The Dome in the Orthodox Church Architecture:
The Dome in the Orthodox Church is established as a hallmark in the Byzantine Architecture, it infuses the church with more mystical dimension. "In a domed church people are always conscious of the hovering hemisphere, which determines a vertical axis around which the subordinate spaces are grouped and invites symbolic identification with the "dome" of heaven." (Orthodox Art and Architecture).
The Dome at Saint Mary's Church comes in four iconography sections:
1. Jesus Christ the Pantokrator: This comes in the center of the Dome, depicting The Lord the Almighty who upholds all the universe, looking down blessing the creation and overseeing it. The Lord is surrounded by Angelic hosts, who perform the Heavenly Liturgy, chanting unceasingly: Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Sabbaoth, Heaven and Earth are filled with Your Glory; The same hymn that the Orthodox Church uses in the Liturgy.
Along with the angels we see the four figures of the vision of Ezekiel (1: 4-28) that deliver the Heavenly Throne and Liturgy.
2. The six-Winged Angels: right below the Pantokrator Scene, the Dome has 16 Exapteriga (Six-winged angels) that the Orthodox Liturgy recites in the prayer of Anaphora. They symbolize how Heaven and earth are joined together in endless liturgy and Thanksgiving to the Lord, the Creator.
3. The Prophets of the Old Testament: In our Dome there are 16 Prophets chosen from the Old Testament, they have been chosen according to their prophecy and the encounters they had with God. In the Orthodox Bible and teaching, these prophets proclaimed the Word of God and foretold the people about the salvation and the incarnation of God with the coming of Jesus Christ. And as St. Paul puts it, they suffered all kind of persecution, they lived a very tough and monastic life, they bore witness to the Word of God under all circumstances, and they hoped to see the salvation and see Jesus Christ. "These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." (Hebrew 11:38-40). They are the link between Old Testament and New Testament.
4. The Four Evangelists: The four corners of the Dome have the four evangelists of the New Testament, those who saw, learnt and experienced the presence of the Lord. They wrote the Gospels and gave us the Word of God in the garment of the New Testament writings.
The iconography in the Dome shows us how all heaven and earth, prophets, evangelists, angels along with us the worshipers today are all worshiping together the same God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the One Lord Jesus Christ.
See the Photos and a Video of the whole project below....