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Art and Architecture

by John Yiannias

The Orthodox church building is nothing more (or less) than the architectural setting for the Liturgy. Originally, converted houses served the purpose. The history of the church as a conspicuous structure begins with the official toleration of Christianity by Constantine the Great in 313, although there is evidence that sizable churches existed before his time in some large cities. In the fourth and fifth centuries, buildings were erected to facilitate baptism (baptistries) and burial (mausolea) and to commemorate important events in the lives of Christ and the saints (martyria); but it was the building designed primarily to accommodate the celebration of the Eucharist that became the typical Christian structure - the church as we think of it today.  [Read More]