Author Topic: Altar architecture  (Read 1939 times)

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Offline Remnkemi

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Altar architecture
« on: September 09, 2013, 01:48:50 AM »
Is there a name for the compartment that holds relics inside the altar? I have not been able to find any term for this architectural feature of an Orthodox altar on any Orthodox website or any informational site online.

Offline elephant

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2013, 08:07:51 AM »
I think its called a sepulcher/sepulchre in English, derived from Latin.

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Offline Remnkemi

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2013, 08:54:08 AM »
In English, the term sepulcher can simply mean a tomb or grave. I am looking for the specific term for the compartment in the altar.
I know equivalent English terms can be reliquary or sepulcherum. But these don't specifically apply to the architectural cavity in an altar. I am looking for Greek, Slavic, Armenian, Syrian, Ethiopian, etc names for the specific cavity in an altar (if such a term exists).

Offline elephant

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2013, 08:56:12 AM »
There is more than one meaning in English for the word:

1sep·ul·chre noun \ˈse-pəl-kər\
Definition of SEPULCHRE
1: a place of burial : tomb
2: a receptacle for religious relics especially in an altar

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Offline Iconodule

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2013, 09:08:14 AM »
The relics on an Orthodox altar are sewn into the antimension.

The reserved sacrament is held inside the tabernacle.

Offline LBK

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2013, 09:10:50 AM »
The relics on an Orthodox altar are sewn into the antimension.

The reserved sacrament is held inside the tabernacle.

A consecrated altar also contains holy relics embedded within it.
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Offline Remnkemi

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2013, 09:22:27 AM »
The relics on an Orthodox altar are sewn into the antimension.

The reserved sacrament is held inside the tabernacle.

A consecrated altar also contains holy relics embedded within it.
Yes, I know. There are many threads here announcing an altar was consecrated with relics. The question remains does anyone know what the name of that compartment is called? (specifically in Greek)
« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 09:26:28 AM by Remnkemi »

Offline Remnkemi

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2013, 09:25:58 AM »
There is more than one meaning in English for the word:

1sep·ul·chre noun \ˈse-pəl-kər\
Definition of SEPULCHRE
1: a place of burial : tomb
2: a receptacle for religious relics especially in an altar

Love, elephant
I did not know about definition #2. Thank you. But I'm looking for Orthodox terms, not English translations.

Offline Romaios

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2013, 10:01:25 AM »
Quote
Ειδικότερα, στην Ελλάδα και στην Ανατολή γενικότερα η πλέον συνηθισμένη πρακτική είναι η τοποθέτηση Αγίων λειψάνων κατά τα Θυρανοίξια του Ιερού Ναού εντός ειδικής κρύπτης της Αγίας Τράπεζας που ονομάζεται "κατάθεσις, ή καταθέσιον ή εγκαίνιον" (λήμμ. "Τράπεζα Αγία", Θρησκευτική και Ηθική Εγκυκλοπαίδεια (ΘΗΕ), τόμ. 11, εκδ. Μαρτίνος Αθ., Αθήνα 1967, στ. 828.)

Source

So, "katathesis, katathesion or enkainion".



« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 10:08:12 AM by Romaios »

Offline Remnkemi

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2013, 10:41:20 AM »
Quote
Ειδικότερα, στην Ελλάδα και στην Ανατολή γενικότερα η πλέον συνηθισμένη πρακτική είναι η τοποθέτηση Αγίων λειψάνων κατά τα Θυρανοίξια του Ιερού Ναού εντός ειδικής κρύπτης της Αγίας Τράπεζας που ονομάζεται "κατάθεσις, ή καταθέσιον ή εγκαίνιον" (λήμμ. "Τράπεζα Αγία", Θρησκευτική και Ηθική Εγκυκλοπαίδεια (ΘΗΕ), τόμ. 11, εκδ. Μαρτίνος Αθ., Αθήνα 1967, στ. 828.)

Source

So, "katathesis, katathesion or enkainion".




Thank you very much. Since I don't know Greek, I had to rely on Google and other online translators for some translations. Google doesn't recognize εγκαίνιον. What does this word mean?

I have heard that the altar crypt for the relics has been called θάλασσα or sea. Can anyone confirm this?

Offline Romaios

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2013, 10:46:07 AM »

Thank you very much. Since I don't know Greek, I had to rely on Google and other online translators for some translations. Google doesn't recognize εγκαίνιον. What does this word mean?

Literally, "renewal" - ta enkainia is the (re)dedication of the Temple/a church. It's the same root as in Kaine Diatheke ("The New Testament").

Kata-thesis < kata + tithemi "to set, lay or put smth. down". The place where the Holy Gifs are prepared before they are placed on the altar is called pro-thesis.

« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 11:04:07 AM by Romaios »

Offline 88Devin12

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2013, 01:22:23 PM »

Thank you very much. Since I don't know Greek, I had to rely on Google and other online translators for some translations. Google doesn't recognize εγκαίνιον. What does this word mean?

"Renewal" - ta enkainia is the (re)dedication of the Temple/a church. It's the same root as in Kaine Diatheke ("The New Testament").

