Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

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Hagia Sophia in Constantinople

This example of an early Ambo is today conereved in the forecourt of Hagia Sophia. It originally came from one of the churches outside the precinct of Hagia Sophia.

As we know, the Ambo came into use from the 4th, century and were ubiquituous by the 9th century in both East and West. In the West, the Ambo began to disappear from the 14th century to be completely succeeded by the pulpit.

Following the example of the Synagogue, the Ambo was originally placed in the middle of the nave. Later, it was moved to the side -usually to the north side. It was common for the ambo (as in the photograph) to be approached by two sets of steps. When the Gospel was brough in procession, the Ambo was approached by the deacon from the eastern steps (closest the Altar) and, having proclaimed the Gospel, he left via the western steps.

An example of the origin of the Ambo: the tebáh (bema) facing the hekhál (or ark) in teh Synagogue of Amsterdam.

And here, as it is used:

It was also not uncommon to have pairs of Ambones – as in San Clemente in Rome. The Ambo on the south side being reserved for the singing of the Epistle (or first reading as it now referred to).

The liturgical importance of the Ambo among the Eastern Chuirches, may be seen from its integral role in some of the oriental Liturgies – e.g. the Liturgy of St James ( and in the sets of prayers still extant among the Greeks and Russians (the euche opisthambonos prayers in front of the Ambo. It still retains a position in the Pontifical Liturgies of the Russian Orthodox.

Among the Eastern Churches, the Ambo is currently found in the form of a space raised on steps projecting westwards from the Royal Door of the iconostasis. It is considered to be part of the sanctuary and usually not ascended by the Orthodox laity except to receive Holy Communion.

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