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The Altar You Don't See - Sacred SPACE

In a recent SlowTalk worldwide photohunt our theme was Wood. I posted this photo of an elaborately decorated alter chair in the Eastern Orthdox Monastery at Piva in the country of Montenegro.


The Monastery at Piva is Montenegro's most treasured. When the government of Yugoslavia announced the pending construction of a dam that would put the monastery at the bottom of a lake, a thirteen year project relocated the monastery to the safety of higher ground.

During our visit to this wonderful monastery we met the caretaker, Father Nikifor. Montenegrin tall (at least 6'6"), he's a delightful man with sparkling eyes. And also true to the Montenegrin culture, he is the most gracious of hosts. He showed us all around the grounds and inside the monastery.


Eastern orthodox monasteries have two altars. The front altar is visable to the faithful. It is richly decorated and beautiful.


But its that tiny, sacred SPACE behind the front altar and entered only by the priests, that few ever see. Notice the red velvet curtain at the bottom right corner of the photo above.

Father Nikifor graciously pulled back the curtain and allowed us a peek inside, but not cross the threshold. When he suggested that I take a photo, I was flabbergasted and honored.

So here is my photo to represent "space". It is the most sacred space in the most sacred monestary in Montenegro.


Comments (15)

Lovely space; lovely shots! My space is flying pigeons = to outer space?

That is so amazing --what a lovely time --traveling the world:)-- I was looking at your children's company site-they do great work! my brother is an exclusive event coordinator in NYC and is the best of the best there, it is so fun to see the AMzing creations isn't it --he is so kind to come and help w/the family weddings and they are spectacular and we akk learn so much.

Deborah responds:
Hi, marcia. Small world, huh?

Great minds think alike...too funny!

I love this sacred space you visited. That chair is gorgeous and I'm so amazed that he allowed you to take a photo of the inner sanctuary. Those frescoes look very cool. Love this post!

Happy weekend!



Wonderful photos of sacred spaces. That altar chair is wonderfully decorated. I am so amazed at your travels and want to thank you for sharing with us here...

What a lovely 'take' on this week's Photo Hunt theme! I usually play at Sacred Ruminations, but today's Space Photo Hunt is at Happily Retired Gal.
Hugs and blessings,

Thanks for posting the story along with your photos. That is really special to have seen something like that that very few other than preists have seen. And now we've got a glimpse also.

Beautiful photos,Deborah. I always enjoy looking at altars in Orthodox churches.

This type of altar is spelled with 2 "A"s

Deborah responds: Barb, at first I thought, Aalter, I've never heard of that!
Then I realized that the word Alter/Altar was one of my consistant mistakes in spelling. (See reference to my spelling abilities in bio) :grin: Thanks for the catch!

Love your photo selection for the space theme. The altar chair is gorgeous and how nice of the priest to show you the second altar and allow you to take photos. Love reading about your travels!

What a lovely space. I can see why it is so special to the people.

What an honour to be able to see the second altar!


What an amazing entry for the theme. Fantanstic shots!!!

Gorgeous photos of a beautiful sacred space. Great take on the theme. I enjoyed reading about your visit to the Eastern Orthdox Monastery at Piva.


I loved your first altar photo - so beautiful!

And, thank you for sharing the story of the second altar.

It is sometimes unfortunate to sacrifice some sacred spaces for development. But at least they were given relocation. I also heard a lot of these cases especially in China were temples are relocated to higher grounds because of dam construction.

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