The Temple Building
In the Old Testament, God told his people how to build the the temple, what to put inside it and the type of service to be held.
The temple is a building, blessed and used to serve God. It is considered God’s home on earth and its design and contents are to help lead our thoughts and prayers toward God.
In the Old Testament the building was called a temple. In the new Testament the Temple building has been called a Church.
2 Ch. 2
THE SHAPE CHURCHES
Symbolizes that our life on earth is a journey to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Shape of a Cross
Represents the wood of the cross of Jesus Christ who was crucified for our salvation.
Some are shaped like a helmet and others similar to an onion. On top of each dome is a cross. Some churches have a single dome which symbolizes One God as our Lord Jesus Christ.
Two Domes: Symbolizes that Jesus Christ was both God and man and for the two covenants. (Old Testament and New Testament).
Three Domes: Is for the Holy Trinity (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.)
Vestibule / Narthex
The area just inside the front doors.
This is the area of the Church where the chairs or pews are located and where the people participate in the Divine Liturgy. Sometimes there are no pews in an Orthodox Church and you stand for the whole Liturgy. Benches are sometimes along the walls.
The area behind the Iconostasis. The Altar Table and the Table of Oblations are found. Only bishops, priests, deacons, and the altar boys (people directly involved in the church service), are allowed in the Sanctuary unless they receive special permission from the priest. Women are not allowed normally but there have been occasions when women have received permission.
The Sanctuary is also where the bread and wine (Eucharist) is prepared, blessed, and where the priest prays for all the people.