located behind iconostasis, also referred to as the altar screen. The altar screen also includes some doors, and sometimes these doors are closed, depending n the service. Only certain people are allowed to go behind the altar. The altar is located in a section of the church known as the sanctuary.
Holy Altar Table
Behind the icon screen, you will likely catch a glimpse at a large table. This table is usually located at the actual center of the church and it is where the Eucharistic Gifts for Holy Communion are prepared. Technically speaking, this table is the altar, but when we think about the altar, we often include the floor space around this table. However, the altar itself is centered around the table, and the space around the table is known as the sanctuary.The priest does other work at this table, but the main core of that work is to prepare the Eucharist. The table is usually a cube shape and can be made from different materials, such as marble or wood.
As you can see, the altar is an important part of the Orthodox Church. It is located behind the iconostasis, which is the screen of icons in the front of the church. The altar is located in the part of the church known as the sanctuary. If you have questions about the altar, you should speak with your priest. This article is just meant to be a guide to get you started understanding it.
Categorized in: Greek Orthodox Religious Information
This post was written by Greek Boston