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Furniture, Fixtures, And Fittings In Churches: Archaeological Evidence From Palestine (4th–8th C.) And The Role Of The Diakonikon

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Chapter Summary

Studies of church architecture have often been unable to assign convincing functions to annexe rooms. This chapter addresses this problem by investigating the literary, epigraphic and archaeological evidence for such spaces, focusing particularly on western Palestine. This mainly concerns the role of a room identified from epigraphy as the diakonikon. The chapter explores examples of such rooms with archaeological traces of furniture, including installations for relics. It considers artefactual and textual evidence, revealing the changing function of these rooms, in terms of the preparation of the Eucharist, the storage of relics, the keeping of treasures and other items associated with the daily functioning of the church. Archaeologists are only very rarely able to discover and excavate church furniture or objects used in liturgical practice, as they have been preserved only very occasionally.

Keywords: archaeological evidence; church architecture; diakonikon; Eucharist; Palestine



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