Being a Syrian Orthodox Church member each one of us should be aware of what our church is and how it is built. What is Liturgy and what is the meaning of each and every thing priest does in Holy Altar. It is easy to stand in church and watch Holy Mass like a Forign language film. But if we learn more about church it make us walk with Jesus! Today we can discuss about the Church as a whole in brief.
The church building has the following four parts:
1. Holy Sanctuary (Madhaba) - Place of Sacrifice
2. Part inside the rails (Azhikakam) - Holy Place
3. Nave (Hykala) - Main hall for congregation
4. Narthex (Court of the Gentiles)
The Holy Sanctuary - The Syriac term madhb'ho means the holy place. It is at the eastern end of the Church and represents heaven. "Afterward he brought me to the gate, the gate that faces toward the East. And behold the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the East....and the glory of the Lord came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east" Ezekiel 43:1,2,3. "... for the facade of the temple was toward the east..." Ezekiel 47:1. In the Sanctuary the Body and Blood of our Lord are offered by the priest, the representative of Lord, in the midst of deacons and candle lights.
The Veil (Curtain) - The veil that separated the Madbaha (Sanctuary) and the Nave signifies the sky which separates the Heaven and Earth. (Exodus 36:16, 40:3,21)
The Altar - The alter is often referred to as the 'Table of Life' because on it we find the bread of life. It is also called the 'Tomb of the glorified Lord' because the bread and wine placed upon it are transformed into the Body and Blood of our resurrected Lord.