Frequent question: Which way are churches built?

Within church architecture, orientation is an arrangement by which the point of main interest in the interior is towards the east (Latin: oriens). The east end is where the altar is placed, often within an apse. The façade and main entrance are accordingly at the west end.

What direction should churches face?

For those who do not have the time to immerse themselves… the answer is yes, churches do face east , but not perfectly and the discrepancy varies with location. The average ‘error’ is only 4 degrees, which is pretty good.

Are churches built in a certain direction?

The orientation of Christian churches reflects the historically documented concepts that one should turn eastward to pray and the architectural and liturgical principle that temples and churches should be constructed facing east (often specified as equinoctial east).

Which direction is a church built?

Direction: churches are always rotated east to west with the chancel, sanctuary and altar in the east. This is because the east faces towards the holy city of Jerusalem which is where, in medieval writing, God’s presence was said to be strongest.

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What is the layout of a church?

The entryway to the church is the narthex; the church portals are located here. The nave, or center aisle is an elongated rectangle and pews are located to each side. During processions, ceremonies or masses, people walk up the nave to the altar. The crossing is where the transepts and nave intersect.

Why are churches facing east?

The origin of this is probably because the sun rises in the east, and the sun symbolises Christ and his resurrection. Pointing east also means, in northern Europe, that the church is (roughly) pointing towards Jerusalem. All Churches are to face east.

Why do priests face east?

‐By facing east for the eucharistic prayer. … Priests in the patristic era almost universally faced east, the direction of rising sun, during the eucharistic prayer, anticipating thereby the glory of Christ’s return to earth. And he no longer necessarily faced east in expectation of the return of Christ.

Are churches oriented East?

Within church architecture, orientation is an arrangement by which the point of main interest in the interior is towards the east (Latin: oriens). The east end is where the altar is placed, often within an apse. … Since the eighth century most churches are oriented.

Do Catholic churches face a certain way?

Chances are you will find that the church is built facing the east. This is no coincidence. Though it has not been possible on every occasion, many Catholic churches have been built to face the east. There are scriptural roots to this orientation.

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Where is the front of the church?

nave, central and principal part of a Christian church, extending from the entrance (the narthex) to the transepts (transverse aisle crossing the nave in front of the sanctuary in a cruciform church) or, in the absence of transepts, to the chancel (area around the altar).

Why are churches built on high ground?

Most Christian churches are built to stand out. For hundreds of years, churches, often placed on high ground and boasting a tower or steeple, were the most impressive structures around. They announced their permanence and dominance – important when they were in competition with earlier, pagan beliefs.

What is a church entrance called?

The narthex is an architectural element typical of early Christian and Byzantine basilicas and churches consisting of the entrance or lobby area, located at the west end of the nave, opposite the church’s main altar. … By extension, the narthex can also denote a covered porch or entrance to a building.

Who built church?

According to Catholic tradition, the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ. The New Testament records Jesus’ activities and teaching, his appointment of the twelve Apostles, and his instructions to them to continue his work.

What are the external features of a church?

Exterior

  • Apse. A semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault at the east end. …
  • Arcade. A passage or walkway covered over by a succession of arches or vaults supported by columns.
  • Architrave. …
  • Archivolt, ornamental molding or band following the curve on the underside of an arch. …
  • Baptistery. …
  • Bell tower. …
  • Buttress. …
  • Chapel.
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What is the room behind the altar called?

sacristy, also called vestry, in architecture, room in a Christian church in which vestments and sacred objects used in the services are stored and in which the clergy and sometimes the altar boys and the choir members put on their robes.