Kata-thesis < kata + tithemi "to set, lay or put smth. down". The place where the Holy Gifs are prepared before they are placed on the altar is called pro-thesis.



He isn't talking about the prothesis. He's talking about the tabernacle on the altar itself.

In Slavonic it's the kovtcheg, dunno the Greek term.

Offline mike

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2013, 01:22:57 PM »
But I'm looking for Orthodox terms, not English translations.

LOL

Offline Romaios

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2013, 01:49:37 PM »

Thank you very much. Since I don't know Greek, I had to rely on Google and other online translators for some translations. Google doesn't recognize εγκαίνιον. What does this word mean?

"Renewal" - ta enkainia is the (re)dedication of the Temple/a church. It's the same root as in Kaine Diatheke ("The New Testament").

Kata-thesis < kata + tithemi "to set, lay or put smth. down". The place where the Holy Gifs are prepared before they are placed on the altar is called pro-thesis.



He isn't talking about the prothesis. He's talking about the tabernacle on the altar itself.

In Slavonic it's the kovtcheg, dunno the Greek term.

What he was talking about is called katathesis or enkainion, where relics are kept (not the Eucharist).

The kovtcheg is artophorion in Greek. The exact equivalent would be kybotos, though - that's what we also call the tabernacle in Romanian (chivot).
« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 01:52:03 PM by Romaios »

Offline Remnkemi

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2013, 03:02:01 PM »
Yes I was talking about the reliquary or sepulcherum in the altar where relics are kept, not the arc on top of the altar.

I assume then no one ever heard of the term thalassa for that same altar cavity. Is this correct?

Follow up question. Are relics placed in a separate chest or case that is not attached to the altar in the EO churches? If yes, what is that called?

Offline Romaios

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2013, 03:10:36 PM »
I assume then no one ever heard of the term thalassa for that same altar cavity. Is this correct?

I haven't.

Follow up question. Are relics placed in a separate chest or case that is not attached to the altar in the EO churches? If yes, what is that called?

Not sure, but I don't think so.

Any container of relics/reliquary is called leipsanotheke.

Offline Remnkemi

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2013, 03:32:51 PM »
Thank you.

The book that states the altar cavity (katathesis is never used) is called thalassa argues that there used to be a cavity where the water used to rinse vessels was stored. Eventually a drain was built into it. It also contained dilapidated vestments that were burned. The fire was put out with water. That is why it is called thalassa. This cavity was once on the floor next to the altar but then it became part of the altar. Eventually, relics were stored here for security.

Is there a cavity in the EO churches where water used for rinsing prior to modern plumbing? If yes, what is that called?

Offline 88Devin12

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2013, 06:15:06 PM »
Yes I was talking about the reliquary or sepulcherum in the altar where relics are kept, not the arc on top of the altar.

I assume then no one ever heard of the term thalassa for that same altar cavity. Is this correct?

Follow up question. Are relics placed in a separate chest or case that is not attached to the altar in the EO churches? If yes, what is that called?

Relics will be many places.

Some in the altar, some in the antimension cloth, some in the tabernacle, and some in reliquaries.

I'd have to look at Greek Orthodox furniture sites to find out what it's called in Greek.

Offline 88Devin12

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2013, 06:15:06 PM »
Thank you.

The book that states the altar cavity (katathesis is never used) is called thalassa argues that there used to be a cavity where the water used to rinse vessels was stored. Eventually a drain was built into it. It also contained dilapidated vestments that were burned. The fire was put out with water. That is why it is called thalassa. This cavity was once on the floor next to the altar but then it became part of the altar. Eventually, relics were stored here for security.

Is there a cavity in the EO churches where water used for rinsing prior to modern plumbing? If yes, what is that called?

Not that I ever saw in some of the ancient churches in Greece.

In EO tradition, anything like that is burned outside the church and spread along the foundation of the church. Also, holy water, baptismal water, etc is not drained, but poured outside on flowers, trees, bushes or the foundation of the church.

Offline 88Devin12

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2013, 06:15:06 PM »
But I'm looking for Orthodox terms, not English translations.

LOL

It's perfectly clear what he means by that. English words often don't express what the Greek does, and often are adaptations from Latin, which themselves are based on a translation from Greek to Latin, which is sometimes influenced by Western theology.

Offline mike

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2013, 08:08:07 AM »
But I'm looking for Orthodox terms, not English translations.

LOL

It's perfectly clear what he means by that. English words often don't express what the Greek does, and often are adaptations from Latin, which themselves are based on a translation from Greek to Latin, which is sometimes influenced by Western theology.

What influences by Western theology occur in this particular case?

Offline arimethea

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2013, 05:55:28 PM »
Thank you.

The book that states the altar cavity (katathesis is never used) is called thalassa argues that there used to be a cavity where the water used to rinse vessels was stored. Eventually a drain was built into it. It also contained dilapidated vestments that were burned. The fire was put out with water. That is why it is called thalassa. This cavity was once on the floor next to the altar but then it became part of the altar. Eventually, relics were stored here for security.

Is there a cavity in the EO churches where water used for rinsing prior to modern plumbing? If yes, what is that called?

