Re: [liturgy-l] Liturgy building form follows function
- Typographical attempt at illustration
rear ENTRY rear ENTRY rear
seats ....seats min seats..seats
front wall front wall front wall
St. Louis, Missouri
-- When you were born, you were crying
and everyone around you was smiling.
-- Live your life so at the end,
you're the one who is smiling and
everyone around you is crying.
> Please comment on these reflections on what needs to go into Christian[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> worship space design if form is to follow function without specific
> cultural references such as established architectural styles or even
> traditional architectural elements.
> Basic Functions of Christian Sunday Liturgy:
> Gather together to hear the Scripture and preaching on it.
> Share the Lord's Supper.
> Go out renewed for living the Christian life.
> Functional considerations
> A. Proclamations should be from places that facilitate group
> comprehension in terms of sight lines and acoustics.
> B. The arrangement of the assembly should be such that they experience
> themselves more as community than as audience.
> C. The clear direction of prayer to God by the assembly rather than by
> the leadership should be enhanced by the setting.
> D. The clear direction of prayer to God rather than to the assembly when
> proclaimed by the leadership should be enhanced by the setting.
> Assumptions by Tom,
> 1. The liturgy is more God's gift to the people of God than it is an
> offering to God from the people.
> 2. The experience of communal prayer is not private prayer writ large,
> nor the witnessing of public acts, so much as building the sense of
> community by acting together.
> 3. The role of ordained and other liturgical ministers is to lead and
> facilitate the prayer of the congregation, not to do something on their
> 4. Some leadership roles call for proclamation by an individual and
> communal response, but the proclamation is addressed to the community.
> Proposed form. [Physical description is that entry is "rear" and
> opposite wall is "front". Right and left is as appears to person
> standing at rear and facing front.]
> Odd number of seating sections in arc facing front.
> Central seating section has front row for ministers with altar table
> nearby in front of them.
> Presider at altar table faces front wall.
> Short of front wall is place for proclaiming scripture and preaching
> with sight lines and acoustics for entire assembly.
> Music ministers are in part of one seating section.
> Front wall is bare of sculpture or symbols. May be rough stone or
> wood, May be plain curtain.
> Typographical attempt at illustration
> rear ENTRY rear ENTRY rear
> seating seating
> seats seating seating seats
> seats seats min seats seats
> seats seats
> seats altar seats
> seats seats
> front wall front wall front wall
> As this is a sort of ad lib or first draft, please point out both
> strengths and weaknesses.
> Please mention any apparent unstated assumptions.
> Please mention any unaccommodated yet necessary functions.
> Tom Poelker
> St. Louis, Missouri
> -- When you were born, you were crying
> and everyone around you was smiling.
> -- Live your life so at the end,
> you're the one who is smiling and
> everyone around you is crying.
> vistantn@... <mailto:vistantn%40blomand.net> wrote:
> > Tom et al,
> > I have stayed out of this for the most part, choosing to learn from
> > with far more knowledge than I. But, your insistence upon a certain
> > historic point in time as the appropriate "tradition" to emulate
> > bothers me.
> > Just because it is older doesn't make it more relevant - and in
> fact, what
> > was done may well have been as much out of pragmatic necessity as any
> > conscious desire to start or establish something as traditional. At the
> > risk of pointing out the obvious, the oldest (and it would seem by your
> > logic, most traditional) form of the Eucharist is twelve Jewish men
> in an
> > upper room. Art to the contrary, it was most likely a meal served on
> > tables with the diners sitting on the floor or perhaps even reclining.
> > Pushed to perhaps its illogical extreme, I am sure that sanitary
> > facilities
> > in ALL Christian worship spaces up through much of the 19th century were
> > outside - but that doesn't preclude moving the plumbing inside now.
> > I am not arguing that any or all subsequent changes are good, bad, or
> > indifferent - just that they be evaluated in their relevance to current
> > worship. What works for a community of 20 in a house church may not work
> > for 200 or more in a parish setting.
