‘Church’ means both assembly of faithful and building in which
they assemble. Syriac “Eetho”= bring together. Greek
“Ecclesia”=call and separate (Mat 16). Hebrew “Quhal”=an
The Church is beyond definition. So various images are implied
to explain such as, bride of Christ, 2 C 11:2, Eph 5:25, Body of
Christ, 1C 12:27, Rom 12:4-5, Vineyard of God, Jn 15, Assembly
of faithful in the unity of Godhead, Rom 10:12.
Church Building: Earliest form of Church is Tabernacle, also
called the tent of meeting, which was built according to the
pattern God showed to Moses, Ex 25:9, Heb 9: 1-5.
In the second phase there is no mention of tabernacle or
permanent place. People used to offer sacrifices in high places
(Poojagiri). Solomon sacrificed in Gibeon, 1K 3:2-4.
David wanted to construct a permanent place of worship. He made
all arrangements but God forbid him because he was a man of war
and blood, 1 Chr 28:3. The task of building the temple was
entrusted to Solomon and he did it. Plan, measurement and
quality of materials were exactly as Lord revealed to David.
“The Lord made me, understand in writing, by his hand upon me,
even all the works of this pattern, 1Chr 28:19. Jerusalem Temple
is center of Jewish worship.
Church faces east, Holy of Holies at the eastern end. We
pray/worship facing East because the Second Coming, our Lord
said, will be from the east, Mat 24:27. Importance to east is
seen throughout Bible. Sun rises in the east, Num 21:11. Rising
luminaries gave the standard of direction for the ancient
people. They called it front, east (Kdom). Garden of Eden was in
the east, Gen 2:8. God placed Cherubim to guard the Tree of Life
at the east side of the garden, Gen 3:24. Noah’s arc floated to
the east. When Moses stretched out his staff, east-wind blew and
filled the land with locusts, Ex 10:13. Glory of God came from
the east, Ezk 43:2. The way to the gate outward to sanctuary
towards east is called the gate of the Prince. It should be shut
and shall not be opened for the God of Israel has entered
through it, Ezk 44:1-3. This symbolizes ever-virginity of St Mary. The forefront of the
house stood towards the east, 47:2.
The building has 4 parts: Church is visible symbol of Noah’s arc
and Mount Sinai where Lord descended and gave His Commandments
to Israelites, Ex 19. Partition and prohibition of faithful to
enter the azhikakam and Holy of Hollies is based on this
concept. Yahweh told Moses that He would come down to the Mount
Sinai, Ex 19:9-12 and give the Law. People were to assemble in
the plains of Sinai, cleansing their clothes and bodies and not
going to their wives for three days. They were forbidden to step
on the mountain or to touch its border, v12.
1, Narthex, Mandolam is the western side of the building where
catechumens used to assemble. They were not allowed to
participate in the Anaphora. Women after conception and delivery
underwent purification rites here. This is one step lower than
the rest of the church. Now this has lost traditional meaning
and commonly known as porch to hang coats and keeping shoes.
2, Nave or Haiklo is the largest portion where faithful stand
and worship. Men stand on north, women on south side and the
center is blank. Olden days women stood behind men. It is the
most important place reserved for the departed and the unseen
hosts for we believe the church includes not only the living
members but also the departed faithful and those yet to be born
and that they are also participating in the holly worship along
with us. “Levi who receives tithe paid tithe through Abraham for
he was in the loins of Abraham,” says Heb 7:9. How Abraham gave
on behalf of Levi who is the great grandson if children yet to
be born not accounted as members? We unite in our worship with
the unceasing heavenly worship covering past, present and
3, Kesthurno (literal meaning is, not risen from earth). This is
one step above the Haiklo and two-steps below the Kdooskudisin
and separated by wooden rail. Only those with kaivapu
(imposition of hands from prelates to perform altar service) are
allowed to enter here. Faithful is confined to the Haiklo.
Baptismal fond, if no separate baptistery, is situated in this
4, Sanctuary: Madbaho or Kduskudisin or Holy of hollies: This is
high and exalted throne of God which Isaiah saw, Ch 6. This is
Holy altar, which is throne of God. This is the paradise where
Tree of life situated, mount Golgotha and Tomb of Christ. This
we will separately deal.