Author Topic: Altar Furniture Ideas  (Read 8537 times)

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Offline Peacemaker

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Altar Furniture Ideas
« on: January 03, 2014, 07:06:22 AM »
(Forgive me if this is in the wrong place, please move if need be)

Excluding the Altar table and even the table of Preparation, I am looking for pictures of the inside of the Altar area behind the Iconostasis. Manly the different kinds of furniture set ups there are. Our humble little parish is barley a year old and a lot of the stuff has been donated but it isn't very practical. As you walk into the Altar there is a dresser with a book shelf on top of it where our humble little priest from Mt Athos keeps this and that for use in the service and next to the table of Preparation there is a smaller book shelf on top of a night stand so he can keep his bits and bobs from cluttering the small table. Along with shelves on the wall and this and that. Everything is mix match colored wood from the 70's and 80's. It functions but it's a hassle and isn't presenting our best before God and I would like to find the Church something better. The only problem is I have no examples of what to look for. I can't afford "orthodox furniture" from those websites that sell the stuff for an arm and leg. We have nice local places here in town so I'm not worried about that. I was hoping some of you might have some ideas or pictures I could work with.

Thanks for the help

Love in Christ
John

Offline genesisone

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2014, 01:36:41 PM »
Your parish sounds exactly like mine. We had our first service there on Thomas Sunday 2013. Like you, we have a mish-mash of grandma's garage items, I***-type furniture, and anything else that will make do until it gets properly replaced. Our space in the altar is limited - just barely adequate. Fortunately, we have a well experienced cabinetmaker in our congregation. Right now he is working on the iconostasis (we have large icons propped up against a very basic wood frame covered with plain fabric) and an altar table. He has done some research into the requirements for each, and had a brief discussion with our bishop about these things. Please don't take me for being disrespectful - other pieces of furniture need less attention. Have some sort of plan for replacing what you have, and focus on one thing at a time. We're expecting the complete refurbishing of altar and nave to take several years.

Keep searching the websites of parishes for photos - especially the ones in your own jurisdiction, and those of a similar size for ideas. It's helpful, but takes a while.

I would suggest that functionality trumps an ornate design.

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2014, 01:52:25 PM »
Ask the priest, its his work space. Maybe the bishop knows a mission that has upgraded and is looking to pass items on?

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2014, 02:56:06 PM »
I would suggest that functionality trumps an ornate design.

And fabric covers a multitude of imperfections.  :) 

I've served in missions where we rented space and had to set up the altar and take it down for every service.  In one place, the only available table to use for an altar had an oval-shaped mensa, which would not work for us.  There were some folding tables, but they were too low.  Once we stacked a few of those on top of the oval mensa, secured them properly, and covered them with the required altar coverings, you couldn't tell the difference.  In another place, the mission owned its own altar, made by an amateur carpenter in the parish.  Its mensa could fold in a couple of places, and it had this elaborate system of folding legs...it was made so that, folded, it could fit within the extremely small closet space they were allotted.  Same thing held there: cover it properly and adorn it with the necessary furnishings, and you wouldn't know the difference.   
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2014, 03:25:44 PM »
I am looking for pictures of the inside of the Altar area behind the Iconostasis.





















« Last Edit: January 03, 2014, 03:40:20 PM by Michał Kalina »
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2014, 05:23:52 PM »
I have served in three altars in my long life and been in several others and have never seen "furniture" in any. I guess I've learned something new here.
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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2014, 05:26:13 PM »
I have served in three altars in my long life and been in several others and have never seen "furniture" in any. I guess I've learned something new here.

You mean, vestments lay on the floor?
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2014, 05:33:08 PM »
I have served in three altars in my long life and been in several others and have never seen "furniture" in any. I guess I've learned something new here.

You mean, vestments lay on the floor?

No, in a separate room, in all of them.
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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2014, 05:34:32 PM »
I've seen both solutions.
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Offline Peacemaker

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2014, 06:40:51 PM »
Thank you for the kind replies.