> > I do agree with you that MANY symbolic explanations have been added
> > the fact" - and while they may be good memory/teaching points, they
> > are not
> > foundational to the "why" of that "tradition." While I am at it - I will
> > add that I learned of "liturgical east" (even in a parish where it was
> > geographic north) long ago - perhaps 50+ years ago and I was not an
> > "unusual" lay person in our parish.
> > George Carlson
> > St. Paul's (TEC), Murfreesboro, TN
> > _____
> > From: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:liturgy-l%40yahoogroups.com>
> > [mailto:email@example.com <mailto:liturgy-l%40yahoogroups.com>
> > <mailto:liturgy-l%40yahoogroups.com>] On Behalf
> > Of Tom Poelker
> > Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 12:44 PM
> > To: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:liturgy-l%40yahoogroups.com>
> > Subject: Re: [liturgy-l] basilicas
> > The assembly gathered around the altar/table does not require all to
> > hold hands and sing Kumbaya.
> > On the other hand, use of temple, royal, or imperial practices seems
> > pretty far from gathering to read the scripture and to share a meal and
> > to remember that Jesus took bread and wine, gave thanks, broke the
> > bread, and shared the bread and wine. These are what I mean by
> > liturgical functions, rather than "the function being the passage from
> > sin, death, darkness (west) to grace, life, light (east); or again, the
> > worship of God "who comes" as light/dawn from the east (cf Ps 50:1,
> > 113:3, Isa 45.6, Mal 1.11, 4.2; etc); or again, as i said the other day,
> > the gathering of the people of God and the ascent and enthronement of
> > the Son of Man as the Son of God; and so forth." as posted by John
> > Burnett.
> > That all seems to me to be applied symbolism, a cultural accretion
> > attached to the functions of liturgy. Similarly, while interesting as
> > an explanation, the counter-orientation of the Roman basilicas does not
> > seem to have anything to teach us about the construction of twenty-first
> > century Christian worship spaces. Indeed, it may indicate something
> > which may be entirely ignored, being related to a particular culture in
> > which American Christians no longer participate.
> > --------------------------
> > I did not mean to imply that the knowledge of the lay person of average
> > education should be a standard for any decision about church
> > architecture. What I was getting at was the irrelevancy in our present
> > culture of the geographic orientation of church buildings.
> > The greater problem in RC cultures is the mistaken assumption that
> > churches were "orientated" to the tabernacle, that the prayers at the
> > Eucharistic table were directed to God contained in the tabernacle.
> > Another problem in RC culture is the former and returning tendency to
> > elevate the role of the presbyter above that of the assembly instead of
> > seeing it as leadership of the assembly. This includes the tendency to
> > see the congregation as attending and passively observing the Mass
> > "said" or "celebrated" by the priest. The assembly attended out of
> > obligation and distracted themselves from the unintelligible and
> > invisible "celebration". Books of private prayers, rosaries,
> > illustrated windows and narrative carvings provided devotional
> > distractions.
> > Making liturgical prayer visible, audible, and understandable in the
> > local language addresses these problems.
> > Yes, knowledge of eastward orientation and Byzantine Empire practices is
> > "cool" and even somewhat useful to me and our colleagues on this list.
> > I do not think it is very useful in developing "form follows function"
> > architecture for contemporary liturgical worship. I think it more
> > useful to ask how and what has attached itself to Apostolic practices
> > and why and whether any of these things can assist the majority of
> > Christians in full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical
> > prayer.
> > Something so esoteric to the modern mind as solar positioning of a
> > building for any purpose other than energy efficiency seems to require
> > so much educational effort which could be better spent in USA RC
> > parishes on teaching the broader concept of communion, the difference
> > between private prayer and public prayer, the difference between
> > devotions and liturgy, and much more.
> > ---------------
> > Can anybody tell us all where to find floor plans of pre-Constantinian,
> > not basilical, churches on line? What examples are there other than
> > Dura-Europas and Megiddo? Peter's house in Capernaum?
