Our Church is located at 181 Clapboard Ridge Road, Danbury, CT.
We learn much about people from being in their homes, and we can learn about the Eastern Christian community by seeing the place where they express their relationship to God and to each other. The church building, then, helps us ‘see’ the Church. It reveals the very nature and meaning of what the Church is: a communion of God and His people.
The Narthex (entrance hall) symbolizes the call to repent, to continually change our ways, to live a new life. It is decorated with icons (images) of the Old Testament prophets who prepared the Jews to encounter God in Jesus Christ. On entering the narthex we recall the need to prepare ourselves to meet the Lord. This is also the place where people are received into the Church through Baptism and Chrismation and enter into a relationship with God and His people.
The Nave (body of the church) symbolizes the body of believers. Here the people gather for worship. We are surrounded by icons on the walls of saints of past ages. This reminds us that we are one with all of the believers of every age who make up the Body of Christ.
The Holy Place (altar area) represents the glory of God. The Holy Table at its Icenter represents the throne of God. As such it is covered with rich fabrics, representing the Lord clothed with majesty (cf. Psalm 92). Heaven and earth are joined by Jesus Christ. This is represented in Byzantine churches by the Icon screen, or iconostasis, which joins the Holy Place to the body of the church. Adorned with images of Christ and persons central to the mystery of His coming, the screen reminds us that only through Him do we have access to God.
Several items in the Holy Place harken back to the customs and objects found in the Tabernacle erected by Moses and recorded in the Old Testament.
A large curtain or veil separates the Nave from the Holy Place, just as a curtain separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place and the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple in Jerusalem.
Behind the Holy Table is a Seven Branched Lampstand, recalling the Lampstand in the Temple.
On the Altar Table is an Ark, or Tabernacle (cf. Exodus 25) in which reposes the Eucharistic Lord, and a richly adorned Gospel Book containing the word of God. The Old Testament Ark of the Covenant contained the manna (bread), miraculously provided by God and gathered by the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness of Sinai. It also contained the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, the word of God. The Ark in our Holy Place contains not mere bread, but the Bread of Life, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who is at the same time the eternal Word of God (cf. John 1:1) All these items remind us that the New Covenant of Christ completes and fulfills the Old.
The Pantokrator is the main icon in a Byzantine church, of Christ the All-powerful, which dominates the assembly. It represents Christ as He is now, “seated at the right hand of the Father, whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead” (Nicene Creed). This icon reminds us that Christ is the Head of our Church, the One who presides at our worship and through Whom we live.
Icons: These images are the distinctive art form of the Christian East. The brightness of their colors is meant to suggest the radiance of the divine life, while the simplicity of their lines represents the tranquility of one who rests in God. They are not simply decorations, but proclaim the nature of the Church and the life of grace to which we are called.
Icon Stands: Here icons of special importance to the local community are placed, such as the representations of the holy day scenes. Believers honor the presence or events by kissing these icons and lighting candles before them.
Incense: Perfumed incense is burned during services to recall the cloud which covered the Israelites in the desert (cf. Exodus 13), symbolizing the presence of God. As we see ourselves enveloped in the clouds of incense, we recall that we are in God’s presence.
The Eternal Light: This lamp is kept burning always before the Holy Place, to represent the never-ending presence of God.
Ripidia: These circular images, placed on either side of the Holy Table, are inscribed with icons of the cherubim (angels). Similar to images used since the time of Moses (cf. Exodus 25), they remind us that the Holy Table is truly the throne of God.
The unity and mutual love we proclaim in our churches must be expressed in our daily life; otherwise it is only pretense. The is why we have a Fellowship Room where we can share with people of our community what we have professed before the Holy Altar.
May we all discover in our own lives the Divine Plan for us which our church building expresses in physical form.
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