35 Bloor St. East
Phone: 905-433-5577

Our Temple

The Eastern Orthodox Church is built following a general pattern which incorporates local traditions and aesthetics. One of the characteristic features of an Orthodox Church are the domes which are constructed in different styles.  Our Church is crowned with three domes, in honour of the Holy Trinity.


The Church usually is divided into three sections, the vestibule or narthex, the nave or "temple of the faithful", and the altar or sanctuary. Orthodox Churches do not traditionally have pews, but in North America it has become common to find pews in Orthodox Churches.  Here we see the temple from the entrance doors.


The altar area is separated from the nave by an icon screen, called the "iconostas".  The central doors of the iconostas, called the "Royal Doors", are usually closed, and a curtain reminiscent of the curtain of the Holy of Holies in the temple in Jerusalem also serves to set off the Orthodox altar from the nave. To the right of the Royal Doors we find an icon of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and to the left of the Royal Doors an icon of the Theotokos, the Birthgiver-of-God.  On the Royal Doors we find an icon of the Annunciation, as well as small icons of the four evangelists. As you can see, St. John's is blessed by an exquisitely carved iconostas as well as beautifully carved icon stands.


Through the open Royal Doors we see the Holy Table, upon which the bloodless sacrifice of the Divine Liturgy is offered.


The Book of Gospels rests in the centre of the Holy Table, which attests to the central place Holy Scripture holds in the Orthodox Church.   Behind the Book of Gospels we see the tabernacle which contains the Blessed Sacrament.  In front of the tabernacle an oil lamp burns reminding us of the presence of Christ in the the Holy Mysteries contained therein.  One or more hand crosses are also found on the Holy Table, as well as a smaller Gospel book (to the left) for services of need, and the "pyx" (to the right) in which Holy Communion is taken to the sick.  A seven-branched candlestick stands immediately behind the Holy Table, and beeswax candles burn on either side of the tabernacle. At the apse of the Altar, the "high place", a throne is placed in the centre with chairs for clergy on either side.  An analogion or book-stand is placed to the left of the Altar for the liturgicon and other books necessary for the priest to serve the Liturgy.


To the right of the Holy Table (as we look in) we find the diaconicon.  In St. John's the "plashchanystia" (epitaphion, an embroided icon of the placing of Christ in the tomb) is kept on the diaconicon.  It is brought out in procession on Good Friday, and from Pascha (Easter Sunday) till the Ascension it rests on the Holy Table.

To the left of the Holy Table we find the Table of Oblation, where the liturgical vessels are kept, and where the Liturgy of preparation takes place.  We see the chalice and discos (plate) in and upon which the bread and wine are prepared before the Divine Liturgy, along with the various covers, etc., which are used to prepare and cover the gifts.
God has blessed us with a beautiful temple.  Many of the items found in it, like the Cross and candleholders on this table, the icon stands to either side, and the frames in which the icons are displayed, were made by our own parishioners. We invite you to visit our Church and experience its beauty in person.

May the Lord save and protect you!

(Thanks to Sviatoslav Hluchaniuk for these beautiful photographs)