> > Apparently our recollections of the Dura-Europas floor plan differ. I
> > recall three rooms around the atrium: to the left a lecture hall, to the
> > back a banquet room with central table, to the right a baptistery. I
> > assume that there was no conscious orientation, that the available space
> > was used in a pragmatic arrangement.
> > The recently published church at Megiddo had a table in the center of
> > the room.
> > ----------------------------
> > Were not transepts introduced before the altar migrated to the eastern
> > wall?
> > Were not domes originally over the altar, free from the eastern wall?
> > In these situations could not the assembly gather on at least three
> > sides of the presider at the altar?
> > Aren't the rood screen, iconostasis, altar rails, all rather late
> > additions to ecclesiastical architecture?
> > ----------------------
> > Tom Poelker
> > St. Louis, Missouri
> > USA
> > -- When you were born, you were crying
> > and everyone around you was smiling.
> > -- Live your life so at the end,
> > you're the one who is smiling and
> > everyone around you is crying.
> > asteresplanetai@ <mailto:asteresplanetai%40jbburnett.com> jbburnett.com
> > wrote:
> > > +++
> > >
> > > > Posted by: "Frank Senn" fcsenn@sbcglobal.
> > <mailto:fcsenn%40sbcglobal.net> net
> > > <mailto:fcsenn%40sbcglobal.net> fcsenn
> > > > Date: Mon Jul 28, 2008 3:16 pm ((PDT))
> > > >
> > > > I'm skeptical of applying this much Temple imagery to early
> > > > Christian basilicas. I think at first they took the halls made
> > > > available to them and made them work for their needs. There was
> > > > probably more concern over where to put the altar than where to put
> > > > the bishop. But in some early basilcas like St. Peter's in Rome
> > > > (the original one), the answer was under their noses. Place the
> > > > altar over the grave of the martyr. The Vatican Hill was, after
> > > > all, a necropolis. Once the early decisions were made, the tendency
> > > > was to copy in other places. Many basilicas were built over the
> > > > graves of martyrs. Jerusalem Temple imagery was certainly applied,
> > > > but I think as an after thought---i.e. a theory to explain
> > > > symbolically the practice.
> > >
> > > frank, i agree that local (i.e., very local) geography and sites of
> > > tombs etc likely determined the placement of structures, but still,
> > > why are *all seven* set in the same way? This can't be exactly
> > > *random*. As you've said elsewhere, occidentation may have to do with
> > > anti-sol concerns-- but to occident all the churches like that is to
> > > call attention to the very solar path you're trying to get people to
> > > ignore. Better to build the churches any which way, like we do today.
> > > Doesn't tom poelker's question, "Who is even aware of this?", show us
> > > that, absent a tradition of solisequent architecture altogether, the
> > > issue is quickly forgotten? But it wasn't forgotten; the roman
> > > practice was only a modification.
> > >
> > > I've read that one of the reasons that archaeologists think the
> > > anastasis (holy sepulchre) church in jerusalem houses the actual tomb
> > > of christ is that a very early christian-jewish synagogue was found
> > > (near the cenacle, as i recall) whose orientation is not toward the
> > > temple, as with all other jerusalem synagogues, but towards that tomb.
> > > i believe this is easy to fact check: see BAR about 10-15 years ago--
> > > cover article. That's interesting; "jewish christian" means
> > > practically apostolic, and there already we see a penchant at least in
> > > one place for "orienting" a church, even though the direction in this
> > > case isn't solar. By the way, another meaning of the orientation of
> > > christian churches resides in the fact that they all face *east*--
> > > i.e., *not* generally towards jerusalem or towards the h.sepulchre
> > > etc-- unlike synagogues, which do face jerusalem and its temple (and
> > > moslems, of course, face the kaaba). "We have in this world no abiding
> > > city", but we await the "rising sun of justice" and the "dawn of
> > > salvation" "who comes to judge heaven and earth".
