Since my last post (report from Synaxis), some have asked me why I named my blog “From the Vestry”. So, I thought I’d explain and perhaps, use this as a theme for future blogs.
The traditional Eastern Orthodox Church has a very specific layout. In Byzantine times, the layout was even more precise. For those who have visited the Holy Land and other parts of the Orthodox World, we’ve seen examples of this. However, what we are familiar with today, we don’t always see these typical components of the church (at least, not always in the correct spot), particularly in our city.
Interestingly enough, the layout, from an aerial view, always looks like a cross.
As you stand in church during Services facing the Sanctuary, the Vestry is on the right side adjacent to the Sanctuary. Many of us, commonly refer to the Sanctuary as the “Altar”, but in fact, we should identify it as the “Sanctuary” (the “Altar” is also known as the “Holy Table” – where the Holy Gifts are consecrated).
The Vestry then, is the area where many of the church vessels are traditional kept; like the censer, books of the Holy Services and vestments for the clergy, including the deacon! Traditionally, all these articles are taken care of by the…that’s right, deacons! Hence, the name of my blog..
“The Vestry” will be my way of sharing what I continue to learn about the church as a deacon, and hopefully, you’ll be able to find it beneficial as well.