Heaven on Earth. Inside a Russian Orthodox Church
So a church is the house of God, though built of inanimate material: for it’s consecrated by divine grace and made holy by prayer. And after this it’s unlike other houses, for it’s sanctified from the earth to God and made rich by its Inhabitant; in him is its glory, strength and grace… Even inanimate objects in a church have beneficent powers: water, stones, pillars, shrouds and chains. They don’t act of their own accord — for how could they, being insentient creations of God, powerless in themselves? — but by the grace God confers on them from above and by the name of God pronounced upon them, for the sake of our sanctification. Wherever the name of God is invoked — and the Holy all-creating Trinity, for God is one — there all is sacred, all is efficacious, all heals and saves through grace.
Simeon of Thessalonica,
On the Holy Church and Its Consecrat ion
Those objects, which were kept in the interior of an Orthodox Church and used during religious service, symbolically reflected the principle ideas of Christian faith. This is why their decoration and beauty was a subject of extreme importance.
The last section of the exhibition includes iconostases and icons, church plate and books, the precious robes of the clergy. Among the liturgical vessels we may note a jasper chalice, commissioned in 1329 by Archbishop of Novgorod Moisei; a Communion Bread Plate donated to the Archangel Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin in memory of Tsar Feodor Ivanovich; several holy water cups. The ceremonial attire of Metropolitan Iona Sysoyevich, created in 1665 in the Stroganov workshops, is particularly striking.