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Parekklesion [pl. parekklesia]locked

  • Robert Ousterhout


[pl. parekklesia]

Generic Greek name for the subsidiary chapel of a Byzantine church, as distinct from the main structure variously called ekklesia, naos or katholikon. Parekklesia vary considerably in size, position, architectural form and decoration. They frequently form an integral part of the overall church design, and many are distinguished externally by a dome. Often parekklesia are later additions that occasionally are not aligned with pre-existing elements. Parekklesia were also constructed as free-standing chapels, which could serve for such purposes as the private worship of an individual or family. Burial and commemoration, however, seem to have been the most common uses, as is indicated by the surviving decorative programmes and documentary evidence. As mass could only be said at each altar once a day, it is probable that parekklesia developed to accommodate extra space for worship and additional altars.

Parekklesia were built according to several planning schemes with respect to the main church. In a satellite arrangement they flank the church and are either aligned with the narthex to the west, as in the ...

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