This paper offers a close reading of the passages in the Historia Ekklesiastike kai Mystike Theoria, a liturgical commentary attributed to Germanos I, patriarch of Constantinople (d. 730), that pertain to the church building. The Historia’s interpretation is highly symbolic, steeped in scripture and dependent on earlier and contemporary theological thought. On occasion, the text sheds light on actual architectural developments, as in the case of the skeuophylakion. On the whole, however, the discussion of architecture is rather vague. I argue that the Historia is part of a long exegetical tradition on the liturgy that disregards the functional aspects of church buildings, a disconnect enabled by the adaptability of Byzantine liturgical rites.
© 2016 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston