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Architecture, Orthodox Church

John A. McGuckin

Subject Religion

Key-Topics arts and architecture, monasticism, orthodoxy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405185394.2011.x


Today, it is almost impossible to determine anything about the architecture of the very earliest Christian communities. Our picture of the condition of church buildings in the first two centuries is generally provided by the missionary situation of the New Testament communities. The first believers shared table fellowship “from house to house” (Acts 2.46; 5.42). Paul mentions whole households being converted at once (as the master converted so did their oikoi , or households) and he often sends greetings to the “Church in the house” of various people (1 Cor. 16.19; Rom. 16.5; Phlm. 2; Cols. 4.15). The New Testament and other early literature mentions Christian assemblies in “Upper Rooms” that were probably hired (Acts 20.7), lecture rooms (Acts 19.19), and warehouses ( Passion of Paul 1). Plate 5 Holy Trinity Church, Sergiev Posad. Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis. Plate 6 Interior of St. Catherine's Monastery, 19th-century print, the Basilica of the Transfiguration. Holy Land Art/Alamy. It is generally thought that from the end of the 1st century, villas of the wealthier members of the church increasingly were adapted and used for the purposes of the liturgical assembly, but no solid evidence is available, and much relies on deduction from a very small number of cases. It seems a reasonable supposition that the fluid arrangements of the earliest Christian generations increasingly ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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