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The Meaning of Shapes and Colors of Orthodox Churches


The outer color of the church often reflects to whom it is devoted: to the Lord, to the Mother of God, to a saint or a feast. For example:

White – the church in honor of the Mother of God;

Red – devoted to a martyr (or martyrs);


Green – to a venerable saint;

Yellow – to a bishop saint;

However, we should point out that this is not a dogmatic rule, but a tradition, which is not always followed.




The number of the domes on the church is also symbolic of:

One – symbolizing the One True God;

Three – the Holy Trinity;

Five – the Savior and four evangelists;


Seven – the seven sacraments of the Church;

Nine – the number of the angelic hosts;

Thirteen – the Savior and His twelve apostles;

Thirty-three – the number of years the Savior lived on earth.



The shape of the domes has its own meaning as well:

The shape of a helmet recalls about the warriors and the spiritual fight that the Church leads against the dark powers.

The shape of an onion is a symbol of candle light, which refers to the words of the Savior: “You are the light of the world”.

An intricate shape and a bright coloring of the domes on the church in honor of St. Basil the Blessed symbolize the beauty of the Heavenly Jerusalem.



The color of the domes is also a part of the church symbolism:

Gold – a symbol of the heavenly glory. The main churches devoted to Christ and the Great Feasts had the domes of such color.


Blue domes with stars can be seen on the churches in honor of the Mother of God because the star recalls that Christ was born from Virgin Mary.

The churches in honor of the Holy Trinity had green domes since green is the color of the Holy Spirit.

The churches dedicated to saints often have green or silver domes.


You can also see black domes on the churches in monasteries for black is the color of monasticism.




Translated from: http://www.hram-feodosy.kiev.ua/struct_color.htm



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1 comments:

  1. \\o// Narration of Royal colours are excellent - The dome compared to a spire in the Western Churches, is a direct contrast to eastern tradition of Orthodox (Sleeba) Cross at the helm of the top of roof level along with the bell - The Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church architecture style

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