Aisles: The sides of the church's nave separated from
the central nave by a row of columns.
Ambo: The elevated pulpit used for preaching in the church
Ambulatory: A walkway circumventing the sanctified part
of the church.
Ampulla (pl. ampullae): A small flask, made of
lead, clay, or other material, containing sanctified liquid
(water, oil) from Christian shrines.
Anastasios I: Byzantine emperor (491-518). He is known
for his devotion to the Monophysitism and for this he had a
hard opposition by the Orthodox. Due to Anastasios an extent
programm of fiscal reformation took place in the last decade
of the 5th century. On the eastern and northern borders of the
state he had to confront the raids of the Persians and the Bulgarians.
Probably it was Anastasios who ordered the construction of the
long wall in Thrace, in ca. 503/4.
Anchorite: A hermit monk.
Anicia Juliana: Descendant of Theodosios II and Eudocia,
member of the wealthy patrician family of the Anicii. Juliana
used her wealth to construct churches, monasteries and philanthropic
institutions. She financed the construction of St Polyeuktos
on the site of an earlier church erected by Eudocia.
Apse: Semicylindrical conch, at the eastern side of the
church, designated for the clergy. It was separated from the
rest of the church by means of a screen or gratings.
Arianism: the teachings of Arius, an Alexandrian priest,
who argued that God the Father and Jesus Christ were two separate
beings, and that, therefore, within a monotheist concept, Christ
could not be divine. Arianism was condemned by the first Ecumenical
Council (Nicaea, 325), which held God and Christ to be one,
the latter having a dual (both human and divine) nature.
Arkadios: Byzantine emperor (395-408). In the period
of his reign he had to confront in the Balkans the Visigoths,
under Alaric, and the Huns, and in Asia Minor the revolt of
the Isaurians. The defeat of the "Gothic party" and its leader,
the usurper Gainas, was probably the theme of the sculptural
decorated column, erected by Arkadios in the Hippodrome of Constantinople,
Asceticism: The exercise of mind and body is the ideal
for all Christians, especially for monks and that is why asceticism
is a synonym for monasticism. The first ascetics made their
appearance in the 3rd century at the desert of Egypt (e.g. St
Anthony), who were called hermits or anchorites. The ascetics
in order to develop self-discipline submitted their body to
many ordeals the chief forms of which was fasting.
Atrium: The forecourt of a church, usually located at
the western end of the building and surrounded by stoas.