@ Genesisone, your iconastasis sounds like ours. A parishioner of ours built it out of plywood and frames and our priest stained it. The icons are just paper glued onto poster board and velcroed in place. It works for now, it's better than what we did have which was just curtains hung from the ceiling. The place is just temporary until we can find a place of our own.

Here is a picture from last nights Forefeast Nativity vespers. If you look past the altar doors you'll see one of the bookshelves with a clock on top of it. (I'm off to the right reading out of picture)


@ Michał Kalina, thanks for posting those pictures. Mor Ephrem is right by saying the cloth does make it look really nice, I never thought about that!

@ Αριστοκλής, our priest likes shelving in the altar for his books, and bottles of oils, holy water, incense and extra stuff. Instead of having it shoved away in a drawer he likes to visually see it so he can grab it or tell an altar server what to get by pointing to it if need be.

@ username! That's a good idea about the Bishop for hand-me-downs. Our Bishop is His Eminence Archbishop Justinian Of Naro-Fominsk


In fact if you look at the picture of our parish, those candle stands were donated to us from Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco. They were in the basement not being used and collecting dust. Before we were using sand boxes on tv dinner fold out stands. Such a blessing!

I wonder if a hutch would serve better than a dresser and book self... hmm something like. Now that I look at it, it's basically the same thing I guess, but it does look better?

« Last Edit: January 03, 2014, 06:47:54 PM by Peacemaker »

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2014, 08:01:44 PM »
An armoire would work nicely

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2014, 10:28:28 PM »
I was happy to see separate stands for the liturgical books. All I've seen in real life has been putting books on the altar.
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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2014, 10:41:43 PM »
I was happy to see separate stands for the liturgical books. All I've seen in real life has been putting books on the altar.

Ah, another liturgical tradition of Antioch that transcends the schism over Chalcedon. 
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2014, 10:44:31 PM »
I was happy to see separate stands for the liturgical books. All I've seen in real life has been putting books on the altar.

Ah, another liturgical tradition of Antioch that transcends the schism over Chalcedon. 

Must have been that way from the beginning.

Not just books, either. Watches, too.
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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2014, 10:53:00 PM »
Not just books, either. Watches, too.

We're 2 for 2.  Our priests also remove their wedding rings, if applicable, and put them next to their watches on the altar.  What about yours? 
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2014, 10:58:26 PM »
Not just books, either. Watches, too.

We're 2 for 2.  Our priests also remove their wedding rings, if applicable, and put them next to their watches on the altar.  What about yours? 

I haven't seen that. I have heard that some priests, when ordained, move their wedding rings from the right hand to the left.

It wasn't an Antiochian church, but I've been present for altar remodeling during the services.
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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2014, 11:04:49 PM »
I haven't seen that. I have heard that some priests, when ordained, move their wedding rings from the right hand to the left.

Ours are not supposed to wear their rings at the altar, lest some particles of the Eucharist unintentionally get stuck between the ring and the finger. 

Quote
It wasn't an Antiochian church, but I've been present for altar remodeling during the services.
"Let us pray to the Lord." WHAP! "Lord have mercy."

Along those lines, I've been the subject of "face remodeling" during the services...and at the holy hands of a bishop, no less. :)
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2014, 11:13:05 PM »
I haven't seen that. I have heard that some priests, when ordained, move their wedding rings from the right hand to the left.

Ours are not supposed to wear their rings at the altar, lest some particles of the Eucharist unintentionally get stuck between the ring and the finger. 

Quote
It wasn't an Antiochian church, but I've been present for altar remodeling during the services.
"Let us pray to the Lord." WHAP! "Lord have mercy."

Along those lines, I've been the subject of "face remodeling" during the services...and at the holy hands of a bishop, no less. :)

Were you doing a reenactment of St. Nicholas vs. Arius?
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2014, 11:36:51 PM »
Were you doing a reenactment of St. Nicholas vs. Arius?