> > >
> > > Dura-Europos faced east-- that's about 250 AD. I don't know about
> > > other sites, but about a century after D-E, St Basil tells us that the
> > > practice of facing east when praying is universal and of apostolic
> > > origin. Even in rome, where churches faced west, people turned around
> > > and prayed east.
> > >
> > > About the temple symbolism, though-- it's an interesting question when
> > > this entered the liturgy. I would more or less agree with you that we
> > > should be sceptical. But not overly so. Temple symbolism is certainly
> > > deeply embedded in apocalyptic and intertestamental literature--
> > > including, of course, our own Revelation of St John. We know how
> > > deeply influenced that literature is by temple concerns and temple
> > > symbolism. It's fairly universally assumed that the worship described
> > > in the Revelation reflects the church's worship in some ways, but it's
> > > just not at all known in what ways. Ac 6.7 tells us that "a large
> > > number of priests became obedient to the faith"; this is right at the
> > > start of the church and had to be significant or Luke wouldn't have
> > > mentioned it. Sure, they were community leaders. But they also had to
> > > have brought their sense of worship and temple with them; and indeed,
> > > the Epistle to the Hebrews is all about temple worship and tells us
> > > precisely that the Church saw itself as the True Temple. But
> > > scepticism is in order, for the use of hieratic language ("priest"
> > > etc) is not applied to clergy in *extant* christian literature until
> > > later-- was it in Clement (100 AD)? I forget, even though i believe i
> > > gave the exact reference once on this forum, a long time ago.
> > >
> > > My feeling is that the traditions of hieratic "temple" architecture
> > > *began* to develop in the church quite early, but remained fairly
> > > vague until they received a powerful impetus with the construction of
> > > the anastasis church in jerusalem and the elaboration of what
> > > schmemann calls a "mysterial piety" in connection with all those
> > > pilgrimage sites under cyril of jerusalem (the patriarch when the
> > > anastasis was built). If, as you know from fr schmemann's work, this
> > > was the history of the liturgy itself, it would only make sense that
> > > the buildings evolved along with the rites that took place in them,
> > > although of course rites are easier to develop and modify than
> > > buildings. But i think the basic footprint was there, both
> > > architecturally and ritually, and the rites as they developed had a
> > > space in which to "orient" themselves in a lot of ways, as it were.
> > > There is no evidence that any of this was ever perceived as a huge
> > > innovation, like the reforms of vatican 2.
> > >
> > > > Posted by: "Tom Poelker" TomPoelker@aim.
> > com
> > > <mailto:TomPoelker%40aim.com> tapoelker
> > >
> > > > Has anyone known any lay person in the USA who was aware of any
> > > > symbolism in the arrangement of the church building orientation?
> > >
> > > well, tom, i became aware of it when i was a teenager in the roman
> > > catholic church-- and there's hardly a single 'oriented' church in
> > > salt lake city where i lived, not even the cathedral. But i had
> > > learned that this was a feature of traditional architecture, like
> > > mediaeval cathedrals etc. "Very cool," I thought to myself-- and here
> > > i am on this list discussing cool liturgical things today!
> > >
> > > lay people *should* certainly know about it, and i expect more do than
> > > you might think, but why are you setting lay knowledge as the bar? Are
> > > you suggesting that if average laypeople in our (let's face it) quite
> > > deeply ignorant communities don't know something, that it's not worth
> > > knowing, and they certainly shouldn't be taught? I am quite sure that
> > > 99% of the orthodox church don't know half as much as i know about
> > > iconography, architecture, liturgy, or scripture (my 4 big areas)--
> > > but this doesn't stop them from responding to icons, temples,
> > > services, or bible with an intuitive responsiveness i often admire
> > > better than i can imitate!
> > >
> > > > I feel like the entire discussion of the symbolic orientation
> issue is
> > > > irrelevant. I'm more into "form follows function" and that the
> > > > liturgy
> > > > is participatory communal prayer.
