Apparently, this is not a feature unknown to Orthodoxy and Orthodox Church architecture. I realize that this may have come from Italian architects being brought into Russia by Tsar Peter, but certainly by the end of the 19th century they must not have been viewed as an oddity.
Actually it was brought in by Emperor Justinian, Hagia Sophia had one made of silver. Now you can tell the old neighborhooders they were a bunch of dopes.
Did that years ago.
A funny story on a similar note. When my dad was a newly ordained priest, he was sent to Buffalo, NY to be pastor of a new parish that split off of the Metropolia and Ukrainian Orthodox parishes by people who were Carpatho-Russian and wanted their own parish. All of the families in the Metropolia parish were Carpatho-Russian and most were my mother's aunts, uncles and cousins. Her uncle was one of the ones who wanted his own parish (for him it was because he and the priest had a 'falling out' over his daughter dating the priest's son), although his wife was not so sure! Anyway, my parents were invited to live with their relatives who lived next door to the Metropolia parish while the South Buffalo parish cleaned out the old rectory next to their church which they had purchased from Methodists. So, the first Christmas Eve soon came around and my mom's Teta (Aunt) asked my father to lead the traditional prayers prior to the Velija (Holy Night Supper). He gave the blessing and chanted the Troparion, Rozdestvo Christovo in the Carpathian Prostopenije chant of my people. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUgIuPOiv_0
As he told the story, Teta stood there with her arms crossed and silently glared at him. When he finished, she said sternly in 'po nashemu' (the Rusyn dialect) something like this..." Otec Stheeeff (Father Steve)...ve don't sing dat 'katlik' stuff no more.." and she proceeded to chant the Tropar in the Kievan style. Needless to say, the daughter ended up marrying the priest's son, all returned 'home' to the Metropolia parish. My mother was mortified to say the least. At least they were able to laugh about it as the years passed by.
As I read the many comments across the internet on forums like this one, I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same. We all have to be tolerant and understanding of the many,many beautiful and varied customs, chants, pieties and traditions that make up that meaty stew, called Orthodoxy.