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Revision as of 04:43, August 26, 2010
The nave is the main part of an Orthodox church. It is between the narthex (vestibule) and the sanctuary (altar), and is the largest of the three sections. It is where that the faithful gather for worship and the singers, readers, and chanters carry out their tasks.
The nave is separated from the sanctuary by an icon screen with doors, called the iconostasis (icon stand). The walls of the nave are decorated with icons and murals with hanging lamps (lampadas) before them. There are usually candle stands and icon stands for the people to use in prayer and veneration. Doors between the narthex and the nave are now rare, but were once a necessary part of the liturgy, and were closed at an appointed time.
The nave of many local parish churches have pews or folding chairs for all. It is more common that seats are only provided for the weary especially in cathedrals, monasteries, or small chapels. Most Orthodox faithful prefer to stand for the entire service, but others pray with the needed comfort of seats during the appropriate times of the service.
The term nave is believed to have derived from the Latin word 'navis', ship. When the bishop visits a local parish, he stands on a platform called an Episcopal ambo in the center of the nave and resembles the captain of the ship.