Altar Restored

The Altar is so much more beautiful after all the work has been done.

The Altar is roughly equivalent to the "Holy of Holies" in the Jewish temple.  It is where the Bread and Wine become the Body and Blood of Christ and where the Reserved Sacrament is kept for giving Communion to the sick throughout the year.

The center of the Altar is the Altar Table.  Only an ordained person can touch it, or put things on it and take things off it.  In the Russian practice, the service book is never placed on the Altar Table.  So when I serve in a non-Russian church, I do not put my service book on the Altar Table, even if all the other clergy do.

Only certain people are allowed to go into the Altar.  Ordained people and Altar servers can enter only if they have a valid reason.  The Altar should not be used just to go from one side to the other.  If a person has to go through the Altar to get to the other side, he goes behind the Altar table, never in front.  Only deacons and higher can cross in front of the Altar table or stand in front of it, and only liturgically.

Orthodox temples are sacred places and cannot be used for secular purposes.  They are God's house.  They belong to God, not to us.
 

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