About Orthodox churches

(Pupils: Andritsa Maria, Andoniadou Marina, Vachtsevanou Athanasia, Emanouelidis Akis, Zarkada Evangelia, Artachanidis Christos, Elefteriadis Alexandros)
IM000094.jpgThe visitor to an Orthodox Church is usually impressed by its unique features. The rich color, distinctive iconography and beauty of the interior of an Orthodox Church generally are in contrast to the simplicity of other Christian churches. When one enters the interior of the Orthodox Church, it is like stepping into a world of color and light. Therefore, in the Orthodox tradition there is a very strong feeling that the church is the House of God. For this reason, all Orthodox churches are blessed and considered as sacred space.

shape1.gifThe most churches in Greece are built following old Byzantine plans. Of the large number of Byzantine church plans, this one became most widespread. This is the "cross-in-square" plan, adopted in Constantinople in the lninth century. The church is constructed in the form of a cross and is divided into three areas: the narthex, the nave, and the sanctuary. The narthex is the entrance area. shape.jpg
Ideally, an Orthodox church is small in order to emphasize the sense of community.

Churches of Kozani

In our town there are 10 churches and many more other small churches.
The 99,9% of Kozani’s population are Orthodox Christians. There aren’t sacred places of any other religion in Kozani, although there are people, who came, during the last decade, from Albania and some are Muslims.

The cathedral of Saint Nicholas.

DSC00083.JPG This church is the third ίn order of antiquity in Kozani. It is the official place of pray and worship of God for the citizens. It was built in 1664 with the initiative and care of Charisios Trantas. The church was surrounded by a tall stone wall. At the south east there was a cemetery which in 1896 was transferred at the church of Saint George. Until 1728 there were nο bells. Kozani was then under Turkish occupation and Turks considered them a provocation and a disturbance, which would not be allowed. Since it could not be built a tall and imposing church, Kozani’s people built a tall and imposing steeple, which today has bells and is the trade mark of Kozani.
PC060070.JPG The narthex is the entrance area. All the people who enter the church make the sign of the cross, because they are entering the house of God. They then go and kiss the icons and light candles by them. In the narthex the faithful offer a personal prayer before joining the congregation.
If it is a special festival the icon in the centre of the church will show the festival we are celebrating.
Today, the beginning of the Baptismal service and in some parishes, the Marriage service, begins in the narthex and proceeds into the nave.

On the right-hand side of the nave is the bishop's throne. On the left-hand side of the nave is the gynaikonitis.JPGpulpit from which the Gospel was proclaimed some years ago. Today you can see it only in old churches, as part of tradition. Agia_trapeza.jpg

The sanctuary is considered the most sacred part of the church, and the area reserved for the priests and their assistants. The sanctuary contains the Holy Altar and is separated from the nave by the Iconostasion. Not all services take place within the sanctuary. Many are celebrated in the center of the nave.
The Altar or Holy Table is the heart of the Orthodox Church. It is here that Eucharistic gifts of bread and wine are offered to the Father as Christ commanded us to do. The altar, which is usually square in shape, stands away from the wall and is often covered with cloths. When the Divine Liturgy is not being celebrated, the Book of Gospels rests on the Altar. Behind the Altar is a large cross with the painted figure of Christ.
PC060053.JPGThe Iconostasion is the panel of icons which separates the sanctuary from the nave. St. Nicholas’ iconostasion is very precious for its exceptional art. The Iconostasion has three entrances, which are used during services. There is a door on either sides, or the center entrance which is called the Royal Door. A curtain or door, usually conceals the Altar, when services are not being celebrated. On the right-hand side of the Iconostasion are always the icons of Christ and St. John the Baptist. On the left-hand side are always the icons of the Theotokos (Mother of our Lord) and the patron saint or event to which the church is dedicated.

PC060060.JPGThe icon is like a window which links heaven and earth. We never lost contact with those who are with the Lord in glory. This belief is expressed every time one watches an icon or places a candle before it. Many Orthodox churches havePC060056.JPG icons not only on the iconostasion but also on the walls, ceilings, and in arches.
The icon may be a painting of wood, on canvas, a mosaic or a fresco. Icons show such figures as Christ, Mary the Theotokos, the saints and angels. They may also portray events from the Scriptures or the history of the Church. The icon is not simply decorative; it signifies the presence of the shown figure.
plaino.JPGThere are also portable ornaments in the church. These are various pictures, three chandelliers, the picture of Christ blessing in a cup,
the “Good Friday mourning”, religious clothing and other treasures. PC060057.JPG
In church we stand most of the time; this is the normal position for prayer for us. Sometimes, especially in lent we make prostrations. Some visitors to our church are surprised to see people moving about the church, kissing the icons and lighting candles. We feel a deep respect for the church as the house of God, but we also feel that it is our home, so our attitude to the church is a mixture of awe and freedom.

St. Constantine and Helen church

Ag._Konstantinos.jpgThe first Church of Saint-Constantine and Helen built in 1858, near to an ancient altar. In 1970 a new church was founded. In 1980 the architectural shape of the church was completed with actions of the priests and the church Council, but mainly with the big financial contribution, not only of the parishioners but also of many other people of Kozani.

St. Demetrius church

IM000059.jpgIt is probably the most ancient temple in our city. A small churcIM000065.jpgh of Saint-Demetrius is said that was existed, in the same place, from Byzantine ages.
It is built in the same name pine-clad park. It gained its current form after a devastating fire in 1993. After a fully renovation, it preserved only the outside walls.

Saint Nikanoras Church

2.jpgThe first decision for the construction of this church was in 1918 and the main reason was a very deadly disease. In the city of Kozani appeared a serious epidemic, which e03_small.jpgxtermined people. When the inhabitants of Kozani faced this terrible threaten, they looked for the Saint’s protection. In 6th of November, they brought the holy remains of Saint Nikanoras in the town and the illness suddenly stopped. Since then, they consider the saint as a protector of the town and celebrate his name day. In 1967 they started the renovation of the church and it was completed in 1980.
This is the place where St. Nikanoras lived and died, by the Aliakmon River.
Every year on 7th of August on his celebration day, all the people of the town visit his church to light a candle and pray for health.