Not that I ever saw in some of the ancient churches in Greece.

In EO tradition, anything like that is burned outside the church and spread along the foundation of the church. Also, holy water, baptismal water, etc is not drained, but poured outside on flowers, trees, bushes or the foundation of the church.

It is very clear from the archeological studies that Baptismal waters flowed in ancient baptisteries. They used the same technologies found in the Roman Baths (this is true in both the Eastern and Western Roman districts). The point is there was a drainage system.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 05:56:02 PM by arimethea »
Joseph

Offline 88Devin12

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2013, 06:43:55 PM »
But I'm looking for Orthodox terms, not English translations.

LOL

It's perfectly clear what he means by that. English words often don't express what the Greek does, and often are adaptations from Latin, which themselves are based on a translation from Greek to Latin, which is sometimes influenced by Western theology.

What influences by Western theology occur in this particular case?

None that I can tell in this particular case. Just saying that what he said makes sense overall.

Which reminds me, why in the heck do so many Orthodox from the "old country" refer to it in English as "Mass" instead of Liturgy? That bugs the heck out of me.

Offline Remnkemi

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2013, 10:15:36 AM »
Quote
Is there a cavity in the EO churches where water used for rinsing prior to modern plumbing? If yes, what is that called?

Quote
Not that I ever saw in some of the ancient churches in Greece.

In EO tradition, anything like that is burned outside the church and spread along the foundation of the church. Also, holy water, baptismal water, etc is not drained, but poured outside on flowers, trees, bushes or the foundation of the church.

It is very clear from the archeological studies that Baptismal waters flowed in ancient baptisteries. They used the same technologies found in the Roman Baths (this is true in both the Eastern and Western Roman districts). The point is there was a drainage system.
Thank you for this information. I am curious about water flowing out of an altar, where vessels were washed, not water flowing in like a baptismal. Was there a similar aqueduct system (drainage or not) for altars, not baptismal fonts/baptistries anywhere in the ancient world? Goar's classical liturgical work Euchologion says there was and it was called thalassa. Either these altars no longer exist, or the name thalassa never caught on, or Goar is stretching reality. Can't figure out which one.

Offline Romaios

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2013, 10:49:58 AM »
In Solomon's Temple there was the brazen sea, which the priests used for ablutions. It was in the south-eastern part of the inner court, not the altar/Holy of Holies. Some Latin Fathers commented on its symbolism (St. Gregory the Great in Liber regulae pastoralis IIRC). Also, during Paschal tide, the Latins used to sing this antiphon from Ezechiel 47 at the beginning of each Mass:

Quote
Vidi aquam egredientem de templo,
a latere dextro, alleluia:
Et omnes, ad quos pervenit aqua ista,
salvi facti sunt et dicent, alleluia
.

I saw water flowing from the temple,
on the right side, alleluia:
And all to whom that water came
have been saved, and they will say, alleluia.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 10:51:41 AM by Romaios »

Offline genesisone

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2013, 12:05:56 PM »
Which reminds me, why in the heck do so many Orthodox from the "old country" refer to it in English as "Mass" instead of Liturgy? That bugs the heck out of me.
This works for some cases, at least: I was told somewhere (possibly on this forum) that in Arabic, the same word is used for both Orthodox and RC services. Even Nassar's well-known "five-pounder" uses the word "Mass". So it's quite possible that the earliest Orthodox arrivals simply began using the more frequently used term in the English speaking world. I've learned to let it pass so long as there is no substantial misunderstanding. I've had RCs ask about our "mass". While I might in my response use "Divine Liturgy", I don't make a point of correcting them on such a minor issue.

Offline Romaios

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2013, 12:10:34 PM »
RCs here have always called their Mass "Sfânta Liturghie" (Holy Liturgy), just like most Orthodox refer to our DL.

Romanian Roman Missal:

« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 12:17:05 PM by Romaios »

Offline Agabus

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #27 on: September 11, 2013, 02:27:19 PM »
But I'm looking for Orthodox terms, not English translations.

LOL

It's perfectly clear what he means by that. English words often don't express what the Greek does, and often are adaptations from Latin, which themselves are based on a translation from Greek to Latin, which is sometimes influenced by Western theology.
It doesn't matter what the Greek conveys if you don't read Greek.
Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH

Offline Remnkemi

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Re: Altar architecture
« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2013, 03:20:30 PM »
But I'm looking for Orthodox terms, not English translations.

LOL

It's perfectly clear what he means by that. English words often don't express what the Greek does, and often are adaptations from Latin, which themselves are based on a translation from Greek to Latin, which is sometimes influenced by Western theology.
It doesn't matter what the Greek conveys if you don't read Greek.
Good point. Day to day comprehension of a foreign language means nothing if you don't actually know the language.

However, I am researching comparative liturgical terminology and liturgical pedagogy. I'm not interested to find the English equivalent for the average person. I am interested in what the Greek, Arabic, Russian word means to each community (assuming the terminology exists). I am interested how each community understands the architecture of the altar and the use of the altar. And finally, I am interested in the historical accuracy of using the altar as a reliquary and as a medium for liturgical ablutions. Any additional information would be extremely helpful.