2011 | 29 | 269-283
Article title

Sakralna przestrzeń – charakterystyka oraz wybrane treści ideowe i symboliczne

Title variants
Sacred space: characteristic and selected ideas and symbols
Languages of publication
The present characteristics of a sacred space, understood as a liturgical space, focus mainly on the ideas and symbols behind its development throughout the centuries. The dividing line for the present study is the liturgical reforms following Vatican Council II. The symbolic development of a liturgical space begins with the practice of first Christian communities whose members prayed facing the East and the rising sun, symbolizing the risen Christ – the True Light. The interior of east-oriented Christian basilicas was not homogenous. Instead, it was hierarchized and symbolic: the church building (ecclesia) was interpreted as the material image of the spiritual community of the faithful (Ecclesia); it was also understood as the representation of God’s heavenly temple – Domus Dei. The area around the altar (sanctuary) was enclosed by a balustrade (cancelli) and inaccessible to the laity. It was interpreted as the Sanctum Sanctorum, following the Biblical Holy of Holies and the Solomon’s Temple. The division of the church into the part of laypeople (nave and aisles) and the enclosed part of the sanctuary with the high altar, accessible only to the clergy, was continued by medieval churches. The sanctuary, interpreted as the Sanctum Sanctorum, was separated from the rest of the church by a rood screen. Such a division of a sacred space reflected the two ways of Christian life: vita active, represented by the clergy gathered within the sanctuary. After the Council of Trent, emphasis was put on the role of the high altar and the Eucharist present there which, tamquam cor in pectore et mens in animo, should constitute the center of the Church as a religious community and of the space of a church as a sacred building. As a result of these changes, the rood screen was removed from Catholic churches. The chancel and the choir, invariably perceived as a sanctuary inaccessible to the laity, retained their distance from the nave, enhanced by raised floor level and altar rails. The interior of Baroque churches where the theatrum sacrum of the liturgy was celebrated, became similar to the interior of a theater.
Physical description
  • Instytut Historii Sztuki UKSW Warszawa
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
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