> > >
> > > > The entire rood screen, iconostasis, high altar concept seems quite
> > > > contrary to the idea of gathering around a single table to share one
> > > > bread, one cup.
> > >
> > > Well, i agree, form should and does follow function, but what
> > > functions are you talking about? Would you like to hold hands and
> > > stand around the table of the lord or some such symbolism? This is a
> > > nice function, but it was never the practice of the one, undivided
> > > Church anywhere on earth until the 1960's, and then only in some
> > > places (and it's good never to assume that western practices have ever
> > > been the norm for the whole church). So I suspect this form does not
> > > adequately (ahem) capture what the entire christian tradition ever
> > > thought it was doing until 1965 or so.
> > >
> > > > The earliest churches we have, pre-Constantinian house churches,
> > > > seem to
> > > > have an ambo at one end for reading and an altar free of all
> walls for
> > > > Eucharist and a separate baptistery if baptisms were done inside
> > > > rather
> > > > than in a natural stream. They also seem to have separate gathering
> > > > space, an atrium perhaps. I have the examples of Dura Europas and
> > > > Megiddo in mind. I can't remember the arrangement in the oldest
> > > > of worship in Peter's House in Capernaum.
> > >
> > > The ambon would have been in the middle, as we still use it in russian
> > > churches (and in orthodox synagogues) today (in the churches, at least
> > > when there's a deacon)-- this would be to facilitate hearing-- since
> > > there were no microphones, the reader stood in the middle of the
> > > people. A lot more could be said, but i agree, this is great, another
> > > one of those "cool liturgical things" people alway like so much
> > > because it's beautiful and deeply meaningful.
> > >
> > > in early churches even up to the middle ages, at least if they were
> > > big enough, the altar was free standing, and the clergy sat on the
> > > synthronon on the east side of it, across from the people, more or
> > > less (and that's a wide range) as we see in russian churches today, in
> > > places like st nicholas cathedral in bari italy, and in the
> > > architecture of older greek churches, even though (sadly) the greeks
> > > no longer do any actual sitting there for the most part. Another cool
> > > thing. However, there is no question that the eucharistic prayer, the
> > > bishop and clergy came to the front (western side) of the altar and
> > > stood facing eastward as the head of the people and prayed with them,
> > > facing east. This was universal practice of both the christian east
> > > and the christian west. So there was never any "gathering around" if
> > > you had in mind the versus-pop or circular arrangements common in
> > > western churches today.
> > >
> > > Yes, baptisms were done in a separate place, as we see even in milan
> > > or florence etc. Normally this separate place would be outside the
> > > church and to its west (perhaps roughly across from its main
> > > entrance); one entered the font from the west and emerged to the east,
> > > and then proceeded continuing to the east into the church for the
> > > eucharist. Baptisteries could also be in or next to the narthex.
> > >
> > > all of this is very much "form follows function"-- the function being
> > > the passage from sin, death, darkness (west) to grace, life, light
> > > (east); or again, the worship of God "who comes" as light/dawn from
> > > the east (cf Ps 50:1, 113:3, Isa 45.6, Mal 1.11, 4.2; etc); or again,
> > > as i said the other day, the gathering of the people of God and the
> > > ascent and enthronement of the Son of Man as the Son of God; and so
> > > forth. None of this "function" seems to be captured in the "forms" you
> > > appear to favor; i wonder how you would realize it? Otherwise, even
> > > though this is the sort of thing the church has always thought it was
> > > doing, it's lost.
> > >
> > > Christian culture, and hence christian liturgy, was in fact a lot
> > > deeper traditionally than we have it today in our extremely decultured
> > > (and that has been an active process) society. People understood, or
> > > at least intuited, or at least oriented themselves (and this is no
> > > small thing, to orient oneself intuitively) by the meanings encoded in
> > > liturgy and architecture. I wonder, however, if you are not saying,
> > > Well, if somebody in Russell Kansas, centerpoint of the USA, wouldn't
> > > know about it upon graduating with a high school diploma, or at least
> > > with an AA degree, then it's irrelevant and what we've got to do is
> > > get "back" to the "simple forms of early christian worship" (which
> > > never quite existed as you propose).