No.  The bishop was annoyed at the rector of the parish he was visiting (he had a reason).  He couldn't very well slap the priest, but he needed to slap someone, and I got it.  I thought it was so funny, I laughed, and he got even more annoyed...but after about fifteen seconds, he started to smile and laugh too. 
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2014, 12:07:11 AM »
Alrighty then....

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2014, 05:13:32 AM »
I was happy to see separate stands for the liturgical books. All I've seen in real life has been putting books on the altar.

Ah, another liturgical tradition of Antioch that transcends the schism over Chalcedon. 

Isn't that a Greek thing too?
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Offline Nikolaostheservant

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2014, 03:04:18 PM »
dont have a answer, all i can think of is try to find someone who can make them properly.

but i find it very interesting that you have a priest from mt. athos!!! could you tellus more. who is he how did you get him??

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2014, 05:35:48 PM »
dont have a answer, all i can think of is try to find someone who can make them properly.

but i find it very interesting that you have a priest from mt. athos!!! could you tellus more. who is he how did you get him??

http://mercyhousenyc.org/communities/our-lady-of-kazan-mission

From what I know he was just transferred to New York and the Russians in town kept asking the bishop for a Russian parish because there isn't one for 300 miles and the bishop sent him over here to start this mission parish with the hopes of building a monastic presence here (all the parishes here are Greek and Antiochian and none of the priests speak Russian so it's hard for the Russian orthodox in this town to go for confession and get advice). Our priest spent 10 years on Mt Athos at St. Panteleimon Monastery.

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2014, 05:53:55 PM »
Russian church in NY?
http://www.ruschurchusa.org/
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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2014, 05:58:36 PM »
Russian church in NY?
http://www.ruschurchusa.org/

I was confused too, but if you follow Peacemaker's link, you'll see that the parish he's talking about is actually on the other side of the country.  :)
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #25 on: January 04, 2014, 06:54:05 PM »
Russian church in NY?
http://www.ruschurchusa.org/

I was confused too, but if you follow Peacemaker's link, you'll see that the parish he's talking about is actually on the other side of the country.  :)

Yep, we are in WA state. Our parish is a Skete of St Mary of Egypt which is in New York. So to clarify, the Skete is in Wa and the Monastery in which it belongs to is in New York.

Offline Nikolaostheservant

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2014, 09:02:28 PM »
dont have a answer, all i can think of is try to find someone who can make them properly.

but i find it very interesting that you have a priest from mt. athos!!! could you tellus more. who is he how did you get him??

http://mercyhousenyc.org/communities/our-lady-of-kazan-mission

From what I know he was just transferred to New York and the Russians in town kept asking the bishop for a Russian parish because there isn't one for 300 miles and the bishop sent him over here to start this mission parish with the hopes of building a monastic presence here (all the parishes here are Greek and Antiochian and none of the priests speak Russian so it's hard for the Russian orthodox in this town to go for confession and get advice). Our priest spent 10 years on Mt Athos at St. Panteleimon Monastery.

wow thats nice. wish i had access to a mt. Athos monk! you guys are lucky.
good luck, i hope evertything works out with the alter furn.

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Re: Altar Furniture Ideas
« Reply #27 on: January 05, 2014, 01:53:04 AM »
dont have a answer, all i can think of is try to find someone who can make them properly.

but i find it very interesting that you have a priest from mt. athos!!! could you tellus more. who is he how did you get him??

http://mercyhousenyc.org/communities/our-lady-of-kazan-mission

From what I know he was just transferred to New York and the Russians in town kept asking the bishop for a Russian parish because there isn't one for 300 miles and the bishop sent him over here to start this mission parish with the hopes of building a monastic presence here (all the parishes here are Greek and Antiochian and none of the priests speak Russian so it's hard for the Russian orthodox in this town to go for confession and get advice). Our priest spent 10 years on Mt Athos at St. Panteleimon Monastery.

wow thats nice. wish i had access to a mt. Athos monk! you guys are lucky.
good luck, i hope evertything works out with the alter furn.

Thank you!