> > >
> > > For apparently even the examples you cite-- dura europos etc-- defeat
> > > you. As I mentioned, dura-e was "oriented"; even its baptistery,
> > > although on the other side of the atrium, was in the west. A century
> > > later, st basil mentions the sign of the cross and turning toward the
> > > east for prayer as two indisputably apostolic traditions. Today,
> > > people not only don't face east, they don't make the sign of the
> > > cross. Instead, the hold hands-- a practice never used in the church,
> > > actually traceable to the séances popular in metaphysical circles in
> > > the 19h-early 20th centuries-- or more specifically, to the
> > > pentecostalism that developed not far away from those séances, as a
> > > kind of séance of its own.
> > >
> > > So, what functions shall we want our forms to follow?
> > >
> > > > What other pre-establishment church archaelogy do we have?
> > >
> > > people forget that the 'establishment' of christianity as *the*
> > > official religion of the empire did not occur until justinian, in the
> > > 500's. In other words, the 'establishment' of christianity (already
> > > the vast majority religion of the empire) was not constantinian, and
> > > didn't take place until something like the length of the entire
> > > history of the united states had passed after constantine's death.
> > > Yes, constantine gave a lot of public buildings to to the church, and
> > > built the anastasis and other churches in the holy land, which had a
> > > huge impact on architecture everywhere. Still, none of this was sheer
> > > innovation. And although of course we're talking about the dynamic
> > > life of a living organism, both church and society back then were
> > > nothing, if not traditional.
> > >
> > > All early church architecture of which we have any examples follows
> > > the patterns we've been discussing. I read a couple years ago of the
> > > discovery of a christian monastery (probably nestorian) in china. One
> > > of the ways they could tell it was christian was that although it was
> > > otherwise almost indistinguishable, in its present disrepair, from
> > > confucian/taoist temples in the area, it had an eastward orientation--
> > > unknown in chinese architecture. This stuff is very basic to our
> > > tradition. It began to disappear only with the 'enlightenment' and
> > > reformation.
> > >
> > > regards,
> > >
> > > john burnett
> > >
> > >
> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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- I don't recall any evidence of rubrics indicating posture. But here's an additional consideration. When Eucharists were separated from banquets early in the 2nd century (Emperor Trajan had banned supper clubs), and the synaxis occurred in the morning rather than in the evening (e.g. Letter of Pliny to Trajan), would the posture for receiving the bread and cup be the same as at a reclining banquet? Maybe people just stood around. By the third century Christians were celebrating Eucharists on the graves of their martyrs and other faithful departed, in the style of the Roman refrigeria. Did these celebrants sit at the mensa? It seems to me that there were several postures for receiving Communion in the early centuries: reclining at banquets, standing in someone's main room or courtyard, sitting around the grave mensa, walking to stations in the basilicas.
Frank C. Senn
Douglas Cowling <cowling.douglas@...> wrote: On 8/9/08 1:12 PM, "Frank Senn" <fcsenn@...> wrote:
> Since one could rent banquet halls, one could probably also rent couches.In "The Shape of the Liturgy", Dix assumed that in the pre-Nicene eucharist
> There may have been some wealthy people in early Christian communities who had
> spacious villas like Cicero. I suspect that there were seldom more than a few
> dozen people in most Christian house churches. If there were more they could
> rent banquet halls, like Greco-Roman supper clubs did.
people reclined and shared the bread but stood to take the cup. He states
that the readings and prayers were spoken standing up.
Although it's a little dated in its details, I still think that his
description of a pre-Constantinian eucharist if it had taken place in 20th
century London is a delight and a perfect stimulus for discussion at an
adult education session on the liturgy (Shape, pp.142-144)
I wonder if the 4th century little old ladies complained when they moved to
the basilicas and there were no couches for them ...
Director of Music
St. Philip's Church, Toronto
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]